A Beginners Guide to Painting a Kitchen Island

I hope you guys all had a fun holiday weekend. As I shared last week, we are currently deep in kitchen makeover mode. There are piles everywhere, we’ve eaten more take out than I can handle and for two weekends now the coffee pot has been covered under sheets of plastic. Last week was a tough one but oh my word, you guys, even with this huge mess I’m still so excited about the way things are coming together.

We spent most of the long weekend working as Hurricane Hermine blew through Florida and a good portion of the South. It has been raining here nonstop for the past week due to all of the storms which made painting conditions a bit tough. Despite it all, we feel so thankful to have only lost power and a few trees. It will probably take a day to clean up all of the limb debris but the sun is shining as I write this so that is a positive sign.

One of the projects we made a priority last week was the kitchen island. It’s almost finished, yeah! I say almost because we still need to add the picture frame wainscoting but I wanted to share the painting portion of that process with you today.

For THE longest time, I’ve wanted an all-white kitchen, a farmhouse apron front sink and a yard full of goats. Like forever, I haven’t changed my mind on any of those things. Yet as soon as I got the green light to paint the kitchen cabinets, I was all “Ummm, I think maybe the cabinets should be gray!” ha ha The kitchen walls are off white, the subway tile is white, the doors and trim are all ultra white and most of my kitchen décor is ironstone. I think I was just worried it would be TOO much white (as if there is such a thing!).

In the end, we talked it over and chose to paint the cabinets in General Finishes Snow White and the island in Seagull Gray which was a great compromise. The Seagull Gray adds a little something extra to the kitchen without taking away from all of the other elements that make the space feel like the heart of our home. Here’s what you need to know about painting a kitchen island if you’ve never painted any cabinets in the kitchen before….

A special thank you to General Finishes for sponsoring this post!

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-1

SUPPLIES: (Affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. Please read our full disclosure policy here )

 

1 Quart General Finishes Water Based Stain Blocker

1 Quart General Finishes Water Based Milk Paint in Seagull Gray

1 Quart General Finishes Water Based High Performance Top Coat

Angled paint brushes

Foam brushes

Foam roller

Foam Roller Tray

Painters Tape

Drop Cloth

120-220 grit sandpaper (multiple sheets or sanding block)

320 grit sandpaper (multiple sheets or sanding block)

Safety goggles

Respirator Mask

Shop Towels

Cleaning solution (a combination of 50/50 denatured alcohol and water OR TSP)

Screw driver or power drill

Paint key

STEPS:

Make sure to gather all of the necessary items/tools needed to finish this project

Make sure the floor and area surrounding the kitchen island are completely clean and free of dust, debris and pet hair

Make sure the island cabinet contents have been emptied or have been protected with sheets of plastic as you will be sanding the wood on the cabinet and you don’t want the dust getting in the cabinet contents.

Outline areas you don’t want paint on (i.e. between the quarter round or moldings and the floor, inside the cabinet floor/walls/ceilings and underneath the island and the countertop) with painters tape.

Make sure the floor and surfaces have been protected with drop cloths.

Remove the drawer fronts and cabinet doors using a screw driver or power drill.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-2

Wipe down and clean the island base, drawer fronts, and cabinet doors on the kitchen island with a combination of 50/50 denatured alcohol and water OR TSP and water solution.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-3

Sand drawer fronts, cabinet doors and wood base of the island with 220 grit sandpaper.

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Brush or use compressed air to remove excess dust,

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then use a damp cloth (not wet) to wipe down all the wood surfaces again. You’ll want to make sure they’re free from any sanding dust or debris.

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Use an angled brush and/or foam roller to apply the first coat of General Finishes Water Based Stain Blocker. The consistency of the stain blocker is somewhat thick so keep that in mind.

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After the first coat of stain blocker has reached the proper drying time (as per General Finishes recommendation), lightly sand using 320-grit sandpaper, remove any excess sanding dust with compressed air and wipe clean.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-8

Apply the second coat of stain blocker, allow to dry as per the General Finishes recommendation, lightly sand using 320-grit sandpaper, remove any excess sanding dust with compressed air and wipe clean.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-9

Use a completely different brush (a foam brush is recommended) to apply the first coat of General Finishes Milk Paint in Seagull Gray evenly with the grain. If you’ve never used this brand of milk paint before, the paint is very easy to apply. It’s ready to go right out of the can so no extra mixing (other than stirring well before use) is necessary. The consistency of the paint is really smooth and creamy.

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After the first coat of milk paint has reached the proper drying time (as per General Finishes recommendation), lightly sand using 320-grit sandpaper, again remove any excess sanding dust with compressed air and wipe clean.

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Apply the second coat of milk paint evenly with the grain, allow to dry as per the General Finishes recommendation, lightly sand using 320-grit sandpaper, remove sanding dust with compressed air and wipe clean.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-12

Use a completely different brush (a foam brush is recommended) to apply the first coat of General Finishes Water Based High Performance Topcoat evenly with the grain. If you guys have never used this top coat before, it’s SO awesome! It looks kind of milky white in the can but it dries clear and quickly.

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After the first coat of top coat has reached the proper drying time (as per General Finishes recommendation), lightly sanding using 320-grit sandpaper, again removing any excess sanding dust with compressed air and wipe clean.

Seagull Gray Kitchen Island-14

Apply the second coat of top coat evenly with the grain and allow to dry as per General Finishes recommendation. Just as a side note, General Finishes recommends a minimum three coats of Water Based High Performance Top Coat.

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If you have one, use the same method to paint the kick plate on the base of the kitchen island cabinet.

Reattach cabinet drawer fronts, doors and hardware.

Remove any painters tape, drop cloths and make sure cabinet areas are free from sanding dust or debris.

Even with the kitchen cabinets not being finished yet, I’m so glad we chose Seagull Gray for the kitchen island. It’s a pale gray that fits in really well with all of the other neutrals in the house. Here’s a look at the back….

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and the front…cue the jazz hands!

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See you guys back here tomorrow. We’re adding a custom look the island with wainscoting picture frame trim. Until then, I’ll see you Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,

CoCo

Comments

  1. says

    Hi coco Your champion my God it look so
    Nice I love white kitchen we ere fount to paint my from door like your I place orden I’m writing for now is raining a lot in Miami not God to painting for now
    Your home is so pretty I love your blog
    Have nice day
    Blessing
    Isora
    XO

    • says

      Thank you, Isora! It was raining like crazy here too. You are so right, definitely not good for painting. I’m so excited the island is finished and the cabinets will be finished soon too. Hope you have a happy weekend, CoCo

  2. says

    I’m so glad you guys are safe and it’s so sweet that you are looking at the positives, like the sun shining! 😀

    Great tutorial…it can be applied to almost any piece of furniture and I can use all the help I can get!!

    Saw your home tour at Stacey’s and thought I’d stop by. Just love your blog!

    Jane

    • says

      You’re so sweet, Jane, you totally made my day! We were pounded with rain during that week so as soon as we saw the sun shining we knew we were moving up ha ha. You are so welcome. I love how paint gives new life to almost any tired piece of furniture. I appreciate you stopping by. Stacey is such a great lady. Hope your weekend is richly blessed, CoCo

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