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Ideas for updating kitchen with maple cabinets?

Sarah Bernal
last year

Hi. I like my kitchen but would like to update it a bit (it's about 15 years old). I know the maple cabinets are not the most popular look these days, but they are in good condition so I can't justify replacing them (or even painting/staining them). But I am open to replacing the granite since there is some damage to it. I'm also thinking maybe a more updated backsplash would be good? Maybe a encaustic/morrocan type tile backsplash (with blues/greys) with a white quart counter? If it matters, the kitchen opens up into the living room (that has colors of taupe/white/black/teal). Thanks in advance for any ideas!









Comments (58)

  • stillpitpat

    I have a turquoise back-painted glass backsplash (and floor), but that's quite a commitment. I don't have specific tile suggestions, as I didn't really look at tile for myself. But I have seen so many really nice tiles on here. You could do teal, or you could do a mix of colors. You could also bring teal in with textiles or with wall paint (if you do a more plain backsplash). I like the tile you posted.

  • fnmroberts

    http://s1277.photobucket.com/user/treeshouse/library/Kitchen?sort=6&page=1


    Painted ours. Used Cabinet Coat and hsve held up really well for at leas 7-8 years

    Sarah Bernal thanked fnmroberts
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  • stillpitpat

    These are all from Tilebar


    The flower is blue but is hard to see in this pic




    We have this one in white. It's 3d and is really neat.




    Also 3d


    Textured

    Sarah Bernal thanked stillpitpat
  • stillpitpat

    Ooh, I love this



    There are a lot more pretty combos on Tilebar. Go to "colors," then "multicolor," then page 2.

  • Sarah Bernal

    Oh, these tile examples are gorgeous. I love that last one too!


  • Sarah Bernal

    What do people think about the floors? They are red oak (I think) and about due to be refinished. I was just going to keep them the same (no stain). But would a darker color look good? Or clash with the maple cabinets?

  • Olychick

    Keep them light. Dark is impossible to keep clean and are dated, even now. Your unstained floors are classic and never out of style.

    Sarah Bernal thanked Olychick
  • Jora

    Hi Sarah, we have the same exact cabinet (colors) as you, and finding the right countertop and backsplash proved very challenging. I ditto the first individual who responded on keeping everything light and neutral. You'd be amazed!

    Sarah Bernal thanked Jora
  • arcy_gw

    "Updating"?? What's your goal to find something that will stand the test of time or something that you will tire of and get to "update" again and again and again? Your cabinets are beautiful. Leave them be. The back splash over all look is neutral even if the tile is no longer the "IT" product. Be happy it's not a loud floral!! You could swap it out for on trend subway but in the end over all you would have the same look, big picture. This idea that kitchens are throw pillows and should be updated every five years is INSANE. Yours looks in good repair. I don't see the NEED to do anything.

  • stillpitpat

    I agree that it looks fine, but if she's tired of it after 15 years (NOT 5), and the granite is damaged, she should change it if she wants. As to leaving her cabinets be, she says "I can't justify replacing them (or even painting/staining them)." Sounds to me like she's already planning to leave them be.

    Sarah Bernal thanked stillpitpat
  • mnmamax3

    Totally get needing a change! Update the counters first, then the backsplash. I think the aqua/teal color would be fun, and I love the fun patterns.

    Two things to consider:

    You will get tired of the pattern eventually, so be prepared to replace at least the backsplash again before the rest.

    Make sure you choose creamy, warm colors for tiles and counter that compliment your cabinets and don't pull the yellow. You have a lovely space - can't wait to see how it comes out!

    Sarah Bernal thanked mnmamax3
  • stillpitpat

    ^true about the patterns. Definitely something to keep in mind.

    Sarah Bernal thanked stillpitpat
  • Sarah Bernal

    Thanks. @mnmamx3, so you think pure white counters (along with backsplash tiles that have a white base) would not work well? I was thinking it might keep things from looking kind of blah and dreary.


    I know the backsplash pattern won't be in trend forever...but we plan to be in the house another 5-7 years, so hoping I will at least still like it during that time!

  • tracymoncure

    Perfect timing. I've been trying to figure out what to do with our little kitchen. We live in a cottage in a retirement community so I can't do a lot, but I can do tile and these ideas are beautiful.

  • mnmamax3

    Sarah, I'm no expert, I've just seen tonal clashes in other projects before. I love the plan but remember the colors in your living room have far less woodtone to contend with. Pure white is relative. There are so many variances in even the whitest white that can give it a slight undertone that can clash with your cabinets or floor. Also keep in mind you lighting can affect how it looks. You can buy lighting in various options to even out coolness or warmth.

    Go get counter samples (as big as they will let you check out) and bring them home to your house. You will figure out pretty quickly what does and does not work with your wood.

    Sarah Bernal thanked mnmamax3
  • Janie Gibbs-BRING SOPHIE BACK

    Hi Sarah,

    What lightbulbs are you currently using?

  • stillpitpat

    Yes, getting samples is essential.

  • NewEnglandgal

    Sarah I think you should get whatever countertop YOU want. Do you want all white or even like all white?I love your maple cabinets and think you could do a lot of counters with them whether quartz or granite that are still light in color. Here are a few examples of Quartz:

    The first is Cambria Kelvingrove with an aqua color glass subway tile. It has more tan and brown tones.

    The second is Cambria Skar Brae which has a greyish tan color but still has a lot of the white.




    Here is Skar Brae on a slab


    This is from MSI website: Calacutta Laza



    or Calacutta Verona:


    For Granites you have all kinds of choices.

    What do you want your accent colors to be, especially in your backsplash? Some of those above are gorgeous. Have fun and play around with different combinations. Your choices are many and yes your light bulbs will make a huge difference in how your kitchen colors appear.



    Sarah Bernal thanked NewEnglandgal
  • doreenspader

    Hi Sarah. Both your living room and kitchen look lovely on their own. But if you're looking to freshen up your kitchen, I'd suggest to have it mirror your living room. Although you're not wanting to, I'd say to paint your cabinets white or off white to balance the fireplace. It would help to bounce light around the room, too. And I always feel you should put in your home things that make you happy-those encaustic tiles you showed are pretty, but if you're worried about being too trendy or specific for resale in several years, perhaps a marble backsplash with a neutral countertop. You can add your own personality and colors thru accents that won't mean major renovations--perhaps you can put together a few tiles, frame them and hang it behind the stove. Or white wall cabinets with a teal island base with matching countertops. Or all cabinets white with your barstools having the color or pattern. Your floors are beautiful - unless they need refinishing I'd leave them. Either way, if you're looking to sell in a few years, I'd keep in classically neutral with your personality in your accents. Best of luck -you have a great base to work with!

    Sarah Bernal thanked doreenspader
  • deegw

    There are some beautiful Moroccan tile look rugs and runners. I would satisfy my Moroccan tile lust with one of those and go more subtle on the backsplash.

    You don't have a lot of space between your counters and the bottom of your cabinets. Strong patterns need space to breathe, I think a strong patterned backsplash has the potential to look cramped and busy in your kitchen.

    The other issue with strong or large patterns is the repeat. You need to make sure that the repeat will fit nicely under your cabinets. If not, the tile setter will have to make too many cuts and the pattern will be ruined.

    Sarah Bernal thanked deegw
  • mnmamax3

    d-gw: great points about the pattern. Sarah - keep in mind there are lots of cool SHAPES of tiles that can give you the interest you are looking for without concerns about pattern headaches. I personally chose a handmade minty tile but in a fun pattern and a very plain grey countertop. I do love the look of patterns but I just replaced my backsplash to get rid of the accent tiles I had and wanted to choose something I could tweak with different hardware or accessories.

    Sarah Bernal thanked mnmamax3
  • deegw



    I"m not sure how old your appliances are but have you considered replacing the OTR microwave with a hood? It would help break up the line of cabinets and open up the space. I also covered your cabinet by door, I think taking that out would open up the space as well.

    Obviously, you'd have to find a spot for a smaller microwave. Perhaps a shelf in the island?

    I apologize for the terrible photoshop skills. It's from the Houzz sketch function.

    Sarah Bernal thanked deegw
  • nosoccermom

    So, I have a question regarding replacing an OTR MW with a hood (not under cabinet hood). How do you create enough space for the hood? Assuming that the current cabinet is 30" (like the MW and range), how do squeeze a hood in there? Or how do you rearrange the upper cabinets to make space for the hood?

  • Kate
    No need to rearrange the cabinets. Remove the two over the microwave and find a 30” hood to fit. I think that would go a long way.
  • Sarah Bernal

    Interesting. I never thought about replacing the microwave with a hood (I never use those cabinets anyway). Could be good. Although I think I really want to keep a microwave, so I'd have to figure out where I could put one (counter, in the island somewhere, etc.).

  • Jora

    Sarah and nosoccermom - Sarah, we have/had almost the same kitchen (cabinet color, OTR microwave, the 'lone' cabinet to the far right of the pix). We took out our microwave, and had a difficult time finding a beautiful wall hood that would fit into our space (30" wide, with a 6" duct) to avoid major overhaul of that area.

    We ended with an under cabinet hood, and hubby built/is building a cover for it to give the illusion of a wall hood. :)

    MANY DIYers have posted on how to make this happen. Might want to check them out.

  • redsilver

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Fasade-18-in-x-24-in-Traditional-1-PVC-Decorative-Backsplash-Panel-in-Matte-White-B50-01/206110615 It comes in a variety of colors. I would hesitate to put a lot of blue or teal item in the kitchen, unless it is amongst a variety of other small colors, to a certain extent. I hope you can find something that is less busy for the counter surface, maybe with only a small amount of pattern in it, and than find something like this product to finish the look for your kitchen? Matte White is just one of the many colors. I can see 4 or more tones, in this product that would look nice, and it does mimic the divided light of the windows in your den I noticed. The price varies with the hue selected.. From your photos I guess you have the walls painted a greige that goes gray or tan depending on the light or time of day? Very very pretty living/kitchen area !!!!!

  • nosoccermom

    I was ready to rip out my MW and upper cabinet until I realized that a wall hood might be a problem. I haven't found an easy answer (i.e. trying to rearrange uppers).

  • new-beginning

    and if you don't have under cabinet lighting, please be sure to add some BEFORE changing countertop and backsplash.

  • deegw

    nosoccermom, there are some decent looking under cabinet hoods. Have you looked at that those? I used one to replace my OTR microwave in my last house. Then we reconfigured the wall oven cabinet by lowering the existing oven and added an open cabinet for the microwave. Excuse the bright red, it was the early 2000s. I can't believe I redid this kitchen over 15 years ago!

    It was tricky to find an under cabinet hood that worked with my preexisting clearances.



  • Jora

    nonsoccermom - We had a set of cabinets above the range, and built our 'sudo' wall hood cover around it. We took out the cabinet doors, and hid the cabinets under wood cover, where the original/now duct is. We built that part of the hood so that it's removable should we ever need to get to the hood/duct to repair.

  • nosoccermom

    Interesting thought; and, yes, an under cabinet hood would work. But I don't want to hijack the thread.

  • Sarah Bernal

    It's been a year since I posted, but I did want to include an update! We decided to paint the cabinets, refinish the floors (they really needed it), add some molding/legs to the island, and replace the counters and backsplash. I went pretty traditional with white and greys and am still looking for an opportunity to put some accents of color. But I'm very happy with how it turned out! It was a somewhat dark morning when I took the photos, but in real life it's very bright and cheerful!

  • celerygirl

    Wow! Great transformation! What paint color you used? Did you paint yourself? Share please more info and thank you for update. great kitchen!

    Sarah Bernal thanked celerygirl
  • Sarah Bernal

    Thanks! Here are some of the details. We did not paint ourselves, had a local cabinet painting company do it. The perimeter cabinet paint color is SW Snowbound, island paint color is SW Peppercorn. The island counter is Silestone Lyra and the perimeter counter is Steel Grey leathered granite. Backsplash tile is Home Depot Jeffrey Court Weathered Grey. Floors were stained with a mix of dark walnut and special walnut stain.

  • celerygirl

    Thank you, Sarah! One more question about wall color, please

  • Sarah Bernal

    We left the original wall color, BM Pale Oak!

  • celerygirl

    thank you, like color combination.

    Sarah Bernal thanked celerygirl
  • doreenspader

    Oh yay! I’m so glad you updated with pictures! I absolutely love your choices. Looks very cohesive with your family room. The floors look wonderful! I’m sure you feel happy with everything. For some, it’s hard to put paint on wood. But this is a perfect example of how lovely it can be! Congrats!!

    Sarah Bernal thanked doreenspader
  • lobby68

    This is the perfect counter-post to every time we tell someone not to paint their cabinets. It looks great.

    Sarah Bernal thanked lobby68
  • Olychick

    It turned out beautifully!

    Sarah Bernal thanked Olychick
  • bouncy5

    It looks great! You did a good job. If mine I would add some touches of teal. Maybe one or 2 things on your countertop in teal. Something that would be useful not just pretty,and maybe a rug.

    Sarah Bernal thanked bouncy5
  • Jules M

    Beautiful - you did a great job!!

    Sarah Bernal thanked Jules M
  • bac717

    Your kitchen looks fabulous. I am still going back and forth with the paint or not to paint our maple kitchen cabinets and your pictures are quite the inspiration!

    Sarah Bernal thanked bac717
  • Sarah Bernal

    I was definitely hesitant to paint the maple cabinets. But honestly the paint looks factory applied (they did the doors offsite in their shop, so I guess it is pretty much factory applied) and so durable.

  • Dream Sofa

    would you mind sharing the approx. cost (and your general location) of the cabinet painting)? Thanks.

    Sarah Bernal thanked Dream Sofa
  • anna_682

    Nice job. :)

    Sarah Bernal thanked anna_682
  • Design Girl

    Beautiful job Sarah. So many people are hesitant to paint wood cabinets, but you could have never achieved what you did without painting them. It looks wonderful

    Sarah Bernal thanked Design Girl
  • dreamsofashopping

    Thanks so much for sharing the cost!

  • Sarah Bernal

    The total cost was about $12k and we are in North Carolina. Keep in mind this includes things beyond the kitchen update (like refinishing all of hardwoods on first floor and hiring movers to move the furniture to the garage, etc.).

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