To repaint or not to repaint kitchen cabinets???

by Bethany
Summary: cabinets are currently painted SW French Roast. Walls are SW Sea Salt. Floors and countertops are relatively neutral.
Here's the kicker--the appliances are bisque, and we are not in a position to replace them for a while. Boooooo!
Do I repaint the cabinets? I'd really like to lighten them up to go with the rest of the decor, but I have NO idea what color. Do I strip the paint and restain instead?
We are also kicking around the idea of selling our home on the next year, so I don't want to do anything too crazy.
Any suggestions? Help!!!
  30 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 05, 2015
    I would definatetly lighten those cabinets. Although they are a pretty color Against the color of appliances they are to dark. I would strip them and refinish with a stain. Minwax has to whole process available as well as a large assortment of color to choose from.
  • Shari Shari on Oct 05, 2015
    Painting kitchen cabinets is hard enough but stripping and staining is A LOT of work. I vote for the easier way--paint! Since it looks like your counter tops have beige/brown tones, why not color match paint to your bisque appliances? It will look white-ish, and definitely lighter, but it won't make your bisque appliances look dingy next to white paint. I think if this were my kitchen, I would paint all the cabinets--upper and lower so the stove and dishwasher blend in-- but another option would be to leave the bottom cabinets like they are and just paint the uppers. Is the base of the island white or bisque? If you decide to use a bisque-like color on the cabinets, I would paint the base of the island a fun accent color (if the base is, indeed, pure white) ... maybe a darker shade of sea salt. Or it looks like you might have a navy rug near the door or sliders. Navy would be fun color on the island but not darken the kitchen too much.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Shari I love the idea of painting the island either to match or to compliment the rest of the kitchen. I can't believe I never thought of that! It is white currently. We bought it separately after demo-ing a built in island that was way too big for the kitchen. Thanks again for the great suggestions!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 05, 2015
    Shari personally there will not be any contrast in the kitchen.
  • Kerri scheetz Kerri scheetz on Oct 05, 2015
    If it were me. I would paint the upper wall cabinets & island in a cream color & then glaze both of them in a chocolate glaze. I would sand down butcher block and oil it with teak or green tea oil, to add some warmth & septh to it. Leave the base cabinets alone. I would hang a floating shelf in the same tone as the island top above the nautical prints. Put a lamp on it, picture of your family, plant, etc. Add little hooks underneath & hang mugs etc. You have cool colors & warm neutrals that are contrasting each other. Leave the walls the same, as it will go with the hardware on cabinets. Bisque isn't bad.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Kerri scheetz Thank you for the great tips! I love the idea of adding a shelf to match the island top. I've never heard of staining with green tea oil. I'm excited to research that more!
  • Val Val on Oct 05, 2015
    I agree with Shari. Our kitchen is not real big but we have alot of cabinets. so we painted our cabinets white from a brown color. It has made a huge difference and makes the kitchen appear more spacious. there's alot of sanding and priming but it was so worth the work.
  • Lynn Wood Herold Lynn Wood Herold on Oct 05, 2015
    We painted ours and I wish we hadn't its been 4 years now and its has to be painted again. Unless you know someway to stop the paint from peeling after use around the door handles.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Lynn Wood Herold We are in the same boat here. The paint has held up well enough, but it is definitely time to redo them. My hindsight is always 20/20!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 05, 2015
    Anything you do whether stripping and staining or painting is going to be alot of work. Thats is neither here or there.
  • Z Z on Oct 05, 2015
    Here's what I would do. Considering you may be moving in a year and the cabinets look well painted now, I'd just paint the base board to match the cabinets to ground them. I'd also paint the island to match the appliances. I think these two changes will make quite bit of difference without a whole lot of work. I did a virtual to give you a visual.
    • See 3 previous
    • Z Z on Oct 12, 2015
      @Bethany, you are very welcome. Very happy to have helped.
  • Wendy Lee Hartung Wendy Lee Hartung on Oct 05, 2015
    My husband and I used Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations on our ugly Oak Kitchen. Didn't need new cabinets, just a whole new look. We are very happy with it. It is time consuming(we have A Lot of cabinets) So worth the effort! You can get a ton of info on the Rustoleum website. Menard's has the best price around MN with the 11% off sale.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Wendy Lee Hartung I've also knocked around the idea of the Cabinet Transformations system. Your cabinets look amazing! I will definitely take your advice and visit the website for more info. My only concern is that I am starting off with cabinets that have been painted once already. Thanks again for the info!
  • Wendy Lee Hartung Wendy Lee Hartung on Oct 05, 2015
    I forgot to say that I would lighten the cabinets. I'd look at a taupe or beige to tie in the appliances. The counter top looks very nice and from the photos it seems like it would work with those colors. Good luck!
    • Joanne Mason Joanne Mason on Oct 13, 2015
      @Wendy Lee Hartung Your work on the kitchen cabinets is spectacular! I love that sage green, and the finish is just genius. I wish this came as easily to me, as it does to you, and so many other great ladies here. Really well done!
  • Mickey Baron Mickey Baron on Oct 05, 2015
    Those colors, French Roast & Sea Salt, are VERY pretty together. I agree to paint that base board. Not so sure about painting the cupboards. Good Luck.
  • Judi Judi on Oct 05, 2015
    I think your kitchen is great the way it is. I agree paint the baseboards the same color as the cabinets and also the island.
  • Jean White Jean White on Oct 05, 2015
    Paint the baseboards and you could paint just the uppers a lighter color, OR you could remove the upper cabinet doors on either side of the microwave and have "open shelving" to display your glassware and dishes for a lighter feel in the kitchen. Your cabinets are pretty as is, and they do compliment your appliances and wall color nicely, but I can understand you wanting a change. I'd try the open shelving for a bit. Repaint only if you're still bothered by all the dark cabinets, like I said, yours are very nice! You can always put the doors back on when you are ready to sell. Is the island bisque or a bright white? I would paint the island to better match the appliances, and maybe paint or stain the top to match your counter tops. It doesn't look like it "belongs" to the rest of the kitchen.
  • Sue daisy Sue daisy on Oct 06, 2015
    I would do like mention above. Paint what they call the (coup de pied) the baseboards under the base of your cabinets and the island the same colour as the rest of your cabinet. You just have to bring one of your drawer to your local paint store and they will be able to match the colour. If you are planning on selling that is the only thing i would do nothing else you could run your project if not a specialist . Your kitchen will be nice with stainless steel appliances . Your buyer may have some. So wait!
  • LD LD on Oct 06, 2015
    Since you plan on selling in the next year, I would recommend that you strip the paint, and refinish the cabinets in either white with a glaze finish or a light gray which gives them a modern look.
  • Mary-Ann Mary-Ann on Oct 07, 2015
    This is a nice design for a small kitchen. It has too many colours going on here, and as the appliances are so close together it looks really chopped up Since you cannot change your appliances I would suggest that you paint the cabinets a nice bisque that will go with the appliances. Your kitchen will look lighter and brighter-
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Mary-Ann Thank you for your response! I had also thought of matching the cabinets to the appliances, but I was worried it would make the kitchen look washed out. To be honest with you, I am also worried about making the leap to a light color cabinets for fear of it really showing wear and tear. I have three young children, two dogs, two cats, and a tortoise! We make lots of messes! How do you feel about matching the uppers, but leaving the lowers dark? Still too choppy? I'd love more advice! Thank you!
  • Teresa Teresa on Oct 07, 2015
    I agree with Mary-Ann. I would paint the cabinets to matc the appliances. I think you will be surprised and pleased at how great it will look!
  • Joanne Mason Joanne Mason on Oct 08, 2015
    I don't have any videos or pictures to post, alas, all I have is mu humble opinion. Here it is: you made the right choice for the circumstances you find yourself in. I would say you should strip the finish off the cabinets, and refinish them with a color that is in keeping with with the countertops. If you really do plan on moving toward the end next year, I wouldn't worry too much, because granite countertops are really in demand nowadays. You clearly take good care of your house, so I don't imagine very much damage can be done between then and then.(Unless you son gets into a rambunctious mood; I have four boys and two girls, who are now all either married or in college, or the army.)so I've passed that particular hazard. But I think you are quite creative, and very talented, and I have faith in your ingenuity.I think painting the cabinets a lighter color will go a long way to opening up the kitchen I love your island, by the way, very distinctive and a very functional and attractive piece as well. I don't know if this helps. I'm not as talented as most, but I try. Good luck in your endeavors, You will do a great job, i have faith in you!! Please let us know how things turn out. Hang in there, and God Bless!
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    • Joanne Mason Joanne Mason on Oct 13, 2015
      @Bethany Well, you can handle it. I've learned a good bit from this site, and it all came from ladies like yourself, and others. Now that we are empty nesters, my husband and I have a lot more time..the big decision is to try to almost completely turn this house into something totally different, or move into a new home. It's just that we love this house, it is large for just the two of us, but we can find things to fill it up with. (haha) One of the commenters here used a color called Chelsea Gray, which I am now in love with. I have about four pieces of furniture I'd like to use it on, and probably on the banisters for all three floors. And Wendy painted some cabinets the most amazing sage green, and put a killer finish on it. Which I think would look great in out master bath, as I use many baskets, made of different reeds, which go wonderfully with that color. But reading answers from ladies like you and others has given me courage, and that is half the battle. Well, that, and talent. So I'm half way there! Your hubby, children and animals (and sometimes it's hard to tell them apart, am I right? heehee) are very lucky, because they have a lovely lady who is determined to make their house a true home. You will be great, just be brave. Please show me when you accomplish something new. We are us renovate and restore!!! God Bless!
  • Gwendolyn_Lea Gwendolyn_Lea on Oct 08, 2015
    I would suggest you paint them white! Take the doors off and work on them in a dust free area up on saw horses, remove all hardware and sand with the finest grit paper, vacuum and clean them well with a 'tack cloth'. Invest in the best paint you can and consult with pros on the paint quality. A few other tips if you don't mind ~ Remove the counter shelf and the jars - leave 3 of the ones with black labels, replace the 3 pictures next to the sink with 1 single feature piece, a large clock, an old wood window frame made into a mirror (to reflect the light from the window nearby). I once saw somewhere a type of 'film' you could apply to appliances to make them look like SS. Investing in flashy and modern light fixtures and kitchen faucet will 'up' the appeal of your kitchen when it's time to sell. Good luck and please post and 'after'!! :-)
  • Sandyc Sandyc on Oct 09, 2015
    I agree with Mary-Ann and Teresa - paint the cabinets a soft white to match the bisque applicants (remember there are tons of whites out there and there are some that are very bisque-like. I think that's the simplest thing you can do now to make yourself happier and the best thing if you're planning on selling soon. If you're practical and logical, you know whoever buys the house will likely redo the kitchen anyway, even if you spend a lot of money getting it ready. Your goal should be making it liable for yourself now and appealing enough to sell later. I think you'll be delighted white light cabinets. One question, what are those funning looking pieces on the ends of the counter - they look like box packing supports. Would be good if they could come off but if not, so be it.
  • The Redesign Habit The Redesign Habit on Oct 09, 2015
    I would suggest that you paint your cabinets a nice soft medium gray, which it looks like your floor has some in it already so that would tie together nicely. Go a shade or so darker than your wall color and maybe at the same time, paint your cart to match the cabinets. The right gray will tone down your bisque color and will nicely highlight your countertops. Good luck!
  • Lisa House Lisa House on Oct 10, 2015
    I think you have a very pretty kitchen and nothing about it would put me off purchasing your home. I have been house hunting with my daughter so I have seen many, many kitchens recently...the common thread for us has been, a well maintained house, a clean uncluttered kitchen made a huge impression. We were more "turned off" by clutter, mismatched appliances, and a colors that did not work together. Having said all of that...I would paint the cabinets to match the appliances, paint the island to match, stain the top in a similar color to your counters.i love lighthouses so I would keep the pictures but hang diagonally and paint the frames the same as the cabinets. Add a throw rug with a bold print, get rid of the banner, add a simple window treatment. If I lived there, I would have to change the sink so that it faced the window, the way it is now would bother my Libra-sense. Good luck, too bad we live at opposite ends of the state.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Lisa House Thank you for the advice! I will definitely work on de-personalizing before we put it on the market. My husband's Cleveland Browns banner will need to come down! I agree that the sink would be much better at a different angle, but the window is too far in the corner for it to be centered. Where would you place the throw you suggested? Thanks again!
  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Oct 11, 2015
    The only problem I see is that there is too many colors that are playing against each other. Remove the red banner, blue carpet by window or is that a doorway? Paint it lite sage and walls and island ( this u can take with; its not attached and repaint in new hse) The next paint out cupboard baseboards of cupboards in chocolate brown. This should pull it together and because its a nice place thats all they'll see. Been there & done it.If u like carpet just remove and take with u, it'll be handy when moving.
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      @Anne fenske I appreciate the advice! I definitely agree about having a few to many colors going on right now. I think a lot of that will be taken care of if and when we de-personalize for sale.
  • Mary-Ann Mary-Ann on Oct 12, 2015
    You are a busy girl. I always find dark cabinets or floors show wear and tear more than light ones. But, saying that-how about painting the dw and island in the dark colour and the toe kicks as well. Sometimes people are willing to trade their light appliances for darker ones also. Doing this little bit of painting would improve the visual flow so much. Good luck and keep me posted.
  • Sandyc Sandyc on Oct 12, 2015
    I think Becky is brilliant!!! Paint the baseboards the same color as the cabinets and you get an immediate "custom" look. If you are seriously thinking about selling in a year, I wouldn't do anything more permanent, expensive and/or time-consuming because, no matter what you do now, whoever buys your house is going to redo the kitchen anyway. Concentrate instead on little changes, additions or deletions that make you happy. Maybe a valance or café curtains that pick up the colors in your lighthouse pix, a bit of decluttering of the countertops (I have the same lack of counter space and that's not easy), maybe a narrow colorful freestanding piece between the cabinet and the patio door for some off the countertop storage (again pick a color from your lighthouse pics) and, if I painted the island, wouldn't do it dark but again a light color; even the wall color would be pretty. It's amazing what inspiration Becky's one small idea triggered in me. I hope it works for you too..
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      I know! Becky's pictures really took the guesswork out of her suggestions. And you're absolutely right about new owners most likely redoing everything anyway. Really good point. Thanks your for all of your great tips and observations!
  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Oct 12, 2015
    Hi Bethany, now that i know your true colors, I agree. The colors in the pic are deceiving, but nice. I still think the white or cream whatever, breaks up the beautiful color scheme. You've done a nice job. Don't think you will have any trouble selling. Congrats.
  • Lisa House Lisa House on Oct 12, 2015
    Oh yea it would bother me more if I couldn't center the sink under the window! LOL! What is it that doesn't show in the picture? Are you standing by your table/chairs? If you are I would place an area rug under the table then a matching smaller throw, or even a runner, in front of the stove to the sink. If there isn't enough area in the room for table/chairs, you could even place a larger area rug under your island, just don't get something with a deep nap(?) because it would interfere with the ability to roll the island and it would be more difficult to keep clean. If you keep the pics of the lighthouses, hang towels with lighthouses on the towel bar. Have a wonderful evening.
  • Lisa House Lisa House on Oct 12, 2015
    What is the name of the color of paint on the walls? I am thinking it will be perfect in the bathroom at our new house. Thx in advance for your answer 😄
    • Bethany Bethany on Oct 12, 2015
      It is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. I love it, but it does look different at different times of the day. It is a really neutral gray-green-blue...if that's even possible.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Oct 13, 2015
    I say paint the walls..The dark cabinets look fine with the appliances..but the wall color just throws me off. Maybe a neutral green..there are some very pretty greens that would give it a pop of color. I would do the island the same color green... Right now the Blue, at least how it shows on the computer just does not fit.
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 01, 2015
    Personally since you will be selling, I would paint the wall colour the same as the appliances, (it ties everything together) and the island and toekicks the dark cabinet colour. It is odd that the toekicks are light. You could always have the pretty blue colour in your accessories.