To paint or not to paint my kitchen cabinets?
Amy Elmore Cannon
July 31, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I've always felt this kitchen is too dark. Thinking about painting the cabinets an ivory more like the trim throughout the house. I've attached photos to show our style. Although the kitchen and family/living room is not completely open to one another, I think consideration of the family/living room is needed before making a big change in the kitchen.
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Nicole Lee
i think the main issue with this space Amy is that your floor, island and cabinets all blend in and are the exact same color, which makes the room much smaller and darker. I would definitely color the cabinets an ivory color. It will really brighten up the space and be a nice contract to your wood floors! this kitchen is somewhat similar to your own floor color.

July 31, 2013 at 1:35pm     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
More pics...
July 31, 2013 at 1:41pm   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
More pics...
July 31, 2013 at 1:42pm   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Nicole, I love the pic you shared. That's more the look I want. (I didn't build this house so did not have any say so in the cabinet color.) Would you paint the island black?
July 31, 2013 at 1:45pm   
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creeser
Instead of painting all the cabinets, why not just paint the island instead? Do it in the cream and see if this one piece would bring in the light that you want.
July 31, 2013 at 1:59pm     
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creeser
Here's a photo of a kitchen similar in that the flooring and cabinets were the same color with a cream island.
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July 31, 2013 at 2:01pm     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
I've thought about that, too.
July 31, 2013 at 2:01pm   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Any suggestions on the best product/technique to use for the painting? I know there are different brands out there.
July 31, 2013 at 2:04pm   
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creeser
Here's a houzz article on painting cabinets from the pros. Maybe it'll help:

July 31, 2013 at 2:08pm     
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Brenda
Amy, I would be careful with this and really think about it.

Your cabinets are very "simple" and, to me, get all their character and richness through the stained wood.

If you look at the pretty white kitchen that Nicole posted, notice all the extra details at the baseboards and the corbals and how the cabinet heights and depths change ... I do not think you would be happy with the result on your more simple cabinet style.

To brighten the space, I would first try a couple of low cost/free things like painting walls a very light taupe, and removing all of the items that are on top of the cabinets. Make "white" your new accent color, and replace all the dark decorative items and canisters on the counters with a few carefully selected white items
July 31, 2013 at 2:11pm     
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Angel18432
You have such a lovely kitchen, I would not paint cabinets. Try some of the suggestions above first.
July 31, 2013 at 2:14pm     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Brenda, it is a big decision so I am giving it a lot of thought and appreciate all comments! If I do make a change with paint, I think I'll start with painting the island only...then go from there. I'm definitely going to remove items from the top of my cabinets. (Tired of the greenery, etc.)
July 31, 2013 at 2:21pm     
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PRO
MS Colours Inc
Painted cabinets with a glaze finish would lighten and soften the kitchen at the same time.
July 31, 2013 at 2:21pm     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Removed a good amount of greenery from top of the cabinets and like it better. Switched to mostly white accessories, still have a few crystal pieces which I love. (Tried removing all items from top of cabinets but it made the ceiling feel very low so added a few back.)
July 31, 2013 at 8:32pm     
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Monesa Arvanitis
putting the white really did help looks much better
July 31, 2013 at 9:22pm     
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hojnackimary
you could replace some of the cabinet panels with glass-white dishes inside-that would brighten it up
July 31, 2013 at 9:30pm     
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Tera Lambert
I would paint the cabinets ivy or white, there is too much brown in your kitchen. It is too dark. Mine was like that too. Here's some before and after pics to give you an idea of how it could look. Mine is not completely finished yet. I want to add granite countertops, and a backsplash later. I am also wanting wood floors instead of this tile. But maybe the pics will help you see the change painting can make. My kitchen gets lots of natural light, but it still looked dark with the dark cabinets. Also, the before pics were how the house was when I bought it, I was sick of that wallpaper.
July 31, 2013 at 10:24pm     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Tera, I love the transformation of your kitchen!
August 1, 2013 at 3:46am     
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Connie
I would paint the walls white, and see how that looks - if you don't like it, you can easily repaint them, and then deal with the cupboards.
August 1, 2013 at 3:58am   
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jyeung
Your kitchen cabinet looks very great. Its style doesn't look "simple" to me. I would suggest replace some of panels of upper cabinet with glass and have light installed inside it. Staining your island only in cream sounds good ,too. Your counter top (black ?) makes your kitchen look a little bit dark, as your kitchen is not very bright.. As said, one of the issues is rather that the cabinet has the same colour of the floor. Personally, I prefer tiles of light colour for contrast. Would you consider staining your wood floor in other colour? Or put runners on the floor in other colour which is an affordable choice. Good luck!

jyeung
August 1, 2013 at 4:42am     
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handymam
Tera, WOW! Great transformation!
August 1, 2013 at 4:52am     
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Angel18432
Tera, lovely before and after. I'd get rid of those trays tho. Way to large for that spot.
August 1, 2013 at 5:14am     
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Angel18432
Amy, much better. Have some of the greenery that you have up top dangle over the edge - the ones at the end that won't interfere with open/closing cupboards - give a little more natural look.
August 1, 2013 at 5:17am   
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Angel18432
You have a lovely home. Love what you have done with window. Love the puddled drapes.
August 1, 2013 at 5:19am     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Thanks for all the comments....the walls were ivory when we moved in the house. We didn't like it at all. (Cold and generic feeling) As for refinishing the floors, we would have to refinish the entire downstairs of the home...really not crazy about that. I do like the idea of adding runners though!
August 1, 2013 at 5:20am   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Thanks angel18432!
August 1, 2013 at 5:22am   
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bvan1968
I am going to be watching this thread, Amy! I have exactly the same problem as you in a 4 year old home that we recently purchased. We have cherry cabinets with cherry floors (throughout the entire first floor) and a black granite countertop. And amber shades on the light fixtures to boot. I can hardly wait to paint my cabinets!!!! Everyone keeps trying to dissuade me from painting the cabinets, as the wood really is lovely, and I have agreed to wait at least a year before I do anything. That said...I sense a paint job in my kitchen's future. In the meantime, I will be changing all the light fixtures to add as much light through electricity as possible.
August 1, 2013 at 5:37am     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Bvan1968, I'd like new lighting, too! The article above is VERY helpful. Lots of good information on proper steps to take and technique. It's a "must read" if you are thinking about this project!
August 1, 2013 at 5:55am   
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bvan1968
Amy, I don't see the article that you are referring to. ???? I would love to read it! The electricians that I have spoken to (yes, plural) have indicated that adding MORE fixtures/lights would be cost prohibitive. So I am stuck with adding DIFFERENT fixtures instead.
August 1, 2013 at 6:05am     
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leelee
You're lucky to have great cabinets to work with. I'd de-clutter the tops (a dated look). Here's another thought besides ivory...
August 1, 2013 at 6:10am     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
"Creeser" posted it yesterday. It's the houzz link. (Near the beginning of this thread.)
August 1, 2013 at 6:11am   
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decoenthusiaste
Agree you should do the island first. See rustoleumtransformations.com for their product that is getting rave reviews. Remove the decor from the cabinet tops and install LED rope lighting for a soft, warm glow.
Kitchen Remodel 1
Craftsman Creation
Kitchen Remodel 2
Kitchen examples
August 1, 2013 at 6:17am     
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bvan1968
Amy, I must be showing my age and failing eyesight ( or perhaps I can blame the poor kitchen lighting in my house -- haha), but the only links from creeser that I see are a photo link showing a painted island (in cream) and a houzz article from the pros on painting kitchen cabinets.

I love the idea of painting just the island to see how you like it before attacking all the cabinets. And this is one situation (and I love furniture painted black) that I think a black painted island would not be a good idea. I don't think it would acheive the lighter look that you seek, and with the dark countertops, I think it would just end up looking like a black box.

Someone in Internet land posted an opinion stating that the lines and details of cabinets only really show themselves with paint. Without paint, wood cabinets lose the impact of any detailing.

I have to say that I agree with the others who have suggested removing your decorative items above your cabinets.
August 1, 2013 at 6:30am   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
It's the article from the pros on painting that I think you should read:) Definitely agree on ivory for the island instead of black! Thx!!!
August 1, 2013 at 6:38am   
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bvan1968
Amy, Okay, now I understand. And just so you understand how much I commiserate with you about your kitchen, here's a photo of mine. : )

This is just as we were moving in. I have added some counterstools, and now my canisters are on the counters.
August 1, 2013 at 6:43am     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Wow!!! So similar to my kitchen!!!!
August 1, 2013 at 6:44am     
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bvan1968
Amy, it's crazy, right? Should we do "rock paper scissors shoot" to see who should go first on painting their cabinets?

The problem as mentioned very early in your thread is that the cabinets and the flooring match too closely, and with the dark cabinets and the dark countertop, the entire room reads "dark kitchen." In the end, my lighting choices aren't going to change the overall read of the kitchen. It is just going to be a dark kitchen until I paint the cabinets (the floors will not change). And a lighter paint color on just the walls won't work either...the wall space is too limited. The vast majority of the kitchen is dark cabinets, with a dark floor being the second largest element, and the third largest element is the black granite countertops. The easiest and cheapest element to change is the dark cabinets, although hiring a pro to do the job as I want to do is not cheap. I already was quoted an off-the-cuff price of $7000 for a pro to do the work, which is probably realistic due to the preparation time and painting/spray time.
August 1, 2013 at 6:46am     
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Good idea!!!
August 1, 2013 at 6:51am   
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Amy Elmore Cannon
Good idea to "Rock, paper, scissors"... And I completely agree that the wall color will not/does not make a change for our situations. (Very little wall space.)
August 1, 2013 at 7:11am   
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Tera Lambert
Angel18432, I agree with you about those trays. I just stuck them up there because I am currently redoing many areas. There was a hook there, I needed them out of the way. It's not completely finished yet. Thanks for the advice.
August 1, 2013 at 10:40pm     
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inpdx
Rather than painting the island, would you consider a lighter countertop for the island only? The wood is so lovely; it would be a shame to cover it. The pendant lights might also be candidates for replacing; check out Rejuvenation for several options. And yes, lighter wall paint. Really nice cabinetry.
August 1, 2013 at 11:19pm     
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amdg1966
I think I'd get rid of the green paint and go with a light grey. I'd also paint the island and contrast all the warmth with a new slim glass tile backsplash


August 2, 2013 at 2:39am     
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