Studio Cabinet Options

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my studio cabinets, and exactly how I want those to look. I’ve got a lot of decisions to make before I can start building them. Do I want the upper part to be open shelves? Enclosed with cabinet doors? Do I want the two floor-to-ceiling cabinets on the ends to be one solid unit? Or do I want a countertop extending all the way to the side walls with the upper cabinet sections sitting on top of the countertop?

But the main thing I’m trying to decide on is color.

No, I’m not changing my mind on the color. I’m sticking with my decision to use the same Benjamin Moore Bird Of Paradise color that I have on my front door, as well as the side studio door.

Portico above exterior door with black pendant light and coral door

But I’m just not quite sure how I want to use that color. And the more I think about it, the more I think that using that color on ALL of the cabinets in the room might be overkill. In this case, too much of a good thing might, in fact, be way too much.

The studio, when finished, will have a whole lot of cabinets. Here’s the general overview of the room layout…

Obviously, a few things have changed since I did that initial floor plan. There’s no mud room, and that area back there is now the back entry that looks like this…

And I decided to go with two movable work tables instead of one. But as far as the cabinets to, the plan is still the same. There are three main areas that will have cabinets.

1. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets on the wall to the left as you walk into the studio from the breakfast room.

These are the cabinets that sit to the left of the cased opening between the studio and the back entry. And these are actually the cabinets that made me wonder if I do, in fact, want all of the cabinets to be coral.

Once these cabinets are finished, they’ll be visible from the front door of the house, the living room, the kitchen, and the breakfast room. And while I do love lots of color, I don’t love chaos. And once my living room is finished, it’s going to be very colorful with quite a bit going on. I already have teal kitchen cabinets that are just right there in the next room, and a darker teal pantry that is also quite visible from the living room. And from the kitchen and breakfast room, where the living room and pantry are obviously very visible, you can also see the green back entry of the studio.

I like it as it is right now. It definitely fits me in that it’s very colorful, a bit busy (probably too busy for most), but just right for me. But if I throw another very bold and bright color into the mix, I’m afraid it’ll push it (even for me) from bold, bright, beautiful, and the perfect amount of busy, right over into the “chaotic” category.

So, as boring as this may be for me, I’m thinking of painting those cabinets white.

2. The cabinets in the “office” area of the studio.

These are the cabinets that will flank the single window on the left end of the wall where the portico door is.

This is the area where I’ll put the desk that I built…

Large DIY writing desk with black base and stained top made from a solid core door

I don’t mind color on those cabinets. They’ll be visible from the music room, kitchen and breakfast room, but even from those rooms, they’ll still be pretty far away.

But I’m thinking that on that wall, a combination of coral and white might be a better option. I’ve had that idea swimming around in my mind ever since I saw this office makeover by Christene Holder in one of the One Room Challenges.

I love that two-color look, but of course, mine would be coral on bottom and white on top. I may even be able to work in some of the scraps of wallpaper as accents somehow — maybe in the back of an open shelf at the top of each upper cabinet. That way, the wallpaper remnant would tie in with the main wall, and the white uppers would tie in with the white floor-to-ceiling cabinets in breakfast room doorway into the studio.

3. The main wall with the wallpaper and long desk.

This is the front wall with the bright floral wallpaper that will have floor-to-ceiling cabinets on either end of the wall, with a countertop-height cabinet in the middle, and a long countertop extending across the wall. This is the wall that’s straight ahead when you walk through the French doors at the back entry of the studio. I had envisioned all coral cabinets on this wall.

studio front wall with floral wallpaper coral cabinets and black pendant lights

That drawing isn’t completely accurate the windows are trimmed with thick white trim, so that brightens up the wall a bit. And the desktop that goes all the way across will also be white.

So that’s what I’m thinking for now.

  • All white on the floor-to-ceiling cabinets on the wall to the left of the cased opening to the back entry.
  • Coral lowers and white uppers (possibly with some small wallpaper accents) in the “office” area on the left end of the portico door wall.
  • All coral cabinets on the main front wall with the wallpaper.

Can you envision it? Any thoughts? And just remember that I do like things really bright, colorful, and a tad busy. 😀

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  1. I LOVE the two-toned office inspiration picture! Looks like heaven. Personally, I would go in that direction, as I’m a little more low-key than you, and I would take it even further and pick a darker color (like the eggplant from the wallpaper). I think doing two-toned with the coral would be the perfect amount of busy for you!

  2. Yes, I like the direction you are going! Have you considered some wood tones somewhere besides the top of your desk? A little wood always warms things up. Maybe one of the counters??

    1. This is what I was thinking! I love the direction your going on each wall. Just wondered if wood counter to match desk top would be better on front wall than white? Either would look great, I’m sure. Can’t wait to see!

      1. I don’t think you should do white at all. You will just end up repainting them all down the road because they will be too boring for you. Your comment about chaos makes me chuckle because your bathroom in that space is the definition of chaos! There is so much going on in that room that using the bathroom in there would give most, less brave souls heart palpitations.

        1. A colorful “wallpaper” surrounded by almost all white with one colorful item is definitely not my idea of “chaos.” 🙂 Chaos to me would be that bright, colorful “wallpaper” with purple trim, green ceiling, dark pink vanity, and yellow walls. That’s chaos. To me, at least.

    2. I was thinking wood too! Or that would be a wonderful place for a fabulous large antique armoire. There are always a ton at antique shops because most people don’t have to room for one.

  3. Yes, I can picture it! It will be bright and fun and colorful all at the same time. Can’t wait to see it come to life! 🙂

  4. I, too, really like your idea of the mix of white and color.

    What about all the trim areas of the cupboards, doors and drawers being white with the coral being the back of the shelf areas and face front of the doors and drawers, as opposed to splitting up the top and bottom with white above and color below?

  5. I love this idea! The white near the breakfast room, coral on the “work wall” and a mix of both behind the desk to work as a bridge to tie it all together! I agree with Sheryl Kiefer that a little more wood would warm things up… I love the wood of your desk top and I think it would look really fantastic repeated somewhere else in the room!

  6. I love the two-tone look! You could get the best of both worlds… the bright coral color you love, but with enough calm to keep from being overwhelmed by it.

    Just a thought… maybe instead of white for the uppers and the tall cabinets by the breakfast room door, you could consider using the light aqua wall color? It would look beautiful paired with the coral, and give you a bit of color, add some brightness, but still feel calm and relaxed.

    White would look great too; whatever you choose will be perfect. I love your blog and how much thought and planning you put into every decision you make. Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

    1. I agree with using aqua instead of white. You already know what the room looks like with the aqua. The only downside would be that hard work you put into the cabinets would blend into the background.

  7. Are you planning a space to hold bolts of fabric? Long rolls of fabric or paper? For some reason this just came to me to ask.
    It is a beautiful space and I personally think you should go with what makes you happy. Don’t overthink this.

  8. I’ll refer you back to “The Cardinal Rule of Kristi” – If you’re thinking of painting something besides trim or a ceiling white or beige, don’t bother. It’ll get re-painted. 🙂

    That said, I personally love the white-upper-colored-lower look myself. I wonder if there isn’t some way to have your cake and eat it too. Could you do mostly white on the uppers but add some of the lower color, perhaps on a trim piece or on the backs of shelves?

    One functional thought on type of cabinet. I think somewhere in your studio, you ought to have at least one cabinet that has the capability of being full closet height. I can totally imagine some tool or supply item that you’ll want to stash away that is too large to fit in a regular upper or lower cabinet. Also, since this is sort of a craft room, I’d add some drawers. A couple of flat ones for organizing little things and some nice big deep ones.

    Like when you did the pantry, I would recommend thinking about what you want to store and letting that drive the design, rather than just picking what looks pretty. Like do you want fabric storage? What might that look like? Would you want it on display or hidden? Do you have a need to store bolts or rolls of fabric? Do you want an area with pegboard or some organizer that keeps certain tools handy? Do you have books you’ll want to display or keep handy? How about room for a big trash bin (bigger than a kitchen one) and smaller ones in the sewing area (for those little bits of thread and such). What about storing big flat things like cutting mats or cut patterns? Do you maybe want an artwork wall with movable hanging brackets so you can admire your latest work for a bit? How about a charging station (for phones, iPads, laptops, or even cordless tools that you might want to keep in that room). I’d totally want a spot to hang or perch a dustbuster where it can stay on the charger and at-the-ready. Do you need to store an ironing board and iron? (I could probably go on for hours)

  9. I’d make the ones seen from the front black and perhaps work in touches of black with your coral and white which may feel a little frothy otherwise. The black accents would also tie in your desk.

  10. Another thought…have you considered painting the cabinets to the left of the back area the same color as the walls? That way you’ll have amazing storage but it won’t add another color in the mix.

  11. I actually think this is the perfect idea. When walking into the room your attention will be focused on your beautiful wallpaper making it the highlight of the room. That’s so much more refreshing then standing in the entrance of a room and it feeling like the Grand Canyon “you can’t take it all in at once” feeling. Your wallpaper is spectacular and it needs to be showcased with pops of colors around the room to tie it all in. You’re my inspiration on so many of my own projects 🥰

  12. I like the idea of the moveable worktable being able to be pushed under a built in countertop to get it out of the way should you not need it, or to replace the built in. The upper cabinets could be attached to the wall and would not sit on the lowers such that the table can be pushed in.

    1. I love the your plan to do white on the floor to ceiling cabinets–it will bring some visual rest to allow the other coral cabinets to shine. Also, I really love the coral lowers and white uppers for the office area. Agree with others that all wood countertops would be beautiful and cohesive. For the main wall I like the idea of coral lowers. White uppers with coral backs would be great. I would paint the lowers first and then decide if you still want to do the uppers in coral as well. No matter what it will look fab and luckily you are not afraid to repaint if you don’t like it!:)

  13. Kristi, I love everything you do, so whatever you decide to on, I know I will love. I’m commenting mostly to tell you how much I absolutely love your use of color! I’m so tired of the ubiquitous gray and white that has taken over the design world and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Thank you for giving us a fresh look and perspective on decorating to your own drummer!

  14. I like your plan. As I was reading I came up with same ideas as you were laying out. Love how it’s all coming together. Your wallpaper is so bold and pretty, I just love it.

  15. I think the coral cabinets on the wall with the wallpaper and windows would be stunning. As for your desk area, maybe coral and white and I like your idea of a little bit of wallpaper on the back of the open shelves. As for the set on the left side of your entrance, I’m thinking white with maybe coral on the inside. You still get the pop of color when you open the cabinets but its not clashing with any other room colors. Again, just my $.02

  16. Another fan of the two-tone direction…do you think the inspiration image is a darker tone of paint in the kneehole, or that’s just shadow? At any rate, I think the focal wallpaper would be underlined further if it didn’t continue into the kneehole…which I know is slightly harder to do, but you’re totally capable.

  17. I love the two tone as well. Just hope it looks as great in real life as it does in the picture! I know that whatever you end up with, will be spectacular!!

  18. I think the 2 tone would look brilliant. Let me chime in with others and suggest that you consider a wood tone desktop. I have no actual opinion on the beauty of white vs wood, but I chose white for looks, and I fight a losing battle against dust and my hair and bits of fluff. (I’d fight against drink rings but I have a beloved coaster collection.) Fully cleaning my desk every 3 days or so was not part of my life plan when I built it. 😉

  19. Are you going to like the coral lowers with the green chair?

    I do love the wallpaper/coral cabinet wall, that should stay how it is!

  20. Kudos to you for doing what you love. I play it safer most of the time…. with paint, furniture, accessories, you name it. Yeah perhaps that’s driven by time and $, my DIY’ing squeezed in between work, hence ending up staying the same for longer. I never intend to let years pass before changing but inevitably they do. I am certain a visit to your home would put a smile on my face. And in reverse, if the studio were mine, a visit might simply dull YOUR senses, lol. Well at least the bathroom where mine would probably end up insanely low key and practical. I can see my heart having palpitations the first time I would splash paint on your pretty walls, silly me. I enjoy your blog simply because it gets me to step up my game, reminds me to be more playful. And I learn so much technically.

    Just keep doing what puts you in your happy place!!! I’m along for the ride. I’m glad to be shedding some of my “must be practical” baggage as I spectate your journey.