Paint My Kitchen Cabinets-yay or nay?

I posted this idea on Facebook and got tons of responses, tips, ideas, and help from tons of my followers (thanks, gals)!

My cabinets are an oak color, the floor is oak, the paint is beige-fine but blah

And every single one of those white appliances is 12 years old and in questionable operating order. As they wear out and need to be replaced we will go with stainless steel, so my cabinet color and finish choice needs to mesh with that plan.

My biggest concern is the sheer number of cabinets and drawers I have...

43 to be exact

Ahem, that's a stinkin ton of cabinets and I am not 100% sure I have the skill level necessary to pull it off AND make it look good. What do I do if I totally screw it up...they are my cabinets in my open concept house that you can see from everywhere?

Spray or roll, remove all the doors or leave 'em on, use a cabinet painting kit, chalk paint, or cabinet paint, strip first or just sand?


Well, let me tell you, all of my Facebook friends truly have given me the courage (and their cell phone numbers for emergencies) to give it a try. I will be waiting for a long weekend when my husband takes my kids out of town though. I need complete isolation for 3 days to feel confident to do this! So, it may not happen for a while, maybe this summer, but I sure have been dreaming and pinning while looking for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite ideas!

The Lettered Cottage- That chalkboard wall is amazing too! You have to see this before and after!

Growing Trend: Bi-Color Kitchen Cabinets--Sooo.... I wonder if we could do something like this in our kitchen, painting the bottom something darker than the counters, and painting the tops white. (Currently pondering this kind of color/cabinet idea.... )

via Apartment Therapy- Love the 2 tone look

charcoal kitchen cabinets

Lisa Dressig Design Studio-The black would look great with the oak floors and new island topper I am building!

red cabinet kitchen

via Crumpled Envelope- Red Red Red!


via Apartment Therapy-Hmm, those rustic open shelves are AMAZING!

Green cabinets create cottage charm

Midwest Living- That huge island rocks, too

Designed To The Nines- Love the grey and the top open cabinets.

Yellow kitchen cabinets taken to the ceiling. Heritage Kitchens for House & Home magazine.

via Pink Persimmon- I like the mix of yellow, black, and natural elements

Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Better Homes and Gardens- The color mixed with steel industrial elements is refreshing.

love those stools and hanging lights!

Atlanta Homes Magazine- I already have 4 very similar stools I snagged from Decor Steals a couple of months ago!

Rustic Kitchen Cabinets

via Pinterest- Old world style is so cozy


via Greige-I am loving the soft gray

Mint Kitchen

via Designed to the Nines - This amazing green would totally jive with my adjoining family room rug!

industrial chic

Canadian House and Home- I am in Industrial Chic Love...that's a thing right? Could I paint the cabinets with a metallic silver paint?

Hands down the last one is my FAVORITE...hmmm not sure if my husband would be on board, although he is pretty easy to win over:)



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  1. When you’re done deciding Kim, can you come and do mine in Australia please? I’m in two minds about whether to paint my oak kitchen cupboards as well. I love the green colours. Am pinning this for my future reference.

    Anne xx

    • Oh Anne, I am still so nervous! My cabinets are in great shape so if I ruin them I will be so upset:) If you pay for a plane ticket, I will be there:)

  2. Hi Kim – I have been debating the same things as you are. My cabinets are a golden oak and I still like them, but find myself drawn to the painted kitchens that I keep seeing. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. You found some wonderful inspiration rooms to help you decide.
    Have a Wonderful Day,

  3. Once upon a time, in the BB (before blogs) days, I would have NEVER considered painting wood cabinets! Horror of horrors! However, now in PB (post blog) days, I LOVE painted cabinets! If my daughter gave me the OK (we share a house) I’d have a paint brush in my hand so fast it would make her head spin! So for what it’s worth, I say YES! Paint!

  4. You can do it! OMG!!! After looking at all these GORGEOUS kitchens, I want to paint MY cabinets! You are definitely a bad influence. 🙂
    Can’t wait to see which look you choose. – Dez

  5. I think that’s the hardest part when something is already in great condition and with a large project such as kitchen cabinets, the thought can be overwhelming. I paint for a living and I would be intimidated to take on our kitchen cabinets for that very reason ~ I’ll have to wait a few more years for them to get a little more worn 😀 I am however going to tackle one of our bathrooms as soon as I get the chance. That seems like a much more do-able project with my busy schedule. I”m sure whatever you decide will be AWEsome!! Rock on girlfriend!!

  6. So many choices! If it were my kitchen (I’d do a happy-dance to have that much storage!!!) Then when I got the nerve I’d paint the upper cabinets white and go gray on the bottom, then it wouldn’t show so much wear. There are great tutorials out there about using oil based paints because they last longer. Or do chalk paint and scuff it up a little on purpose, if you like that look! You have short upper cabs that would look great mounted next to the ceiling, then you could add a shelf under them and get some open shelving that you want without losing storage! One more thing, the example that you sourced as ‘Designed to the Nines’ is the other side of Kevin & Layla’s kitchen in their old house, the opposite side as the chalkboard wall. Great inspiration there! Sorry this is so long! Can’t wait to see what you decide… Eventually!

    • Ellie, are you trying to kill me! I would love to have those cabinets mounted to the ceiling and have a shelf under them….that is so way out of my league though! What a great idea and now it’s in my head…what are we going to do about that? Can you come help me:)

  7. I’d definitely paint! I painted my cabinets when I bought my home almost 4 years ago…and still love them just as much today as I did when I first painted them. At the time I had no experience painting anything but walls. Now, I’m refinishing furniture for a living, so I’ve learned alot along the way. I plan to repaint my cabinets this year (the same colors – creamy white on top and sage green on bottom) because I didn’t do a very important step back then…Polyurethane! They are really starting to show stains and it’s tough to clean them anymore. Polyurethane should fix that problem! 🙂

    As far as how’s the best way, I personally paint everything by hand. I just feel I have more control. Sprayers take practice to get a professional looking job…and I still have not mastered it. 🙁 But spraying would definitely go alot quicker! Without a doubt, take the cabinets off and remove the hinges so you don’t get paint all over the hinges. It’ll look cleaner. Just make sure you know where they go back. I would also get those little triangles that you can put the cabinet doors on while you are painting…and Purdy paintbrushes if you decide to do it by hand. By far the best brush out there. Make sure the paint isn’t globbing up on the underside while your painting the front side (that’s why the triangles are nice). I’ve made that mistake too many times.

    I wouldn’t strip them, just a good sanding should be fine….and PRIMER! Primer is an important step in my opinion. I used kitchen and bath paint for my cabinets and probably will make that choice again. I use milk paint on my furniture, but I don’t know that I trust it to hold up for the long haul to the everyday wear and tear of a kitchen. I’d put chalk paint in that same category as milk paint. That’s just my opinion. I wax my furniture pieces, but like I said earlier, I really think poly is the way to go with kitchen cabinets, not wax, it’s just not a ‘hard’ enough finish. At least not for my busy kitchen. 🙂 Hopefully you’ll find some help in here…of course these are just my opinion and tips from my own experiences. Good luck! You’ll love it when your done. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your advice, Erin! I wasn’t sure if Polyurethane would look ok or not. But yeah, we are definitely hard on stuff around here, so I better take that step. Would you roll out the doors or use a brush?

  8. Just paint one set….top or bottom and leave the other natural for the time being…See if you like it. That way it is not so overwhelming. Staining them would be another alternative…

    • I know, I think staining them a nice dark color would be lovely, but that would entail stripping every last bit of finish off of them and boy that kinda sounds like a nightmare. I love your idea of starting with just one set and living with it for a while!

  9. I think you should paint the tops white and the bottoms grey. It’s a hard decision, I know. I have my cupboards painted white and I’m trying to decide if I should paint the bottoms grey. I don’t think they’ll match with the granite though. Hmmm..decisions, decisions. I can’t wait to see what you decide! Have a great week.
    Jamie ~ Better With Age

    • I love the white gray combo, but I am not sure it will match the tile backsplash or counters. Replacing those is def not in my budget right now!

    • I love the white gray combo, but I am not sure it will match the tile backsplash or counters. Replacing those is def not in my budget right now!

    • I do love that combo. My only issue is I need everything to jive with the counters and tile backsplash, which I don’t even like but I can’t afford to replace.

  10. I do love painted cabinets because they’re easier to wipe down. That said, mine are white. DON’T PAINT YOURS WHITE. Unless you like to clean daily, that is. Mine show every little splash, spot and drip, and it drives me crazy! (I should’ve thought about this first, obviously.) Now I’m waiting for the summer so I can shut the kitchen down — take out pizza, y’all! — and repaint them. I’m thinking something the color of spaghetti sauce, at least on the bottom cabinets, because that seems to be the worst offender in my kitchen.

    • HaHa,- You know spaghetti sauce color just may match my kitchen! You are awesome. I love the look of white, but yeah, they would look like trash all the time because I will not be cleaning them all the time:) I am leaning towards grey. There is a shade I love in the tile of my back splash and the darker the better!

  11. You have a kitchen JUST LIKE mine.. oak floors, golden oak cabinets, a small island.. I painted mine. Check out what yours could probably look like:

  12. I love kitchens where the bottom cupboards are a different color. Great collection of kitchens!

  13. Awesome inspiration! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do in your kitchen!!! I know it’ll be fabulous! XO, Aimee

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