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Paint Swatch Cabinet Repainted (Did I Make The Right Decision?)

I made progress on several items on my studio to-do list yesterday, but the only one I finished was repainting the paint swatch cabinet. Originally, I painted the cabinet black. In my mind, the black acted as a frame for the “artwork” of the paint swatch doors.

I do think that the black did exactly what I expected it to do. It framed the doors very nicely, and there was nothing I disliked about the cabinet itself.

What I didn’t love was the overall look of the black cabinet in the room, and especially with it sitting that close to the back entry. I didn’t like the black cabinet in the same view with the dark purple doors of the back entry.

And since I plan on painting the bases of the work tables that same eggplant color, I just didn’t think the black would work in the end. Plus, it drew a little too much attention to the cabinet (i.e., the “frame) and drew attention away from the doors, which should be the focus of the cabinet.

So I decided to paint the cabinet white. I used the same Behr Polar Bear that I used on the background of the doors. It’s also the same white that I use on all of the trim in our house. It has been my go-to white paint for over a decade now.

I didn’t prime the cabinet first. Since it was painted with Behr latex paint and no clear coat, I just gave all of the black parts a quick sanding by hand, and then painted right over the black.

I really like how the white makes the cabinet not so prominent so that the doors can be the focus.

I didn’t push the cabinet back into place yet because I would just have to move it out again in order to install the baseboards on the wall to the left of the cabinet. In fact, I’ll have to pull it out even further to reach that corner to install trim. So for now, we’ll just have to imagine what the white cabinet will look like sitting against the light gray wall.

Once the cabinet is back in its place, I’ll need to do one more coat of white on the trim right along the floor.

I didn’t want to do that with the cabinet pulled out because, as you can see, even though I taped around the trim last time, I still managed to get black paint on the floor and wall.

I’m hoping I can get that up with a Magic Eraser before pushing the cabinet back into place and putting a second coat of white paint on that bottom trim. If it won’t come up with a Magic Eraser, I’ll need to do some touchups on the floor paint before moving the cabinet back into place.

So what do you think? Was it the right decision? I definitely think it was. I liked the black, but the white plays nicer not only with the doors, but also with the rest of the room. I like the softer, lighter look much more.



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  1. I didn’t dislike the black, but I absoultely think white was the right decision. It puts the focus on the colors and make the cabinet feel less heavy.

  2. Yes, you made the right choice! In my opinion, the black was in-your-jarring and drew the eye from the gorgeous pain sample color array. Plus, as you say, it didn’t “play nice” with the eggplant and other, softer, colors in the space. SO much better now!

  3. I think painting it white was a good call. It definitely looks more in tune with the rest of the room. Good job, as always 🙂

  4. Perfect. It looks like it belongs rather than seeming like the black sheep of the family. By the way, the window shade warmed up everything.

    It is fun to see how it is all coming together. I am anxious to see the desk and chair plus the surprise of the light fixture.

  5. Not to me🤷🏼‍♀️, every room needs a little black, and all that color needs to be grounded. But that’s just me.

  6. I was wrong. I was on team leave-it-black. I thought the black gave the paint swatches a frame. The white actually makes them stand out more. Yes, you made the right decision.

  7. I like the black better overall, but you may be right about the white being a better choice for the room. It is hard to say without it being in place and being able to see the purple doors.

  8. Yes, you definitely made the right decision! It fits in much better with the studio! So happy you made the change!

  9. Yep – I’m a big fan of black, I have a lot of it in my home – but IMO the cabinet looks better in white. The focus is now on the swatches, not the frame.

  10. YES! Love the white…much better than the harsh black. Since all your trim is white, I think it is much more eye pleasing, and looks like it belongs in the room more. So beautiful that cabinet is anyway. Good luck- seems like you are getting some little things DONE!!!

  11. Imagine how sterile your pink cabinets would look if they were white. I prefer the black. The white looks like an oversized medicine cabinet. The black looks like a custom piece.

  12. Oh yes! LOVE LOVE the white. The black always looked too harsh to me, but that’s just my opinion. Love it now though.

  13. IMHO, I can’t say. I love both the cabinet frame black and I love it white as well. It’s so hard to say unless you can see the whole room, but, as it stands, I’d lean towards white as a more neutral to the surrounding pink cabinetry in the room and the green walls and eggplant doors in the entry way.

  14. The white looks ok, but the black was better in my opinion which does not matter at all. It’s your studio. I do see your point about the black frame took the eye off the paint patches, and the white does not. Once I see the whole room, I’m sure I will agree with you. I’ve pretty much agreed with everything you have done so far because you are the decorator queen!!
    Getting that list worked down. Good for you.

  15. Love the white!!! Right decision.
    I noticed you put some flower wallpaper behind the old-fashioned sewing machine, probably to test it out. I don’t think it adds anything but instead detracts. Additionally, I think the whole top section when painted pink makes it looks so good, like it’s part of the same structure. When you tried putting white paint in the back of those three top most cubbies it made the top section look like it was an afterthought that you just plopped on top. But with the entire thing being pink, it looks like one complete, planned, structure.

  16. Though I loved the black ‘as a frame’, I totally agree with your design rationale for painting it white! Good decision!

  17. Agree with your choice and with so many other commenters. The whit makes the colours more prominent and the cabinet itself now looks less heavy.

  18. I’ll be darn. I didn’t think white was the answer. However, it is much easier to see the separate colours of the doors. I did not realize that the black was always in the mind’s eye picture when looking at the cupboard, whereas the white isn’t…hope you know what I mean. Wish I had your vision.
    God bless. Linda

  19. The white looks great!!

    I use off-the-shelf gloss white Behr exterior acrylic enamel on all my interior trims. The color and sheen looks great in my house and I can skip the hassle of having paint mixed when I need more. It’s super durable and cleans easily. I have to drive further to get to a Home Depot than a Lowe’s, but it’s worth it.

  20. I love the white! It makes you notice the colors and the black made your eye just see it like a border!!

  21. Absolutely love the white better! It does just what you said, makes the paint swatches on the doors stand out more. It was a good choice!

  22. I agree with the decision to lighten it up. But the white isn’t doing it for me. It feels too stark, and now looks a bit like the swatch wall at Home Depot. (Sorry!) I would have painted it the same gray as the walls so that the cabinet receded a bit and the colored swatches popped. Same light effect, but not so monolithic in its whiteness. But you do you!

  23. The white looks great – it puts the focus on the “paint chips” not the surround. I was not a fan of the black.

  24. I agree white accomplished what you were going for. I personally liked the black better. Just throwing it out there… What if you painted the “frame” the same eggplant as the doors? Maybe it would be too much, maybe it would be just enough. I enjoy following your projects!

  25. Yes! Love the white! I don’t think there was any other black in the room (or will be when you’re done) so it definitely seemed heavier and more disconnected than it needed to be.

  26. I love it! It reminds me of the thrill of walking up to the paint swatch display at the hardware store — filled with possibilities. And it is much lighter in the room.

  27. Definitely love the white. The colors stand out more. I was not too crazy about the black on this piece. It was a distraction and didn’t do anything for the color swatches. And I personally have a lot of black furniture in our home. I love black.

  28. So in the mean time, are you having to use another door to get into the sitting room? Looks like it is hindering the door. I do like the white much better…and especialy with the plan to repaint the tables. What a wonderful room you are making.