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dark granite/white cabinets??

January 7, 2019
I’m updating my house, but we’ve already done the floors and stairs, so a full kitchen overhaul has to wait. I’m having a lot of other painting done, so I’m considering having the kitchen cabinets painted but leaving the granite for now. I originally thought white (or a soft/french white) wouldn’t work, but I’ve seen pics with similar granite that I thought looked ok, I would swap the hardware for black. Thoughts?

Comments (86)

  • flopsycat1

    mec93- You are correct, posting here does take thick skin, and, as how2girl mentioned, the ability to sift the helpful suggestions from the chaff. Please let us know what you decide, and post “after” pics of your project. Good luck!

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Not the best changeover with an ap, but I think this shows a basic difference in replacing the counters vs painting the cabinets. I would be in the replace the counters category. It’s fresher and more towards the Natural Modern type look that is where design styles are headed.

  • iamtiramisu
    How many sq ft of counter do you have that granite would easily cost over $10k? That’s one HUGE kitchen, or some super exotic taste in stone. Our kitchen is a decent size with 71 square ft of counter needed and even the highest priced choices we liked still came in under/around $5k installed with all cutouts. The cabinets are beautiful, painting them white and leaving that granite would be throwing money at the wrong problem.
  • Fun2BHere

    I just had the go-to kitchen guy out today. I have a granite somewhat like yours that I cannot afford to replace right now. I asked for an idea of how to update the kitchen with paint and he suggested white paint on the cabinets in a white that matches my current trim (BM Swiss Coffee) and a light taupe on the walls. He will be making me some sample boards and I would be happy to share pictures if you are interested.

  • PRO
    Gialluisi Custom Homes

    You should keep the cabinets - that beautiful cherry wood is timeless and will never go out of style. Consider replacing the backsplash - pick a lighter color to create a beautiful contrast.

    Check out some examples below:

    40 Mohawk Trl, Westfield · More Info

    316 St Georges Westfield · More Info

    352 Shunpike Rd, Chatham · More Info

    Go to www.gialluisihomes.coom to get more inspiration.

  • gilgo
    I think your cabinets and countertops are both beautiful.
  • AC LB
    I think your cabinets are beautiful as is, but I understand your desire to brighten things up and update the space. I think white cabinets will look fantastic! If you got a great price, I say go for it!!be sure to post your after pics!
  • missenigma

    I'm in the process of choosing new counters for a kitchen remodel. Two countertop fabricators have told me that in the past year, they've had numerous instances of ripping out countertops they had just installed a few months prior. Why?

    Because, realtors told the previous owners updated counters were a must to sell the house. The new owners didn't like the counters for whatever reason (NOTE: they bought the house anyway) and were already changing them out.

  • Jennifer
    @mec93 I’m anxious to see what you end up going with! I have cherry cabinets and dark granite, and I posted on here a year ago because I wanted to update my backsplash and get either white granite or quartz. I was questioning whether granite was on it’s way out and if I should go with quartz instead. Most of my comments were saying how my cherry cabinets were dated and I should either paint them or save up for a kitchen remodel. We ended up putting our project on hold and never did anything. After reading your thread, I feel like if I just keep holding out longer, my kitchen will eventually come back in style.
  • mainenell
    @missenigma I frequently wonder how often that happens when a customer comes in and says they are putting in granite because they are getting ready to sell.
  • missenigma

    @mainenell Probably never. :-) They weren't complaining, only making an observation. On the contrary, they were laughing all the way to the bank.

  • missenigma


    Cherry cabinets that actually look like cherry wood is supposed to look - not that god awful dark burgundy wine color popularized by the now defunct Bombay Company (oooo . . . for a moment there I think I was channeling Sophie). Anyway, take a look at the pictures of these two kitchens. I bet if you posted them asking for advice you'd get an army of commenters telling you to break out the white paint to "freshen" things up. And that second kitchen, well in addition to paint, rip that granite out and do a nice on trend marble quartz with a white subway tile backsplash.

    Something tells me either of these homes would sell just fine with no changes to their kitchens.

  • jad2design

    The cabinets are beautiful and actually, based on my sister’s experience in matching the same tone of cherry to a granite, something with salmon in it is a pretty good choice. Is it possible that better/different lighting would make the space feel lighter? There are a lot more possibilities in under the cabinet light strips these days, which could present a more even, welcoming glow. Some of the pictures of kitchens that are included in this post have that. You might look for a kitchen designer who is particularly good with lighting. Much cheaper to bring in an electrician than tackle either the cabinets or counters.

  • Chessie

    No offense OP, but I have to agree on replacing the counters/backsplash rather than having the cabinets painted.

  • mec93
    I guess opinions vary widely. I posted a full pic of my kitchen and cabinets a couple months ago to ask about changing the backsplash in an attempt to do a limited upgrade and was told by many that the cabinets were dates and that changing the backsplash and/or counters (which really are not salmon) would not save it. Sigh...
  • missenigma

    Consider the source and motivation when people toss around the term dated. Classics don't date, their popularity may rise and fall but they don't date. A men's classic navy blazer is always appropriate and timeless - even if it's not your taste. The Leisure Suit of the 1970's, a trend that couldn't end fast enough.

  • Elena J
    Agree with previous poster who advised not spending the money to put in new countertops. Your taste may not be the same as your buyers taste. Our previous homeowner put in brand new stone countertops on somewhat dated cabinets and we ended up tearing them all out as soon as we moved in. We never saw those new countertops as a selling point when we toured the house. What we would have preferred, given the slightly dated look of things, was a sellers credit towards new countertops (previous owners were going to spend the same $ either way) or just a more competitive sales price. I think most important is to know what your market competition is offering in terms of their kitchens (go look at the other houses with your realtor) and decide if painted white raised-panel cabinets with dark granite would be a selling point vs just leaving them as-is and pricing your house appropriately to compensate. If you are competing against a lot of new construction and trying to attract mostly millennial buyers, I would guess it’s the latter. Having cabinets professionally re-painted is not cheap in my experience, so it may not be worth the $ for something you’re not going to live in. Set your price competitively, show off the other fabulous & unchangeable features of your home (layout, views, closet space, etc.) and let the new owners remodel cabinets & countertops to their liking.
  • mrskirchoffskids
    Lol missenigma ! At least my husband wore a basic beige leisure when we were first dating.
    I would experiment with some of that peel and stick wallpaper on the backsplash to see if switching to a light tile would help. White bead board could be an option. But if you are selling do the decorator allowance and save the hassle of any change.
    Always amazed by people with gorgeous kitchens wanting to switch to trends. Even though our realtor was an interior designer most are not and push trends.
  • elisaknoff
    Hang in there, the cabinets are gorgeous in their current state, however none of us viewing the pic know how old or possibly damaged they are. A pic of the whole area might give a better perspective. It would also be nice to know the style in the adjoining rooms and house in order to give a true opinion. One plus with the cabinets are that the insets are not arched, that style is hard to update.
  • n2designvb

    I would definitely keep your beautiful cabinets and just swap out the hardware and possibly update the backsplash- budget permitting. I also have a classic kitchen. Sometimes I want a new white, magazine worthy kitchen, but I’m just not going to rip up thousands of dollars in materials to achieve that look:)

  • PRO
    Window Accents by Vanessa Downs
    This is a crazy suggestion (maybe!) because i don’t know if it’s possible. Is there a way to add a subway backsplash tile on top of the existing granite backsplash? That way you don’t have to pay for replacement of the Sheetrock that would likely be torn up from removal of the granite BS. If you could do that, maybe it would give you a big enough change for now. Then decide later whether you want to paint the cabinets or leave them alone if the lighter BS improves the aesthetic.
  • Donna Edwards
    One thing this thread has proven is that you should not do a thing if you are planning to sell. Save the $ and price the house right to sell as is. However if you are staying then do what YOU like.
  • tartanmeup

    Gialluisi Custom Houses, not sure your pictures illustrated your point of beautiful contrast.

    mec93, think carefully about what you really want. If you're not longer updating to sell and updating for your own taste, figure out exactly how you'd want your kitchen to look. There's always a risk with painting cabinets. There was a recent thread here about a poor paint job. So much effort and money wasted. (Btw, I haven't seen many white kitchens in recent home decor magazines. Much wood though: oak and walnut.)

    Is there anything more subjective than taste? What's beautiful to one person will be abominable to another. Even though you asked for people's opinion on an update, don't let their epithets affect you. You're entitled to your own taste and choices. You're living in your home. We forum dwellers aren't. Best of luck in your decision making.

  • Chessie


    I guess opinions vary widely. posted a full pic of my kiItchen and cabinets a couple months ago to ask about changing the backsplash in an attempt to do a limited upgrade and was told by many that the cabinets were dates and that changing the backsplash and/or counters (which really are not salmon) would not save it. Sigh..."

    Hmm. I went back and read your thread from October, and I did not get any sense of that^^ at all.

    Maybe I missed a post.

    Also, in that post you stated that you were selling the home in Feb.You have NOT stated that here in this post. That would certainly make a difference in recommendations. Are you no longer selling?

  • Sierrafoothills

    My decorators wanted me to paint our cherry cabinets white, also. My husband wouldn't go for it. Instead we removed our backsplash only, kept our granite, which I still love, and kept the cherry. I really like the update. We did paint our island white, though, which was already painted before.

  • tartanmeup

    Really nice update, Sierrafoothills! And your cabinets are gorgeous.

    ETA: your pictures are showing shelves and glass-front doors, Sierra. That's another way of updating a wood kitchen, mec93. Something to consider if you find your cherry cabinets too heavy in the room.

  • Sierrafoothills

    Thank you, tartanmeup! Yes, the partial glass uppers does lighten the heaviness of wood cabinets. We've always had the glass in those uppers, but we changed out the type of glass for a cleaner look this time.

  • Chessie

    Sierrafoothills , your cabs are beautiful. Glad you didn't paint them. That new back-splash is a huge improvement over that old one (yikes!) And though I usually don't care for granite, yours is quite nice!! Good job!

  • sailor0805

    I think it looks beautiful alresdy.already. don't change anything.

  • salonva


    Window Accents by Vanessa Downs

    This is a crazy suggestion (maybe!) because i don’t know if it’s possible. Is there a way to add a subway backsplash tile on top of the existing granite backsplash?

    So this got me thinking--- they do sell some stick on sheets that look like subway tile pretty sure I saw at HD or Lowes. This might be worth trying to even see if changing the backsplash would give you the lighter look that you want. Maybe it would work well enough where you don't need the demo and on the other hand--- you might decide it is not the look you want, but at least not much of a risk to view it.

  • Gail Diane
    Pleeeeese do not paint those cabinets. I agree with those who said give it a nice backsplash. That will brighten it up. The wood is beautiful. I am sick of white cabinets. No character. Love what you have.
  • barrowp

    Hi mec93. Regarding your comment up thread that posters on your other thread told you the cabinets are dated, I took a look at the other post. A couple of commenters there are reacting to the arch in the upper cabinet doors, which is not shown in this post. The arch is objectionable to some people for the ”dated” reason. But I say, so what? I have the exact same natural cherry cabinet style and kept them in my recent makeover. They are 20 years old and still going strong with new granite and backsplash.

    About that granite, it is also evident on the other thread it is brown, not salmon. If this were my kitchen, I would lighten it up with a new backsplash and change the pulls.

    If you do none of this, your kitchen is just fine. I would surely not paint the cabinets.

  • Chessie

    barrowp - good catch, I didn't notice the arches in the older thread. But still, I don't see a problem with the cabinets. I've never felt that arches were all that "dated" anyway. You can buy very nice cabinets today, quality manufacturers, with arches.

  • jkt107

    I would also suggest tiling right over the granite backsplash (as long as a pro agrees it would work!) We tiled over our old tile when we were updating our kitchen to sell, and it looked fine. We used a quarter round piece at the exposed ends.

  • MaryMargaret Sambas

    I just put in arched wood cabinets in my kitchen, and so don't care who thinks they are dated. They are classic in the real world, and they suit my traditional house. My Kitchen Designer helped me to pick a lighter granite counter and backsplash. It's Venetian Ice granite, and was only $200 more than a laminate I looked at. I don't know what stone you're looking at for 10K!

    Modern Oak Redo · More Info

  • jad2design

    Looking at your previous post I still think that it is a nice kitchen and a functional one. That said, your real estate agent was doing his or her job by suggesting ways you could make your house appealing to the _greatest_ number of buyers. That is the agent’s first responsibility. if that cant be achieved you might want to ask the expert in this instance a follow up question -would a partial kitchen upgrade actually be effective?

    My thought about the kinds of millennials buying in the range of 1.6 million is that these are people with financial resources but no spare time. Some of this group will pass on any dwelling that doesn’t look completely brand new, so a different cabinet color or counters won’t be enough - where are the multiple base unit drawers? why are there upper cabinets instead of shelves?, etc And the thought of any remodeling will be a complete non starter. This is a group you cannot please, however not all of the buyers are in this subset. If you are planning on going on the market in February then perhaps changing out the island light fixtures, as someone suggested, and excellent staging would a good approach?

  • Nicole R Dsp
    Update splash and new pulls would make a world of difference. Beautiful cabinets
  • mccarthy367
    Your cabinets are beautiful, don't paint them. Painting over classic wood should be reserved for making them last another 5-10 before a complete redo. I don't like the granite, but accessorizing could do a lot. Creamy colored pottery found at Pottery Barn or Arhaus. Do you have under cabinet lighting? For resale, if the rest of your house and location are desirable, you could offer $5k toward a new buyer putting in countertops of their choice.
  • RedRyder
    If you like your kitchen as is, leave it when you put it up for sale, have an amount assigned “at closing for kitchen upgrade” and let the next buyer do what they want. No matter what you do, some buyers will like it, some will want to change it. Save yourself money and time and list the house and see what happens.
    A friend of mine has spent a fortune updating her high end, extremely large house, as per her realtor’s advice. It still hasn’t sold. The market is a big reason things sell, not just kitchens.
    And not all young buyers want the same things. Some see your kitchen as an opportunity to put their stamp on the house.
  • JimnDawn

    Your cabinets are gorgeous and I would not paint them. I would however replace the granite backsplash. We too are in the middle of a remodel and keep going to HD or Lowes and purchasing pieces of backsplash options and then we hold them up against our existing backsplash to see if we like it. I bet you'd be surprised how much a simple backsplash will brighten up the kitchen. Good luck!

  • Brooke Strong
    I honestly don’t think white would go well with that counter top. It’s got a lot of reddish and black which will look quite odd to me. However, can you use that $$ and take a once in a lifetime vacation and enjoy that you already have a beautiful and high quality kitchen? If you need to change something I say go with counter top or backsplash. I guess but it’s quite lovely and timeless.
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    I love white painted, modified shaker kitchens and that is what I put in 4 years ago. That said, I think the problem in your kitchen truly is the backsplash. The cabinets seem to be in fine shape and the wood could absolutely glow if the light-killing backsplash were gone. Personally I would change the counter also, but you say that you like it so just think about the backsplash.

    You've had a large number of responses to this thread and they seem overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the cabinet as is.

  • salonva

    Talk about big brother- guess what I got in an email link-- yes, a link to stick on subway tile from wayfair. I do think it's worth a try. (and you can see a bunch of other styles- as well).stick on subway tiles

  • mec93
    Thank you all for the suggestion and feedback! I do understand that the dark backsplash is likely the problem. Unfortunately, it’s my Understanding that I can’t replace it in isolation (removing and replacing with a thinner tile will leave a gap) but I may look more into putting tile over. One contractor suggested that is not the best practice. It’s not that I love the granite, it’s that the bids to replace it with quartz are prohibitive right now. If we decide to stay, I’ll do both in a couple years.
  • Sierrafoothills

    You can find a thicker tile to replace the granite backsplash, if that's what you want to do. Our new tile was actually thicker than our stone we replaced.

  • Putty
    I would just change the backsplash and counters!
  • Chessie

    Replace the granite...counter and backsplash. I'd choose a nice laminate over that awful granite. I absolutely would.

  • pcri
    Before doing anything permanent, give this a try: STAGE your countertop with some “to die for” accessories — a beautiful KitchenAid, a colorful Kuerig, a coordinating utensil Holder, a gorgeous showpiece plate, etc. — all lower-cost & portable. Make the buyers’ mouths water — they won’t even notice your countertop (which in my amateur opinion is the elephant in the kitchen — your cabinets are lovely!)
  • hbeing

    i think the cabinet wood is beautiful. i'd get hardware same shade as the dark in the granite. black black might be too dark.

  • PRO
    Stecki Construction

    I think you should do new countertops and backsplash! That would brighten up the kitchen. Plus the color of cabinets are easy to match with many colors of granite.

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