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Seeking advice on warm white kitchen total update- Opinions Please!

January 11, 2019


We have finally decided to update our kitchen. The cabinets, flooring, and appliances will stay but we would like to paint the cabinets, get new countertops and backsplash and replace all hardware and lighting. We are currently looking at painting the perimeter cabinets a warm white (not sure which white yet) and the island a deep blue/grey for some color. I would like to mixed metals and am looking at brass hardware for the cabinetry. I like the look of the Brittanica Warm or the Torquay quartz but I am not sure what to do with the backsplash? I would like to have a herringbone tile layout but don’t want anything to clash with the countertops.

I’m open to all advice and would like to get quickly moving.

Current kitchen:

planning on removing decals from hood or replacing with stainless steel

Closeup of cabinet:


another shot of flooring with sunshine/different light:

This is my kitchen inspiration/LOVE: I am planning on using some globe pendants similar to this.

Copper Crest · More Info

Brighter blue island I like:

Luxury Hampton's Style Weatherboard Home · More Info

This is my desired backsplash but I am open on this too:

Please help with paint colors/ tiles/backsplash. I’m not sure where to exactly start - find a white color that will look nice with floor and bring out less yellow in it? Or will painting The cabinets help??

I appreciate all the feedback and will post pictures of the remodel as it progresses. Looking to start in next month or less.



Comments (37)
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    The flooring is the element that you are planning to keep that will limit your palette most severely. It goes really well with the beautiful wood cabinets, but if you move towards white cabinet, it’s undertones will show up as pink. White cabinets will also strip out that major element of warmth and natural materials that give it that appeal to the New Traditional look that is taking over from the too cold “needs warmed up“ dilemmas of the all white “farmhouse” look.

    I‘d urge you to keep your cabinets unpainted, and work more with the excellent bones of the space for your changes. A stainless hood and new creamy light, not white. counters would definitely go a long way to creating a fresher look for you. Add, and change some lighting, and with an under 15K investment, it will feel brand new to you.

  • jengumienny

    Thank you. I don’t see any pink tones in my floor now or if I put white paint samples next to it but you think that’s what I would see? I was trying to change the flooring because it runs through a large expanse of my house-kitchen, eat in kitchen area, mud room, sun room, etc.

    I’m worried that the cherry cabinets look dated

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    To my eye it's the backsplash (and the hood) that looks dated, not so much the cabinets. Putting in a stainless steel hood and changing the cabinet hardware will give the cabs themselves a whole new look IMO. Changing the flooring looks like it would be a major hassle since it appears to run underneath the cabinets - were you planning to have the cabinets removed, painted off-site and then reinstalled?

  • latifeh hammad
    Take the picture of your favorite kitchen with your kitchen photos to the paint store and they will help you pick up the paint color as for every thing else in my opinion looks great and let's say the floor clashes with everything you can always put a skull runner to help in hiding the floor
  • jengumienny

    I am going to have the cabinets professionally painted so they would be removed and re-installed.

  • shead

    Are the cabinets cherry and are they good quality? If so, I’d definitely pause before painting them. Maybe consider doing a two toned kitchen with the same bases but paint the uppers and replace the counters and backsplash? Also, do you have children? White cabinets will show dirt and grime much more than these do. That alone drove me crazy in my last kitchen where I had white cabinets.

  • missenigma

    To see the pink undertones in your flooring, hold a piece of white printer paper next to it. Also get a hold of a BM (Benjamin Moore) Muslin OC-12 which has a distinct pink undertone. The best way to see undertones is through comparison. It can be hard at times to detect undertones without a known sample to compare it against. To see this for yourself grab BM chips for White Dove, Simply White, and Chantilly Lace. Each one on its own looks white. Hold them against each other and you start to see the differences.

    jengumienny thanked missenigma
  • Jamie Ludwig

    If you want to use a blue and grey (cool colors) I would use a true white and not a "warm" white. The "warm" white will look a bit dingy next to the cool colors. I would also switch your light bulbs from "soft" to daylight. The soft yellow lights can do really weard stuff to the blue and grey colors. We just re-did our kitchen and great room in white and grey and the soft lights made the grey look MUDDY PURPLE/BROWN at night. This will also help cut the yellow tone in the flooring.

    If you want to test this try changing the bulbs in you ceiling lights to "Daylight" I know you will see the yellow in your flooring all but disapear (like in the sunlight shot you posted above).

  • Jamie Ludwig

    Here are my results of grey and white with the daylight bulbs at night:

    NOTE: that the light under my stove hood is still the Soft Warm. You can see how it really brings out the yellow and makes the grey turn a brown/purple. We put our lights in dimmers so we can have the brightness when we want it but a softer (less bright) light when we want that too.

    The cabinets are Dove White (Kraftmaid) and the wall is SW Grey Screen. Counters are carrera marble.

    jengumienny thanked Jamie Ludwig
  • missenigma

    " I’m worried that the cherry cabinets look dated. "

    Really ask yourself what you mean by this statement. Others have pointed out excellent cost, effective ways to give you a more trending look - change the vent hood, lighting, new hardware, backsplash, and counters. These are roughly in ascending order of cost. Start with small changes as other have suggested. You might be surprised and be perfectly happy with the result with the added benefit of a lot more cash in your pocket.

    By doing things incrementally, you can stop at any point that you're pleased or continue to the end point of painting your cabinets. It doesn't have to be done all in one blitz.

    Also, even painted white, your kitchen cabinets will never look like your inspiration pics. You have very traditional, very beautiful cabinets. Your cabinet style with the varying height installation painted white will look more like those in the photos below, not the ones in your inspiration photos.

    The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is dated but I don't hear anyone clamoring that it needs be updated and freshened up.

  • jengumienny

    Thank you very much. It definitely puts things in perspective for me. I have alot of good information from you all and will need to consider what makes sense and will look good with the bones that we have.

  • felizlady
    Your kitchen would probably be described as Tuscan or Mediterranean or traditional. Your flooring looks somewhat gold/tan, and I am very surprised that direct sunshine makes your floor look gray. I would not paint those cabinets because they are beautiful. If you “need” a change, then change the flooring and counters and wall color.
  • mark_rachel

    I agree to NOT paint the cabinets. Work with the cabinets & change your other elements. You will be surprised how much it can change the look without painting the cabinets.

    Here is my kitchen “facelift”. Changing the lighting can really make a difference too.

    jengumienny thanked mark_rachel
  • Sammie J

    Your cabinets appear timeless to me - except the hood (so I agree with changing it out to stainless). Definitely change out the backspash. I'm on the fence about the granite.

  • missenigma

    @ mark_rachel

    And you can put the cash you saved into a nice 529 Plan for the little one's college.

  • mark_rachel

    @missenigma EXACTLY! :)

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    Your cabinets are quite nice. The floor looks nice too. I think if you change the countertop ( get rid of that small splash and the clipped corners on the island ), put is a backsplash with a little oomph, change the wall color, change the lights that could really change the space. If you really wanted to paint something, then paint the island and the hood... Just a thought.

    Good luck!

    jengumienny thanked Debbi Washburn
  • jengumienny

    @mark_rachel Your kitchen looks great!

  • chocolatebunny123

    I have to agree with the others - do not paint those beautiful cabinets.

    Like everyone has said too, there's a lot you can do to update so I won't rehash the same suggestions. I will say that new lights alone will make a huge difference. We had a fluorescent light above our island and a ceiling fan over the kitchen table. We switched both those out to drum lights (we have been doing our updating in stages) and I was shocked at how much better the kitchen looked. I got new counters this summer and the tile guy is finishing my backsplash as we speak. I went with Hanstone Kindred quartz for the counters and a white crackle subway tile for the backsplash. We will be repainting ASAP - our walls are currently SW Whole Wheat, which is a fine color but I'm sick of it.

    I would also take down the stuff on top of the cabinets, especially the Bon Apetit sign. I don't know why but that kind of kitchy stuff bugs me.

  • Sluggo

    You have a beautiful kitchen. I would change out the range hood to stainless and put some decor with color on the island as well as a small rug or runner on the floor that incorporates the colors you choose for the island. I am old enough to not understand this age of needing to "update" so often....when in fact, there is really nothing to update. One other thing you might do is remove all the stuff on top of the cabinets. That, according to many on Houzz, is dated.

  • jengumienny

    Agree, clutter on top of cabinets is going ASAP

  • schnable1
    One more comment, about globe pendants. They show dust.
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Order of operations is to always change lighting first. Electricians are more costly than you think to add more lights, etc, but having the proper light in the room will make the biggest difference.

    You want an electrician who understands lighting, not just wires. Or to work with the designers at his supply house for replacement lights that have a high Color Rendering Index. That’s more important than lighting temperature.

    A warm white light under 3000K can still render your colors more realistically than a 3500K with a low CRI index. Visualizing colors correctly in your space will make a big difference in all steps moving forward.

  • ajrmcr

    I agree with the other posters who say that the floor has a pink undertone and will be the element that limits/throws off the white cabinets.

    Buy a large piece of white poster board and tape it to your existing lower cabinets. See if you like white next to your floors. I speculate that the floors are going to look dirty. I am not saying that they actually are dirty. That color floor combined with white cabinets always looks this way.

    At least you will enter with your eyes wide open and not be the poster asking for help about how wrong the color of their white cabinets looks.;) Good luck!

  • jengumienny

    I’m going to change all the current lightbulbs to daylight or bright white/cool white. Currently they are soft white and are definitely giving the kitchen a yellow hue.

    I did the white paper test and there are no pink tones at all. The lighting is a definite factor in my kitchen.

  • Heather N

    Our kitchen sounds similar to yours in many ways. We went with a warm white/gray/taupe on the perimeter cabinets (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter) and a dark blue on the island (Benjamin Moore Evening Sky). I wanted something light but not stark white on the outer caninets. The cabinets look very pale almost white in sunlight and look darker in the evening. Mixed metals...Brass hardware on cabinets (from Classic Brass). Stainless steel range top and faucets. Ignore the counter stools in this pic, they were just temporary ones and don’t match the rest of the kitchen!

  • Heather N

    Also, I’m pretty sure that the stools in your dream kitchen (Copper Crest) are from Restoration Hardware if you want to copy them...they look exactly like our RH stools

  • Heather N

    Looking at your inspiration kitchens, I don’t think you will be happy with just painting your cabinetry. To me, your raised panel doors are much more traditional and won’t translate well to the more contemporary transitional style that you seem to like. I tend to like the same style of the pictures you said were your inspiration photos. If you’re happy with your layout, then you might be happier getting new doors made in the color/style you want instead of repainting the doors and keeping the cabinet boxes. Professionally repainting cabinets can be very expensive, so it might not be an enormous cost difference.

  • athomeeileen

    I love your floor and your cabinets are very pretty as is. Lighten up everything else. Get the dark stuff down from the cabinet tops. Add more lighting and replace the pendants. Get brighter and cooler bulbs. Do you have undercabinet lighting? You should. Do cream countertops. I even like the range hood with the curlicue.

    The kitchen you have right now is way better than the very generic pinterest hobby lobby fake floor looking inspiration kitchen. You can make this your dream kitchen.

  • jengumienny

    I’m going to get a quote to replace the doors. What style is your cabinet Door?

  • PRO
    Fairway Style Living

    Hi, Jen--

    I've had a lot of success with Silestone Lagoon as my countertop and solid backsplash material. It easily recreates a natural stone appearance (that, for me, looks like a light marble often seen in either historic patisseries or Nancy Meyers films - you choose) but is practically indestructible and cleans up with Windex. It's nuts how hard-wearing it is.

    Serene Family Home · More Info

    I used it throughout in replacing my kitchen and bath counters, with a full splash in the kitchen, and also used remnants to create a MB nook and a bar in the dining room. I think it could give your cabinets a whole new lease on life once you get the lighting situation ironed out.

    jengumienny thanked Fairway Style Living
  • missenigma

    Regarding changing out light bulbs . . . start with a 3000K and with a Color Rendering Index of 90 (it's on a scale from 0 to 100) or better. This will be very similar to the light given off by halogen bulbs. Then if you still want to go more cool, bluish move the temperature up to 3500K, again with a CRI of 90 or better.

    Ignore the manufacturer's labels of soft white, warm white, daylight etc. There's no standardization of terms between or even within manufacturers. Look on the box for the actual color temperature and CRI.

    It's all a matter of personal preference, but to me, and NOT to be insulting, the kitchen pics showing daylight bulbs posted above by Jamie Ludwig, has taken on the ambiance of a commercial office. I see a light quality on par with what you'd get from florescent light fixtures with 4' bulbs. The happy medium between the light over her stove and the rest of the room is with a temperature around 3000K.

    Again, that's what looks best to me, mileage for others varies.

  • Heather N

    I don’t know the style of the cabinet doors, but here are closeup pics.

    All of the tall cabinetry is one style with the rabbeted molding to match the paneled walls in the rest of the room. All of the lower cabinetry is the slightly fancier shaker style. Your cabinets are sort of between partial and full overlay from the pictures - full overlay would be the more current look right now if you have an option between the two.

    regaring missenigma’s post about the lighting - I agree that rooms look better when the lights are all the same tone, either a cooler white or warmer white and not a mix. It’s hard with the light over the stove because you don’t always have an option with it. I personally like the dim-to-warm LEDs that are 3000k at full brightness, but get warmer in tone as you dim them. I strongly dislike LED lights that don’t get warmer when you dim them, they just look gray and washed out.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Jen, I think if you got rid of that hood and did something less ornate, got new counters/splash, lighting and hardware, you could still have the kitchen you like. All that white and gray would have some warmth w/the wood.

    You could always try that first. If you don't like it, then paint your cabs. In the interim, you'll have saved about 5-6K (that's what a good paint job would cost you. if someone says they can do it for 2K, run away!)

    I'm actually in the same dilemma in my own kitchen. I've decided to hang on to the wood since they are custom built/stained cabinets, and still in great shape. But they are 15 years old w/the backsplash/countertop. That is going to go, regardless.

    Is your flooring Silver travertine or Ivory?

  • lindastein


  • jengumienny

    I believe the floors are Ivory Travertine. The house was 5 years old when we moved in and we didn’t have any specs provided to us on the materials used

  • PRO
    karen paul interiors

    If it were my kitchen I would pull up the floor, take out the countertop and island top material and replace the three pendant lights. The cabinets are very expensive and upscale, so I would use them as is for a basis of everything else that needs to be replaced.

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