UPDATE IDEAS FOR YOUR CABINETS: Real Homes, Real Budgets
Are you undecided about whether to keep your cabinets stained or paint them? It’s not an easy call. This is why I created my ‘Should You Paint or Stain Your Wood Cabinets‘ questionnaire. You might even read it first, as many of the points/suggestions I make below relate closely to the tips/ideas in that blog post.
Once you’ve done your questionnaire, if you’re looking for painted kitchen cabinet inspiration, COME BACK TO THIS BLOG POST! I’ve put together this collection of before-and-after photos showing previously wood kitchens that are now painted!
However, if you think WOOD is really good, I have your perfect blog post linked at the end of this one, but why not peruse some pretty spaces as you scroll down?
By the way, if you want to paint your cabinetry and aren’t sure which color(s) is best, I have an awesome Online Cabinet Paint Color package. This way, I can spend some personal time with your space, helping your kitchen look its best on whatever budget you have – I can even help you decide whether to keep your cabinets WOOD or paint them!
Now, let’s get you INSPIRED!
IDEA 1: MAPLE OR CHERRY (RED) STAINED WOOD CABINETS
MAPLE, HIDDEN HINGES, ARCHED CABINET DOOR
Between the blue walls, the granite, and the tile floor, the cabinets in this next kitchen were fighting for their lives. Thankfully, the arch on the cabinet door is modest, and there aren’t any exposed hinges, making it a solid contender for paint.
Now, my client COULD’VE put a fresh coat of paint on the walls (a lighter, more simple neutral), and things would have looked drastically different, but she wanted a bigger change, and I was game to give it to her…
She chose the perfect counter stools and new light fixtures for this space.
To save on the budget, we kept the beige tile floor and the Santa Cecelia granite countertop and got a WHOLE NEW look with fresh cabinets and wall paint…
And please understand that I can’t give ALL the colors away – Online Color Consulting is how I support my family! I offer as much helpful content as possible, with over 500 BLOG POSTS for you to learn from (type one or two words into my SEARCH and see what comes up!).
I disclose the color choices on over 85% of my projects!
IDEA 2: CHERRY (RED) STAINED WOOD CABINETS
CHERRY, HIDDEN HINGES, RAISED PANEL DOOR
This kitchen was fun, as I asked my Instagram followers whether THEY would keep it stained or painted – and there were mixed results, almost 50/50!
Some loved the wood-on-wood look, while others felt overwhelmed by the strength of the stain compared to the floor. Others thought painting JUST the island was all this kitchen needed.
Do you want to know what I THINK?
If the stain/grain of these cabinets and wood floor were more modest, I bet this kitchen would still be stained, but it sure as heck isn’t now!
Notice how BEAUTIFUL the wood floor looks – it can finally breathe and has a paint color to play with! And while I would throw an accent color color on that pantry door (maybe a dark greige), overall, the space looks WICKED pretty. By the way, we kept the island stained wood…
Check it out; I made the pantry door a gorgeous shade of greige on my computer, to show you how pretty it could look – sometimes the little details say a lot!
Did you know I now offer cabinet COLOR RENDERINGS in my consulting packages? SO FUN!
IDEA 3: OAK CABINETS & AN OPEN BULKHEAD
OAK, CATHEDRAL/ARCH CABINET DOOR, HIDDEN HINGES, TRAVERTINE BACKSPLASH
This oak kitchen has an arched door profile and flat front drawers, making it a trickier update. On the other hand, it has no exposed hinges, which is a HUGE win. Sadly, I don’t have a great ‘before’ shot as it was a Realtor’s photo (I’m not allowed to use them), but I have a snippet of another area in this kitchen…
Let’s consider some of the challenges…
- travertine tile backsplash – I love them, but they aren’t everyone’s cup o’ tea (I could do without the patterned tile behind the stove)
- warm, beige-toned tile floor and beige Corian countertop – beige finishes like these can be tough in today’s world, although trends are leaning warmer!
- strong orange-stain on the oak
- reasonably strong grain
And mostly because of the strength of the orange stain, this kitchen really is better off with a few coats of paint…
Notice how they filled the bulkhead to give the cabinets a custom, full-height look. And check out the island in the wicked gorgeous Benjamin Moore Ocean Floor!
IDEA 4: AN OUTDATED OAK, GRANITE, & TRAVERTINE KITCHEN
OAK, ARCHED/CATHEDRAL DOOR, HIDDEN HINGES, RED-ORANGE STAIN
In this next kitchen, the granite countertop and backsplash were circa the early 2000s, but they’re still doing the job the homeowner wanted them to do. However, these finishes didn’t work well with the strong red-orange stain on the cabinets. We also have that darn arched top to consider, which means it’s
drinking painting time!
Many of my clients dream of a white kitchen; however, white doesn’t make sense based on their existing finishes. In this case, our next step is the lovely world of off-white paint colors like this…
With the newly painted cabinets, the backsplash and countertop look more updated, and the whole space has a new, brighter lease on life!
IDEA 5: MAPLE CABINETS WITH CATHEDRAL TOP
MAPLE, ORANGE STAIN, EXPOSED HINGES (MINOR), ARCHED TOP
This kitchen is one of my faves. Before, it certainly had charm, but the floor was updated, and the new color doesn’t jibe with the orange-brown stain of the cabinets – LET’S PAINT THOSE BAD BOYS!
If you want to see more of her loveliness – CHECK THIS OUT!
I LOVE homes with heart, and this one exceeds all my hopes and dreams. The green-gray of the lower cabinets adds personality and grounds the space, while the white upper cabinets connect with the quartz countertop and new backsplash – SOOOOOO good. My client also did a gorgeous job with her lightly layered accents.
I can’t even tell you how good it feels when clients send me their after photos, and they’re just so HAPPY. While many of my clients start from scratch, EVEN MORE of them have me work with their existing finishes and an often limited budget. As fun as new builds are, it’s the ‘work with whatcha gots’ that really float my boat.’
The upper cabinets in the above kitchen are painted Benjamin Moore White Dove, one of my favorite white paint colors. Get this color and MORE with Samplize peel-and-stick paint samples!
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF WHITE DOVE!
IDEA 6: A DARK & GLOOMY MAPLE KITCHEN UPDATE
MAPLE, RED-ORANGE STAIN, DARK, HIDDEN HINGES, DECORATIVE DOORS
This one was a beast. While it had some great bones, this kitchen was drowning in the visual weight of the cabinets. They were pretty, but with the older-style granite countertops, tile floor, and backsplash tile, this kitchen was gasping for air.
I bet that if the stain on these cabinets wasn’t as strong AND the homeowner had a (very) healthy budget, we might’ve kept them. Instead, we could’ve updated the tile floor, countertop, and backsplash to work with rather than against the cabinets.
HOWEVER, budget dictates this kind of thing, and in this case, IT WAS PAINTIN’ TIME!
Check out this WHOLE project HERE
Painting kitchen cabinets is not for the faint of heart – it’s a huge job that requires LOADS of prep, including TSP, sandpaper, tack cloth, primer, and, of course, HIGH-QUALITY cabinet paint. However, it’s worth the effort when it turns out like this – I friggin’ LOVE this kitchen now! Fresh and bright, yet soft and homey. Notice how the terra cotta-look tile floor, older granite countertops, and travertine backsplash aren’t FIGHTING with each other as much – they’re finally at home, and I bet the homeowners are too.
WHAT ARE MY FAVORITE RECOMMENDED CABINET PAINTS?
I love Benjamin Moore INSLX and Sherwin Williams Emerald for cabinets, trims, and doors. As for the finish, I always recommend satin sheen – washable, but not so shiny that it reflects your face at you, nor like an eggshell, which ISN’T washable enough for cabinets (unless you do a product like Benjamin Moore ScuffX, which is badass, by the way, but I still don’t love lower sheens on cabinets).
IDEA 7: PASTY PEACH-TONED MAPLE CABINETS
MAPLE, RECESSED DOOR/DECORATIVE SHAKER, HIDDEN HINGES
It looks like this kitchen had great bones, right? Sure, but it didn’t have any energy. There’s no CONTRAST or interest, and the cabinets clashed with the wood flooring.
See more of this project HERE
There are a few things to notice in the above kitchen:
- the GORGEOUS granite countertop suddenly came to LIFE with a color it can PLAY with!
- the new glass-front cabinets, which brighten the space (although I could never do them in my home)
- she kept the same cabinet hardware, as it’s still the perfect choice for this space (cabinet hardware update ideas)
- the removal of the microwave oven and the addition of a new range hood
- the covering up of the dated-looking, open-shelving side of the island
IDEA 8: MAPLE, BROWN, & BORING
MAPLE CABINETS, SHAKER DOOR, HIDDEN HINGES, BUTT-UGLY HARDWARE
Wooooof. This kitchen had great cabinets surrounded by a hot mess of finishes…
After, it’s like a whole new kitchen…on a budget!
See this kitchen’s before and after photos HERE – it’s our PREVIOUS HOME!
The fresh paint color, hardware, backsplash, and AFFORDABLE countertop are game-changers for this kitchen, adding to the home’s resale AND emotional value!
Now, for those who MIGHT want to keep your wood cabinets, have I got a blog post for YOU!
And while I have DOZENS more kitchens to show you, hopefully, the above before and after’s give you the inspiration you need to get started on YOUR kitchen makeover!
CHECK OUT MY ONLINE PAINT COLOR CONSULTING