Painted kitchen cabinet ideas are a great way to remodel a room. You may love the color or finish you have chosen for your kitchen right now, but what about next year or the year after? Easy: painting existing cabinets is a great way of changing the aesthetic of you kitchen without the upheaval of a full room refit – plus it will take less time, skip the disruption of renovation, and save money.
Of course, if your existing kitchen layout isn’t meeting your needs, you might be looking for kitchen ideas and inspiration for a whole new scheme, with painted kitchen cupboards taking center stage.
Painted kitchen cabinet ideas
Whether you're looking for a room refresh or a complete renovation, our collection of the best painted kitchen cabinet ideas is sure to inspire you – including the moody and the muted, the bold and the subtle, and the classic and the on trend.
1. Select painted kitchen cabinets that lighten and brighten the room
Whites and light colored neutrals are the top pick for many when it comes to choosing kitchen cabinet colors.
They are timeless options, but as well as the advantage of not being overtaken by the tides of fashion, they also have the benefit of lightening and brightening any kitchen, and making it feel larger than it really is.
These cabinets are painted in Flint 236 from Little Greene, which is a warm take on white that has room-stretching qualities but a softer feel than architectural whites would have.
2. Create a welcoming feel with color
Bring the conviviality of a French country kitchen to your home with painted kitchen cabinets in a warm and natural tone, like this saffron shade from Neptune. Alternatives with the same welcoming vibe might include mustard, olive and claret.
It’s a perfect complement to other rustic elements such as stone and wood, which can give the room a long established look, along with pleasing textural quality.
Painted kitchen cabinet ideas in bolder hues can be teamed with soft neutrals inspired by nature to complete the look.
3. Choose delicate shades for painted kitchen cabinets
Depart from convention when selecting a shade for your painted kitchen cabinet ideas. Blush pink isn’t a typical hue, and draws the eye for just that reason. As with other paler paint colors it reflects the light with space-expanding results, making it an ideal choice when considering small kitchen ideas.
In this kitchen by Studio Duggan, the soft pink shade is teamed with dark wood wall cabinets, along with gray for the countertops and backsplash, giving the room a sophisticated and grown-up finish.
Metallic cabinet handles and knobs and a matching faucet pick up on the warmth of the hue, too.
4. Opt for a warm take on blue
Blue is a popular shade for painted kitchen cabinet ideas, and for good reason. It has enduring style, reminds us of the natural world for a relaxing effect, and can make a statement without becoming overbearing.
For a blue kitchen color that won’t feel cold, pick a shade that has a violet undertone, like this Periwinkle color from Tom Howley. Other ways to ensure a kitchen with blue painted cabinets doesn’t feel cool include teaming it with accents of orange or mustard for the perfect partnership.
5. Embrace moody black
Fallen for the trend for black kitchen cabinets? This moody shade will make a statement but is also cocooning, ensuring the kitchen feels like a cozy place to spend time.
Choose between black painted kitchen cabinets across the whole room, or use it for an island and combine with other dark cabinet shades.
Liberty Brooks, of Riley Brooks interior design studio, says of this design: ‘The mix of materials inject texture, along with the unpainted elements bringing warmth to the space – all aspects to consider when using bold, darker kitchen color ideas.'
6. Make a kitchen cozy with color
Painted kitchen cabinets can set the mood for a kitchen. In this room, created by Lucas/Eilers Design Associates, they were painted to match the paneling in a custom gray/blue wax charcoal, with vinyl sealer tinted with a clear acrylic top coat in a flat finish.
‘The kitchen connects to a warm inglenook right off the ski slope,’ say its designers. ‘The stained console at the end of the large island conceals a pop-up television for watching cooking shows or the news.
Don't forget to factor in kitchen lighting ideas too: 'Urban Electric light fixtures supply up-lighting and down-lighting for reading recipes and cooking, while reclaimed oak wood kitchen flooring and antique ceiling beams give warmth and texture to the space. The deep gray blue paneling and cabinetry provide a cozy feeling.’
7. Contrast perimeter cabinetry colors with that of the island
If your kitchen is a super-sociable space, a vivid color palette can provide the perfect high energy backdrop, and that includes for the painted cabinets. However, if a bold color throughout is too much for the space – or you – limiting it to your kitchen island ideas only is a happy compromise.
‘The island cabinet color (similar to Benjamin Moore's Marlboro Blue HC-153) was the perfect match to the focal tile backsplash we selected,’ says Mary Maloney, from Massachusetts-based Bee’s Knees Interior Design Studio, of this kitchen.
‘The clients love color; their goal was to create a happy and vibrant space for friends and family to gather.’
8. Consider finish along with color
It’s not just the shade of the paint you pick for your painted kitchen cabinet ideas that’s crucial to the finished effect, but also the finish – whether that’s gloss, matte, or something in between.
‘The kitchen island is Anchors Aweigh SW 9179 and the kitchen perimeter is Marshmallow Cream from Starmark Cabinetry,’ explains Stephanie Lindsey of Austin Texas-based Etch Design Group.
‘We tend to stay with semi-gloss for traditional and transitional cabinetry; this sheen provides just enough cleanability without being glossy and overpowering.’
Our guide to how to paint kitchen cabinets has all the advice you need to achieve your ideal finish.
9. Add a modern edge
The choice of paint shade for cabinets is a simple way to give a classic scheme a contemporary twist, and successfully combine the two kitchen styles and aesthetics.
‘We wanted to have a classic combination of elements, with the brick hood and quartz countertops, but paired with more modern choices like the gray cabinets, navy on the island and gold pendants,’ says Cheri Lingafelt of North Carolina-based Accent Prone of this stylish kitchen scheme.
10. Layer shades for a custom finish
Consider using stains alongside paint to create a unique design for your painted kitchen cabinet ideas.
‘This kitchen island is quite unique, with multiple colors of stain used with painted cabinetry for the rest of the kitchen,’ explains Benjamin Johnston of Houston-based Benjamin Johnston Design.
‘The layering of colors is a trend we are seeing more of, as your kitchen no longer has to be one color, or even two. Custom stains and glazes can be used to create combinations that are uniquely your own.
'There is a story here around the importance of sampling. With this island, we painted it three separate times until it was exactly perfect... sample, sample, sample to eliminate unpleasant surprises.’
What is the most popular color to paint kitchen cabinets?
‘There is still demand for neutrals, particularly gray kitchens, but more and more we are seeing neutral tones used as the base against which bolder, brighter colors can really pop, rather than being the dominant colour throughout the kitchen,’ says Richard Moore, design director at Martin Moore.‘In particular, we are seeing neutrals teamed with dramatic blues.
'Bold hues are now being used for larger sections of the kitchen – such as the island – rather than just as accent colors. Teamed with highly decorative marbles and metallics, they look luxurious and warm.’
What color should I paint my kitchen cabinets?
The color you select for your painted kitchen cabinet ideas should be influenced by the aesthetic and atmosphere you want to bring to the room.
However, also consider your kitchen's size and orientation, and thus the quality of the daylight. In a room that’s dark, painting kitchen cabinets in a pale color can boost natural light, and the strategy will help make a small kitchen feel larger as well.
Want an on-trend finish? ‘Designers are now incorporating a bolder palette into the kitchen,’ says Melissa Klink, creative director at Harvey Jones. ‘Vibrant shades such as ocean-inspired blues, botanical greens and zesty oranges are accentuated perfectly when contrasted against a neutral base of charcoal, crisp white or wood.
‘If you’re looking to add color through cabinetry without overpowering the space, think about introducing a color pop – you could have your cabinetry painted in a neutral gray, beige or greige, and turn the island into a colorful feature with blue or green kitchen accent colors, for example. Bold pops of color add interest and character to the kitchen whilst being easy to live with, as the space still looks balanced.
‘If you are planning to go neutral in your kitchen, warmer greige and beige tones are overtaking cooler and more minimalist grays. Bright and light enough to suit compact and generous kitchens alike, warmer, earthier shades give the kitchen a more homely and comfortable feel.
'Tones of off-white are also becoming particularly popular, especially for more traditional kitchen designs such as the iconic Shaker style. Off-white kitchens pair well with wood and other natural materials, giving the space warmth whilst still looking fresh and timeless.’
Which kitchen cabinet styles can be painted?
Some cabinet styles work beautifully no matter which kitchen cabinet color you’re drawn to, while others make a happier partnership with certain shades.
‘I’ve seen 20-year-old classic Shaker kitchens be repainted and look amazing,’ says Tiffany Duggan of Studio Duggan. ‘With a contemporary flush (flat-fronted) kitchen, think about whether you see yourself liking it in the future.’
Is painting kitchen cabinets a good idea?
Painting kitchen cabinets is a good idea. It’s a relatively speedy way to transform the room when the existing finish feels dated, the cabinets look tired, or simply to bring a new aesthetic to the kitchen. When the existing kitchen layout works, it can be all that’s required for a stylish update, skipping the labor and cost involved in a whole room renovation.
If you're wondering how much it costs to have kitchen cabinets painted, choosing to do the job yourself can be relatively straightforward and will save you money. Just bear in mind that it’s a project that takes longer than a weekend because of the need to prepare, clean, prime and paint, with drying time in between coats.
The alternative is to pay a contractor to take on the project on your behalf, selecting between painting or respraying to create the new finish.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart,
decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in
furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.
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