Betty-Anne J
Betty-Anne J
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Asked on Jul 11, 2012

Should I paint my kitchen cabinets?

Shirley CJeanene BoothYvette Saldivar
+48

Answered

These cabinets are about 30 years old but still look good I think. I have been throwing around the idea of painting them a off white colour. It is a hugh kitchen and would be a hugh job. Or, I could just paint the walls... it is a peanut shell colour now. What colour do you think? Also, I was thinking maybe just change the hardware. Should I have a runner or area run under the table. Any other ideas to spruce up this space would be welcome. HELP PLEASE!!
Cabinets and island
Cabinets and island
Opposite wall of cabinets
Opposite wall of cabinets
Sitting Area
Sitting Area
50 answers
  • Donna
    on Jul 11, 2012

    You are right - they do look good to be 30 years old! I think if you are happy with them, leave them alone. But if you are wanting a brighter, fresher look, painting the cabinets white would be the thing to do. And I would update the hardware, too. It would make a huge impact for not a lot of money. I would go with an area rug under the table and if it's in the budget, maybe some bar stools for the island. Best wishes!

  • Thistlewood
    on Jul 11, 2012

    I really like the color of your cabinets and I think if you are happy with the color....maybe a new color on the walls like SW Blonde or SW Ivoire. It's a really pretty neutral with hints of gold!

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jul 11, 2012

    Painting that many cabinets would be a huge project....doing the kitchen area alone and not the bank on the other side of the dinning area would look a little goofy. I would start with the wall color. see if that smaller project gives you an updated look.

  • The Space Between
    on Jul 11, 2012

    I agree with the feedback, it would be a huge job, and if you like the current color painting the walls might be the place to start! Or, what do you think of the look of painting only the top cabinets ... similar to this http://blog.holidaykitchens.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Wood-Stain-lower-painted-white-upper.jpg.

  • Jeanette S
    on Jul 11, 2012

    Painting a lighter color on the walls, something in a light pastel would be pretty...very light! There are greens with some taupe like tints and peachy colors that are not really peach but are very neutral. Then take down the dark objects on top of the cabinets to lighten more. wood cabinets are back in because light painted ones require an awful lot of cleaning to keep them pretty. Add some color in a run under your table. Remember....once you paint, you will have upkeep.

  • Betty-Anne J
    on Jul 11, 2012

    You girls are awesome... thank you so much for your input!!

  • Carroll A
    on Jul 11, 2012

    I like the cabinets. I would not paint them first. I would change the wall color, the curtains and add throw pillows, rugs etc. to add color. Then if you are still feeling like it needs more then paint the cabinets.

  • Designs by BSB
    on Jul 11, 2012

    How about painting the island ? :) get the focal off the size (wow you have a lot of cabinets !!) and give the room some focal.. draw the eye to the center so that it feels more cozy. Of course dependent on your wall color - Id suggest SW Creamy with a soft glaze :)

  • Jan C
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I'd paint the cabinet white, change the hardware and pick all or some of the upper cabinets and cut out the insert and install glass doors to keep it from being too much white. Then darken the walls a couple shades (I think you have enough windows) and add area rug, etc. for pops of color. Yes a lot of labor, but not a lot of money, and if the cabinets are 30 years old, once you do this, you'll have another 30 years of not having to do anything so the labor would balance out! :-)

  • Nancy Q
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Been there, done that with painting my cabinets white. It was a huge job and would never tackle it again. Thought I would never finish. Your cabinets look it great condition. I would definitely paint the walls with a punch of color, nothing neutral. Look at some new cabinet hardware. The box stores have a nice selection but cabinet shops can offer different options. Look for something that will stand out. I like your island lights, get two counter height chairs in black to coordinate with your light color, less space and more contrast. Look for some colorful pitchers, etc. to sit on top of your cabinets for more punch of color. It is color that you are missing here. If you wanted some glass inserts in your upper cabinet doors, maybe you could cut out center or take it to a cabinet shop to have it done. Go to a glass shop and pick out a beautiful color and texture and have it cut to fit. Could also consider some back-splash redo. Sorry for all the suggestions but I have been through two total kitchen renovations. Have learned a lot. I like your kitchen, just need color, that is what you are lacking.

  • Lori P
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Betty Anne, It seems we have the same taste in kitchens. I just painted my kitchen wall the same color you have; my cabinets are exactly the same color; dining table and chairs are the same; and I have the exact iron spoons and forks. Amazing! As far as painting your cabinets, it would be a huge job. I think they look great just as they are.

  • Judy J
    on Jul 12, 2012

    We redid our kitchen in 2007. I painted our oak cabinets and love them. We left the new island natural but I am ready for a change and am going to paint it a color this fall. You can see the process on the remodel page on web shots.http://community.webshots.com/user/nana5111 Don't be afraid.Just take your time. I took all the doors off and the hardware off. Sanded , painted ,wiped off. then stained and wiped off.Gave the look I wanted. It takes time but it was worth it. I did not paint the insides.I waited a long time to get the kitchen I dreamed of in this 110 year old house. Love it everyday. judy j http://hardincountykeepsakes.blogspot.com/

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I suggest starting with the walls and island. Either complimentary colors or shades of the same color. If that doesn't do the trick then proceed to your remaining cabinets - using a softer, more neutral tone of one of the colors you used previously. I painted my kitchen cabinets after 6 years of complaining and kicked myself that I didn't do it sooner. Mine were uglier than yours though. http://www.somewhatquirkydesign.com/2012/04/i-hate-my-kitchen.html It will be a lot of work, but I don't think you will regret it. I recommend splurging on Benjamin Moore Advanced Paints for this project. Less work in the long run and better results. Good luck!

  • Pat S
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I'm probably the odd one of the group in ways but here's my two cents. I would leave the cabinets alone (agree there) that would be the last thing I do. They are in good shape and would be a HUGE undertaking. I would go with painting the walls and ceiling yellow. I did this in my kitchen and even on cloudy days it looks light and bright. I'd look for a bright rug for under the table and chairs and center the table. Pick up or make a couple of yellow toss pillows for the black chairs. Go shopping in your house or thrifting for a small table that you can paint yellow or white for in between the chairs for a book or a drink, maybe a lamp. I think you can get away with just adding a matching yellow ribbon to the sides of the shades... A couple of stools instead of the dining chairs at the low end of the island that could be painted. Paint the wall or back of the built in and inside the glass door cabinets so inside displays pop... Maybe yellow isn't your color - I just love what it did to my kitchen- but pick a color you love and use it. I also used wine corks to change out all the knobs on the cabinets and drawers. GOOD LUCK whatever you decide!

    , excuse the mess I was cleaning The ceiling and walls are the same color the cabinets are a shade brighter
  • Sharon M
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I have painted kitchen cabinets, and it is very time consuming, messy, and basically a nightmare. To do them correctly, you must remove doors, hinges, and all hardware. The inside should be painted, also. If I had as many cabinets as you, and they are in good shape, I would only paint the island, the chairs in the room, and the walls. New door pulls can run into some big bucks, so replace them only if you hate the ones you have. I would jazz up the windows in the room with valances (maybe even curtains) that compliment your new wall color. Personally, I would go with a neutral color on the island, bright colors on the chairs, and a medium to dark color on the walls. A warm color on the walls would warm up the room and make it less caverness. This would be far less expensive, and color will brighten your day!

  • Amy S
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Paint the walls and the island...leave your cabinets as is:)

  • Just a Girl
    on Jul 12, 2012

    While the decision is ultimately yours, I can only tell you that if it were my kitchen, I would paint them in a heartbeat. The difference will be dramatic! Good luck deciding--not easy!

  • Ashley
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I would definitely try other things out before painting the cabinets! A brighter colour on the walls, and I also really like the idea of painting a contrasting colour on the island as someone else mentioned above. I could see a white with undertones of yellow on the walls, and maybe a soft blue with undertones of green on the island. Maybe throw some beadboard wallpaper on the island?!

  • Leslie D
    on Jul 12, 2012

    One thing to consider before you paint the cabinets is whether they are solid wood or a laminate. You would need to clean with TSP to remove any signs of grease and lightly sand the cabinets to remove any gloss for the paint to stick properly. Solid wood cabinets are easier to paint because the surface isn't as "slick" as a laminate and you don't have to worry about sanding that may penetrate the thickness of the laminate. Whatever the material, do your homework on prep before painting because it is a LOT of work and you wouldn't want the paint chipping. There are also special paints made that are more durable, so check with your local paint store pro for advice. If you decide to paint, we want to see pictures! I also like the idea of painting the island a different color.

  • Sherry B
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I wouldn't paint them. I think they look beautiful. Just do your walls for something diffrerent♥ Changing the hardware would give them a whole new look. As for the area rug..that would give it a whole different look and think its a great idea.

  • Deborah D
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I think a different wall color would make them look great. Everything just blends as one color

  • Bonnie
    on Jul 12, 2012

    I'm in middle of painting my cabinets white, they were same color as yours, and what a difference, just brightened up my kitchen! Yes lots of work but in the end very worth it :)

  • Paula V
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I would definitely paint them. The grain is a little heavy and really dark. I personally love cream so I painted my oak cabinets and put a glaze over the cream paint to give them a touch of the distressed look. I love it!

  • Donna R
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I'm on the side of painting. I'm faced with this in my kitchen also. Wanting to paint oak cabinets an off-white. I've looked at a lot of pics of white kitchens and they just seem more attractive to me. Calm, crisp, clean. All the wood grain showing is busy and it seems when that is painted over, all the decorative items pop more. You do have a LOT of cabinets! How nice. We decided to start with our laundry room cabinets first, to get a feel of how we like it, can we really do a good job and how much work it will be.

  • Natalie V
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I love the wood. Paint the walls. I am a white wall fan myself and like to get my color from the things I put on them. I like to hang pretty linen towels on some of my higher cabinet doors.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    Well I have to say, I would definately paint the walls a nice pale yellow/cream color to start AND because I love wood, and I also love big contrast...I have been seriously considering a project that I saw and fell in love with the look, which was painting the cabinet boxes and retaining the wood of the cabinet doors. The color scheme that I thought was so fabulous, the boxes were painted a royal/navy blue and the doors were in a Birch/natural kind of color it was just such a unexpected and beautiful look. Also I agree with the idea of painting the island, but I'd paint it either white or a cream color and in addition to that, I would paint the pedestal/base of the table and the chair legs and the the backs as well. keeping the table top and the chair seats in the natural wood finish. I truly love the combination of painted and wooden surfaces....it breaks things up and keeps them from being too monotonous! Regarding an area rug under the table, take it from me; either get an expensive rug that will hold up to multiple shampooing/cleaning or get a really cheap rug that you can afford to throw out about every three months...at least if you use the table on a daily basis...I only have adults at the table and the rug constantly has something dropped or spilled on it...and the more recently that I've cleaned it....the more disasterous the spill seems to be...LOL I finally just opt'ed for a cheap rug that I can cut up and use under the mulch to help keep the grass from taking over the flower beds...or take out and put on the patio for a while to have the gardening hubby wipe his muddy feet on...etc. in other words, if you really love the rug, don't use it under the table...

  • Jeanette S
    on Jul 13, 2012

    It does not matter what you do because in a short time it will be out of style. With all the home improvement shows and ideas shares, it seems things come and go so quickly. I remember the olive drab and no grain maples only to watch it move toward mauve and heavier grained oaks. Now we are back to olive drab and finer grains! Whew! Just cannot keep up. As for the rug, there are many manmade fabrics in rugs that are easier to keep than the natural fibers...try one of those. Also, do not pick a biege...get a multi-colored rug with some pattern and depth of color so it won't show the spills as much. Beautiful wood is always in style. It is how you compliment it that makes a difference!

    • Brig
      on Jan 15, 2015

      @Jeanette S, I totally agree about the ever-changing trends, and I think the people who "chase" those trends have way more $$$ and time than I do. Classics and natural materials never go out of style. OTOH, there are some manmade materials that have definitely made life easier. Go with what you like and don't worry about styles.

  • Nancy Q
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I totally agree with Jeanette S! I mentioned earlier that I painted my cabinets, well on the next kitchen renovation I had my husband tear them out, gut walls, move windows, you name it. The cabinets went to the utility room and shed! My new cabinets are cherry with walnut stain, love them still. As far as the rug, try an indoor/outdoor rug. They are sturdier and Jeanette is right, get a pattern.

  • Shirley C
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I just finished my kitchen redo. I'm a lover of the two toned look. I chose cream slightly distressed and espresso on some of my lowers and island. I had to work around my white appliances. I plan to post photos on my blog soon. I also think painting the walls and adding new cabinet hardware is an excellent idea. I am in love with my new kitchen. I am brand new here and would post photos here if I had them on my iPad. Sorry :( Please check in at organizethings.blogsot.com if interested in before and after photos.

  • Debbi C
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I love white kitchens and my past two homes have been all white with touches of the bright primary colors in knobs (red) canisters (blue) trim (sunny yellow) and some green nic-nacs here and there. I get lot's of compliments from my country-cottage-farm-themed, kitchen.....GO FOR IT!!!1

  • I'm for saving most of the wood as well....changing the knobs is an easy fix. You could also try painting the crown molding a jet black.....I would consider install painted beadboard around your island...again probably painted black to tie in the chairs you have. You might want to change the clear glass inserts for some crackle glass panels....and add a couple of lights inside the cabinets which can also serve as a nightlight. I love painted beadboard....you can also create some beadboard inserts in your cabinets by overlaying the existing doors with an insert. Cut & paint a couple of them & use some velcro to temporarily attached them to a few of the doors to see if you like the look. I'm not sure you'd like the switch to white...it would be a huge change but it's very sterile. The graining on the island is a little too much but the cabinets look great...and you're in upstate NY so chances are they were custom built by a local shop.....just guessing. I'd also change out the lighter countertops....is that white corian......for a complimentary granite......have FUN!

  • Sharon M
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I was studying your pictures some more, and I saw some more ways to bring warmth and color to your kitchen. Andy pointed out your countertops, that is one way to update, and the backsplash on counters and your desk niches, would really make a statement. I love glass tiles, but anything that would compliment your cabinets, new painted walls, and countertops, would really change the look of your kitchen. Also, I would put the rug under the chairs in front of your pretty windows. You could add pillows and an end table to make that area cozy and inviting. Since you obviously have children, keep in mind that off-white cabinets will show every little fingerprint! I know, that is what mine are, and even though I love them, I have to wipe them down constantly. Think about tiling the backsplash.

  • Becky
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I had my cherry cabinets painted last year and I love the way it looks. Used Crisp Khaki #234 by Benjamin Moore in inpervo alkyd low luster enamel. I used the same paint for all the trim and doors in our home. love the way it brighten up my kitchen.

  • Patricia P
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I think it would definitely brighten up the kitchen if you painted them a lighter color.

  • Donna R
    on Jul 13, 2012

    Bless your heart, Betty Anne J., I bet you didn't know you were going to start a whole discussion forum with your question about painting wood cabinets. Are you confused even more now? I have to add that white cabinets, (or off-white, soft white cabinets), I don't think go out of style. About twenty years ago, our then brand new house had all white cabinets. The house came that way, we didn't pick the color. At that time, I remember reading a design article that said white was the "in" color for cabinets, this was in the early 1990's. Well here it is 2012 and I see so many updates of kitchens with newly painted white cabinets. I think cabinet styles go out, types of woods go out, but I think white is a forever safe choice. Have you ever seen a time when there weren't white cabinets? Think about historic homes you've gone thru, so many times the kitchens are white. Plus, who says you have to always change with the current style. You do what pleases you.

  • Patricia P
    on Jul 14, 2012

    I agee with Donna Roth. Unless you are thinking of selling your house in the near future ( and want to attract buyers with the "latest" colors, styles, etc) do what pleases you in the kitchen. I painted old maple kitchen cabinets a soft yellow, and stenciled a design on them, and I loved them. This was early 1990's so probably was not "cutting edge", but it worked for me.

  • Rhoda V
    on Jul 14, 2012

    I would paint that oak kitchen in a heartbeat! It would give it a fresh new look and white is always a classic. So many paint colors you can put with it on the walls, with rugs,window treatments, accessories to brighten up & make that a really special kitchen. Builders used oak cabinets for the last 25 or 30 years and oak is nothing special on its own. Paint them!

  • Heather R
    on Jul 19, 2012

    In the process of painting my oak cabinets with ASCP. So far so good. I say go for it. :)

  • ReRe
    on Jul 24, 2012

    OH YES !!! i painted mine and it looks like a different kitchen .. i used a high gloss very easy to keep clean , all you have to do is just wipe them down

  • Aggie Deese
    on Apr 10, 2015

    painting cabinets would make a lot of difference.

  • Pam
    on Dec 17, 2015

    A creamy off white in chalk paint so no need to sand, clean thoroughly with tsp first to clean old grease residue then apply a tinted polyacrylic to act as a glaze (just have paint store add a little raw umber to it) would brighten up your kitchen. You already have a dark island countertop which would constrast beautifully. Maybe replace hardware or spray paint what you have oil rubbed bronze. If you can, replace main countertops with a stone look laminate (there are some gorgeous ones out there from formica) or of course granite. Also a great backsplash would add a nice feature. You could also paint the island a fun color and use same tinted polyacrylic over it. You get two benefits from the tinted polycystic, glaze and protection. If you have very heavy use apply another clear polyacrylic after first is dry. One note, polyacrylic dries quite fast when glazing with it, use a chip brush for a great look. I did this over red cabinets in my kitchen and only started to show a little wear after 15 years and I only used the tinted poly. Good luck. You already have a great kitchen. A quick inexpensive update!

  • Deb S
    on Dec 23, 2015

    I would leave the wood alone, it's still beautiful. I would get a new table in a darker color that matches the kitchen better. A throw rug under the table would help, perhaps with a pop of color to liven up the kitchen, and possibly change the window curtains to match (like burgandy or something that stands out). Then use some of the same color, or colors that match, but stand out a little more in the things (table runner, cannisters, pictures, knick knacks and such) in your kitchen to give it some life as well. Paint the walls a little lighter neutral (less yellow) color. And possibly hardware would make a difference in the look of your kitchen.

  • Amy
    on Feb 28, 2016

    I would paint them :)

  • Mary-Ann
    on Apr 1, 2016

    Declutter the cabinet tops, except maybe for the corner upper display. New chairs-upholstered parson's style. New window treatments-too much brown in here. Large colourful rug under the table. Paint window and door frames in white. This would go a long way towards a new look!

  • Virginia
    on Sep 27, 2016

    Paint them. It will update the kitchen. But when paint falls back out of voque you're stuck. You've got lots of modern touches going on. Why not get rid of the colonial chairs and kitchen table and get rid of the dated cupboard hardware. Opt for moore modern hardware and furniture and a couple of bright throw rugs.

  • Gul12401039
    on Oct 13, 2016

    I would leave the cabinets untouched. Paint the walls a color shade close to the cabinet color. Add a beautiful backsplash that has copper color among other colors. Add a pot rack hanging from ceiling with copper pots and change hardware to copper. The copper will be the jewels in your kitchen and make it pop. Your cabinets are too numerous to paint and your kitchen will be torn up for a long time.

  • Michelle McCaughtry
    on Oct 13, 2016

    Or just paint the island a vibrant color

  • Yvette Saldivar
    on Oct 13, 2016

    Yes.. it will make your area look new and brighten the common meeting are..

  • Jeanene Booth
    on Oct 14, 2016

    I just moved into a home with dark wood cabinets inside and out. The dark insides were too creepy and I have a professional sprayer. I sprayed the insides white. Most areas look good but some areas the paint is lifting from things sitting on the shelves. My point is it's a huge job that will require a huge amount of prep and need to use a professional sprayer for it. And you would probably want them moved outside to avoid droplets of paint forever settling. The kitchen would look nice white but a huge amount of prep has to be done.

  • Shirley C
    on Oct 16, 2016

    You can view my updated painted cabinets on my blog at Http://organizerhings.blogspot" target="_blank">Http://organizerhings.blogspot .com Ii had painted mine in two toned and shortly after we sold our home. Realtors and new owner said it was a selling point! My new home had cabinets near identical to what I had done.

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