What Color Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?
By now you have probably realized that one of the most popular ways to dramatically change your kitchen (and in many ways your home) for a reasonable price is by painting your kitchen cabinets. It was only about 10 years ago that maple and oak stained cabinets were the most popular choice but painting cabinets has quickly become the norm.
We refinish a lot of kitchen cabinets (and bath cabinets, etc) in the Cleveland, OH area and one of the most common questions we get is what color to choose. Here are some of our favorite examples (all from our own work) along with an explanation to help you decide what is best for your home. Please remember, when choosing any paint color that all of the other colors in the room affect what looks best. One color may look great in someone else’s kitchen but not in yours.
White Kitchen Cabinets
White is still the most popular color as it has been for at least five years or so. One of the reasons white is such a popular color is because it makes all of the other colors in the kitchen pop (such as the walls and counters). White painted cabinets can make a smaller kitchen appear larger just like painting the walls a lighter color can do.
We love to use White Dove (OC-17) from Benjamin Moore for when painting kitchen cabinets white. Below are three examples of kitchen that we recently painted white using White Dove.
The kitchen above is in Avon Lake and we helped their kitchen go from a dark brown (almost black) stained cabinet to a bright white. This really transformed the space and made the entire kitchen look bigger. The kitchen below was a very similar ‘before and after’ but in a different style of kitchen.
Above is a galley-style kitchen that we painted white in Ohio City. Below you can see a “before” picture showing how dark the cabinets were.
Here is a kitchen we painted white in Westlake. This is a large kitchen but painting the cabinets white made for a much more modern look.
Below is a “before” picture.
Finally, one more kitchen that we recently painted white (we have a lot to choose from since white is so popular). This one is in Avon and the transformation was awesome because of the recently re-finished hardwood floors as well as the new countertops. You can see that we used a gray / sage green color on the island as an accent piece. The best part…. no more golden oak!!
Off-White / Cream Painted Cabinets
The second most popular cabinet color is an off-white or cream. In many homes a bright white color on the kitchen cabinets can be too bright. This is often the case if the rest of the trim in the house is off-white or if the counters or flooring in the kitchen are on the warm side of the color spectrum. For example, if your counters have a lot of brown or yellow tones then an off-white color can be a great compliment.
It may be hard to tell in the picture below, but this is an example of an off-white color. We painted this kitchen in Brecksville with the color Bauhaus Buff (SW 7552) from Sherwin Williams.
The color works well (and even looks brighter) in this kitchen because of the other colors. Because the walls are a green shade and the backsplash has a lot of brown tones, this off-white color compliments them well.
Here is a before picture of this kitchen:
Painting Kitchen Cabinets Gray
Gray is the most popular color family for a wall color, but is it the best color for your kitchen cabinets? It is definitely a popular choice but it is probably a little more ‘trendy’ than white and off-white. As with any color it really depends on the rest of your decorating as well as the floors and counter tops. Light gray and dark gray are both popular for cabinets. A dark gray can be especially sharp on just a portion of the cabinets such as painting the island or just the lower cabinets that color.
Below is a kitchen in Avon Lake that we painted the cabinets in a light gray color. Our interior designer helped this home owner select the color “Bone Black CW-715” from Benjamin Moore. We also painted the thin piece of wood near the top in black to give it an accent piece. This really tied in well with the black counters.
Here is a ‘before’ photo of the kitchen we painted gray…
Blue Painted Kitchen Cabinets
If you already have a lot of gray and white in your kitchen, a great option to paint your cabinets could be a dark navy blue. This may be best used on only some of the cabinets instead of all of them but can be a fun accent and focal point. This is definitely not for everyone and is more likely to not be as popular in 5 years or so but right now it is a fairly popular option.
We love the way this kitchen in Avon turned out with this bright blue island. It really provides a great focal point and works really well with the white counters and backsplash. The blue and white also look really sharp with these dark brown floors.
Here is a kitchen in Lakewood were you can see what a navy blue looks like on the bottom section of cabinets with white on the top. You can see that the rest of the colors in the kitchen are in the gray and white family (cooler colors) so the blue provides a great contrast. It also works well with the stainless steel appliances.
Green Colors for Kitchen Cabinets
One final color option to show is a shade of green. Similar to navy blue, this is a more trendy option that only works in certain homes. This color can work in homes with more warm tones such as shades of beige or “greige”. It also probably works best with a slightly creamy off-white instead of a stark white.
Here is an example of a kitchen in Lakewood that we painted the cabinets with an off-white and a green shade. The bottom cabinets are painted with Sherwin Williams’ color Cascade Green (SW 0066). You can see that the walls were also painted with a “greige” color (a warm gray-taupe combination). Please note, the customer was having a back splash installed. We didn’t just ‘miss a spot’. haha!
Here is the ‘before’ picture of these Lakewood cabinets…
Hopefully this article helps you to plan your kitchen cabinet painting project. There are a lot of great options available and the best one for you really depends on your personal taste and the other colors in your kitchen. If you live in the Cleveland area, we would love the opportunity to speak with you about painting your kitchen cabinets. You can learn more about our process on our Cabinet Painting page.