How to Paint Kitchen Soffits

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Kitchen soffits are the piece of wall between the cabinets and the ceiling. They usually hide plumbing and electrical wiring. While you can paint soffits to match the kitchen wall or the ceiling, consider also colors that can make your kitchen appear larger. One mistake many people make is painting the underside of the soffit white, like the ceiling--or painting the whole thing to match the ceiling. Another common kitchen soffit faux pas is neglecting to caulk--a small detail, but one that makes the job look much more professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Detergent
  • Rags
  • Caulking
  • Spackle or joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray texture
  • Primer
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Brush
  • Roller and roller tray
  • Clean the soffits with detergent to remove grease and grime. Pay special attention to the area above the stove, since a lot of cooking grease can accumulate there.

  • Caulk the gap between the lower part of the soffit and the cabinets. Choose a caulk color that best matches the cabinets (usually white, tan or light brown.) Run the bead of caulking along the entire line, smoothing it out with a damp rag or sponge and making sure it's not smeared onto the cabinets. Use clear paintable silicone caulking if your cabinets are a different color. Let it dry at least four hours.

  • Repair holes, dings or cracks with spackle. Sand it smooth. If the soffit drywall is textured, use joint compound or spray texture--available in spray cans to match many common wall textures--to re-texture the repair.

  • Tape a straight line, using blue painter's tape, along the cabinets. Press it down firmly to prevent the paint bleeding through. Tape the ceiling as well, unless you have a very steady hand.

  • Prime the soffit with general purpose latex primer. If it's in very good condition, it doesn't have to be primed unless you have made some repairs.

  • Paint the soffit with two coats of washable kitchen paint. Cut in with a brush first, then roll. This eliminates brush marks. Paint the underside of the soffit the same color as the front.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make your kitchen look larger, choose a color that closely matches the cabinet color. Paint the entire soffit that color; it gives the illusion of taller cabinets and a higher ceiling.
  • Paint the soffit a complementary or accent color to accentuate it. This can also showcase decorative items hung above the cabinets.
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