phoebe3

What goes with walnut laminate cabinets?

phoebe3
November 7, 2019
last modified: November 7, 2019

I'm in escrow to purchase a home with walnut laminate kitchen cabinets. While they could be painted, I prefer not to do that. Everything is in pristine condition despite being nearly 50 years old.


I'm not certain I can change the hardware because the escutcheon is likely to leave a mark, but the knobs and escutcheons could be painted. The knobs and the hinges are very ornate. It seems like replacing the knobs with something plainer would require also replacing the hinges and I am willing to do that if necessary.


So I'm left with changing the counter/sink, appliances and floor. The drop ceiling will be going away first. :-)


Also, we will move the washing machine to the garage and will replace with a cabinet and sink for a beverage station since there is already plumbing in place.


Question: Would going all white with the appliances, sink and counter, along with a more neutral floor look OK? I assume the cabinet replacing the washing machine would also be white since matching the walnut laminate is probably impossible. If white is too stark, how about bisque? Or would it be better to go with stainless appliances? If the appliances are stainless, what about the counter, sink and replacement cabinet?


Thanks for your advice and opinions!






Comments (45)

  • eam44

    Swap out the yellows for off-whites and this gorgeous space will be perfect, true to its heritage, and updated for the future. The time to fix that ceiling is before you move in - the dust needs a few weeks to settle.

    Just yesterday Buehl posted an image of the kitchen at Farnsworth house (Mies van Der Rohe's gem of a home in IL). Here is the original kitchen in that home, a lovely combination of walnut and white.


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  • phoebe3

    Thank you. Would you replace the appliances with off-white, as well?

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  • Kendrah

    How nice that those cabinets are in such great condition. I put my hand over the stove when looking at the pictures you posted so I could just see it with the white of the fridge and dishwasher and I think it looks great with white. I personally would go with white instead of off-white. I think it will look more contemporary.


    Consider too that you will now have a space above your cabinets when you remove the drop ceiling. (So glad that is going.) This is going to change somewhat the look of your kitchen.

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  • eam44

    You know, I'd probably go with stainless for the appliances. If you include a beverage fridge in your drink station, the cabinet gets smaller - it really just becomes a surround - and any inconsistency in the wood will be less noticeable.

    What's going on with those corner windows - I that the desk? I'd love to see more images. There's something wonderful about seeing a space so well cared for.

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  • phoebe3

    Thank you. The drop ceiling is only about 6" from the real ceiling, but the ceiling is in good shape other than having the original vent in it (remember when vents were in the ceiling instead of over the stove?). If it looks weird without the drop ceiling, we will add a soffit above the cabinets.

  • eam44

    Counter: White Corian, stainless steel, OR white laminate

    Sink: Stainless steel single bowl drop-in, preferably a work station like Rachiele

    Appliances: Counter-depth fridge with a panel that matches - if possible - your walnut; panel on the DW as well, and a stainless steel range and beverage fridge.

    Floor: if there are hardwood floors in the rest of the house I'd bring them into the kitchen.

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  • felizlady

    The problem with white appliances is that “appliance white” often can have a blue or other color undertone. If you find pure white appliances in a modern style, they may work. I would go with sleek-styled stainless steel appliances with your modern cabinetry. Painting the metal knobs would probably be a waste of energy and money. I would leave them for now unless you find new knobs with large escutcheons which will cover the scars. You are on the right track with your list of changes. MCM homes often have terrazzo flooring. As suggested, have the drop ceiling removed right away so you will know what you are dealing with as you plan your renewal.
    This will be an exciting project to watch: I hope you will keep us posted as you proceed.

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  • jupidupi

    I think you can't go wrong with either white or cream, although white will give you a lot more choices in appliances, and it won't be as tough to match different brands. If they work, please don't send that stove and hood to the scrap heap. A lot of people would love to have harvest gold to brighten up their kitchen. At the very least, you can get them taken away for free, and quite possibly get some money for them.

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  • phoebe3

    Yes there is a small desk there. The window to the right looks into a sunroom that was created from the original patio. The window to the left and the one above the sink look into the back yard. They are white vinyl.


    Unfortunately, there isn't enough room in that corner for a banquette - meals must be eaten at the desk or in the formal dining room.


    The couple that lived there bought the house when it was new and lived there until they passed away so they took great care of it. The wife passed this last summer at the age of 100 so I think the house has good karma.


    I'm sorry I don't have more images - I should have taken some when we did our walk-through. We close in three weeks.

  • jemimabean

    I love this kitchen.

    I agree that white appliances can sometimes have a blue tone to them, so I’d do all stainless appliances and either Glacier white Corian for the counters, or solid white laminate. If you went with Corian, you could do a seamless, integrated sink in the same color.

    What kind of material is the floor? I kinda want to leave it as is if it’s in good shape.

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  • mainenell

    The selection of appliances in bisque is very limited and basically only in the very low end of appliances.

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  • housegal200

    That's a charming kitchen in its own way. If you anticipate doing a complete renovation at some point, then stainless appliances will work in both scenarios. You could do a black speckled laminate countertop very affordably in the spirit of the house. The yellow floor is actually pretty compatible with the cabinets, but if it needs to be replaced then a checkerboard floor, black speckled laminate countertops, stainless appliiances could work. Here's how somone worked with pink countertops and cabinets like yours!


    This reminds me of a painted version of your kitchen:


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  • PRO
    Glo European Windows & Doors

    You may think I'm crazy but I think a linoleum floor would look great and stay true to the retro feel of that awesome kitchen. I would update everything else in the space with stainless steel appliances, under-mount stainless single basin sink, update door hinges, and do a Quartz countertop that resembles the look of Terrazzo.





  • phoebe3

    Thank you everyone! The floor is in very good condition. It looks like terrazzo, but is coved so it's probably linoleum. Based on some of the pictures and your comments, I'm going to go with stainless appliances first. They will go with the knobs which are a sort of dark steel. Then I'll see how it looks before replacing the counter and sink. It could be that the whole kitchen will be fine with the combination of walnut, stainless and the harvest gold floor, counter and sink. If not, those can be changed later. I also think I might find a stainless cabinet with sink to replace the washing machine and then I don't have to worry about matching the walnut laminate or the harvest gold countertop. I feel really good about this decision - thank you!

  • eam44

    Well - when you are able to, consider posting your layout. I know you want to keep the most beautiful elements of the space, and I think that's the right idea, but what if your beverage center were at the desk, and a little café table could fit where the washing machine is - it could change the function of the space without actually changing the space. Layout gurus here are exceptionally clever.

    Thanks for not asking how to fit an island into this space. I absolutely love your kitchen.

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  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    That drooped ceiling was to use it for th flourecsent lighting so it needs to go so you can update the lighting anyway Walnut and white kitchens are one of my favorite combos but I would do stainless appliances in this one FYI terazzo was often coved so be careful about that before demolishing it .I see nothing ornate about the hinges . I am the first one to rip out crappy old stuff but IMO you have a little gm there with a bit of tweaking it could be awesome

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  • phoebe3

    Ah, yes, the lighting. After removing the drop ceiling, I was actually thinking about running a continuous string of LEDs above the cabinets so they would light the ceiling without being visible. Then also put a string of LEDs under all the cabinets. I'm considering replacing that circular ceiling vent with a solar tube, but a statement lighting fixture would also work and if there are enough LEDs, it wouldn't have to really work as task lighting.

  • jhmarie

    I do love my white appliances and find the upkeep easier than stainless, but I also realize stainless is the top choice of most. Here is my wood kitchens idea book. There are not many (if any) with slab doors, but there are a lot of examples of different combinations of countertop, wall paint, backsplash etc. The wood tone varies so be sure to look at that if looking for ideas:

    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/75202366/list/wood-kitchens

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  • LT Dub

    Just found some pics with everyones suggestion of adding white






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  • tamara ballou

    I love the Walnut cabinets. please keep the hardware. I have cabinets like these in my home and I have never gotten tired of them. One thing I did because the laminate on the bottom cabinets started to get damaged so we decided to paint the bottom cabinets white and fill in chips. omg never again. White base cabinets are the worst for keeping them clean. every coffee drip shows. EVERY stain shows. I am constantly trying to keep them clean.

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  • phoebe3

    OK, I found a paint program. Pardon the crudeness of my ability. Here is the kitchen with stainless appliances only, stainless appliances with white counter, and white with white.




  • tamara ballou

    I like the new brushed stainless steel but I haven't heard anyone say what it is like to keep clean. White appliances are always classic. Are you going to change the backsplash or flooring?

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  • phoebe3

    If I change the counter, I also have to change the backsplash since it is all one piece. The flooring could be changed, but is also good enough to keep, if that's what looks best.

  • tamara ballou

    both white and stainless steel look good. I would wait until the ceiling is done and backsplash before I would do anything to cabinets. Lighting! you will be surprised at what a difference a change in the lighting will make. Please don't replace the one above the sink. That light is clean and goes so we'll with the cabinets. Switch up the bulb to Led if you can. Experiment with cool and warm bulbs. Look at more ideas under Scandinavian kitchens.

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  • tamara ballou

    Here is another look with contemporary kitchens I found on Pinterest

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  • tamara ballou

    I would not go with a different color of white. All the same shade of white. Otherwise I think the off white next to bright white appliance will make the off white muddy. You don't want people's eyes drawn to your bright white appliances against an off-white wall or countertop. Make it all the same color white or all off white. Choose something that will blend with the floor if you choose to keep it. You want everyone to see the Walnut cabinets first. That's the focal point. Stainless Steel appliances with black accents will look good too and bring out the hardware in the cabinets.

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  • tamara ballou

    You mentioned something about a vent in the ceiling. Is that your exhaust for the stove? Omg that's what I have been looking to purchase. The recessed vents in ceiling are coming back. I'm trying to convince my husband to buy one but they are VERY expensive. Mine needs to be in center over the island. I don't want an ugly metal beast hanging down in center of the kitchen.you can look at Miele or Futuro under ceiling exhaust

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  • tamara ballou

    Keep me posted! I would love to see the end results.

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  • Sammy

    Congratulations on your new home!

    Questions:

    1. Is that a drawer underneath the sink or a tilt-out? Or something else?

    2. In which area of the country is this home located?

    3. Why do you want to relocate the laundry to the garage?

    4. Who will be sharing this house with you—partner? kids? seniors? pets? Anyone with special needs?

    5. What flooring is in the adjacent rooms?

    6. Is the kitchen built on a slab, crawl space or basement foundation?

    7. What are your goals for this kitchen project?

    8. Are there any conditions or restrictions attached to this project—any “must haves” (or must NOT haves!); “will dos,” “will NOT dos?”

    9. Is there anything you would absolutely love to have in there or have the ability to do in there that you think is impossible or nearly impossible to make a reality?

    P.S. I love the name Phoebe; once had a horse by that name! ;)

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  • Paula A

    following b/c this reminds me of my grammy's old kitchen :-P

  • phoebe3

    It is a large drawer under the sink. Home is in northern Nevada. There is a washing machine in the kitchen and the dryer is in the garage. There isn't room in the kitchen for the dryer. The cabinets are custom made and are interconnected so you can't just remove one.. My partner and I are both seniors. There is a basement under the kitchen. Adjacent rooms have carpet over hardwood and we don't know the condition of the hardwood yet. My goal is to have it look nice - I am not interested in ripping out the existing cabinetry. I am looking for the smallest changes with the biggest impact. I am happy with 80% success.

  • housegal200

    What a great outlook you have. Why not just take down the dropped ceiling, get some stainless appliances, and see how it looks. Get a double bowl white drainboard sink, which would look great in your kitchen. Again, laminate is part of that era's style. This one's a little too high contrast, but there are similar with a kind of marbelized effect on the white squares. Here's a wood kitchen with checkerboard floor.

    There are checkerboard floors with faux wood squares as well. This would pair well with your faux wood cabinets!

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  • phoebe3

    OK, here are the two looks I think I like best: all white appliances, counter, walls with a neutral floor OR stainless appliances with walls painted to go with the harvest gold counters and floor. I guess I don't like mixing the Harvest Gold and White in the same room.


    Comments?



  • eam44

    Yeah - you can do better. Three colors max. Right now those original colors are white, wood, and yellow. Your Reno scheme should be white paint (or off white), stainless steel, and wood - preferably on the floor as well. The floors should change.

    It might be time for you to stop thinking about your kitchen right now, and start collecting inspiration images - not the ones we are providing, but images of walnut cabinet kitchens that you think are pretty. Start browsing the internet and come back and show us what looks good to you.

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  • Gcubed

    SS appliances, white Corian counter (and simple tile backsplash unless Corian can work as splash too?), undercabinet lights, recessed/can lights when ceiling is re-done

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  • justlol

    You mentioned that your washing machine is in the kitchen and dryer is in the garage with no room to bring the dryer inside. Have you thought about buying a washer and dryer that you can stack?

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  • phoebe3

    I considered it, but there are cabinets in the kitchen above the washer and they can't be removed piecemeal - we would have to remove the entire bank of upper cabinets. Moving the washer isn't a problem, though, as we would be happy to have another kitchen sink in it's place.

  • kps65

    What about black appliances?

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  • LT Dub

    Just saw this on a rental picture

    I’m always afraid of bold color but I thought I’d share it




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  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Beautiful kitchen, phoebe. Love the story about the previous owners -- may you enjoy all the good karma in the new house : ) .

    It might be worth looking for your desired appliances in your budget first. See what you can find in white, and then see what you can find in SS. That might be what helps you decide. Even white is getting harder to find as SS becomes the default. And I'd probably start with the fridge, because you may have to go with whatever fits in the space, esp given that all the cabinets are interconnected.

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  • eam44

    You can choose a statement backsplash, it’s a little out of keeping with the style of the kitchen but there are no rules as long as you keep the background neutral.

    In the image LT shows, it’s a larger kitchen with high ceilings, lots of wall space, and a neutral background of wood, white, and stainless. The overall look is more 2010 than classic timeless, but it is pretty.

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  • nessyquinche

    I think those cabinets are cool and the knobs look great too. I would go for stainless steel and black/ dark grey appliances. That will match the knobs and pull it all together. I am not a fan of white appliances unless it is in a all white kitchen. I think they would just look cheap in your kitchen.
    Are u planning on wood or tile flooring?
    I like your ideas for the led lights. As you say the light in the middle of the room is just decorative. I have led strip lighting under all my cabinets and I only use the main light when I hoover.

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  • teabagcathy62

    You might want to check out a different color appliance:I have graphite from abc wharehouse; they are more of a soft bronze gFrey color:very easy to keep clean and they also have some black on them: they are ge brand

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  • Jamie Travis

    Go for the modern look. Slate floors, stainless appliances, white tops (solid or very little color) & solid white backsplash. Keep cabs & hardware. It will look awesome!!!!

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  • Jamie Travis

    Oh & the area where the laundry is now, you will not be able to match so go with something else or it will look off. I would do a pantry cab with a door such as below. And modern lighting to pull it all together.

    phoebe3 thanked Jamie Travis

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