Why You Should Use Paint Primer Over Stained Painted Surfaces

Entertaining at home is made easy when you create a party closet or storage space in your home so you have everything you need to host a party or gathering in your home at a moments notice.

The home improvement project I am sharing with you today is not a jaw-dropping “before and after” where you will see a dramatic change.

But it does have a WOW factor that is making me pretty happy.

Hall closet that is used to hold entertaining items like paper plates, liquor and more.

A few months ago I told you I was going to give my Party Closet a fresh coat of paint and while I was at it, a good purge of its contents.


Well, it took me awhile, but it is finally finished.

If you are not familiar with my Party Closet, it is in the part of my house I call “the hallway of darkness” or the “hallway of many doors”. I use it to hold everything I need to host a party. The finer things I need to entertain, I store in the closet across from it, I call that one my China Closet.

I made that one over two years ago. The walls and shelves in it were in worse shape then the party closet, so it got a fresh look first.

Getting the closet ready to paint also gave me the opportunity to declutter and re-organize it so it is all ready to make my holiday entertaining as stress-free as possible.

Before photos of a small hall closet getting prepared for a makeover using KILZ primer and paint.

Here are views of the closet walls and shelves after I removed everything.

A small hall closet getting prepared for a makeover using primer and paint.

Even after wiping down the shelves with detergent and hot water they still look dirty as they are stained with rust and water spots that have probably been there for years.

Time to say goodbye DINGY closet.

I knew if I wanted to get rid of those stains and not have them reappear after I painted the walls and shelves in a coat of fresh white paint, I would have to use a good stain blocking primer first.

Why Did I Use a Primer First?

If you are like me when decorating your home, you think all about the pretty outermost layer of the decor and how nice it will look, not so much about what is under stuff. What you can’t see doesn’t matter kind of thinking.

Well, when it comes to painting any surface, success is in the prep work. What is underneath does matter… a lot!!!

Applying a primer coat first-off does more than add a base layer on the surface to help with paint adhesion. A good primer can hide and block stains, seal porous drywall so you don’t need 10 gallons of paint to get coverage, removes smells in wood and is mildew resistant.

KILZ 2 All Purpose Primer and paint supplies

I have always been a KILZ fan when it comes to painting projects and have used their line of primers and paints in many of the projects that I share on the blog. I know they work and even better, they are affordable.

You can use any of the different formulas of KILZ primers to prime interior surfaces to stop stains or wood tannins from coming through the paint. They make a few.

There are different types of primers formulated to solve different problems which may exist on the surface to be painted. Most of the time for typical painting needs, a multi-surface primer like KILZ 2 ALL PURPOSE and KILZ Premium (water based) or KILZ Original (oil based) will do the job. However, to address more serious problems, KILZ has a primer to address many specific issues.

How to Prime & Paint Walls

supplies needed:

  • KILZ® 2 primer
  • KILZ® Complete Coat paint in the color White Wing Satin finish for walls. Semi-gloss for trim and shelves.
  • Paint roller, tray and paint brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s Tape
Interior walls in a closet with one coat of KILZ 2 primer on it.
  1. Roll on one coat of KILZ 2 primer on walls. This is what the closet looked like after one coat. Goodbye stained walls.
  2. To prime and paint shelves, I took them out to my garage and lined them up on 2 x 4’s on saw horses. Doing this allowed me to paint the shelves in production line style.
Is paint and primer in one better?

3. Once primer coat is dry, you can add a coat of paint.

Rolling white paint on wood shelves over a primer coat

4. I wanted the closet to be light and bright so I used the color, White Wing. I used satin on the walls and semi-gloss on the trim and wood shelves.

5. I rolled on one light coat of paint on the walls. To paint the shelves, I painted one side of each, let them dry and then flipped them over to paint the underside.

Blue painters tape made into labels to number shelves if removing them from closet before painting.

PAINTING TIP: I learned a long time ago when taking something apart to paint it, always mark with tape where every piece goes. For the shelves I marked each with painter’s tape. I moved the tape from top side to underside to get it out of the way.

Broken down cardboard boxes taped together on floor of closet used as a drop cloth that doesn't move.

I also learned that flattened cardboard boxes taped to the floor make awesome drop cloths that don’t move around when you stand or walk on them.

The Party Closet – AFTER

After image of closet with shelves after getting a new coat of primer and white paint.

Dingy gone! Hello fresh, clean and white.

White paper plates stacked in entertaining supply closet.

I love how the white paper plates are the same color as the walls and shelves are now. :-)

Junk label on basket in newly painted closet

It is hard to get photos of the closet since the hallway is narrow, but here are a few close-ups.

Interior closet in house after getting a a coat of KILZ primer and paint.

Even, Ed noticed the bright new look. He said, “the closet looks so clean now.”

How I Organize the Closet

Organizing small items inside closet in basket with free printable labels

I try to keep the smaller contents I store in the closet organized in baskets

Closet After getting primed and painted with KILZ 2 primer and KILZ Complete paint.

I line up larger items and try to keep everything easily accessible.

Plastic Utensil label on a basket in party closet

Pretty ribbon adds some style and free printable labels always help to keep things organized.

Now that the closet is painted, I only have one more area in my house that I have not touched with paint. I will need big ladders to do this next paint project but I will surely be using KILZ 2 primer again.

Do you have any painting projects planned to complete? If so, don’t forget to prime with KILZ first before adding that decorator finish.

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  1. Love the results. Just an FYI. If you alternate your green margarita glasses one up, the next upside down, you will fit more on the shelf. I do this with all of my stemware. Make a huge space saving difference.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beckie – Thanks for the idea and taking the time to tell me – I just did it and it does save a lot of space. :-)