Can You Paint Backsplash in Kitchen?

Painting the backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. With some careful preparation and the right materials, DIYers can paint their existing backsplash or install a faux painted backsplash as an affordable alternative to tile. Here is a detailed guide on how to paint a backsplash in your kitchen.

Benefits of Painting a Backsplash

Painting the backsplash offers several advantages over tile or other materials:

  • Cost-effective – Paint is much cheaper than tile or stone. Painting the existing backsplash is very budget-friendly.
  • Quick makeover – A fresh coat of paint is one of the fastest ways to update the look of your kitchen. No need for demolition or installation.
  • Customizable – Paint opens up endless color options. Go bold or subtle. Glossy or matte. Geometric patterns ortextures.
  • Easy touch-ups – Paint is easy to spot-repair and touch up as needed over time. Tile can be difficult to match and repair.
  • DIY friendly – With some basic skills and tools, painting a backsplash is very do-it-yourself friendly.

Preparing the Backsplash for Painting

Proper prep work is crucial for getting great painted backsplash results. Here are the key steps:

  • Clean thoroughly – Use a degreaser to remove any oil, grease or soil from the existing backsplash. Rinse and let dry completely.
  • Sand glossy surfaces – For shiny tile or glossy painted backsplashes, light sanding is needed to help the new paint adhere properly.
  • Caulk cracks and seams – Use a clear silicone caulk to fill any cracks, chips, seams or gaps in the backsplash. Smooth with a wet finger.
  • Apply primer – After cleaning and caulking, apply a primer coat suited for the backsplash material. This helps the paint bind better.
  • Prep surrounding areas – Mask off countertops, cabinets and walls around the backsplash area to keep splatter and drips off other surfaces.

How to Paint a Backsplash

Once your prep work is complete, you are ready to start painting. Here is the process:

Choose the Right Paint

The type of paint you use will determine the finished look and durability. Popular options include:

  • Latex paint – Provides a matte look and is easy to apply and clean-up after. Ideal for beginners.
  • Enamel paint – Delivers a shiny, glass-like finish that is scrubbable and stain-resistant when cured. Requires primer.
  • Epoxy paint – Used to create a thick, glossy coating that is extremely durable and water-resistant. Requires precise mixing of resin and hardener.
  • Acrylic paint – Offers great adhesion and comes in endless colors. Thins with water for staining and glazing techniques.

Apply First Coat

Use a small foam roller or brush to apply the first coat of paint in thin, even layers. Allow to dry completely before second coat.

Second Coat

Go over with a second coat to get full coverage and an even color. For dark colors or significant color changes, a third coat may be needed.

Optional: Add Special Finishing Effects

Once the base coats have dried fully, you can get creative with unique backsplash finishes:

  • Sponge painting – Dab on accent colors with a cut-up sponge for a mottled, textured look.
  • Rag rolling – For a woven, textured finish, roll over base coats with a paint-dipped rag.
  • Stenciling – Cut custom stencils or use pre-made designs to create geometric, nature-inspired, or abstract painted patterns.
  • Glazing – Allows underlying paint colors to show through a thin, translucent top coat. Wipe or roll on the glaze lightly over base coats.

Seal and Protect

Once your design is complete, seal the painted backsplash with a clear polyurethane sealer suitable for kitchens. This adds protection from moisture, grease, food stains and makes cleaning easier. Allow sealer to cure fully before use.

Maintenance and Touch-Ups

With proper prep and application, a painted backsplash can last several years with only minor occasional touch-ups needed:

  • Clean only with gentle cleaners and soft sponges to avoid scratching the finish.
  • Avoid abrasive scrub pads or harsh chemicals which can damage the paint.
  • Reapply clear sealer every 1-2 years or as needed to renew stain resistance and water protection.
  • Use a small brush to quickly touch-up any chips or cracks in the paint as they occur.
  • Fading or yellowing over time can be refreshed with a new coat of paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint over existing tile?

Yes, with proper prep existing tile or stone backsplashes can be painted over. Be sure to degloss, clean thoroughly, apply primer and caulk any grout lines or seams.

What kind of paint is best?

For high-traffic kitchen backsplashes, enamel, epoxy or acrylic paints are recommended for maximum durability and easy cleaning. Latex works well for quick DIY jobs.

How do you create patterns or designs?

Use stencils, rags, sponges, glazing techniques and painters tape to create custom patterns like geometric shapes, organic textures, stripes, ombre effects and more.

What sheen is best – glossy or matte?

Personal preference! Gloss enamel delivers a shiny, glass-like finish. Matte is more subtle. Satin/eggshell offer a nice in-between sheen.

Can you return the backsplash to its original look?

With effort, painted backsplashes can be removed but unlikely to get back to the exact original finish. New tile or redecorating is recommended instead of removing paint.


Updating your kitchen backsplash with a fresh coat of paint is an easy, affordable DIY project that can completely transform the look of your kitchen. With proper prep work, the right materials and some creative application techniques, even beginners can achieve stylish, durable results. Consider painting your backsplash as an easy weekend project for a new kitchen look.