Seeking suggestions for paint colors for kitchen cabinets/walls

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I want to paint our kitchen cabinets/walls, but have a dilemma. The ceilings are wood beams stained a medium cherry/brown - fairly dark overall. Currently the cabinets are a dark wood as well. One wall is brick (which previous owners artistically painted w/a little black and white to look 'rustic'.) One of the walls is wood panels stained a medium brown. The hall and entry that feed off of the kitchen are of the same wood beams. An alcove we use as our 'dining room' is the only paintable walls and they are currently beige. My island is red/grey and all my kitchen accessories that we brought from our previous home are red/black/silver. We live in the mountains so I want a cabin/rustic feel. I originally thought I'd paint the cabinets cream with a brown antique glaze but with all the red/black, not sure that would work. Now I'm considering grey cabinets w/black antique glaze but fear that will be too 'modern'. I thought I'd do the alcove in a light grey, but again fear a modern feel. Any suggestions/advice would be most appreciated. I'm NOT an interior decorator at all. I get ideas, but have a difficult time bringing them to fruition in an aesthetic manner. :-) One question I had: could I do the cream cabinets and still get away with the grey/red walls/counters and black/red dishes.
  23 answers
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 04, 2013
    Hi Liz! Im no decorator either, but I have dark cherry ceiling with dark hardwood floors and have faced this too. I wanted the cozy rustic look, and tried one wall with a chocolate brown, and it felt like the room shrunk to half its size. Unless your rooms are massive and have cathedral ceilings, i would go light colors and focus on adding rustic items around the rooms and wall hangings. You can still achieve the rustic theme and not feel like the room is caving in on you. Hope this helps ;)
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 04, 2013
    Antique cabinet drawer pulls and that sort of thing. ;)
  • Liz Liz on Dec 04, 2013
    Thanks, Michelle. Yes, I thought the same thing about shrinking the room with too dark of colors. That's why I originally did think of the cream color cabinets, but with my red/black theme throughout just fear it will clash. We do have vaulted ceilings (sorta) they are a typical A-frame on one side and then a lower A-frame type ceiling on the other side. Odd, but still high ceilings so that helps. Plus our floors are a light oak like laminate. (not my favorite, but at least it is light.) So going a little darker with the cabinets COULD work. But I don't think very dark. Good idea on putting 'rustic' pieces throughout.
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 04, 2013
    Pics might help us visualize, but think about stenciling to tie into the red/black and things like that. Id go with staining the cabinets to match the wood beams, stencil or accent with red/black and go light on the walls...maybe a soft light gray.
    • Liz Liz on Dec 04, 2013
      @Michelle I'll try to put some pics up in the next couple of days. I think the cabinets need to be lighter to 'lighten' up the room. Plus I think I'm just not a fan of the dark wood look of the cabinets, to be honest. Not sure why. Maybe b/c there's so much wood in the room and the joining hallway already,
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 04, 2013
    Could even do the A frame wall as an accent wall...darker on it and lighter on the others
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 04, 2013
    You could even tie in the red/black like this...use a silver/gray drawer pull...paint walls gray to bring out the drawer pulls.
    • See 1 previous
    • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
      @Liz Michelle, the more I look at this, the more I like it. I know my room is darker, but if I could lighten up the backsplash behind the sink I might be able to pull off doing the red on teh bottom cupboards at least.
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Dec 04, 2013
    I have done many kitchens and barn red cabinets definitely gives a rustic feel. Have also crackle painted them with a dark brown under barn red to show through. Also the greys are modern so I would shy away from that unless your going to make the WHOLE room modern rustic... Whites, creams, greys. Ways to incorporate black are minimalistic, like in stenciled words on a wall or chalk boards or a framed chalkboard wall, etc..
  • Liz Liz on Dec 04, 2013
    Debbie, Do you think the red on the cabinets would be too dark for the rest of the room with the ceilings being dark wood? I had considered red as I really like red in the kitchen. My dishes are red and black - will that matter if I decide to not keep that overall theme in the kitchen? Could I do a lighter color (like a warm grey or a cream) on the upper cabinets with the red on the bottom? Would using a brown glaze over the red clash if I have so much black in my dishes and accessories? I like the idea of using the black minimally. I already have a blackboard that I made from our old baby crib that I want to put in there. Hmmmm.... good ideas. I'll try to add a photo of the space soon.
    • See 2 previous
    • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Dec 06, 2013
      @Liz Me too!! About your walls... Is there much space to be painted? If not do them either white or cream to lighten up the room and go ahead and do the cabinets the red either way crackle or straight. They will draw the eyes up to them and be the focal point of the room. Also might try a chalkboard section...
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 05, 2013
    Many shades of red out there, so you could choose a lighter version too. Or do the crackle paint cream with red peeking through and black stenciling... :)
  • Margaret Barclay Margaret Barclay on Dec 06, 2013
    Living in a log home with wood everything I understand your problem. We solved it in the kitchen by painting the bottom cabinets only. Use a black splash to tie in the cabinet color with red being your accent color. (Yes brick can be painted). We left the upper cabinets alone since we could see them from the living room and cherry wood is very pretty but... we took the centers out of two of them and put in glass. Then some pretty dishes and bowls ties the whole thing together. Good luck
  • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
    Nicole - when I pulled up the link, there were tons of kitchen pics. Not sure which one you meant. I'm gonna try to take pics now of the space so you all can see my dilemma. It's an odd configuration of wood/brick etc.
  • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
    Great ideas Margaret. I have seen a couple ideas where the bottom cabinets were different colors than the top. I do like that. I don't know that I like our current cabinets enough to leave them as is. :-) However, the glass front is an interesting thought. Although I'm not sure I'm neat enough to pull that off. Ha. The brick is already painted with a black and white wash like feel - not completely covered, but enough to make it look a bit more weathered/worn I guess. I like the brick well enough, it's just the dark on dark that gets to me.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 06, 2013
    Why not repaint the brick wall a nice off white? Its hard to get the picture in my head without a picture, but also do the cabinet in the off white . Maybe do the one paintable wall a sage green, do the Island in the off white. Even with the dark ceiling it should be light enough that the one will play off the other and lighten and enlarge the room. Maybe have some open cabinets or just some open shelves. That is what I am going to do.
  • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
    Thanks Terra. The one thing is I have black/red/silver accents for the rest of the kitchen. My island is already red and grey. And all my dishes/serving ware are red/black. I decided I should stay in those colors to avoid feeling the need to purchase new stuff. :LOL! I have pics I'm going to try to post now.
  • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
    I'm going to attempt to add photos. Please ignore my mess. It's a small space for 8 people and we have a lot of stuff. I tried to show the dark, high ceilings, the dark cabinets, the brick wall, and the one paintable alcove. The hall connecting to the kitchen is also the dark wood that you see above the fridge. So.... a lot of wood that I don't want to paint. I had considered painting the brick, but have decided to hold off on that till I see what the rest of the room looks like painted lighter. Hopefully this shows our weird vaulted yet divided high ceilings. The light 'paneling' is the only light portion of the ceiling. I will paint that to either match the cabinets or the ceiling. We still aren't sure WHY the contractor did THAT? If you put something to cover the opening there, match the wood for crying out loud. LOL! Anyway. Hope this helps people see my dilemma. Keep in mind I'm hoping to keep with the read/black/silver accents/accessories we already have from our previous home.
  • Liz Liz on Dec 06, 2013
    Here are the photos in a smaller size
  • Sandra Hellewell Sandra Hellewell on Dec 06, 2013
    I have to redo my kitchen in the spring/summer so I've done a lot of research & after looking at your pictures, this is what I would do if it was my kitchen. 1st I would whitewash the ceiling but leave the beams as is. I would paint the pot rack a bright apple red. I would paint the walls in a light silvery grey. I would paint the cabinets with a good quality exterior paint so they stand up to the wear & tear & I would do them in a nice creamy white & forget the antique glaze! If you are determined to use the antique glaze, I would get 2 complimentary colors & do the base coat in 1 color & then topcoat in another & then distress the edges & around the knobs etc. (where any natural wear would occur) & then put the antique glaze on. Put satin nickel hardware on the cupboards & drawers & I think it would look fantastic! And if you can afford it, change out the light fixtures to something more current. That would be the frosting on the cake! Good luck!
  • Michelle Michelle on Dec 07, 2013
    Please share pics when you decide...I would love to see the transformation! ;)
    • Liz Liz on Dec 07, 2013
      @Michelle I will try to do that. It's probably going to be a while before it gets done. I have to make my decision then save up the money to purchase all the stuff I want to use. LOL! It's just so hard to decide. I fear if I go with the reds it'll be too dark; if I go with greys it'll be too modern. Hmmmm.... I'm leaning toward red on the bottom cupboards and grey on the tops then putting a backsplash that brings it all together. I still like the antique glaze idea b/c it feels like it would give it a slightly more rustic feel. Maybe I'll do the countertops in black like the one picture I think you posted. I do hope to change out the ancient lighting to some rustic lighting like mason jars or wagon wheels or something. I've appreciated all the suggestions.
  • Cathy P Cathy P on Dec 07, 2013
    Help answer this question...I would paint a cream color, and maybe stencil a border in coordinating colors.
    • Liz Liz on Dec 07, 2013
      @Cathy P I had considered cream cabinets but will all my red/grey/black accessories, I'm not sure it will blend.
  • Liz Liz on Dec 07, 2013
    Thanks, Sandra for such concrete suggestions. You have some great ideas. Sounds like you have done a lot of research. Unfortunately we want to maintain the 'cabin' feel with the wood ceilings. I don't think we'd white wash them. However, I do think it would be pretty - just not the look we are going for. I like your silvery grey idea. I do hope to change out the lighting. Been looking at fun 'rustic' lighting to use in there. I am NOT a fan of the lovely track lighting in white - especially next to the beautiful wood. Sigh. Thanks for taking the time to give me your suggestions. When you do your kitchen, it would be fun to see pics.
    • See 1 previous
    • Liz Liz on Dec 08, 2013
      @Sandra Hellewell I do appreciate your suggestions. Yes, all the wood in the room is dark. That's why I so want to change up the cabinets to something else. There is a window at the dining area that we will usually have opened letting in lots more light, but a bear broke into our kitchen window and messed up the blind so we can't raise it right now. LOL! The white wash idea is a good one, but for now we want to keep the true wood beams. I wish the owners that stained them had left them light. Theres a couple closets that show just the pine wood ceiling. Beautiful and so much lighter. But... Yes, part of why I don't want to mess with the ceilings is the work. They are vaulted/cathedral ceilings and to be on a ladder to paint and wipe would just be no fun. I too am just biding my time to save up money and make the time to do the work. We just moved to our home a year ago and have slowly been making it our 'home'. we have 6 kids we homeschool so it's a slow process. It's also a small space for 8 of us, so part of my dilemma in all rooms is being creative with all the stuff we have and making it look halfway decent. LOL! Good luck with your projects as well. I had thought of white washing the brick wall in our kitchen too, but for now am going to leave it and see what I think once everything else is done.
  • Cathy P Cathy P on Dec 08, 2013
    I want thinking of you painting the cabinets,I thought you were referring to the wall! Sorry!
    • Liz Liz on Dec 08, 2013
      @Cathy P No problem. I will be painting the one small alcove section, but I assume I need to 'match' it somewhat with the cabinets. I originally had planned to go a cream/antique white sort of color, with browns, but once I realized just how much red/black accessories I had, decided it wouldn't work. LOL!
  • Cathy P Cathy P on Dec 08, 2013
    Help answer this question...wasn't°
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