Kitchen Cabinet Doors -- off or on???

by Angela
I'm trying to decide whether or not to keep my original kitchen cabinets or explore the option of taking some of the doors off! I took the top doors off and am considering painting the inside dark (black maybe) and painting the outside an antique cream, leaving the bottom cabinets in tact and not painting them. I'm unsure if this will look good and would like advice and wisdom on the subject! Is two toned cabinets ok? Is it okay to paint the top but leave the bottom as is, wood? So many decisions!! HELP!!
Original cabinets
Upper cabinet doors removed
Top antique cream...bottom the same. Paint the island antique cream and leave the top black.
  26 answers
  • 2ms2 2ms2 on Feb 25, 2013
    On. For sure.
  • Lisa Stevens Lisa Stevens on Feb 25, 2013
    I would keep them off. You seem to have your cabinets very organized and pretty. Also the two tone paint is fine so long as the heavy color is on the bottom. About painting the inside of them black its ok it matches you appliances. Keep in mind that the warm glow the light is putting off against the wood will be gone if you paint the inside a dark color. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!
  • Z Z on Feb 25, 2013
    My personal suggestion is always going to be NOT to paint good wood cabinets and your cabinets look to be in excellent condition. That said, if you want to add some color I like your idea of adding color inside the cabinets. Why not try covering them instead of painting them? I'm thinking since you like the idea of black why not try the chalkboard contact paper and leaving the cabinets themselves as they are. Stained.
  • Z Z on Feb 25, 2013
    Here's a quick virtual of what it would look like with black interiors. If you did this with paper or contact paper it would be much easier to change out when the mood stuck you.
  • Angela Angela on Feb 25, 2013
    That's awesome, Becky! Thanks!!
  • Z Z on Feb 25, 2013
    You're welcome Angela. I know a visual is always helpful.
  • Susan Susan on Feb 25, 2013
    My thought is to keep the doors off the cabinet on the left of the stove (as you face it), and paint it to look like a separate piece -- see this link: If you take all the doors off, I'd nix the pot rack....there's just too much going on there and the eye doesn't know where to rest. Taking all the doors off can be's no longer a kitchen cabinet, it's a china closet/hutch for display. Just make sure you have enough other storage available for all the stuff you don't want everyone to see!
  • Angela Angela on Feb 25, 2013
    Thanks, Susan! I was worried about the pot rack myself but I really need to keep it as I love having all that so handy! Maybe I can refigure them by placing them in the island. Thanks for your input!
  • Charlotte Des Fleurs Charlotte Des Fleurs on Feb 25, 2013
    The open cabinets give your kitchen more "breathing room" and more character. I agree with painting the interiors black. You need something to make the black microwave oven relate to the cabinets. If you don't want to go to the trouble of painting (or attaching contact paper), you might add some black items to the displays in or above your cabinet. Personally, I think the pot rack will look better with the interior of the cabinets black.
  • Shanasha Bowman Shanasha Bowman on Feb 25, 2013
    Have you considered puting a glass insert into the cabinet doors where the recess is? Could be the best of both worlds. There are lots of options on this site that can give you some ideas...
  • Angela Angela on Feb 25, 2013
    I have thought about using glass inserts Shanasha Bowman. I'm keeping that in the back of my mind! Thanks for the ideas!
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Feb 26, 2013
    Keeping them off looks great -- but you need to keep in mind that the shelves & items up there are going to get a film of dirt/grease on them from being so close to the cooking zone. I typically dont recommend no doors in this area for that reason alone... even if you cook healthy, cooking just about anything in a frying pan causes this. If you do not mind this, then I would scale back on your other items. To my eye.. the items on top of the cabinets make my eye confused when the doors are removed.
  • Beth McCurdy Beth McCurdy on Feb 26, 2013
    I agree with @Designs by BSB It probably depends on how much you cook but my cabinets around my stove get lots of sticky film. Your knobs are great (I have the same ones, lol) but if you are looking for a change, maybe change out the knobs.
  • Z Z on Feb 26, 2013
    I have to agree with Becky Sue too. I didn't even think about that before, but I should have since the light fixture over our island cooktop is always needing cleaning. Cabinet doors are much easier to clean than all those dishes would be.
  • TRD Designs Ltd. TRD Designs Ltd. on Feb 26, 2013
    Definatley off with the addition of glass shelves and a small LED puck light or LED strip light. Instant depth will be added to the kitchen as well as your eye will be drawn away from the microwave.
  • Angela Angela on Feb 27, 2013
    Thanks, everyone for your ideas and suggestions!!!
  • Angela Angela on Mar 23, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions!! I decided to paint the inside cupboards BLACK and keep the outside as is. That way, if I tire of the "open concept", I can put the doors back on! Let me know what you think!!
  • I also feel that painting the wooden frames may ruin the total outlook of the kitchen rather you should work on improving the edges along with shades.
  • Karen B Karen B on Dec 29, 2013
    Angela, I think your last post is the best solutions. I love the look you have with the inside of the cabinets painted but for resale, I think it's good that you still have the doors.
  • Lori Lori on Oct 05, 2014
    I was going to say don't use black, but I'd have been wrong. I love the look of the black, white and stain. It would drive me crazy though, keeping every single dish neat and turned properly. Tooooo lazy.
  • Home on Hidden Oaks Home on Hidden Oaks on Jan 23, 2015
    I love the idea, but I'd leave the doors on the smaller cabinets that are above the microwave. I think that will give your eye a "break" when looking across the top cabinets and make it feel less busy. If the inside of your cabinets always look the organized and clutter free then I say go for it! Good luck!
  • Lee Lee on Jan 30, 2015
    Take it from a woman that has done this. Every time you get something down to use, you have to wash the dust and kitchen grime off first. If you like the open look, consider replacing the door inserts with glass. Unless you enjoy washing and dusting :)
  • William Tillis William Tillis on Feb 20, 2015
    I love the doorless look! It says to the world, this is my kitchen, it speaks of my tastes. This decorating scheme is derived from the look of commercial kitchens, where added movement,opening and closing cabinet doors, cuts into profits and adds to prep time.Allowing sunshine and air to flow unobstructed through your cabinets is natures way of sanitizing. Your counters serve as a counterpoint to the background colors, therefore, I would paint the interiors of the cabinets a color that is close to one of the shades in your backsplash tile. Since your cabinets look to be real wood, i would use a limestone wash, followed by a darker wash of the same hue just to add some highlights. I realize that my suggestion is the reverse of your idea, I must say that painting the insides black with antique cream on the uprights will create a very strong contrast situation. The focus will be on what will appear as a bunch of boxes and you will lose the beauty of the kitchen effect as a whole.
  • Mimi Mimi on Apr 10, 2015
    My kitchen looks very similar and after a year I've tired of the hanging pot rack. it seems to block natural light in my kitchen. Where else can I store them?
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