Paint your old cabinets or get new cabinets?

Painting vs Remodeling

If you are in the mood for change, the kitchen is a great place to start. And the first question you should be asking… Should these cabinets stay or should they go. If you can ask to the melody of “Should we stay or should we go” by The Clash, even better! Right?

We are the second owners of our home and this kitchen had unbelievable maple shaker cabinets in pristine condition. I could see in my mind the vision for a white kitchen…yeah I know, its been trendy for sometime and maybe more now than ever.

Learning from the past...

BUT in our last custom built home, we chose dark espresso cabinets….. mind you this was back in 2008 when dark espresso floors and cabinets were also on the trend. But the real kicker was that our old property was surrounded by tall alder trees and evergreens, gorgeous… but blocked the sun light. Our last kitchen was SO dark. I knew in the new house that I wanted white and bright!!!

What about the kids!

Yes, we have 4 kids and this was probably not the most kid-friendly decision, but I honestly didn’t care, when we have gray weather for 9 months out of the year. It really helps brighten the house and my mood. Haha.We have the most amazing painter and when they came over to prep the kitchen, we were in a bit of bind. We knew we wanted white cabinets, but our trim work/doors throughout the home were more of a cream color. We went with White Dove by Benjamin Moore. It is the perfect balance of white and warmth. I seriously love this color! That meant we ended up painting the trim too… more on that later… but we stuck with our guns ongoing bright white rather than cream white, like the existing trim. 

 

Greys Greys and more Greys!

For the island, we could have painted it the same color… but I also wanted the contrast of a darker color to blend with the tones of the appliances and match with the grout in the subway tile. And on an even more practical note, I knew there would be kid wear, making white difficult to maintain on the island. We went with Gauntlet Gray by Sherwin Williams. This was our second choice of gray…. 

 

Honestly grays change in the light and I’m letting you know sometimes it is trial and error. Better to correct the first time until it’s finished and then it’s too late. We had purchased at least 15 greys and even borrowed samples from a friend who recently painted too… we put all of the greys on these big cardboard squares to make the worlds largest and most thorough sampling 🙂 

By the way, swatches in the paint store look nothing like the paint… so I highly recommend buying a bunch of samples and making sure you get this right. The cost of paint is SOOOO much less than the cost of paint + labor + paint + extra labor. So spend the extra few bucks and go all out with samples.  

Before

Overall we love how it all turned out and it really brightened up the area that we spend most of our time at home. Here is the before photo of the cabinet and island colors with a natural maple stain.

You can see from the picture, the kitchen looks like its brand new. I don’t know how they kept it so clean and tidy. No scratches or dents… It was really in perfect shape. We could’ve kept the old kitchen, it’s really nice… but I am so happy that we went with white!

 

If you are considering remodeling your kitchen, I’d encourage you to consider painting before you start tearing things out. We would’ve easily spent 2-5x the price to tear everything out (New cabinets, counters, tile + more labor, more mess, more time) and honestly I don’t think I would’ve liked it more than that we have.

DIY - with help

If you are considering, here is a checklist I would consider:

  1. Are the cabinets in good usable condition/style that is worth repainting. Shaker style is preferable.
  2. If so can I find someone who is reputable, and can handle this process? Painting cabinetry is no easy task and a detailed job. Seattle/Greater Seattle folks message me if you’d like my paint contractor. To give you an idea, our painter spent about 7 days in here… 6.5 days prepping and .5 days painting. The prep work is so important and I would really encourage you to find a painter that specializes in cabinet painting. It’s tedious hard work!
  3. Choosing the right color…there are many tones that work great. Sample a few first and see how the light changes throughout the day to see if it will blend with your floors/furniture/ etc.
  4. Hardware….. we still haven’t replaced ours. These are originals and actually go well with a farmhouse feel… they’re are on the traditional side. I’m loving all the antique brass and champagned bronze fixtures/hardware these days, but knew those tones would be overwhelming for our warmer toned floors. Black it would be. Black and white still are timeless and classic and that tends to be the way I design.

Thanks for reading about our cabinetry paint project!

 

PS, We are still loving the color choices and it hasn’t been that difficult to maintain. I’m actually quite surprised how a magic eraser can make this white kitchen sparkly all the time. 🙂 

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Hi, I’m Stephanie!

Wife. Mother of 4. Designer. Sharing styling inspiration and home decor tips. Thank you for stopping by, and please say hi if you have any feedback! 

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