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Painted Cabinets:: So Fresh, So Beautiful!! (And My Little Mini Rant)

My bathroom cabinet painting project at Gwen’s house didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped yesterday, so I’m going to have to go back tomorrow and finish. But because I was there by myself, just my paint brush and KLOVE to keep me company, I had plenty of time to lose myself in my thoughts. So what was on my mind?

Why in the world don’t more people
paint their cabinets with color?!

Gwen’s bathroom cabinet started off a very standard light yellowy stained oak.


It was just very standard. Nothing special, nothing personalized, and definitely nothing about it looked custom.

So I’m painting it a gorgeous shade of blue called Distance (Behr 540F-6).


And as I was painting, I was thinking how rare it is to see a beautiful color on bathroom cabinets. This year’s HGTV Green Home featured a gorgeous light blue cabinet in the master bathroom, which I was very pleased to see. But other than that, off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of any other bathroom cabinets that I’ve seen, either in person or in pictures, that were painted a COLOR.

Even last night when I got home and did a Google search for “painted bathroom cabinets” and every other combination of words I could think of, I still found virtually nothing but white, black, and brown. White, black, and brown. Uugghhh!!! Don’t people ever get tired of having homes just like everyone else’s?

What I found interesting is that people seem to be willing to take more chances in their kitchens, which are filled with MANY times more cabinets than bathrooms are. But I did find some gorgeous examples of painted kitchen cabinets.

via The Nest

 

via rol.vn

via Purely Delightful

via Decor Pad

via Home Decoration Collection

via Made By Girl
(incidentally, this is THE PICTURE that inspired me
to paint my own kitchen cabinets turquoise)

via Agnes Kitchen

via Sunset

via Apartment Therapy

I mean, those are gorgeous, right?! Oh sure, you may not like ALL of them, but we all have certain colors we’re drawn to.

So why are so many people afraid to put color on their cabinets?! I’m not suggesting that EVERYONE needs colorfully painted cabinets. I completely understand that there are those who simply LOVE stained cabinets, or who have always DREAMED of a white kitchen. I get it. I really do.

But I’m convinced that there are many, many among us who would love colorful painted cabinets, but instead settle for white, black, or brown.

Why? Well, I think I found one clue last night when I came across an interior decorating forum. Here’s what the person asked:

How about yellow cabinets? Bad for resale?

The color always felt more cook-friendly to me than white or cream but I haven’t thought of it for our kitchen just because it is not a commonly used one.

We are not planning to sell soon but most likely will sell sometime (may be in 12-15 years) and also want to be in good shape in case we have to sell sooner. So we picked stained maple to keep it light and practical (nothing ordered yet, long story).

But now that we are painting the house, I realized that warm yellow tones look great in our house so I am thinking of that yellow again or may be even doing yellow uppers with dark walnut-color lowers (we are using custom cabinetry also, just not as high-end as this particular place).

What does everyone think? Like or dislike?

What??!!! No plans to sell the house soon, but maybe in 12 to 15 YEARS, and concerned about what the next homeowner will think?!?! SERIOUSLY!!??

As outrageous as this seems for some of us (decorating a house for someone who might live in it 12 to 15 years down the road), I can assure you that it’s not uncommon. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this irritates me. Your house is YOURS!!! YOU live there. Decorate it for YOU!!

Here’s what ends up happening. The current homeowner is concerned about the next person who buys the house, so they decorate it in a “neutral” way that is generally pleasing, never really putting their own stamp or personality on it. Then in 10 or 15 years, they sell it to the next person. Only now, it’s a bit outdated, so the new homeowner wants to “update” the house, but rather than decorate it according to their own personal taste, in a way that will truly delight themselves, they’re concerned about what the NEXT owner will think. It’s a huge, big cycle.

It’s time to stop the madness, people!!!

Okay, I’m going to step down from my soapbox now, and allow my blood pressure to return to normal. But I seriously…SERIOUSLY…want each of you to think about this. Ask yourselves, What cabinet color would truly be a delight to live with each day? What color really makes me smile, and lifts my spirits? What color is “me”?

If the answer is black, brown, or white, that’s fine. It really is. But if the answer was something else, then it’s time to break out the paint brush and make a trip to the paint store, okay? 🙂



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34 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Heather Nixon
    April 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    i love the creamy yellow cabinets. that kitchen simply glows with sunlight. the first example would have to be my second favorite, nice color, very comfortable. i had entertained the idea of painting our cabinets, but tuscan design really likes the medium wood tones, and since i consider my cabinets that color, they stayed. I did take a risk though and removed the top cabinet doors. I have a gulley/galley kitchen so not much room. adding that extra foot of width makes a huge difference. if they ever do get painted, i will be going with the more traditional white or antiqued white with iron/brass knobs, I've always loved that look; and with the creamy yellow walls to come, it would look amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Long Island Homes
    April 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Take the advice of a North Shore Real Estate Broker for over 50 years, if you aren't planning to sell for 10-15 years, make your home what you want it to be. Chances are by the time you do sell, the remodeling you've done will be outdated and the buyers will want to change everything anyway. Everyone has different taste, things can always be repainted right before you sell.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tricia
    April 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    AMEN sister!! I couldn't agree more. Time to break the cycle.

    XO*Tricia

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Dan and Jeannine
    April 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I would love to paint my cabinets, but we have laminate cabinets throughout the house. 🙁 I know you can do it, but they are liable to scratch. Our house is LIVED in! I have 2 kiddos- age 4 and 2, so I really dont want scratchable cabinets. Any suggestions?? I would love a deep barn red in my kitchen for the island/bar and a yellow/gold for the other cabinets.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    {The Classy Woman}
    April 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I couldn't agree with you more. As a Home Stager you would think I might disagree. A home is for us to live in and enjoy for as long as we are there. Then when it comes time to sell, then you de-personalize and neutralize it or turn to a professional like myself to get the home ready to sell.

    Living in fear that you may sell and will have to put work into it to change it is silly. I know more people that live in boring, basic, beige homes because of this thinking.

    Hopefully if you've created a home that you adore, you won't want to sell, just continue to update what you have. 🙂 Many people think they need a bigger house and it's often their moving motivation. The truth is that most of us have enough room, we just need to be willing to let go of some 'stuff'.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ann
    April 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I AGREE!! OK, so its decided…I'm painting the bathroom cabinets TURQUOISE!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Teresa
    April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I just painted my cabinets white and I love them! They look so wonderful but I am thinking I may do a burnt red for the island.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Pregnantly Plump
    April 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    We're in the midst of a major kitchen redo (I finally put some pics up yesterday) and we painted the cabinets a light blue and the walls a deep blue. My family members all comment on the cabinets, but are not fans of the walls. We decided we were doing the kitchen for ourselves and we are liking it so far.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tracy
    April 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    What a great post!!!

    I have a double bathroom vanity that needs some serious updating but I have no idea what color to paint it! The countertop is going to be a rich butcher block with round bowl sinks on the top.

    Any suggestions?

    If I was redoing my kitchen right now I'd totally paint them a fun, unqiue color!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Laurie - Little Blue Chairs
    April 22, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I feel the exact same way. I am always frustrated when I get the response that "it is bad for re-sale" when I am doing something I want to my house- Guess what? We just bought the house and have no plans on moving any time soon. Of course I know I will need to neutralize it if we sell, but it would be outdated anyways if I did it today.

    Thank you for your rant- It is appreciated

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Scientific Housewife
    April 22, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I have never thought to paint my cabinets but I don't know why. Making my cabinets in my bathroom a dark brown would look great!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    April 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Can you say chicken to paint cabinets that are in great shape? All cabinets in the kitchen and bath are those boring contractors oak cabinets. We are now on our 3rd home (owning) and we keep buying houses with these cabinets. This house has cabinets that literally look like they were never used inside and the house is 6 yrs old.

    I have the dreaded if I sell fear too. Keep it neutral. Spouse is military and we have 5 yrs here or so. Refacing or hiring someone to do the cabinets is not an option. The house already needs some other maintenance. By the time we get around to the cabinets it will be time to move, so if we don't do it ourselves it won't get done.

    I have read alot about painting cabinets and the greatest concern is that it will not look good, especially with the end laminate pieces. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

    Pat

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jessica
    April 23, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I love the look that comes in many of the homes with painted cabinets. It's trendy and fun or clasy and sophisticated, which isn't something you'd expect.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nel
    April 27, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Using the right paint for your project is very important in ensuring the durability of the painted finish. This will guarantee durability. If the meterial of the cabinet is good the result will be amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    August 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you so much for standing up to the old line "What about resale value?" when painting, etc.
    Last summer I helped an elderly woman redo her entire house interior. A widow of one year she originally asked me to help her simply clean the house – vacuum the cobwebs from the ceiling corners and so on.
    Before you know it we are looking at paint fans. She picked a color I'll call 'dinner mint green' for the entire house.
    One of her daughter's had a fit(what about resale value?);
    the other one said "Go for it, Mom."
    So we did.
    Yanked down the flat blue and brown drapes from all the windows, then put up white faux wood blinds. Ceilings were primed and painted semi-gloss white. The solid black-brown front door was trashed for a lovely white door with an oval glass insert. The worn out carpet and faded linoleum was replaced with light oak faux wood flooring. Polished nickel handles replaced the antiqued bronze handles on the kitchen cabinets. Beige bathroom cabinets with gold pin stripe accent became bright white with polished nickel handles. We primed over the yeuck beige chosen when the house was built…30 years ago… and painted all the walls from one end to the other with 'dinner mint green'.
    The transformation was amazing. The house was no longer a cave. Light was everywhere.
    It is now an inviting oasis in which this dear lady (80 years young next month) and all her friends love to gather.
    In a few years time when the house acquires new owners they will of course paint the walls to suit their preferences.
    But,for now this wonderfully active woman has a home that best reflects her bright and vibrant personality.
    Life is short. Paint is cheap. Go for it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    RTA Cabinet Mall
    August 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Great Article. Even if someone goes crazy with color….its not just about resale value. The anonymous comment above said it best: Life is short. Paint is cheap. Go for it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Simplicity Please
    September 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    This is one of my pet peeves. We're unusual, having lived in the same house for 35 years. A house is a HOME first and foremost, an investment second (IMO). Decorate like it's nobody's business, because it's not…it's your sanctuary from the rest of the world. Make it yours. If/when you sell, paint is cheap, and the next owners are gonna change everything anyway. That said, I gravitate to neutral colors in the big items (upholstered furniture, floors, etc.) and add color with paint and accessories. That way, deciding to redecorate isn't a huge budget decision.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kathy
    September 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I am one of those people. We bought this house two years ago. It is about 9 years old. Typical builders grade colors, nothing personalized at all. Boring, boring and I hate it. Now with all that being said..it scares the crap out of me to think color. What color would I choose? What if it looks horrible? I have to paint it again? Still horrible? Paint again? With the boring neutral colors, as much as I hate it..it's acceptable. It looks nice. No punch, no style…but safe.

    If I keep reading and listening to you…I think I just might start small and paint the bathroom cabinet. But how? Do you sand? or Kitz? Waterbased? Oilbased?

    I want a sanctuary, I want to LOVE my house.

    When I do paint, I will do before and afters and keep you posted.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    September 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Kathy, I think it's just the initial project that's scary. Once you get used to the idea (and process) of painting cabinets, it becomes sooo much easier!!

    My preference for cabinets is to sand (not down to bare wood, but just enough to get rid of any rough spots and to give it some "tooth"), then use Kilz, tinted to the color of the paint, and then top with a coat or two of oil-based paint. I prefer Kelly Moore oil-based paint.

    I'd definitely love to see your pictures if you decide to go for it!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    September 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Kathy,
    Go to your favorite paint supplier and purchase a paint fan. Spread the fan in the room you wish to paint. As you narrow your choices hide the eliminated colors. Check the appearance of your choices throughout the day in all light; morning, evening, day, night, with and without artificial light. Mark the colors you like best with a paperclip or white sticky note. When you get down to about ten choices do the 'Eye Doctor Test'. Look at two colors at a time. Do you like 'A' or 'B' better? A? Okay. Fold away B. Now do you like A or C better? C? Good. Fold away A. Next do you like C or D better? and so on until you have one color left standing.
    Do not try to second guess yourself or ask several people their opinion.
    Go buy the paint and transform your room.
    It is your home. Trust your judgment.
    As I stated before "Life is short, Paint is cheap. Go for it!"

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Deb
    October 23, 2010 at 12:52 am

    I'm quite late to this post, but can I just add a boisterous A.M.E.N! I was warned repeatedly by my mother and an aunt in real estate that I would never be able to sell our first home because we bought it new and had a rosy-mauve colored carpeting throughout and wallpaper with teal and the same rosy-mauve (this was in the 80s, mind you!). Well, they were so wrong. The colors were still very up-to-date when we sold the house seven years later and it was snapped up by an investor for an executive rental the first week we put it on the market. Regardless of that happy ending, I absolutely agree your home should reflect YOU – not some yahoo you don't even know who might end up there sometime in the distant future. Great blog – thanks! Oh! One other comment though: I've had a decorative painting business for a bit over twenty years now and I quit using oil-based paint five years in. Today's acrylics are extremely durable and so much more environmentally-friendly. I've used latex on cabinets in countless client's homes as well as my own, and I've yet to have a call-back for touch-ups. No kidding.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    memorial pet urns
    October 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

    All i can say is awesome.. Love the colors you used..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    RTA Cabinet
    October 27, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hi Kristi.. I love the colors of paints used and the over-all look of the kitchen is awesome..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    October 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Sometimes a simple soapbox moment to you may be a dramatic realisation to another. OMG! A total lightbulb moment. I have always been afraid to decorate because someone else might not like it or the resale excuse. We have lived in the house fo 14 years. In truly hearing what you have said I realise now I need to create a home for me and my family. Thank you for advice and inspiration.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    November 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Kristi….Love, love, love your POV. I'm trying to decide what colors to use in the kitchen and throughout the house. I'm toying with painting the upper cabinets white and bottom cabinets yellow. I didn't want to use the same colors that I see in many magazines. I wanted a unique look.

    Thanks for "ranting." You are so right. You've given me the confidence to be different!

    Monique

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    white kitchen cabinets
    December 30, 2010 at 6:52 am

    white kitchen cabinets are back in trend.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Eric Myers
    March 25, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I really love the look and style of these cabinets. I am really wanting to introduce some painted cabinets into my upcoming kitchen remodel. I think it really ties the room together in a unique way. Thanks for the great post and all the awesome pictures!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    white kitchen cabinets
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    white kitchen cabinets are back in trend.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    RTA Cabinet
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Kristi.. I love the colors of paints used and the over-all look of the kitchen is awesome..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    memorial pet urns
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    All i can say is awesome.. Love the colors you used..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    RTA Cabinet Mall
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Great Article. Even if someone goes crazy with color….its not just about resale value. The anonymous comment above said it best: Life is short. Paint is cheap. Go for it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for standing up to the old line "What about resale value?" when painting, etc.
    Last summer I helped an elderly woman redo her entire house interior. A widow of one year she originally asked me to help her simply clean the house – vacuum the cobwebs from the ceiling corners and so on.
    Before you know it we are looking at paint fans. She picked a color I'll call 'dinner mint green' for the entire house.
    One of her daughter's had a fit(what about resale value?);
    the other one said "Go for it, Mom."
    So we did.
    Yanked down the flat blue and brown drapes from all the windows, then put up white faux wood blinds. Ceilings were primed and painted semi-gloss white. The solid black-brown front door was trashed for a lovely white door with an oval glass insert. The worn out carpet and faded linoleum was replaced with light oak faux wood flooring. Polished nickel handles replaced the antiqued bronze handles on the kitchen cabinets. Beige bathroom cabinets with gold pin stripe accent became bright white with polished nickel handles. We primed over the yeuck beige chosen when the house was built…30 years ago… and painted all the walls from one end to the other with 'dinner mint green'.
    The transformation was amazing. The house was no longer a cave. Light was everywhere.
    It is now an inviting oasis in which this dear lady (80 years young next month) and all her friends love to gather.
    In a few years time when the house acquires new owners they will of course paint the walls to suit their preferences.
    But,for now this wonderfully active woman has a home that best reflects her bright and vibrant personality.
    Life is short. Paint is cheap. Go for it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gracetomaso
    June 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Love the use of colors!  Really beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ruby Knolls
    October 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I love the green kitchen cabinets, very cool and pleasing to the eyes.

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