Staining or painting kitchen cabinets?
Susan Shaw_OBrien
December 6, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I was thinking about Staining or painting my kitchen cabinets. What would look the best? I have granite countertops already but I don't really like the cabinets.
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PRO
A Kitchen That Works LLC
Can you pin-point what it is you don't like about the cabinets? Is it the wood species, the color of the stain or the fact that they are somewhat dated looking 3/4 overlay style? If it is the style, then painting or staining may not render a return on your efforts. Staining or painting can be a significant amount of effort when you consider removing the contents of the cabinets, sanding and priming and then painting/staining. Have you considered starting with some fun decorative hardware? This could provide a spruced up appearance with very little investment in time or money.
3 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Sharon
how about a cream color with really cool hardware
4 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Tara Hall
Stain darker, add hardware
2 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 7:51PM
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sue2029
I love white cabinets and you have something similiar to the way ours were-we painted ours Mediterrian White semi-gloss a Restoration Hardware color. Added lots of glass by removing panels. Stainless hardware - exact same granite countertop. We love the way it turned out.
8 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 8:15PM
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sbrustein
I agree with not painting until you add decorative hardware. The cabinets just seem unfinished right now.
1 Like   December 6, 2013 at 8:19PM
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PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
Stain them darker like a walnut or espresso
2 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Curt D'Onofrio
The cabinets do look too light in color, but i agree with sbrustein, add decorative hardware first, then decide later on about the cabinets color
0 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 9:18PM
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PRO
Upside Development
Painting hands down will give it much more character, and depending on your theme in the house you can also antique the wood a bit. I would recommend professional painting ofcourse without the right tools it would like a home project:)
2 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 9:24PM
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Tonya
How about this color?
7 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 9:34PM
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hayleydaniels
I like your whole kitchen, but then I love wood.

As far as painting or staining goes, if you stain them, you're going to need to apply around 3 coats of polyurethane to protect them and for shine. After the first coat of poly, you'll have to stand down any wood fibers that it lifts before applying the second coat, and then do that again. You'll need to allow time for the poly to fully dry before sanding so it could take several days for each piece.
1 Like   December 6, 2013 at 9:49PM
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mveasey
Have a look at this photo! Not mine, off Pinterest I think - PAINT!
2 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Lynnie
Wow, I am glad I ran across your question. I too am going to stain my cabinets, and planning on installing granite that looks very similar. I love Cherry Wood, so that is my plan. Not really dark, but not really light either. So, that is my suggestion to you as well. ;)
0 Likes   December 6, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
I guess it is the type of wood the cabinets are made from that I don't like. I don't care for the wood gain and how every door is different. I wanted to do a backsplash as well, but not sure what would go best with the granite. I think if I go darker the kitchen might look smaller that's my dilemma as well. Thanks everyone for the suggestion.
2 Likes   December 7, 2013 at 2:14AM
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PRO
A Kitchen That Works LLC
Assuming you like your counters and the fact that you don't care for the oak grain, then painting starts to make sense. The kitchen appears to be on the dark side, so going with a white or off white is your best bet. Don't forget handles, they will really help to change the look.
4 Likes   December 7, 2013 at 8:01AM
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Curt D'Onofrio
I think these blue cabinets look great !

2 Likes   December 7, 2013 at 2:29PM
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clarevichy
I would paint the cupboards gray
1 Like   December 8, 2013 at 10:16AM
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PRO
MS Colours Inc
If the cabinets have a finish on them now you can either paint or glaze them.
0 Likes   December 8, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
Thanks everyone I think I will go with a ivory color and some nickel hardware. We tackle this after the new year.
2 Likes   December 8, 2013 at 4:56PM
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houseatthelake
I would paint. Like the shaker style of the doors but not crazy about the oak, think it is oak. Kind of dates the cabinets. Personally I like white but a cream color would be nice too with your granite. Or you could go dark if that is what you like although I have been in some kitchens that seem dark because everything is dark. My cabinets are white shaker style with dark bronze knobs. Those blue cupboards are nice too. You could do any color and if you wanted a rustic look could distress the finish.
3 Likes   December 8, 2013 at 5:19PM
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karenandrewsesq
Use decorative Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. (Google it, then watch Utube video.) No stripping or sanding. Just wash cabinets, let them dry and paint. Clean up is easier than latex and there is no odor. After paint is dry you apply a wax (easy) and lightly hand buff to a subtle shine. You will be very happy with the results decorative paint by Annie Sloan will provide. I recommend old ochre rather than cream, which tends to get yellow as it ages. Best of luck.
5 Likes   December 9, 2013 at 6:43AM
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houseatthelake
Post a photo when you are done. Would like to see your choice.
4 Likes   December 9, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
Does anyone know of a free online program I can use to change the color of the cabinets. My husband is a little concerned about going with white as we have 3 dogs and 1 of them is a French mastiff. Worried about stains. Thank you for all your help.
0 Likes   December 13, 2013 at 8:11AM
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PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
Sherwin Williams visualizer
0 Likes   December 13, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Lynnie
There are many YouTubes on it. Here are a couple:



0 Likes   December 13, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
New floor
2 Likes   March 3, 2014 at 11:24AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
We put in new floors now I'm torn on what color the cabinets should be, I want something to go with the granite as well. I don't really want to do white because we have a mastiff and he gets things dirty and I would be cleaning constantly. Help!!!
0 Likes   March 3, 2014 at 11:28AM
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sue2029
Hi it's me again sue2029 from above with the cream cabinets- I have 3 grandkids at the house constantly - 2-3 and 4 years old- sticky fingers- peanut butter- chocolate and jelly! A good paint any color with a finish coat of satin poly will wipe clean. I have the same gold granite with a similiar floor- dark maple. I too could not decide and went though tons of colors- grays- blues - charcoal-pewter etc- the problem is the granite "golds" with the floor "dark brown" doesn't really "blend" with many other colors- just my opinion. If you are willing to keep wood grain -staining would be a good option- but may look dark. Looking forward to seeing your results. :)
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 3, 2014 at 4:43PM
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cliffordhome
I think a cream paint or stain would look great- Now that you've darkened the floors I think you'll want lighter cabinets. The cream color would blend well with the granite and give great contrast with the floor.
2 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 3, 2014 at 5:19PM
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kathleen MK
Cream Paint then glaze with a very translucent brown or grey. ( use more glaze than Paint color.) A friend painted her wood cabinets bright cream but her then small boys left lots of finger prints. So she added a glaze which made it look richer and hid smudges. If you are going DIY, experiment on scraps and inside cabinets first for how much glaze to wipe off.
2 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 3, 2014 at 8:27PM
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PRO
Sustainable Dwellings
Golden Oak cabinets. Paint them Cream with the glaze and you will love your kitchen. It is a nice kitchen, but is very "average" and dated with those cabinets as they are now, Good luck to you. You may also consider beautiful hardware.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 4:34AM
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PRO
Armoires Cuisines Action
Why not go with a colorful vinyle covering like bright red or purple and add sleek-looking stainless steel accessories
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 7:37AM
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PRO
Studio M Interior Design
Paint them white or gray and add some new hardware. You'll be amazed at the transformation you can accomplish without doing anything super expensive to your kitchen!
2 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 8:02AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
thank you everyone for the input and I will post the results as soon as we are done.
0 Likes   March 4, 2014 at 9:41AM
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Paint is easy. Just make sure you use paint made for cabinets. Or it will chip. I like the grays. With brush nickel long pulls.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 12:02PM
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beattieboggs
I've had white cabinets for years and am putting them in my new house now. The best way to keep paint work clean are those Mr. Clean white foam pads. Work fantastically on walls too.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 7:22PM
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hasinajiwani
I have painted cabinets in a house and loved the look so I advocate painting, it may be easier than staining? Still it will be a lot of preparation like removing hinges, doors and hardware and then sanding, painting, letting dry, sanding lightly again and painting again, sanding, and finally applying finishing coat. You have gorgeous granite counter tops so any of the medium tones from it would look beautiful as cabinet color. I would add some metal hardware knobs/pulls. Paint! it will look beautiful.
1 Like   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 4, 2014 at 11:28PM
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Kimberly Eslinger
Have you thought of painting or staining the lowers darker and going lighter on the uppers?
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 5:40AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
@Kimberly Eslinger yes I have just not sure of the 2 colors to use.
1 Like   March 5, 2014 at 6:06AM
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Kimberly Eslinger
Perhaps take one of the mid-tone grays found in the granite for the lowers and a nice off-white for uppers that is also found in your granite. Or maybe the mid-tone gray for all since it's not so dark... Then maybe do the peninsula bottom cabinets a nice rich dark tone to set it apart. So many options. I can understand your dilemma.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Kimberly Eslinger
Whoops... You don't have a peninsula. Sorry about that!
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Kimberly Eslinger
Here's an example of a gray paired with a warm-colored butcher block top that reminds me of the warmth in your granite...
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 8:23AM
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Elizabeth Minish Design
Preparing these cabinets for stain means removing every spec of the existing varnish as stain will not penetrate wherever there is varnish left. If you are doing this yourself, be prepared for A LOT of work. Painting requires much less rigorous prep, although it must be said that it is still A LOT of work to do this for the average home owner. The results on this type of oak door look pretty spectacular though.

If you do paint, your granite dictates that you go with cream or some other colour that comes from the granite, like a greeny-gray, but definitely NOT white. The oak wood grain will still be visible because it is so open, so if you decide to do an antiquing glaze, be careful not to inadvertently accentuate the oak grain.

Re: a back splash. Your granite counter top has enough personality already that adding anything that calls attention to itself on the back splash so going with an plain cream coloured tile would do the trick. The shape of the tile is somewhat dependent on the overall design statement of the rest of your house. A subway tile is classic, but your house looks a bit more contemporary, so perhaps going with a larger format subway tile like 4" x 8" or even 4" x 16" would be just the right amount of modern twist on an old classic.

The other thing that would make a huge difference to the look and feel of your kitchen is lighting. It isn't an inexpensive budget item to convert that flourescent cove fixture above the cabinets, but under-cabinet lighting task lighting with a central fixture overhead for general lighting would create a totally different look and feel.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
@Elizabeth Minish Design I do hate the lighting only issue is I have very high ceilings in the kitchen, I want to remove the lighting and shelf above the cabinets completely but my husband thinks we can't put lighting in the ceiling because it's so high up. Any suggestions what we could do?
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Elizabeth Minish Design
It's hard to see from your photos exactly how high the ceiling is and how your existing lighting actually works, so if you include a couple of additional photos, I could give you a better idea. That said, no matter what you do, adding under-cabinet lighting would get you some light right where you need it and would bring the focus down to human level.
1 Like   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 12:53PM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
I will take some more photos when I get home and we have installed under cabinet lighting since I took this photo.
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
Here the photos of how high the ceiling is and also the cabinet with the floor. Not a good match
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Cedric Meunier
Paint them! There is no other option!!!! :P
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Cedric Meunier
And I mean spray paint them!!!! Brushes are illegal!!
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 2:57PM
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lincolnlover
Sherwin Williams antique white i would paint it! Actually I did paint my cabinets that color I like it better than stain because stain is usually gummy and you can scratch it right off I would definetly paint them
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 3:03PM
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sue2029
Hi I took a pic of my cream color cabinets- with the dark floor and the gold granite countertop similiar to yours. Here's a suggestion that may help- look for a Habitate Restore near you. They sell cabinet doors and cabinets - find one that closely matches what you have and use it as a "sample" meaning clean it -( I like Dawn) - sand it down - nice and smooth then take a foam brush and paint with small sample size of paint. Hold it up against what you have and see what you think. If you don't like it - repaint over it -sand a bit in between -this will help you "see" the color and the overall look. Once that decision gets made you can hire someone to spray paint or do as a DIY. Good luck!
2 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 3:44PM
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sue2029
PS the restore sells cabinet doors for $5.00 so cheap way to do a "sample"
1 Like   March 5, 2014 at 3:47PM
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PRO
Sound Painting Solutions
I agree, I would try some different types of hardware first. Painting and staining is doable, but very labor intensive. I would play around with your options first. If that doesn't work... I would go with painting them of staining. White cabinets would look great. Good luck:)
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 4:00PM
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yvesun
From your pictures I notice there isn't a lot of natural light. Have you considered undermount lights?
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 9:15PM
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kkingktg
Warm white paint and good hardware. Hire a good painter unless you have endless amounts of spare time. That is really pretty granite and a creamy white cabinet would really let it shine.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 5, 2014 at 9:33PM
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PRO
Lindsey Custom Cabinetry
You might consider replacing the doors and drawer fronts and re facing the cabinets, if your going to stain, it's usually more cost effective than sanding all the old pigment out of everything, and the new door style would make a lot of difference. more than likely the panels in the doors are 1/4 inch plywood which you won't be able to re finish. even if you paint, new doors such as raised panel for example would make a lot of difference and would allow you to get a lot more dimension to the cabinets if you did a glaze or distress. a little contrast in colors would make the room look bigger.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 6, 2014 at 6:33AM
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Susan Shaw_OBrien
Here is the other half of my kitchen. My husband and I were talking last night and I was thinking of having him move the cabinets up the wall a bit as the microwave is to close to the stove.
0 Likes   March 6, 2014 at 6:47AM
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yvesun
I have the same oak cabinets, and by the looks of it similar flooring and counters. I found that a cream back-splash really tied all the colours together. I find all the wood tones and counters seem too monochromatic for me, and I suggest instead of staining or painting the cupboards, paint the walls a more lively (but not gold) colour.
Have fun!
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 6, 2014 at 11:01AM
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Elizabeth Minish Design
Thanks for the additional photos. It looks like the florescent cove light fixture is attached to some sort of bulk head that projects past the face of the upper cabinets. This could be used to mount recessed pot lights that would wash the face of the cabinets and the front of the counter top not being lit by the under cabinet lighting.

If you are contemplating raising the cabinets, you would have to remove this lighting system anyway. However, a word about raising your cabinets. A standard distance between the counter top and the upper cabinet is 18". In Canada, lower cabinets are standard at 36". That puts the bottom shelf of the upper cabinet at 54". If you are not above average in height, you may find the new height inconvenient to reach.

You might consider just moving the micro-wave cabinet up and creating a bump-up on that cabinet only, however your microwave issue is one of my pet peeves. If you move the microwave and its cabinet up so it creates enough headroom and so one can see the back burners of the range, it will be too high to operate safely. I am always worried about lifting hot liquids from the microwave at the height shown, let alone raising it up further. That would be a pretty nasty scald on one's upper chest.
0 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 7, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Elizabeth Minish Design
I was just looking at a number of images on Houzz of kitchens with cream cabinets. Most are quite a bit more traditional looking than your house appears to be. This is the danger of not taking into account what's going on with the rest of the house.

Someone else mentioned doing something with the wall colour before you go to the trouble and expense of painting the cabinets, and to that end, I have attached (or at least have tried to attach) an image that shows wood cabinets, a natural, wood-toned floor and a high ceiling.

The cove lighting would have to go though.
2 Likes   Thanked by Susan Shaw_OBrien    March 7, 2014 at 10:21AM
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