Chalk paint is a wonderful paint that helps to give your home that very in vogue ‘shabby chic’, rustic cottage kinda look.
Chalk paint is not just destined for your walls though, you can use it on chairs, tables, random bits of furniture you may have laying around, and even, of course, kitchen cabinets!
Chalk paint can breathe a new lease of life into your home, giving you an update that looks like you’ve moved into a whole new place, without all the hassle of boxes and builders.
When it comes to choosing a chalk paint, the good news is you have lots of choice at your disposal. The bad news is…. Well, you sometimes have too much choice.
It can get a little overwhelming trying to choose the perfect chalk paint, especially when it comes to something as important as kitchen cabinets.
You want to get it perfect the first time, right?
You are in luck, reader, for we have decided to give you a breakdown of our top picks for the best chalk paint for kitchen cabinets. We’ve also included a very informative Buyers’ Guide (if we do say so ourselves) to let you know what features you should be looking for in chalk paint.
If this sounds like just what you need then keep on reading.
Psssst….. If you are in a rush just have a little look below and you will find our number one choice of chalk paints for your kitchen cabinets!
Top 5 Best Chalk Paint For Kitchen Cabinets
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
First up on our list of chalk paint for kitchen cabinets is Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint. Rust-Oleum is a leading brand when it comes to DIY with chalk paint, and when you look at this product it is easy to see why.
It is the highest-rated chalk paint on Amazon by miles and is their number one bestseller in the category too. Don’t just take the word of the reviews though, look at the product specifications to see why.
The paint comes in many different colors, and whilst the choice isn’t huge, there is something to suit everyone as well as there being very popular colors such as linen white, blush pink, and aged gray.
You can use it on your cabinets with ease, as well as being able to use it on other wood surfaces, metal, ceramic, and canvas, giving all of these surfaces a vintage ‘distressed’ look.
The paint itself is formulated to be low-odor, so you don’t need to worry about harsh chemical smells when you are painting.
It’s made from a latex formula too so it is super easy to clean up with just soap and water. The paint adheres to surfaces with ease, meaning there will be minimal prep for you beforehand.
You do not need a primer with this paint, except if you are painting wood that is high in tannins such as redwood, fir, and mahogany. If you are painting bare wood, you may also want to consider a primer then, too.
Rust-Oleum does recommend a top coat with their paint to ensure the paint lasts longer, and they say to wait a full 8 hours after your final chalk paint coat has dried before applying a top coat.
If you are painting multiple coats of this chalk paint, you will be pleased to know that the paint dries to the touch after just 30 minutes, and gives an ultra-matte smooth finish.
- Ultra-matte finish
- Low odor
- Very adhesive so no need for primer
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Good range of popular colors
- Can be used on a large variety of surfaces
- The brand has a proven record of being a top choice for DIYers
- The color range is not as large as other brands
Another paint brand that just had to be mentioned is Renaissance DIY.
Their Retique It Chalk Furniture Paint is a very popular choice for many DIYers, and just from looking at the color range we can see why there are 41 colors to choose from, as well as three different paint can sizes.
The paint formulation is non-toxic and is made without harmful VOCs and emissions. This makes it safe for you, your family, and of course, the environment. It’s fully safe to use indoors and it has virtually no odor.
In terms of paint consistency and coverage, it is thick and even and dries in just 30 minutes. Coverage is self-leveling and dries to a smooth chalky finish making it perfect for those shabby chic vibes.
It takes just 1 to 2 coats, in general, and is super easy to apply. The prep time with this product is minimal too as it requires no sanding or priming beforehand, you can just apply it and then use a top coat for extra protection.
It adheres well to the surface, hence why no primer is needed. The manufacturer does recommend that wax is used to follow up and keep the cabinets looking good for a long time.
The brand has its own top coat and waxes for you to choose from, so you can buy them altogether safe in the knowledge that your kitchen cabinets will look perfect.
- No need for a primer
- Wide range of colors
- Made without harmful VOCs
- Dries to a smooth chalky finish
- Adheres well to the surface
- The manufacturer does recommend both a top coat and wax which are sold separately so some buyers may not want the extra cost and fuss
Shabby Chic’s Furniture Chalk Paint is another brand that has an array of colors to choose from, boasting 37 in total. That being said, some retailers stock a smaller amount.
It is also available in matte or metallic finishes, giving you that extra bit of choice. The paint is suitable for many surfaces, including kitchen cabinets. It can also be used for masonry work, petal, plastic, and plaster surfaces.
There is no primer or undercoat needed with this chalk paint as the paint is super adhesive. The formula is water-based, as well as being non-toxic, so you can use it with ease indoors.
The brand does specify that two coats are needed, and say that some surfaces may even need three, which is a little more than some other paint brands out there.
That being said, due to the consistency and ease of application, a small amount of the paint goes a long way, so you may find you are using less with each coat.
A top coat or wax is not required for this product, however, many customers choose to use it for added protection and to improve the appearance.
- Wide range of colors to choose from in either a matte or metallic chalk finish
- No primer or undercoat needed
- It can be used on several surfaces
- A little goes a long way
- Non-toxic formulation
- It needs up to 3 coats
- Not all retailers stock the full range of colors, which means the actual color choice you have might be quite small
Next up we have Country Chic’s Chalk Style Paint which has been specially formulated for all things furniture and home decor!
The paint is all-in-one meaning it has a built-in primer and top coat. You can wax afterward if you choose to but it is not essential and depends on what look you are going for with your cabinets.
It adheres well to the surfaces you paint on and requires less coverage than some other brands on the market. The only prep work needed for this paint is a clean surface!
The paint dries within 30 minutes, so you can apply your second coat (if needed) almost immediately. The finish is chalky and matte, making it perfect for that shabby chic, distressed look that is so popular right now.
It is also a very eco-friendly option, due to it being formulated with ultra low VOC pigments and no harsh chemicals. It has next to no odor too and is fine for indoor and outdoor use.
The color range for this paint is fantastic, we love their popular ‘Rustic Charm’ which is a gorgeous sage green. The brand also has popular off-whites and grays too, along with a rainbow of other colors.
- Very quick to dry
- It is an all-in-one paint meaning primer and top coat is not needed. Wax is not needed either but you can if you wish
- Excellent color choice
- Eco-friendly and low odor
- Very adhesive
- Some customers have stated that although it says 1-2 coats are needed, they have had to do 3 coats
- You may find yourself still wanting to use a top coat as it can scratch easily
Last up we have KILZ’s Decorative Paint. This chalk-style paint has proved popular with customers due to the color choices.
The pastel colors available mean that you can style those cabinets however you wish. The paint itself is ultra-matte and paints on thickly with excellent coverage and hide. It can spruce up your old furniture!
The prep work needed beforehand is minimal as no priming is required. Simply apply one coat to a clean surface that is free of dust. The drying time is slightly longer on this paint than others.
It dries to the touch in 1 hour, and you can paint the second coat after 2 hours. The paint cleans easily with soap and water, should there be any spillages.
The brand recommends that you finish up your painted surface with a wax that they sell separately. This will seal the color in, making it more durable. It will also prevent the color from wearing easily.
When the paint tin first arrives, the color may look white. This is normal and it just requires a thorough mix, so do ensure you mix it well before painting. Instructions should be on the tin for this.
- Good color choice
- Minimal prep before painting
- Cleans easily with soap and water
- Excellent ultra-matte finish for a shabby chic look
- Requires both top coat and wax which are sold separately
- Longest drying paint on the list at 2 hours
Best Chalk Paint For Kitchen Cabinets Buying Guide
When we were picking out the Best Chalk Paint for Kitchen Cabinets, there were several factors we took into consideration to make our choices.
These factors formed a sort of guide for us to keep in mind when we were doing our research initially, and we thought it would be super helpful to share that guide with you in the form of a handy Buyers’ Guide.
This will help you make an informed choice when you buy your chalk paint, especially if none of our specially selected ones are suitable for you.
You don’t want your paint to just glide off the surface of your kitchen cabinets, right?
For this reason, you need to look for adhesive chalk paint. Typically, chalk paint is a very adhesive paint anyway, and lots of brands even specify that they don’t need to be put on top of a primer, rather they can just go right onto your wall.
Check your paint carefully and don’t get caught out thinking that every chalk paint will be like this. If it says to use a primer first, then it may not be as adhesive as you’d have hoped.
Of course, using a primer is not an issue but it does involve a whole other extra step and longer waiting time.
Of course, the color of your chalk paint is a key consideration, especially as it will eventually be the color of your kitchen cabinets.
Do some research on what colors would go with the existing interiors of your kitchen, or if you want to start afresh, look on blogs and social media for inspiration. There are so many colors to choose from when it comes to chalk paint, ranging from rustic off-white to fresh sage green, to powdery pinks and blues.
The only limit is your imagination. Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that colors will differ depending on the brand, and some brands may have a wider range of colors than others. Bear your color in mind before you narrow down to a brand, so you can base the brand choice on the desired color you have in mind.
This may be a good time to consider getting sample pots too and painting on scraps of wood to see how each color develops. This way you can test some out. You could even get similar colors from different brands and see what finish you prefer, as all of them will have subtle differences.
Keep in mind that choosing lighter colors like white and cream may have an effect on any top coats, or rather the top coast may affect the paint. Polyurethane, for example, tends to leave a yellowish tint when it is used, which will be very visible over those light chalk paint colors.
The finish of your paint is another thing that you should keep in mind when choosing a chalk paint for your kitchen cabinet, especially as it refers to two separate things.
The finish of the paint is the look that it gives off after it has dried. For example, is it glossy or matte? The finish also refers to any top coats you put on the pain to finish it off. This section will focus on the look of the paint.
Remember, your kitchen cabinets will always be visible. You want a finish that you will be happy to look at numerous times in a day. Chalk paint is renowned for its chalky appearance, and of course, chalk is dry.
The finish of chalk paint, then, tends to be very dry or matte. It is often known as ultra-matte. Some brands may be drier in appearance than others, so be sure to check first with each pot, or maybe get a sample to ensure you are completely happy with the finish before you go ahead and do the whole lot.
We are sorry to say, however, that if it is a glossy or satin finish that you want, then chalk paint is probably not the right choice for you!
Just like the finish of your chalk paint, the consistency is not something that will vary all that much from brand to brand. It is quite a thick and dry consistency, and so it does not drip easily like some other paints such as gloss.
That being said, it does not have that sleekness that some other paints may have, which some users may not like. Often, chalk paint can have a texture that resembles cottage cheese when you first open it.
As unsightly as that maybe, after a thorough mix, it should smooth out. This isn’t a big factor but it is something worth bearing in mind if you are a chalk paint newbie wondering what to expect!
Chalk paints tend to be notoriously quick in terms of drying times. So much so that you can often immediately apply a second coat after the first one.
That being said, it is always best to double check your paint first to see if it says anything specific about drying times, as some may well take a little longer.
Many of the leading brands actually recommend waiting a long time between coats. This is to ensure the coat completely dries before the next one and to give it time to develop.
Consider all of these timing factors first, because although it may seem to physically dry quicker than other paints, better results often come with patience.
Top Coat, Wax, and Primer: Are They Needed or Included?
These are big factors to take into consideration and will vary depending on your own needs, timescale as well as paint brand.
Chalk paint is known as paint that needs a lot of upkeep. This usually comes in the form of applying a sealant to it upon completion, and then following it up at regular intervals over its lifetime.
The sealant is usually a wax, and it can freshen up the paint over time, especially in high traffic areas such as kitchens. There are some brands of chalk paint that state that you don’t need to use a wax afterward, and we have included some in our list above.
However, lots of brands do require wax, so keep this in mind and read the paint can first!
Many DIYers also follow up their initial coats of chalk paint with a coat of ‘poly’ which is polyurethane. This acts as a protective top coat. This is a personal choice, and some people prefer to use Polycrylic which is a water-based top coat instead.
Again, as with the wax, you can buy some paints that already have this top coat put into their formulation, so it will depend on that. Check your paint brand carefully first.
As we mentioned earlier, chalk paints do not typically need a primer. We guess you could think of them as already having primer built-in because of how adhesive they are. However, always check the tin of paint first of all in case it does specify the need for primer.
We hope that you can see that choosing the best chalk paint for kitchen cabinets does not have to be an overwhelming and impossible task.
There are a lot of choices out there, and whilst that can seem like a bad thing at first, it means you can easily pick out the one that is perfect for your needs.
We hope you have been able to find your perfect paint from our top picks above, and if not, remember to use our very informative Buyers’ Guide to make the most informed choice possible.