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Affordable Kitchen DIY: how to breathe new life into your kitchen

According to research done by Go Compare, kitchen DIY renovations and improvements were at the top of UKs home renovations in recent years. There has been a growing trend to transform the kitchen to a solely functional room to the heart of the home. Click here to skip recommended products and to continue reading.

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Renovating complete kitchens is not cheap – so when you do not have the funds, or the energy to redo your entire kitchen, below are some tips on how some affordable kitchen DIY can transform your kitchen, without the hassle of complete renovations:

Kitchen DIY tip 1: Repaint your tiles

Coo-Var Tile & Melamine Primer

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You don’t have to completely tear down your kitchen for that newly renovated look. If you have just moved house – perhaps as a business owner looking to update an old kitchen for a restaurant or café relaunch – giving aging tiles a fresh lick of paint can work wonders. Whether you aim to cover up an outdated pattern, or you simply do not like the colour of the tiles, there are various paints that allow you to update your tiles to something more to your liking. If you are looking for a stark white finish, Rawlins Paints stock the Rust-Oleum Tile Transformation Kit. This kit holds everything you need to update your tiles to a stark white finish. It comes in the colour Aspen White and the tiles will be fully dried after just 24 hours.

If you are looking to add a little colour to your kitchen, we also carry the Coo-Var Tile & Melamine Primer. This primer is specifically designed to be used on tile and melamine surfaces and after the tiles have been primed, nearly all paints will adhere to it. Using this tile primer also means you have free reign over the colour of your tiles. Ensure you work with a test patch to check that your selected colour works with the Coo-Var Tile & Melamine Primer.

Kitchen DIY tip 2: Repaint your kitchen cabinets

With no primer or additional protective topcoat needed, Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint makes painting a kitchen as easy as pie. Before Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint came along, painting your units was previously a long, laborious job with the sanding, priming and prep work (not to mention the drying time required for two coats of primer and two coats of eggshell).

1. Before you begin painting, clean all surfaces using a degreasing detergent such as Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner. This step is super important. If you skip this step, your paint may not adhere to the cupboards.

2. Mask any tricky edges or anything you do not wish to paint, such as the hinges. The tape will allow you to create a clean, crisp edge to the painted surface. Cover your worktops, appliances, and the floor with a sheet to catch any drips.

3. Remove your cupboard and drawer handles and set them to one side. If removing your cupboard doors and drawers entirely, use numbered labels to help you remember where everything goes.

4. Stir the Kitchen Cupboard Paint thoroughly before use. Never shake a paint tin to mix it!

5. Starting with the inside of your cupboard doors and drawers, use a brush to paint any hard-to-reach areas, followed by a short nap roller to coat the remainder of the cupboard.

6. Allow your paint to fully cure for four hours before touching your kitchen. Easy as pie!


Rejuvenate old, previously painted, or mismatching kitchen units

FAQ’s: All your kitchen painting questions answered

Rust-Oleum’s answers to popular questions

Can I paint my glossy cupboards?

Yes! Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint is suitable for glossy cupboards. Lightly sand the cupboards with a fine grit sandpaper, give them a clean with a degreasing detergent (Rust-Oleum recommends Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner). and you are then ready to paint.

How long is the drying time?

Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint is touch dry in one hour and hard dry within four.

Can I paint my melamine kitchen?

Yes! Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint is suitable to paint straight on to melamine kitchens.

Can I use this paint on my worktops?

No. You’ll need a specialist product for this, such as Rust-Oleum Worktop Transformation Kit.

How many m2 does a 750ml tin of Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint cover?

Around 11m2 per coat. Two tins should be sufficient for an average sized UK kitchen.

Do I have to remove my doors?

It isn’t strictly necessary, but you will need to ensure you prep properly if leaving your doors and drawers in situ. Thoroughly mask any areas that should not be painted, for example your hinges and remove the contents of any cupboards.

Your cabinets and hardware will start to show signs of wear once the paint on the hinges starts to crack, so save yourself the aggravation.

If removing your door, remember to use numbered labels to help you remember where everything goes. A piece of masking tape stuck to the back of each piece will do just fine. You should write its exact location (think “above sink, left”) so there will be no guessing where it goes later. Then stash screws and hinges in a jar for safekeeping.

Why do I have to clean the surface before painting?

No matter how clean you think your kitchen is, you need to wipe everything down with a grease remover, otherwise, when you add a water-based paint to an oil- covered door, the paint will not stick. Rust-Oleum recommends Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner and a non-scratch delicate scrub sponge for stuck on spots.

Should I paint the front or the back of my cabinets first?

You should start by painting the back of the doors instead of the front. Why? Because if you mess up or flip the door too soon and the paint smudges, it will at least face the inside of the cabinet. By the time you get to the fronts of the cabinets, you will be a Pro!

What are the best brushes and rollers to use?

High quality brushes and rollers will make this job much easier, so it is worth going out to buy the correct tools before starting the job.

Check here to find the right colours for your kitchen renovation and remember, whatever the size of the kitchen DIY project, there are many decorating, cleaning and refurbishing options available, here at Rawlins Paints.


  1. A fantastic breakdown to renovating your kitchen tiles and cabinet, love the pictures. Certainly injecting new life into the kitchen.

  2. As a longstanding DIYer, I’m always impressed by the clear language and helpful tips in Rawlins’ notes. Thank you for covering such a range of topics in decent English wording: – really understandable and informative.

  3. Repainting of tiles is good option if your budget is low else i would go for new tiles .You have written really great post.Thanks a lot

  4. Just as the title says the kitchen tiles breathe a new life in the kitchen …Great work

  5. I am tempted by using a tile paint – please could you let me know if I can regrout afterwards as I am keen to have a slightly contrasting coloured grout. Thank you.

    • Good morning Anna,

      This would have to be a very careful process by painting the tiles and trying not to cover the existing grout as it may stop the new grout adhering. So best way to proceed may be to paint the tiles, then prepare all the grout lines by scraping/clean back to ensure clean, sound grout for the new grout to be applied to. Only attempt to re-grout after the paint has fully cured (can be up to 1 month depending on which product is used).

      Best regards.


  6. I’ve got a tiled worktop that I’d like to never see again. Can I use a combination of tile primer and worktop transformation kit to get a black finish? I realise it wouldn’t be flat and you’d see the tile shapes underneath the finish, but would the black adhere strongly enough to the tiled worktop?

    • Hi Tom,

      The Worktop Transformation Kit is designed for timber laminated worktops only; we don’t have a compatible primer we would recommend for tiles, so I’m afraid we can’t recommend this kind of application.

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