What Color Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

Painting a kitchen space not only transforms but also modifies its entire look. When assessing a new look for a kitchen, the color of the kitchen cabinets is crucial to consider if one is going to nail the perfect look. And because they are the main center of attraction and consume a large area of visual space, the cabinets must have a striking color that compliments the rest of the decor. And in this case, one is already considering the thought, what color should I paint my kitchen cabinets?

White is usually the most popular choice for cabinet colors, followed by grey, black, green, and blue. However, the colors to choose from are endless, as one can play around and select different colors that will match and fit into the atmosphere of the kitchen space. However, another possible question that can arise is about the best paints for kitchen cabinets. This article will provide an in-depth guide in choosing the perfect color for kitchen cabinets.

Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?

Getting ready for a change, deciding to do away with the old boring colors of one’s kitchen cabinets, and opting for more inspiring ones can be a life-changing decision. And if this is the case, the question, “should I paint my kitchen cabinets?” should be the next thought.

Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets

There are many reasons why one would want to change the colors of their kitchen cabinets instead of yanking them apart and repairing or replacing them. However, if the cabinet problems are its poor state, poor functionality, or a total mismatch, then replacing them might be the best choice. Still, consider the deciding factors before deciding on painting the kitchen cabinets.

How Old Are The Kitchen Cabinets?

Depending on how long a kitchen cabinet has been, if longer than 3 – 5 years, they could be prone to severe wear and tear and accumulated layers of dirt and grease. Hence, before considering painting the cabinets or making sudden aesthetic decisions, it is important to investigate the condition of the cabinets and conclude if a new paint will improve its general appearance or change the cabinets altogether.

Several serious damages over time indicate that the kitchen cabinets should be replaced and not painted. Also, while new paints can pop up a kitchen’s image, they would not help to repair the damages.

Know The Type Of Finish Used On Wooden Cabinets

Wooden cabinets mostly have a stain or glaze on them which can make it difficult and ineffective to paint over. So, it is important to know the type of finish used formerly on the cabinets, as this would determine the level of prep work required. And to achieve a new look for a wooden cabinet, in most cases, the former finish will have to be stripped or sanded away. This method is equally time-consuming and can be risky when stripping off the finish with chemicals.

What Color Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinet?

There are a ton of colors that are suitable for painting kitchen cabinets, from black, orange, pink, brown, dark blue to red. However, based on popular demand and the ones most commonly used, the following colors are the most recommended use for kitchen cabinets.

What Color Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinet

  • White-colored Kitchen Cabinets: This might just be the perfect color choice for kitchen cabinets. One reason why white is easily the most preferred color choice for painting is that it can make a small kitchen seem big. White painted cabinets also bring out the beauty of other colors in the kitchen – like the walls, counters, and ceilings.
  • Off-White or Cream colored Kitchen Cabinets: The off-white and cream colors are also wise options for choosing kitchen cabinets. For many people, too bright colors are not ideal for a kitchen space, which is why off-white or cream color is commonly preferred. This is usually the case if the walls, floors, and counters also have a warm color spectrum. For instance, if the walls or counters have a brown or yellow tone, choosing an off-white color is great to complement the rest of the kitchen space.
  • Grey colored Kitchen Cabinets: Like any other color, the choice of color for kitchen cabinets depends on the rest of the colors in the kitchen. However, grey is a more trendy choice than white and cream colors. In this case, using different shades of grey will cast a contrast to the rest of the room. A dark-gray color can also be used on just a portion of space such as the kitchen island or lower cabinets.
  • Blue colored Kitchen Cabinets: This is a great color choice if the already use of warm colors like white or grey is painted in the kitchen, then adding some navy blue on the kitchen cabinets will pop up other colors. To make this even more fun, the blue could be used on just a portion of cabinets, for instance, painting only the lower cabinets with dark navy blue and white or grey for the upper cabinets.
  • Green colored Kitchen Cabinets: Same as navy blue, painting cabinets with some shade of green is also an ideal option. This color compliments homes with more warm tones like beige. It is a more trendy option that works perfectly in certain homes and also with a cream color tone.

See AlsoWhat Paint Color Goes with Uba Tuba Granite?

Tips in Choosing the Perfect color for Kitchen Cabinets

  • Create Contrast: Utilizing the concept of contrast while choosing colors to paint kitchen cabinets is important. For instance, the contrast created when black cabinets are combined with a white-colored kitchen design gives the space a unique look. Or grey kitchen cabinets paired with a lighter color create an excellent contrast.
  • Use of Multiple colors: Painting kitchen cabinets is fun because you get to be creative and play around with colors. Selecting two or three colors might just be fun. However, choosing only one color throughout the kitchen can also be a bold move. To play it safe, choose one bold color and pair it with a neutral color for the kitchen island cabinets.
  • Adding a Stain: Some people dread using wood paint on their kitchen cabinets. However, wood stains help to preserve the beauty of the cabinets and make them more durable.
  • Distressed Finish: Adding a distressed finish to the already painted kitchen cabinets is a great style of choice. And not only does it add more beauty but also reduces the maintenance cost that comes with painted surfaces.
  • Use of a single color and multiple shades: If the idea of combining a single bold color with a neutral one is uninspiring, then consider using different shades of the same color. For instance, one can opt for dark shades of grey on the upper cabinets and light shades on the lower cabinets or vice versa. This technique of color combination aids in keeping the colors neutral and adds an extra element of visual interest.

How Do You Paint the Inside of Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting the inside of kitchen cabinets may not be necessary but is solely conditional on personal preference. Many people have testified to painting their kitchen cabinet interiors as the absolute best thing, while others believed it was not important.

How Do You Paint the Inside of Kitchen Cabinets

There are often mistakes people to make when dealing with painting complicated spaces like inside kitchen cabinets with shelves and hard-to-reach corners. However, this guide will provide detailed steps on how to paint the inside of kitchen cabinets, leaving one with a sleek and professional finish.

  • Remove the cabinet doors: The very first step in painting kitchen cabinet interiors is to remove the doors because it could make the painting difficult. And also increase the risk of getting the paints on the cabinet doors which is not the intended purpose.
  • Thoroughly clean the shelves: If your cabinets are not newly installed and have been in use for a while, it is a good idea to clean the insides before painting. This is important to remove dirt and dust that could get in the way of the paints to avoid giving them a rough finish.
  • Sand the insides: A smoother surface will make the painting process much easier and neat. It is essential to sand the shelves and corners to make them easier to work with. Then, collect the dust and dirt and discard them properly, to have a clean finish.
  • Apply the right type of paint: This is a crucial point to note as this would determine the final result of the painting process. It is important to choose and apply the correct type of paint that is durable and of high quality.
  • Allow it to properly dry before use: After applying the first layer of paint, it should be allowed to dry completely before applying the second or third layer. This way, the paints will last longer and also give the kitchen cabinets a professional finish.

Things To Consider When Choosing Paints For Kitchen Cabinets

There are numerous possibilities of painting your kitchen cabinets with several colors of choice. And after the question, what color do I paint my kitchen cabinets has been answered, the next point to look into is the kind of paints to use. Whatever color one chooses, it is vital to pay close attention to choosing the best paint for kitchen cabinets to ensure a smooth finish and durability.

There are commonly two kinds of paints considered for use in painting kitchen spaces; oil-based paint and latex paint. And it can be a task pondering on which is best to give one’s kitchen cabinets the classic yet top-notch look.

1. Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints are recognized for their resilient finish which makes them a preferred choice for painting kitchen cabinets. Oil-based paints are known for making a surface simple and easy to clean. If greasy hands are placed on a surface, they can easily be cleaned without fear of dulling the surface. However, they have some disadvantages that may be hard to ignore when making them a choice for painting cabinets.

oil-based paints

One flaw of the oil-based paint is that it takes a long time to evenly dry up between different coating layers. Without good air circulation, the paints could take up to three days to completely dry. And this could disturb the normal activities in the kitchen, having to wait for days before it can be used. Moreover, kitchen spaces covered in oil-based paints begin to release a yellow tint over time, mostly in low-light conditions.

Pros
  • It can be easily cleaned and scrubbed when the surface gets dirty.
  • It has a decent coverage over wood grain.
  • Using oil-based paints gives surfaces a durable finish.
Cons
  • It has high levels of VOCs
  • In low-light conditions, it is subject to develop a yellow tint.
  • It takes up a long time of about 17 hours to dry between coats.

2. Latex Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

While oil-based paints have a reputation for their easy and quick application and a durable finish that can be cleaned easily without dulling the surface, latex paints are mostly deemed as the best paint for kitchen cabinets, since it takes lesser time to dry and offers low levels of VOCs.

Latex Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

Upgrades in water-based paint formulas have now made latex paints much easier to use for cabinets. They are made with greater strength and durability for easy cleaning and scrubbing. Hence, this gives latex paints a hedge over oil-based paints. However, unlike oil-based paints which can work on any surface, even over wood surfaces, latex paints are more likely to have frictions in the grain or texture.

Pros
  • Unlike oil-based paints, latex paints dry up quickly
  • It has lesser levels of VOC formulas
  • It sticks unto surfaces formerly painted with oil or latex paints.
Cons
  • They break off easily with continuous scrubbing and cleaning.
  • It uses more prep work for a neat finish.

Tips For Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is not a difficult process. However, there are key steps and tips to follow to ensure a neat and satisfactory finish.

Tips For Painting Kitchen Cabinets

It is pertinent to note that kitchen cabinets often need a regular deep cleaning when in use and oil vapor from cooking makes it a little difficult to clean. Therefore, it is essential to use a good degreaser to clean all parts of the cabinets before the painting process.

Remove Doors or Drawers:

Although a bit difficult, it is crucial to remove the cabinet doors, drawers, or knobs, before beginning the painting process. This way, it is easy and more effective to paint without painting over the knobs, or hinges.

Mark the Hardware:

After disassembling the doors, hinges, knobs, and drawers, having them labeled or marked will help to know which parts to put on each cabinet. And this is more important to note if there are many cabinets to paint on.

Smooth out the Surfaces:

Smoothing out the cabinet surfaces makes it easier to paint and allows it to last long. Sanding the surfaces lightly with 120 grit sandpaper will make the kitchen cabinets ready to paint. Unlike laminated materials which do not combine well into the paint, wooden cabinets are easier to sand which ensures good paint bonding.

Apply a Primer:

After other processes have been thoroughly followed, the next is to apply an oil-based primer before painting. And this enables the paint to bond well with the surface making it more durable. However, depending on the color of choice, one might have to tint the bonding primer so that the colors match.

Final Thoughts

Thinking of what color to paint your kitchen cabinets? One vital point to note is that kitchen cabinets are like an empty canvas that different colors can be placed on. However, it’s important to follow the guidelines provided in this article to result in a neat and professional finish.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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