How To Cover Kitchen Units When Decorating

As professional decorators, we’re all taught the importance of the “do no harm” principle:

  • Remove anything from the room that can be removed. This makes it impossible to accidentally get paint on these items, but also makes it easier to work as the space is less cluttered
  • Anything that can’t be removed should be covered up to minimise the risk of paint splatters

These rules are fairly straightforward to interpret in a living room, for example, but in this blog, I’m going to explain how to cover kitchen units when decorating.


Tools & Equipment Needed – Shopping List


  • Detergent solution (such as washing up liquid in warm water), or a proprietary degreaser, or cleansing wipes
  • Stepladder/hop-up
  • Masking tape
  • Masking Film
  • Scissors (or a specialist masking film tool)
  • Dust sheets of various sizes
  • Your floor covering of choice

Steps for Covering Kitchen Units When Decorating


Step 1 – Clean the tops of the kitchen units!

The tops of kitchen cabinets collect an unholy mixture of grease and dust.  The problem with this is that nothing seems to stick to it; whatever you try to attach to the top of the units to cover them simply slides off.  Whether you use a detergent solution, a degreaser such as Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleanser, or cleansing wipes, give the tops of all the cabinets (and stand-alone appliances such as fridge-freezers) a good clean.


Step 2 – Cover the Floor

While the kitchen cabinets are drying, cover the floor with your chosen floor protection.  Personally, I like good old-fashioned dust sheets because they are flexible and easy to put down/take up at the start and end of each day, but more “modern” alternatives are available. Click here to see current prices.


Step 3 – Protect Areas That Aren’t Underneath Eye-Level Units

a kitchen with plastic covering

Step 4 – Cover The Units with Masking Film 

Masking Film (sometimes referred to as “tape and drape”) has been a great innovation for the decorating industry in recent years.  It is readily available from all decorators’ merchants and online stores, and there are plenty of brands to choose from, such as Masq, Axus, Indasa, Q1 etc. Put simply, these are thin plastic sheets on a roll, with masking tape already applied along one edge. Simply unravel as much as you need, stick the tape to the (nicely cleaned) top edge of the kitchen cabinets, cut to separate your sheet from the rest of the roll, and unravel the sheet so that it reaches all the way down to the floor.  The film is available in different lengths; I usually buy one that’s about 2.1m long as that reaches from the top of most cabinets to the floor (near enough!).

a roll of plastic on a table with scissors, ready to cover a kitchen before decorating

Three Top Tips When Using Masking Film:


  1. Stick masking tape to the top of the cabinet as you carefully unravel the amount of film that you need. If you unravel 3 metres of film and then try to stick it to the cabinets, it will inevitably stick to itself and get tangled up.
  2. Don’t attempt to mask all the kitchen cabinets at once; do two or three at a time, cut the film, then move onto the next two. This reduces the risk of the tape getting tangled in the film, but also makes it easier to gain access to the cabinets if needed.
  3. If you don’t finish the job in one day (or need access to the cabinets), simply roll up the film (still attached by the tape) onto the top of the cabinets, and then unroll it the next morning. This saves time, money and waste.

Final Thoughts


Masking film/tape and drape may not be the most environmentally-friendly product, but it is the perfect product for this job.  Used in combination with dust sheets, it really makes covering kitchen units when decorating much easier and safer, protecting the cabinets and appliances from the risk of paint-related accidents.

Posted Jun 4, 2024 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

With years of decorating experience, Robin set up his own business – Wokingham Decorating Services – in 2007, carrying out mainly domestic work. He enjoys trying out new products and learning as much as he can about the decorating industry


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