Asked on Mar 29, 2014

What color should I paint my kitchen cabinets

Linda Anderson
by Linda Anderson

Very hard to sand in the grooves of the knotty pine. The finish is worn off in spots. So we thought if painting for a quick fix any suggestions. We just painted the walls and I just made the curtains. We will be putting in wood plank floors and possibly butcher block countertop. What color should I paint kitchen cabinets?

  69 answers
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Mar 29, 2014
    their is a liquid sanding product you might try, rub on rub off lowes. home depot xx
  • If you like the wood look, then look for products like Chris suggested and sand off and re stain and poly. If you think about painting, then buy a good bonding primer for glossy surfaces and a good paint with primer too. there is the option of chalk paint too either buying or making. I would think with the color on the walls of burgundy and the wood floors an antique white would look very chic in your kitchen. good luck
  • Heather Heather on Mar 29, 2014
    I think white would be beautiful and really make the cabinets pop!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Mar 30, 2014
    I believe you should really think this out and not slap paint onto it. Doing the steps and doing it right will make a huge different in how these will turn out. I am more worried about you doing it right than the paint color. Because I have seen to many people paint them and end up having to live with it and hating it. Doing the before steps will ensure a professional finish. They need to be cleaned with TSP and rinsed. They will need to be sanded lightly. And cleaned off again. You will need a primer. It will need to be brushed and rolled on. (get in the grooves) you can bet some primers tinted. You will need to find the right pain. Go to a professional paint store. Talk to them. Ask questions. I amusing polyarcylic enamel on some furniture right now. Because it will hold up. It won't yellow and it will have a durable finish. You will have to either brush roll or spray it from a commercial sprayer. If you are brushing and rolling you need to find the right paint to prevent brush marks. You really don't want to slap paint on these cabinets without finding out the right way to do it. And even through I a a chalk paint lover...I won't touch it or use it for these cabinets. A primer will also help prevent bleed through, lightly sanding them will ensure the paint sticks. It is no fun and yes there are grooves but it is the difference between having something you are going to live with and love, or live with it and hate.
    • Connie Carroll Connie Carroll on Mar 31, 2014
      @Sherrie I agree with with Sherry. The key to success will be preparation. Zinsser "Cover Stain" is an oil base primer but has relatively low odor; it has the best chance of holding the knots back. A mohair roller cover with both primer and finish coat will give you an almost-sprayed look. Then you have to let them cure... for about two weeks. Seldom does anyone explain that, just because latex (acrylic) paint feels dry on the surface, it is actually cured. It dries from the outside in so that it can still be damp or "squishy" underneath. Beware of "blocking" which is what happens when two paint finishes that are not cured stick together such as doors to frame. Ironically, you can swipe a thin layer of petroleum jelly along that edge. By the time it wears off, the paint will be cured. Oh, and I think they should be a pale sage greenish color; look at BM Soft Fern or Silken Pine.
  • Bonnie Dedrick Britton Bonnie Dedrick Britton on Mar 30, 2014
    for the country look i would keep the cabinets as they are, but to make them pop and if you are tired of them then paint antique white, i did and they look great!
  • Angela Moore Angela Moore on Mar 30, 2014
    You could just clean them well and change all of the hardware for a different look but leave the current color. Or, and I saw this on a repeat episode of The Nate Show on OWN TV Network this week where a guy show a woman how to fill-in the crevises,then smooth out and paint any color that you choose. It seemed like a great deal of elbow grease but the results were very pretty and cheap.
  • Lorna S Lorna S on Mar 30, 2014
    I vote for the top cabinets to be painted white, or just slightly off white. Watch out for the shade of your fridge so the cabinets don't look dirty (or the fridge!) If you're going with wooden flooring, you may love the knotty pine of your lower cabinets against it. Very country feeling! If you do the top and leave the bottom, you will still need to get the doors off, sand and refinish. Don't use yellows over time! The hinges and handles on the entire set could use a spray paint of brushed stainless or bright copper or go all out and replace all the hardware.
  • Bruce N Dala Anbuhl Bruce N Dala Anbuhl on Mar 30, 2014
    I would chose a soft white to match your counters. A liquid sander is good for prepping the cabinets. Be sure to follow directions exactly. You may need a couple of coats to make sure there is no sheen on your cabinets before you paint. A paint/primer combo would be great for the cabinets. It will look like a whole new place!
  • Sonijune Wilcox Sonijune Wilcox on Mar 30, 2014
    Those cabinets are gorgeous especially with your country decor and lovely curtains. Think carefully before you paint. Can't undue to the original. Looks like a quaint country cabin. Could put in under counter lights for more light. I love this kitchen!!!.
  • LouAnn B LouAnn B on Mar 31, 2014
    Use a reddish brown stain. Pick up the accent from the rug on your floor. You can see as much of the pine as you want depending on how much stain you leave.
  • Suzanne B Suzanne B on Mar 31, 2014
    I would be a cream color out of your curtains.
  • Mary Blatnik-Smith Mary Blatnik-Smith on Mar 31, 2014
    That wood is too beautiful to paint over, butif your painting arm needs exercise, use a clear varnish.
  • Iris Dickerson Iris Dickerson on Mar 31, 2014
    Girl get out of my kitchen! Go crazy but remember the seams in the wood
  • Mariana Mariana on Mar 31, 2014
    What is the color on the wall in the first picture? I am looking for something like that for my kitchen.
  • Wanda Wanda on Mar 31, 2014
    I love knotty pine and think your cupboards are beautiful just like they are!!
  • If you want an inexpensive and relatively easy new look for your kitchen. Chalk painting your cabinets would give you that new but, rustic look just by lightly sanding them and making your own chalk paint mixture with paint, plaster of paris and water! You can get the exact recipe online. Super easy and goes on nicely without primer and all the prep work! I just finished my wood cabinets and went all white for a French country theme! Good luck and can't wait for pics of the new kitchen!
  • Julie Johnson Julie Johnson on Mar 31, 2014
    I have the same cabinets and painted them about four years ago. I washed them down, sanded lightly, and painted them cream with Behr paint with primer (3 coats) and used a chocolate brown glaze over them. We changed out the hardware, put in new counter tops and flooring and it looks like a completely different kitchen. After 4 years, they still look great!
  • Julie Stroud Julie Stroud on Mar 31, 2014
    We are redoing our kitchen and the cabinets were stained wood. Now, our friend who paints has helped us but it is a big process. Like others say it is all the prep before hand that has to be done. My house is from the 70's and has wooden rope on every door, tough to sand and paint. If you are planning on ever selling your house, don't paint the cabinets as they would be a great selling point.
  • Marguerite B Marguerite B on Mar 31, 2014
    The cabinets are beautiful but if you want a change maybe paint the cabinet doors crème white and the boxes black and change the hardware to silver as it pops.
  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Mar 31, 2014
    I normally don't like this kind of old fashioned wood look but it looks really cute with your decor. I guess you like wood or you wouldn't want to put in wood floors and counters. If you left it you could do a light color on the counter and floor. Personally, rather than paint the cabinets if I wanted to change the color I would sand off the finish and use an off white, white, or gray stain so that the grain and knots show.
  • Joan Joan on Mar 31, 2014
    I like the wood cabinets. i would change out the hardware maybe. Granite counter tops with ceramic tile floors. rather than paint the cabinets, live with this pretty wood until you can buy new ones. Paint just does not look that great. They will always look like painted wood.
  • Sue H Sue H on Mar 31, 2014
    You can buy chalk paint. Do not remember where u live but sure makes a difference and goin cream white with stained look edges will make the room look larger and clean updated. Easier to work in.
  • HappyGrandmaGA HappyGrandmaGA on Mar 31, 2014
    Rustoleum has a kit to refinish kitchen cabinets. Had a friend who is not handy but she did her entire kitchen with amazing results. It looks gorgeous. Buy it at Home Depot in different colors. I would test the back of a cupboard first, though. We had knotty pine once & it had very thick varnish over it. I agree with the other remarks - I would do over the countertop and the floor first. A new floor might make the cabinets pop and you won't have to change them at all......Be sure to send an äfter" photo.
  • Barbara Felps Barbara Felps on Mar 31, 2014
    I love the cabinets and the rest of the kitchen. The country look is very pretty.
    • Karen Carter Karen Carter on Mar 31, 2014
      @Barbara Felps i would not paint them love the look id leave them like the way they are
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Mar 31, 2014
    Oh man, total flashback! I had those same cabinets and refinished, reprinted, restained more times than I can remember! They looked the best when I painted them Benjamin Moore Linen White and then glazed them to enhance the grooves and detail with rust oleum cabinet glaze. Good luck!! Make sure you post the after pics!!
  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Mar 31, 2014
    If you are going to paint, I would paint them a buttery cream color. Maybe a couple shades lighter than your yellow wall....
  • Linda B Linda B on Mar 31, 2014
    I also had knotty pine cabinets and den. It paints beautifully. Just make sure to get an appropriate primer to keep the knots from bleeding through.
  • Jane Taylor Jane Taylor on Mar 31, 2014
    I like white it looks so fresh and clean.
  • Pam Pam Pam Pam on Mar 31, 2014
    An off white.....then glaze over and wipe off glaze too get the look you want.....I did it and everyone though we had gotten new cabinets
  • Cheryl Layne Cheryl Layne on Mar 31, 2014
    No don't paint those beautiful cabinets change hardware and paint walls backsplach and change counters I think you will get more changes.
  • Robin Seefahrt Robin Seefahrt on Mar 31, 2014
    I love the look of knotty pine, Popular style years ago. I leave them since they're nice cabs. You could do new hardware, flooring, counters, paint the walls and it will look really sharp. why turn them into a typical magazine shot of a new kitchen. I have a 200 year old house with a 40's redo with some pine walls and a art deco fireplace, but it looks nice. It's too bad the redid the kitchen in the 80's- talk about awkward.
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Mar 31, 2014
    I wouldnt paint the cabinets..they are BEAUTIFUL . If they need anything done a new clear coat would be my suggestion. Once they are "painted" you lose their integrity and grace. I think paint would cheapen the look (just my opinion) paint the walls with a creamy color near what is in the floor tile or even the gold stripes of the floor to bring out the colors there... but personally I think the wood should stay.
    • Lynn5280 Lynn5280 on Apr 01, 2014
      @Buster Evans I agree Buster I wish I had the wood cabinets instead of what I have
  • Centrd Centrd on Mar 31, 2014
    Here are some classic country kitchen combinations using a red similar to yours...
  • Sarah Peck Sarah Peck on Mar 31, 2014
    Lighten it up in there with the light cream paint and glaze finish. Of course updated hardware is a plus! :) the creamy white will look nice with your new counters. If your keeping the white appliances, stay away from buttery yellow whites.
  • Lisa Myers Lisa Myers on Mar 31, 2014
    I love them as they are.
  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Mar 31, 2014
    You could always split the difference. Paint either the top or bottom cabinets and leave the others in the original wood. I don't usually like wood finishes, but the knots in your cabinets are pretty and unusual. But like most wood, it makes the kitchen dark. What if you also painted your table and chairs? Or added a brighter rug under it. If you get new flooring, I would go with a lighter color and like someone said, a ceramic instead of wood. Same with the counter tops. And those two open shelves, declutter them and maybe put some pretty fabric or paper on the back walls of them.
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Mar 31, 2014
    I agree with most. Creamy white with glaze. One of the pics above shows red walls with creamy cabinets.
  • Judy Judy on Mar 31, 2014
    Varathane the cupboards & repaint the walls white.
  • Beautiful the way they are!!! Please don't paint :( ! So 'other stuff' !!!
  • Janet Smith Janet Smith on Mar 31, 2014
    A soft sage green would be beautiful. (I personally detest knotty pine, but I grew up in a house with it so that may be why.)
  • Carly Swirtz Carly Swirtz on Mar 31, 2014
    The wood is beautiful. Before you paint it I would try Howards Restore-A-Finish it is a great product that cleans and restores wood. Check out their website:
  • Crystal @ Urban Patina Crystal @ Urban Patina on Mar 31, 2014
    I would paint the top cabinets off white and the bottom cabinets a warm greige.
  • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Mar 31, 2014
    Personally I would wait and do the counter tops and floor first. Then I would decide on the cabinets. New counter tops have a way of making cabinets look completely different than before and same with the flooring. If you think you might keep the cabinets as is, pick a flooring that has just a little of the same color tones in the wood, Not a complete match.
    • See 1 previous
    • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Apr 02, 2014
      @Rosa Martinez-Button I think she is off to a good start with her curtains and walls. Although I would be careful about not to overdo with the butcher block and the wood plank flooring. I would much rather see a different counter top, even if it is a laminate that looks like granite or etc. I think the plank flooring would look awesome in her country kitchen if the wood is the right color.
  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 31, 2014
    Farrow and Ball Old White is a very light sage green. Just did ny kitchen cabinets and love it. Use 2 coats of good primer first
  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 31, 2014
    Did mine and love it make sure to use primer
  • Surfergirl080 Surfergirl080 on Apr 01, 2014
    Also a mixture of baking soda and water into a paste spread on cabinet doors after you have removed them leave on over night. It draws out the grease that has seeped into the wood from cooking in your kitchen. Do this before you sand, you may have to repeat if your cabinets are well blessed with your cooking. :) (mine are) you will need to do the process on the boxes too. The oils will want to make the primer slide off. Rust oleum makes a great oil based spray that world great and resists chipping.
  • Darcelle O'Connor Darcelle O'Connor on Apr 01, 2014
    Please DO NOT paint those beautiful cabinets! Instead update the hardware, And the floor!` Curtains! Lighten up the wall color! Paint the table and chairs! Replace the counter top! But don't paint the cabinets!
  • Mary Ellen Luth Mary Ellen Luth on Apr 01, 2014
    I think I would leave the the knotty pine and go for a pretty stone or concrete counter top. They have some attractive new finishes in concrete.A lighter color would lighten the room.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 01, 2014
    Not sure which colour you painted the walls. Like both. Pic colours may be deceptive, but looks like the floor colours/pattern pick up those of the curtains (love them) and the rugs? Does the flooring have to be replaced? If so, and the walls are maroon, I'd go with a light finish on the planks as I wouldn't paint the cabinets. My cabinets had the fake front that extended to the ceiling, too. I took it out and just put a finishing piece along the top of the cabinets. It really opened up the kitchen visually. (Also provided more space for collectibles! I put wax paper on the top of the cabinets so cleaning is easy - I just remove it when it gets dusty/greasy and put down fresh.) I'd just clean up the cabinet finish with mineral spirits, and apply oil-based Varathane.
  • Centrd Centrd on Apr 02, 2014
    I'm always amazed at how many people express their love for wood cabinets. And yet you rarely see them in kitchen magazines, because they're not actually a favorite of most people. I only occasionally see wood applications that I really be honest, pine cabinets in that color would make me completely depressed in my kitchen. If you feel that way too, then don't let anyone talk you out of painting them. Paint will definitely lighten the entire space up. If you like the wood, then maybe just invest in some additional lighting. But what matters most is what makes YOU feel good in your kitchen.
    • See 2 previous
    • Centrd Centrd on Apr 04, 2014
      @Carla Hubbard yes, it can be cheaper, but very expensive painted cabinetry exists as well, and you can see the difference. Surveys show that white kitchens are by far the most popular choice, which is definitely reflected in decor magazines which can showcase anything they want, as long as it sells magazines.
  • Centrd Centrd on Apr 02, 2014
    A couple more red & cream combinations...are you planning to keep both the gold & the red walls in your kitchen? And the floor is gold? Whatever you choose needs to look nice with each just take your time finding the right color.
  • Kathy T. Kathy T. on Apr 02, 2014
    I agree with Donna. Floor and countertop first. That could be a challenge in itself. You need to have some kind of vision in mind. Imagine butcher block counter with marble floor, just saying. If you do not want to paint go with a cabin or rustic theme but update hardware. Now I worked in a very busy paint department so please take these suggestions to heary. #1. Do Not cut cost from tape to paint. #2. Paint or not, a good cleaning. I recommend TSP. Get the powder to mix with water. This cleans, deodorizes & it will degloss. If no paint a nice new topcoat of polyurethane will make a big difference. The satin, least shine, is ok if you put at least 2 coats, 3 is better. It will be washable unlike a flat finish paint.#3. If painting, use the TSP and a good primer. I recommend Zinsser 123 or Glidden the Gripper. Fills in imperfections, prevents stains, and works on wood, masonry, metal etc. Read the labels. If using a sprayer though Glidden is a thicker paint and primer.#4.Remove all doors and number the backs so you know where they go.#5. Tools. If taping Scoth blue the more expensive one stays better. Never used Frog so really don't know.#5.If you use a brush no matter how hard you try you probably will end up with stroke marks. If spraying, practice. Too close, too far, uneven strokes, you'll notice. I recommend 4" & 6" foam roller and refills. Again Purdy and sureline my favs. Do Not get those cheap 1.00 foam on bottom shelf. This will give you the smoothest and more professional look. Fabric rollers from thinnest to the big fat jobs will show "dimples".The more shine more imperfections show. But in kitchen you will need a washable paint. There are lower lusters.#6. Paint. The Behr premium plus I like the best but costly. It says paint and primer. The primer is so you can do 2 coats instead of 3. Otherwise Behr or Glidden. Take all the sample color cards you want. Tape them on all cabinets/ walls. What might look nice in daylight looks like a different color at night. I learned the hard way. Edit down to your favorites and you can purchase sample size mixed to color but only flat finish. Do the same on all cabinets/ walls. If you need a qt. of each do it. Saves money in long run and if you have any left ....##7,8,9. Do Not cut cost. This IS one department you get what you pay for. Cheaper and less stressful in long run. #10. Read labels, practice, do not rush, follow drying times This will not be a 2 hour job unless you want it to look like it.Preping is about 90%, painting 10%. The kitchen looks dark even with the cream/yellow. So now it's up to you. Plan, prepare, make a list, shop and good luck. Post pics. Hope this helps. Sorry this is so long but if you didn't know these tips, now you do as well as others.
    • See 2 previous
    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 04, 2014
      @Kathy T. Yes. And sometimes the cheapest job turns out to be the most expensive!
  • Joyce Jenkins Joyce Jenkins on Apr 02, 2014
    My cabinets are those things in modular homes. they sure need reworking. I hate seeing them just painted over. Have any idea what I can do?
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 04, 2014
    A pic would be helpful, if possible. I'm don't know what these look like. Sometimes new hardware gives a new look. I've also seen trim work done on the doors or moulding along the top which makes them look custom.
  • D Meconi D Meconi on Apr 04, 2014
    Each has their own personal taste. If it were mine, and I hope I get the nerve to cover this golden oak I have........I would paint my upper cabinets in a lighter shade and the lower darker. It would not go with your floor but my upper would be a white and lower a taupe
  • Janet McCall Janet McCall on Apr 05, 2014
    here is an idea...Pickle Paint the cupboards in cream white. Use antique knobs. maybe a black and white checkered floor. Add a pretty yellow for accent wall ( the red wall is to heavy feeling to me) new counter tops if you can swing it. Larger but fewer art item on the accent wall, and new window treatments. Just another idea among all the goods ones here. Good luck and post again so we can see your results.
  • Marguerite B Marguerite B on Apr 07, 2014
    Red White and Blue would go with your wall covering. I read about using masonry cement to cover your old countertops.
  • Justfixit Justfixit on Apr 07, 2014
    How about a greyish taupe?
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Apr 08, 2014
    @Linda Anderson Try this website for beautiful painted kitchen cabinets recommended by another reader
  • CK CK on Sep 16, 2014
    I'd find the lightest creamy-off white color in the fabric of your new curtains and get a paint color to match that....that is if you're looking to lighten up. :-)
  • Christine Christine on Sep 16, 2014
    whitewash. it leaves the grain but lighten the color. Butcher block counter may be too much wood. If your counter is still in good shape leave it for a while to see how it works I wish I could see the original grain in mine Guess I will after removing ten coats of paint..
  • Lori Lori on Dec 12, 2014
    You may be done by now but I'm with Connie, go with the lightest cream colour or even a shade lighter in the curtain. It looks very dark and curtains block the light so creamy white is needed.
  • Robin Seefahrt Robin Seefahrt on Dec 14, 2014
    I think they look great
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Jan 11, 2015
    The room is dark, I would paint the cabinets a light color..a creamy white..and if you can not afford new floors, I am here to tell you, that linoleum can be painted. But I think if you do the cabinets, the counter and floor will look better. Its just very dark right now. Put up some bead board as backsplash, its very inexpensive and can really add style and brightness to the room. There is a kit you can get to redo your cabinets by Rustoleum. Its called Countertop transformation. For Cabinet Transformations: Good luck.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Jan 11, 2015
    Seems to me that Linda is going for Farmhouse theme...painting the cabinets would go right along with well as bead board backsplash. It will make the rest of the room pop...and brighten it up. Maybe take the doors off a couple of the cabinets and make open will create a more airy feel. Paint the inside of the cabinets with a pop of color or use wall paper or stencil them.
  • Anna B Anna B on Jan 22, 2015
    I think a whitewash wood be pretty as well. Or maybe pickling them white.
  • Christine Christine on May 14, 2015
    NOOOOOO Whitewash only.Re paint walls a lighter color. loose the 70"s hardware
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 19, 2024

    Creamy colour would work well. Repaint the handles Black. etc.