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My FINISHED 72-Color Paint Swatch Cabinets!

My paint swatch cabinets are finished! And why do I call these my paint swatch cabinets? It’s because I painted swatches of 72 different paint colors on the doors. And they are glorious. 😀

Oh, yeah. And I painted the cabinet black! I’ll bet y’all weren’t expecting that, were you? 😀 I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Kristi, why in the world would you paint that black when you said you’re trying to minimize the black in the room?!” I get it.

But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to paint it white. I asked myself this question. If these doors were a piece of artwork rather than cabinet doors, and I wanted to frame this piece of artwork to hang on the wall, what color frame would I put on this artwork?

To be honest, my first choice would probably be a thin gold frame. But that first choice didn’t translate to cabinets because there was no way I was going to paint the cabinet gold. So I went to my second choice. If this were a piece of artwork, would I put a white frame on it? No, I actually wouldn’t. The obvious frame color to me would be black. So that’s what I decided to do! I framed my beautiful, colorful paint swatch artwork cabinet doors with a black frame to really set them off. And I love how it turned out!

Please note: This is a multi-post project. If you missed the first two posts about this project, click on the titles below to read them.

So now let me back up a bit and show you how I finished off these cabinets. After finishing out the build of the actual cabinet, I wood filled all of the nail holes and sanded those smooth. And then I was ready to caulk. I wanted to fill all of these cracks with caulk before painting. I always spend a lot of time on these finishing details because I think putting time in to these really pays off on the finished piece.

For example, see this little crack where the wood frame met the frame of the IKEA cabinet?

All of those areas got filled with caulk.

And then you can see the little gap between the IKEA cabinet and the trim at the top.

And here it is filled in with caulk.

If you take the time to do these finishing details, it really will pay off on the finished project.

When the caulk was dry, I taped off the frames of the IKEA cabinets (which I wanted to keep white), and then put a coat of white primer on everything I wanted to paint black.

And after two coats of black paint, the cabinet was finished! I don’t have a paint color for you because I mixed the black using two black paints that I had on hand — Behr Soft Black and Behr Satin Black (which is what I used on the studio bathroom vanity).

This cabinet is huge and heavy. It’s about 64 inches wide, 15.5 inches deep, and just over 8 feet tall. And when pushing it into place, I found that the crown molding stuck up a little too high for the cabinet to be pushed flat against the wall. So I had to take it off and cut this weird little angle so it would fit under the sloped ceiling.

And let me tell you, trying to figure out how to cut that angle with my miter saw was no joke. I felt so dumb trying to figure that out, but I finally got it, and it actually fit perfectly with the ceiling! And then I had to repeat that process on the other side. 😀

So overall, I absolutely love how this cabinet turned out. But one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t like cabinets without pulls on them. I thought I didn’t want any cabinet pulls on these doors because I didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the colors.

So I ordered the push-open hardware from IKEA so that I could keep the doors free from visible hardware.

But now that I can see the finished cabinet, I think the doors need pulls. I think the design is more like wallpaper. I wouldn’t put up wallpaper and then decide that nothing can go on the wallpaper.

Instead, I would treat the wallpaper as one layer of design, and then I’d hang a mirror, shelves, artwork, etc., over the wallpaper.

So I’m trying to think of the paint swatch colors as the same way. They’re like wallpaper, and just one layer of the design. And it’s fine to put another layer over them. Now I just need to decide what pulls to use to finish off these doors.

I had originally purchased these very simple pulls when I thought these cabinets were going to be pink and gold like the other cabinets in the room. These are the much shorter version of the long pulls that are on the drawers on the mural wall.

Or I could use these very simple knobs, which are what I used on the cabinet doors on the mural wall.

Or I could go a different direction altogether. But I want something very simple and understated.

But other than that, the cabinet is finished, and I could sit and stare at it all day. 😀

This is the view of the cabinet from my desk. All of those colors make me so happy!

UPDATE: I added door pulls! And out of all of the suggestions, the one that appealed to me the most as the cheapest. I bought the unfinished wood cabinet knobs from Home Depot, and then painted them in the colors of the rectangles that each knob would be attached to.

Can you see them? I absolutely love how these turned out!! In person, they’re very visible without being distracting. And they’re just so darned cute!

I’m so glad that several people suggested this. It’s the perfect solution, and I like that it’s kind of quirky.

And now that the doors have knobs on them, the whole thing looks finished to me. I’m not just a slab-door-sans-door-pulls kind of person. Even these cheap little understated knobs give the whole thing a much more finished look to me.

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86 Comments

  1. What about using paint brushes as cabinet pulls? The bristles could have paint or not. Just thought the whimsy could be fun.

  2. I did not see the black coming, but excellent choice. You’re right. It is like a frame that makes the colors really stand out. You’re going to get whiplash admiring the cabinets on both sides of your studio. 🙂 As for hardware, I vote for the gold knob.

  3. Kristi, it is gorgeous and I am so happy ou panted it black. you should be so very proud of te finished cabinet.

  4. It looks awesome and I LOVE the black “frame”. As far as the pulls what about a simple acrylic pull that maybe has a bit of gold? Something like these (Lucite Drawer Pulls Acrylic Cabinet Pull Handles Clear Gold Drawer Knob Dresser Handles (6″ Hole Centers) ) found on Amazon.

  5. Are you going to put baseboards behind it though? If so, you’ll have to cut out for that too, right? Or will you just put baseboards on the side of it to cover that area? It is stunning though!!

    1. I’m not going to put baseboards behind it because I like it sitting right up against the wall. And with it being so big and tall, it really does need to be secured to the wall. So I still need to do that. I’ll be putting the baseboards right up to the cabinet on either side. So essentially, it really is a built-in cabinet. 😀

  6. Looks fun! You know… you could paint each one of the pulls to match the swatch closest to the edges – they might blend in that way.

  7. Wow Kristi! I don’t know if you realize just how creative, talented, persistent, fearless, and blessed you are! Yet another beautiful creation! I need you to come work your magic at my house! 😉

  8. The cabinet is absolutely gorgeous! I love the rectangular gold pulls as well. I think they compliment the rectangular shape of the paint swatches. The round pulls seem to jar a little. You are getting close to finishing the room. I know you are excited. I am!

  9. Looks phenomenal! You are soooo creative! You got me thinking about pulls- How about something like finger pulls, invisible pulls that wouldn’t distract from your artwork at all.Black I think would be best.

  10. These are simple, elegant and complex, all at once. You are so very patient and attentive to detail. Love, love, love these. Congratulations!! Behr Paint needs you on their application team.

    I would be sitting and staring at them myself!!

  11. That is so fabulous. I could sit and stare at it all day. You rock girlie. I would go with wooden knobs and painted to the color of the swatch they were sitting on. But that’s just me. As I get older, I would probably have to search a little harder for the knob, but I would be pretty sure no one would see them as obvious knobs.

  12. How about those pulls that attach to the top of the cabinet doors, and has a small pull that sits on top of cabinet front?

  13. what about clear acrylic handles / knobs? or glass. The function would be served and you could get some really cool ones without truly blocking the out the artwork of the colorswatches all at the same time!

    1. This was my very first thought also. I absolutely adore this cabinet. Great job! Want to come to MI and help me make one. LOL

  14. I know this is a boring choice, but what about very plain, simple white knobs or pulls? Would they blend into the cabs and kind of “hide” in plain sight?

  15. WOW Kristi! This a masterpiece by an outstanding artist. I agree, a black “frame” is correct wa to showcase its’ colorful beauty. As always, you inspire me with your talent. Please don’t ever stop creating.

  16. Look at something like the Billbro pulls IKEA has, and the pull can disappear in the white? Also pulls keeps hand grunge from building up on the doors, which may require fresh paint.

    Those angle are no fun with moulding.

  17. I like the narrow, long pulls. They repeat the rectangle shape of the paint swatches and do not cover them up. The round knobs look too small for the size of the cabinet and it appears they would cover part of the paint swatches.

  18. Congratulations! This turned out fan-freaking-tastic! The black is such a good call to really frame the colors
    For the pulls, I’m going to second (third?) the finger / edge pulls idea – generally they’re not my favorite type of hardware for cabinets, but I feel like they bridge ‘needing something to pull open the doors with’ ‘don’t interfere / distract from the colorful paint swatches’

  19. My first thought is the push to open choice but I love the small gold knobs too.
    Whatever you choose it’ll look fantastic! Can you show a full on front view of it?
    Well Done, Kristie

  20. It looks totally different from how I thought it would look. It needs the simple round knobs.

    Great job. I like it.

  21. Woohoo! Another great creation! I would want handles as well. The long brass ones look nice, but the acrylic with brass handles keep popping in my head as the way to go! You are going to love this cabinet for years and years!

  22. Ikea BILLSBRO. I love that you can attach them in the crease of the door: side, top, or bottom. They do come in white, but you could probably paint or gold leaf them…

  23. I like your doors so much, they’re absolutely fantastic. I’d love to duplicate this but how would I know what the colors are or the names of the colors? Seems like a huge job to make a list 🤷🏻‍♀️ Suggestions??
    Vicki

  24. Could you use wood knobs and paint them the color of the swatch and place it in the middle of the swatch so you really wouldn’t see them? You could put the clear coat on them as well so there would be protection from fingers getting them dirty.

  25. I love what you did to your swatch doors and cabinets. I was looking closer to the cabinet, and am wondering if you have to move it and then put the baseboard down. I just thought now about if you could put wheels on the cabinet to move it. Just a thought.

  26. It’s beautiful!! Have you thought about very simple pulls, or knobs, in white? They might blend into the cabinet and not disrupt the vision.
    A question though. Have you painted the walls behind that cabinet yet? Maybe I’ve missed that post but that is going to be quite the job if it still has to be done.

  27. Love the black. It is great with your doors to the carport too, so cohesive. As far as handles, you might also consider a simple wood knob painted to match whatever color it is screwed into on the cabinet door. It would disappear visually but give you the convenience of having them. I look forward to seeing what you decide!

  28. The cabinet looks amazing! I honestly couldn’t picture what it would look like when you started, but it really does look like a work of art. Thanks for taking us on your journey!

  29. I vote for the minimalist CB2 crystal and brass Flynn knob! Or the modern flat end cylinder knob at Crate & Barrel.

    Congratulations on a beautiful job!

  30. What about clear acrylic pulls with gold or black accents or those super discrete edge pulls? I love how this is coming together!!

  31. Absolutely glorious!!!!! Love this cabinet so much and amazed at your work. I love the black against the doors.

  32. OMG! I love it!! The black is perfection! The colors really pop out with the black framing them. I adore it!
    Also, I like the pull better than the knob – my 2 cents

  33. Outstanding and incredibly creative. I am in awe of your building skills as well as your creativity. I am not a person who is comfortable with a massive amount of colors in my decorating scheme but I respect and appreciate your ability to design, develop, and live in such a colorful world. I appreciate what you come up with and I watch as you put it all together. I find it fascinating. The end result is often a surprise….a good surprise. The amount of work you can put into a single project is overwhelming to me. Yet I understand your drive. You seem to do so many things well. Thanks for bringing all of us along on your journey.

  34. Unbelievably gorgeous! I hope that if you use the round handles, that they don’t look like a bunch of dots or pimples. I think the other handle is a bit large and also will take over the space. Did you ever think of a lucite with a touch of gold handle. Small, but pretty and not overpowering. Just a thought. You will figure it out; you always do.

  35. I can see why the cabinet made you happy. It is fantastic. And you’re right…when I clicked open and saw your cabinet was painted black, I did a double take. You have done it again Kristi. It’s you and it’s perfect.
    I am wondering something though. I can see that the cabinet is big and heavy. I am wondering how easy it will be to move when you put the base trim on the wall beside and behind it. Just curious.

    1. I’ll be able to move it. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. But I won’t be putting trim behind it. Once I got it up against the wall, I decided that I like it like that, so I don’t want it sitting away from the wall with baseboards behind it.

  36. I just bought gold dust to add to paint. My bedroom is a dark green blue wall color and I wanted to add sparkle. So, I bought another can of paint and I’m going to another layer of paint but with the sparkles.

    I love the frame, but think I would have to give it a little sparkle to highlight the other sparkles in the room…

  37. Oh, that is stunning. I love the entire finish, and the colors are wonderful! I like the idea someone said of the clear handles…maybe the ones that have the gold ends would look nice…not take away from the design but add in a little gold! I know you will find the perfect one. Congratulations on the finished project, and enjoy all your efforts. That cabinet will be a wonderful storage piece.

  38. Great choice, the gold handles, yes! The knobs, not so much as they hang over the frames of the doors and that is where your eye will be drawn first…the gold handles don’t drawn the same attention…just a bit of sparkle and match the other gold handles in the room.

  39. Kristi,
    I LOVE that cabinet! It’s perfect for an art/sewing/ craft studio! Love the door knobs. That’s what l was thinking you should do. Now l cant wait for your desk. But the black on the desk fits in now! Do you have a chair for your desk?
    A suggestion from when l had a studio is a recliner or sofa chair. Sometimes l just needed a place to think about my next step in a project. Also lots of my friends would come to visit in my studio just to see what l was up to. I had a den and a living room but they just loved being in my studio for some reason.
    You have amazing talent!

  40. The IKEA push to open thingies are an absolute pain in the fundament. I inherited some on a cabinet in my last house and they never worked properly. I was so happy when I finally replaced them with proper handles.

  41. Wow! Just perfect! You need to take a photo of this to your paint store and show them what a beautiful thing you did with their paint!
    The black and the knobs are just Wow!

  42. Didn’t see the black coming, probably would have gone with the same pink, myself, but I love it. Way back when I was decorating my first apartment in very muted tones, I remember reading somewhere that every room needs a bit of black. It’s been a very good piece of advice.
    Can’t wait to see what you decide to do for pulls!