My Best DIY Home

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Painted Kitchens

So you moved into an older house that was in your budget with an oak kitchen which was probably adored by the original owners of the house, but for you it feels, well . . . BLECH!!!  You don't have the money to do a full kitchen re-model, so what do you do?

1) Strip and stain = massive amounts of time and energy, difficulty: HARD.

OR . . .

2) Paint = simple, quick, effective, difficulty: EASY.

 I grew up in a home where you just did not paint wood.  It was dogma.  I got over that after I stripped and stained the kitchen in our first house.  I really didn't want to do that again . . . ever.  So when we moved into our 2nd house with that ugly old oak kitchen described above, I threw the teachings of my childhood to the past and brought out the paint!

Now I went for a very classic and timeless subtle off-white, and generally speaking it is what I recommend to most people who come to me with a similar kitchen conundrum.  A white kitchen really never goes out of style, and conveniently goes with everything.  However, I recently had a client approach me about a kitchen who wanted to paint her existing cabinets, but did NOT want white.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do?

Can you paint your cabinets something other than white, and still have it look good?  The answer - YES!  While colour on kitchen cabinets does become somewhat faddy - it certainly can be done.  And if in 5-10 years the colour you chose becomes terribly unfashionable - you can always paint it white!

Here are some examples I found of kitchen's successfully painted something other than white:

Dark Hunter Green:

To me the key to this choice seems to be to balance with lots of white for contrast, and orangey accents like cedar and copper.

Lighter Sagey Green:

Warm Greys:


Antique Kettle (for those who like a darker look):

For tutorial on how to achieve this look visit:

  Or . . . if you'd like to add a little colour to the classic white kitchen, but don't want to go all the way, you can try painting the interior of open cabinets:

Or, you could try the split:

The key to this option is to keep your colour on the bottom base cabinets and leave the top white (the colour is to heavy for the top and will look off balance).

Other tips:

I think to make a colour-painted kitchen really work, a few other elements are key:

1) Open shelving.  This helps to break up the colour a bit and add more variety.

2) Wood accents . . . somewhere.  Whether as a counter top, island, table, bamboo blind, boxes, baskets, floor, stool, chair, etc, a little well placed wood in a complimentary hue goes a long way.

I'm not anti-wood.  I just like the right wood in the right places.

Credited to the Author