Black or White Cabinets?
Devyn Fraser
July 22, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I recently painted my upper cabinets white as they were the standard oak color. I want to paint the bottom ones black as in the showcase photo I added, but I'm concerned about the lack of natural light on that side of the kitchen. I like the idea of all white cabinets but I'm concerned about creating "black holes" with my black appliances. Any suggestions?
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PRO
Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Love the inspiration photo, but take a look at the major differences. It has a black floor, tall cabinets and white and gray marble backsplash, along with black window frames. All of these elements together are what make the space wonderful.

Below is a very quick rendering of what your space will look like if you paint the cabinets black.

Consider adding a full depth cabinet above the fridge along with another bank of cabinets above the existing cabinets to create more height.

Good luck.
July 22, 2013 at 6:02PM        Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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Devyn Fraser
I will be changing the floor, but I wanted to paint the cabinets first. Same with the countertop and backsplash (I currently have a grey and white marble-colored laminate countertop and backplash) and I was going to paint and add frosted glass decals with black accents on the windows. The tall cabinets are a problem as I have a sloped ceiling and a low budget. Thank you for the rendered picture!
July 22, 2013 at 6:10PM   
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greenvelvettree
Hey Devyn, I love your inspiration picture. Gee you are in a tough spot. I think your upper cabs look very nice. I think you won't know if you like black cabs on the bottom unless you try maybe one. The walls are so light but they are in the inspiration pic too. White, even. It looks like it depends on how much light you want in the kitchen and how much contrast between the appliances and the cabs you can put up with. Good luck!
July 22, 2013 at 6:49PM   
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MS Colours Inc
We have painted black cabinets for our clients using Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac Brilliant to create a very interesting look.
July 22, 2013 at 7:03PM   
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Genevieve
Too much black on the bottom part ,the stove just disappeared in the picture,I would change the white to a different white that one looks a bit stark

Kathia's Old Kitchen
White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore
Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore
July 22, 2013 at 7:04PM     
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decoenthusiaste
Paint the cabs all white, then do the little island cart in black.
July 22, 2013 at 7:56PM     
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ems2409
Look at BM Balboa Mist, which has a slight tinge of grey to it. Maybe your white is just too white and contrasts with the dark appliances too much. Like the idea of the black island to tie it in with the appliances. If you have a small piece of the counter material, maybe take it to a good paint store for some ideas. Some paint stores have decorators on hand to help you pick out paint colors.
July 22, 2013 at 8:26PM     
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Leanne Morris
I agree that the white looks too white, maybe something creamy? I think black bottom cabinets would look great with your black appliances. Love your inspiration photo. Think the way that black and white cabinets stop looking harsh is when you add in the warmth of wood... any chance you will do a wood floor or butcher block cabinets?
July 22, 2013 at 8:40PM   
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Devyn Fraser
I can't afford a wood floor, but I was thinking of doing wood butcher block counter tops once I save enough for it. Thank you all for your help. I chose the white because I wanted to brighten up the kitchen. I thought about cream, but I honestly didn't like it. You all have such great ideas!
July 23, 2013 at 6:27AM   
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July 23, 2013 at 6:33AM        Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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Margo
Woould you consider painting the bottom cabinets gray?
July 23, 2013 at 6:37AM     
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Granite Transformations
Great job painting those cabinets!

I think painting the base cabinets either black or like Margo's suggestion above, gray, would be the right idea. The black appliances on white cabinetry would be a tough contrast, but I also think against the flooring and countertops a darker base cabinet would look best. (I like gray)

You might want to consider installing new counters too. The white formica (that's what it looks like, hope I'm right) is a little outdated. I'd recommend something like our Grigio Dolomite granite counters, which you can see here- http://www.granitetransformations.com/southjersey/products/granite-countertops/colors/

Hope this helps!
July 23, 2013 at 6:54AM        Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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Marilyn Wilkie
Gray seems to be the current buzz word, but will it look dated fast? Stick with the black imho.
July 23, 2013 at 7:07AM   
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Margo
Marilyn- the good news it, it's only paint ;) Go gray!
July 23, 2013 at 7:11AM   
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wannadiferntlook
Margo C.: I concur - and I'm updating to gray in our main bathroom... some kind of 'spa-feeling' gray... but not too 'spa-y'... (is that even a word? didn't think so...)
July 23, 2013 at 7:36AM     
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Margo
wannadiferntlook- I like to make up my own words too ;)
July 23, 2013 at 7:40AM   
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Devyn Fraser
I hadn't thought of gray. My countertops are currently a gray-ish color. I am going for a zen/natural/minimalist look in the end with a splash of turquoise color so I'm not sure how that would look with gray...
July 23, 2013 at 10:57AM   
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Devyn Fraser
Oh, and thanks for the links to the Ikea wooden countertops. I didn't think about Ikea! This is way more affordable, if I can work up the courage to do it myself.
July 23, 2013 at 11:04AM   
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Marilyn Wilkie
You're welcome Devyn...we've had ours (birch) on our double island with cooktop for 3 years and they look new. I use walnut oil on them every 3 months or so and never cut on them. We are using it for all of our counters in our current renovation. This time we are using beech.
July 23, 2013 at 11:34AM   
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PRO
Cabinets To Go
I would make all cabinets the same color...maybe an ivory or a honey oak. Looks like a great space to work with though! If you have any questions about cabinetry or would like to explore design options, feel free to reach out to us :) http://www.cabinetstogo.com/
July 23, 2013 at 11:43AM   
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Devyn Fraser
When you guys say gray do you mean a dark, slate or charcoal gray or a light, cloudy-day type gray?
July 23, 2013 at 1:46PM   
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mountie
Paint them white. Change counter top to black to tie in the appliances. Backsplash can be white, black accents, or Carrara marble tile. Paint cart black. A wood floor would be nice.
July 23, 2013 at 2:03PM     
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CMM Tile
If you are looking for carrara tiles, we have them in stock - Visit us at www.calacattamarble.com
July 23, 2013 at 2:40PM   
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michee627
Question... are your black appliances new? Are you keeping them long term? I agree with the black or grey as the best options. If black is a long term plan, I'd do a medium/dark grey - light enough to look different than the black so that your stove doesnt "disappear" but definitely still a strong color. If you might go stainless at some point, I'd go black. You could do a counter that is white/grey combo - something like super white quartzite or a granite that has black/grey/white colors. I'd stay lighter on the counter.
July 23, 2013 at 2:53PM     
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libradesigneye
Different folks might mean different things - I'd suggest a charcoal tone - sw homburg gray, ben moore has gunmetal and graphite. The black will blend in but the gray will not be as dark as black. I would not do all white with black appliances.
July 23, 2013 at 2:55PM   
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Marilyn Wilkie
Houzz is a wonderful resource....here is the search for gray cabinets. Maybe something will ring your bell. :0 http://www.houzz.com/gray-cabinets
July 23, 2013 at 3:09PM   
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Devyn Fraser
Thanks. I love charcoal gray, but I was thinking light gray when it was suggested and wasn't sure I liked that. I hadn't thought of a lighter shade of black. The appliances aren't new, but they're still going strong. I can justify DIY stuff, but there's no way I can convince my husband to buy new appliances when the old ones are working just fine. thank you, everyone. You've given me some great new ideas.
July 23, 2013 at 3:30PM   
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lessismoore
I think you should paint the wall above the white cabinets more bright white to match them. Black or a dark gray on the bottoms, either should work with turquoise. Love the inspiration pix. Add in the right flooring for the drama :-)
July 23, 2013 at 3:38PM        Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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lessismoore
This is a visualization, but based on this alone, I like the black over charcoal gray.
July 23, 2013 at 3:40PM   
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Devyn Fraser
Thanks for that picture (what are you using to render the pics?) I'm not a big fan of black and white checkered flooring. I wanted to avoid the whole stark black and white look. I was thinking more like dark flooring or neutral colored stone flooring. The black and white checkered look doesn't really fit in with the rest of my house.
July 23, 2013 at 3:41PM   
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Devyn Fraser
Quick thought. What do you think about darker wood cabinets for the bottom row? Like a cherry wood?
July 23, 2013 at 3:46PM   
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lessismoore
Hi - I use photoshop for the visualization. Hmmm, I was going off your inspiration pix, which is very b&w ...? Were you thinking of a dark hard wood/laminate floor? If you go with a cherry or walnut bottom cabinets, it a different "inspiration" entirely :-)
July 23, 2013 at 3:52PM   
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lessismoore
So, cherry bottoms (try to ignore the moulding trim) and dark wood floors.
July 23, 2013 at 4:02PM   
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Devyn Fraser
Yes, the picture is black and white, but in a more zen/minimalist way and less like a modern diner type way. I''m probably not going to do hardwood floors because of the expense, but I am thinking tile, though I don't know what color yet. I just know that just about every picture of every kitchen I love has white cabinets, so I thought I'd start there.

I'm not sure I like the cherry wood bottoms. It was just an idea based an inspiration pic I saw. I don't have photoshop (I should get really get it) so I haven't looked at what it would be like with white. If I do go with the black and white look (white cabinets, black appliances) I would need some wood to keep it from being too stark. I have walnut colored wood for the rest of the furniture in my house...
July 23, 2013 at 4:15PM   
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sstarr
I like the black and white idea, and I think it can really work for you. Black and white tile would be great, too.
Consider removing the doors from a couple of the lowers, to expose shelves (will lighten the look and add interest).
July 23, 2013 at 4:23PM     
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Devyn Fraser
I have young children, so I'm not wild about having exposed shelves at the bottom, but I was thinking about doing it at the top once I painted the inside of the cabinets (turquoise)
July 23, 2013 at 4:30PM     
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sstarr
That's a good idea, too. Turquoise is my lifelong favorite color.
July 23, 2013 at 4:59PM     
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Devyn Fraser
I find myself liking the distressed turquoise with natural wood look, but I'm unsure if I can pull that off in my kitchen. Inspiration pic [houzz=
]

The distressed turquoise cabinets at bottom with white at the top and natural wood countertops with sandy stone tiled floors?
July 23, 2013 at 5:05PM     
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sstarr
i LOVE that look....
July 23, 2013 at 5:28PM   
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tennisanyone
I would paint the cabinets all one color so the kitchen doesn't look chopped up. I would also paint the cart turquoise if you like that color and I would paint the walls that color too. Easier to change the cart then to start repainting the cabinets.
July 23, 2013 at 5:44PM     
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zippyvt
Like all the ideas so far...in terms of lack of natural light, under cabinet lighting would transform the look no matter what color is chosen for the bottom cabinets. Ikea does some, and there are some other inexpensive options. A friend of ours also put a rope light along the top of her cabinets, which really brightens her kitchen.
July 23, 2013 at 5:54PM     
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sstarr
turquoise and white...
July 23, 2013 at 7:11PM        Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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Devyn Fraser
That looks really nice. with some wooden countertops and stone floors, that could work. I have a doorway in the far right corner that leads out into a dining area. If it looks nearly as good as that, I think turquoise is the way to go. Does anyone know a good paint color or technique to get the look of the inspiration painting? I tried out a few "try it on" software and every turquoise color I tried looks too bright.
July 24, 2013 at 6:19AM   
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Marilyn Wilkie
Here are a bunch of turquoise cabinet pictures. Some of them would have the paint color on them. I have a glass tile backsplash with may colors of blue, some green and white in it.
http://www.houzz.com/turquoise-cabinets
July 24, 2013 at 8:08AM   
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kikiandkyle
I priced out adding a row of short cabinets on top of my existing builder grade ones at Sears and it was about $500. Just something to consider.
July 24, 2013 at 8:16AM      Thanked by Devyn Fraser
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Devyn Fraser
Thanks! That's pricey, but not as bad as I thought. I might be able to swing it at some point.
July 24, 2013 at 10:16AM   
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libradesigneye
Ben Moore has A historic 'w?' whythe blue that is a nice muted turquoise - you need a very muted tone to work well. I also saw a new browse with dark walnut lowers and white uppers today that was nice.
July 24, 2013 at 11:29AM   
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tennisanyone
Now that I see all the mock ups of the two different cabinets, I stand by my decision on not to do it. I honestly can't believe I am the only one who thinks that is a bad idea in your kitchen. I don't think your kitchen can carry that look and in a year or two it will be dated and you will be repainting. Paint the cart for now in turquoise. It will give you that little bit of color you desire. Good luck and post when you decide.
July 24, 2013 at 11:43AM   
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michee627
I don't know about not carrying the look, but I do agree you might find it dated in a few years - particularly if you do a teal. painting the bottom white to match the is a solid long term solution. If you don't plan on living there long term, go white for resale. If you plan on staying and replacing the cabinets in a few years -do whatever you want!
July 24, 2013 at 11:51AM   
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tennisanyone
Where is your kitchen table in this room?
July 24, 2013 at 11:54AM   
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Devyn Fraser
That's a good idea. I'll go white and work with the cart/island instead. I don't have a kitchen table in the room right now because of the small and awkward spacing. I have another discussion on that: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/572100/Awkward-Space
July 24, 2013 at 12:05PM     
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greenvelvettree
Tennisanyone brings up a valid point. But it is possible there is another color combination. Have you been on pinterest to search for painted cabinets yet? There are some beautiful ideas there. Good luck. I do think white is best to brighten the space. Its more fun to change out small pieces with trendy colors on a whim and if you chose to sell, you would not regret white.
July 25, 2013 at 7:16PM     
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Devyn Fraser
I have several Pinterest boards dedicated to the subject. I'm a pinterest queen. :) I like turquoise because it's one of my favorite colors and it matches a lot of my other decor and I think it's beautiful with white. My original thought was to paint the cabinets white (and black) and paint the insides turquoise.
July 26, 2013 at 10:18AM   
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greenvelvettree
I am going to guess you have been to House of Turquoise!
July 27, 2013 at 5:02AM     
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Devyn Fraser
NO!!!!! Where is this heavenly place?
July 27, 2013 at 7:14AM   
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Devyn Fraser
Found it. Thanks!
July 27, 2013 at 7:15AM   
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greenvelvettree
I love that House of Turquoise. So beautiful. There is a kitchen on there called the Brende kitchen where the cabinets are sky blue and they are gorgeous! Then they painted the walls a pa.e shade of yellow!I have1990s maple cabinets and they are going to get a coat of white also. I wouldn't go so far as to paint them sky blue. You have to be in a position where you're not planning on selling! But, I think you can paint walls and wooden furniture a d make changes that way.
July 28, 2013 at 6:27PM   
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mymagicmom
My current kitchen has white upper and lower cabinets with a black stove and dishwasher. It doesn't look bad to me. My walls are also a bright turquoise. We are building a house right now and we plan to put white upper cabinets and stained black lower cabinets in the kitchen. The island will also be stained black. We will have granite (giallo ornamental) and dark wood floors. I can't wait to see how it all comes together! I sure hope I love it as much in person as I do in my head. I had much the same issues as you with loving the look of a white kitchen, but white lower cabinets don't hold up well with our 3 kids. In the new house I'm going to have light colored walls and accessorize with turquoise in the room.

Good luck with what you decide and remember to trust your instincts.
July 28, 2013 at 8:13PM   
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