How to Change the Color of Kitchen Cabinets

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Last updated: April 7, 2023

We have the choice of changing our kitchen style by simply changing kitchen cabinet colors. Cabinet colors are a good indicator of our kitchen style. By simply changing the appearance of kitchen cabinets, we recreate an entirely new look. However, the right procedures need to be used to end up with a professional-looking job.

Follow these steps on how to change the color of kitchen cabinets to deliver a great design style.

Table of Contents

Benefits of a new color

The white cabinets and slim brass hardware really impressed me and made my new home look great. Although the modern contemporary look was a popular choice, it felt off-key to my rural surroundings of pine trees and rolling hills. I needed to consider the big picture with different colors and styles to feel at home in this given atmosphere.

white countertops, white farmouse style kitchen sink, mossy dark green kitchen cabinets, dark green kitchen island base, white subway tiles and backplace

white countertops, upper white kitchen cabinets, lower darker mossy green kitchen cabinets, and kitchen island white white marble countertop

My old neighbor, Karen, disagreed with my selection of new paint and suggested that we visit websites like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams for more ideas. I agreed, but only after Karen visited my new home to realize the change in the atmosphere.

Karen had just hired professional painters to update her oak cabinets to a shiny bright white finish on plastic laminate cabinets. How? Karen told me they painted the frames with a high-gloss finish of urethane trim enamel paint and replaced the door and drawer fronts with a flat design. The countertops were black granite with a satin finish and she had replaced her stainless steel appliances with black.

New cabinets and new hardware can create an uptown look using the popular colors of today. However, Karen’s lifestyle differs from my family’s. They always appear to be on the run to sports events and community functions. They barely take notice of the nature outdoors. Flashy and fast-paced, black and white suited their life. I am way more laid back nowadays and, while tacky, prefer to smell the roses.

Although our tastes are different, we agreed that the best way to tackle the whole process was with proper paint and the advice of an interior designer. Most paint stores offer help with matching colors and styles. We grabbed our coats to visit stores and headed out to look at cabinet paint colors and get some much-needed advice.

Types of paint

Straight away, I received a lesson on water-based paint as compared to oil-based paint. The decorator on hand was quick to point out that normal latex paint (water-based) was a favorite for DIYers (do it yourself-ers) because of the great option in colors and its low VOC. Latex paint is a cost-effective way to change the color of your kitchen cabinets through a fast DIY project.

Although I don’t expect you to know this, oil paints (acrylic latex) are longer-lasting and more professional-looking paint for painting kitchen cabinets. I had a little bit of experience with laying a fresh coat of paint on anything, while Karen had none. Also, the thought of cleaning cabinets with trisodium phosphate and removing old paint with paint thinner sounded unappealing to both of us.

Application of paint on new doors

We decided it was a good idea to leave my new kitchen cabinets to the experts, as Karen had done. The average cost for painters is far greater than if you did it yourself, but it would be worth it in the end. Karen had chosen a specialized painter that dealt with kitchen wraps and high-gloss finishes.

Karen and I knew that white was the most popular kitchen cabinet color, but I wanted more of a classic comfy feel. Karen praised her painter’s work as impeccable and said he gave major consideration to the best choices in color schemes. After the fact, I thought that I should have asked the painter to come along with us.

I browsed through blues and beiges for comparison but kept coming back to the greens, perhaps in a darker color of green. I was making major changes to my existing modern kitchen style, and I was open to light gray, dark gray, and all cooler colors, but I wanted to make the room feel as if I were sitting outdoors. The decorator explained that I could have the best of both worlds by mixing colors creatively.

By starting with white walls and one accent wall of a darker color of mossy green, my smaller kitchen would appear more spacious. Removing a few cabinets that surrounded the sink with open shelves and painted in lighter shades, like cypress green, I could open cramped small spaces. Refaced cabinet fronts of rich textured walnut would deliver the contrasting color of nature.

A gray-veined white marble countertop keeps a touch of modern to classic style. White subway tile as a backsplash would make a nice focal point. The kitchen island would bring it all together with a cypress green beadboard and a matching marble countertop.

white marble kitchen island countertop, with lose dark green base, and darker mossy green kitchen cabinets, white countertops and backsplash

One of the easiest ways of imagining this picture is by using a manufacturer’s app for different ways of viewing cabinets and colors in a room. Karen and I also picked up swatches for dark cabinets, white paint colors, and cool and warm color cards.

By the time we arrived back at the house, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my kitchen to look. To me, the best color was still green, but in lighter shades, as it bounced off of the walnut wood. The only thing left to do was to contract that outstanding carpenter to begin work on my custom cabinets.

Sizing up the job

Frank, the painter, arrived to size up the job and to make a list of supplies needed. He pointed out that by the look of your cabinets, the previous paint job had left several coats of paint and would never withstand another. He agreed that refacing was a much-needed and important step to take.

He also took measurements for bare wood that would serve as shelving and wood filler for hiding nicks and screw holes. After figuring out the square foot of painting surface area and determining that a second coat of paint would be best, I set out to retrieve my list of materials. The last thing on the list was to select hardware to offset the color of your cabinets. I had already decided on thin black iron as a modern rustic look.

I am learning a valuable lesson about taking on a project that requires an expert. I can meet some first time DIY jobs with ease. However, with all the planning and matching that was required to make my kitchen pop fashionably, only a professional and seasoned carpenter would do. And without the advice of a friend and decorator, I could have talked myself into black cabinets or gray cabinets that would end up looking gaudy.

I love the light color of green against the rich medium walnut cabinet fronts and the wood floor below. Hanging pendant lights in black cupped shades lend a tender rustic touch to my kitchen island of green. Simple growing herbs have the spotlight of surrounding my kitchen window above the sink on perfectly painted shelves.

This is my idea of the perfect way to begin each day. The color of your kitchen cabinets and island can change your outlook on the entire day when with the right planning and implementation. Always make sure that your carpenter comes highly recommended and that you agree on the details to deliver the perfect job.

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