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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets -- Need Help With Color

Dee Bridges
7 years ago

Hi All,

I am hoping some kind soul(s) will help me out. I love this forum and I have used a lot of paint color ideas from here in my home (i can share later if you would like to see my mom's apartment colors :-)). I still, however, have a lot of work to do. One area is the kitchen.

We bought this house in 2011. I love the lot and the layout. I cannot say I love all of the color and design choices made by the previous owners though. Slowly but surely, we are trying to get our home more aligned with our tastes and preferences. I look at it as a journey not a destination HAHA!

My sweet and wonderful Husband has finally (!!!) agreed to paint our kitchen cabinets. Initially I was going to go with with an off-white/cream color, like acadia white, or navajo white. My teenage daughter does not like the idea of white or cream, and neither does my husband. My two boys have opinions as well but they don't seem to follow any particular rhyme or reason.... (we are a very opinionated family and everyone has strong opinions about EVERYTHING which does not make for easy home decorating).

Yesterday I went to Benjamin Moore. I got two samples of paint. Wethersfield Moss (HC -110) and Desert Twilight (2137-40) to paint on boards and check in different lights. I was sort of thinking about an olive green? Hence, the Wethersfield Moss choice. The Desert Twilight sample was an impulse decision because I saw it in one of Benjamin Moore's Color Trend books and I liked it. I also got a sample of revere pewter as a possible wall color choice.

Well, we put them up and looked. I don't know. I think the Wethersfield is too green? I have a LOT of cabinets. I am not sure if that would be too much green? And the Desert Twilight...I like it, but I can't figure out if it is too cool next to the granite counter? In some lights i really like it. In other light I think it looks too blue or steely gray? Do my eyes deceive me? I don't know anymore.

We all were unanimous in the revere pewter for the walls (a rare moment in my family). Now I am wondering if perhaps something more like gettysburg gray would look better? or is that too matchy-matchy with the granite? There are a few walls with Pale Oak that will "meet" the revere pewter but I think it will transition ok.

I have attached some pics for this group's review. Before you look, please remember this is a work in progress and I know there are a lot of hideous things going on here. I am trying to fix it. Here are some additional notes:

1. All of the pulls/knobs will be replaced (if you have any suggestions, I am all ears)

2. We did replace the black dishwasher and the black refrigerator and the black microwave with their stainless counterparts. I hope, someday we can replace the black double oven, but i don't think it will be anytime soon.

3. the tile floor: I do not like it, and it will also be replaced with the wood floor (its probably on the order of gunstock) that meets up with it from the hallway.

4. the pendulum lights -- they were also a selection of the previous owners.

5. the backsplash will be replaced. I am open to ANY ideas at all. Anything! I love beadboard and tile.

6. The kitchen is a south facing room. But, my house is surrounded by woods on all sides, and doesn't really get a lot of natural light. We do have quite a bit of lighting in terms of overhead, and recessed.

7. the current wall color in the kitchen, dining room, and living room is off the shelf linen i believe, I am not totally sure what the previous owners used. The photo with the cat is a great example of how greige looks compared to linen, for anyone who is considering changing it up. the Greige color where the clock is: Pale Oak (I love it). The walls where the cabinets are and ceiling: Mystery Linen color.

Any help would be appreciated. I hope to hear from some of you soon.

dee

(the more blue test panel is the desert twilight. The greener one is Wethersfield. The mid tone is Revere Pewter)






Comments (48)

  • eld6161
    7 years ago

    I understand that you want to put your personal stamp on the kitchen, however, I'm not sure if the existing granite will complement the colors you are considering.

    Also, it's nice of you to include your children, but too many cooks.......you can't please that many people! Foremost, the kitchen should be up to you and your husband.

    Without seeing the pictures first , I would have said go white! I'm a huge white kitchen fan. That said, now I see what you are working with.

    Your cabinets look like they are in very good condition. Would you consider using a gel stain to darken the cabinets rather than paint? I would also change out the backsplash to bring it more up to date.

    Dee Bridges thanked eld6161
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks for replying! We did use gel stain on our bathroom vanity. It came out ok. I didn't love it though, it was really dark. I had cherry cabinets in another house, and I did like them. But I think I would prefer a painted cabinet -- a gray or greige or greenish? We will be changing the backsplash once we figure out the cabinets...my husband is not crazy about white cabinets either....

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  • User
    7 years ago

    Unless my screen is off in color, your granite looks like browns and yellows to me, so I agree with eld616 that those colors you are suggesting dont really blend well with your granite. It is a nice kitchen and looks like a good layout, I actually like the color of your cabinets, its just the backsplash which looks out of place to me.

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • maddielee
    7 years ago

    Have you posted over in the Kitchens forum? Someone there can point you to photos of before and afters of oak cabinets. I have to agree, don't ask too many family members what they like...unless they are the ones doing the cooking and cleanup.

    Your oak cabinets look much better then a lot of golden oak cabinets of the 70s. Knowing how hard it is to paint cabinets, I would first change out the gold hardware. I think that color dates the cabinets more then the type of wood.

    Dee Bridges thanked maddielee
  • Yayagal
    7 years ago

    I think you need to choose a green that's a little warmer in tone. BM historical paints has some great ones. I prefer the choice of green and attached is a warm green that would work. BM guilford green

    Dee Bridges thanked Yayagal
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    hi there, thanks all for replying. Here are the answers to your questions

    1. I don't necessarily ask for everyone's opinion. They just offer it (all the time). This is not going to change frankly, it is just the way we are :-) I am in the acceptance phase. I can't really get too upset because I am exactly the same way.

    2. Although the oak cabinets are in good condition, they are dated and I do not care for them. I want an update.

    3. I have reviewed so so many before and after shots of cabinets, but if there is one thing I have learned from this forum, it is that you need to look at the color in your own house. I am trying to find one of my inspiration photos now so you can see where i was going with this...

    4. We know it is difficult to paint cabinets. As a test, my husband painted the bathroom vanity to see how it would look. It looks great and held up awesome too. He can do it, it just may be a section at a time.

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Yayagal yes that is what i was thinking, maybe it needs to be warmer. i like the guilford green, but i would like it to be darker than that? Remember the walls and ceiling will all be repainted as well.

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Here is a photo I found of Benjamin Moore fieldstone, with a counter similar to mine. I was trying to do something along these lines....

  • annztoo
    7 years ago

    My sister went thru something similar after purchasing a house with oak cabinets, which aren't her favorite. After replacing appliances and installing a new backsplash her kitchen took on a whole new look and the cabinets now look great.

    I have to agree with the others that the colors don't appear to work well with your granite. One has to be very careful when trying to make beige and gray work together.

    Also, think long and hard before painting the cabinets, especially if your DH is one that hasn't done much painting. IMO cabinets look best when spray painted and if I had the choice I would replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts before I would paint oak. The grain in oak does not disappear when it's painted.

    Tip: it looks as though your test boards are painting on cardboard. Try painting on poster board instead to get a true test sample of your paint.

    Dee Bridges thanked annztoo
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hi, thank you. You are right, we did use cardboard just to get an idea of how it may look, if it was worth looking at further. I guess I was just looking for some ideas of colors that may work? If all of the grain does not disappear, I am ok with it. Maybe we should just go back to white/cream....any suggestions of what white or cream would work well if no other colors look right with the granite?

  • User
    7 years ago

    I could be wrong but if you paint it white or cream and the grain does not disappear, it might take on a look like pickled oak back in the day, which is really dated.

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • User
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The pictures we're seeing today of the pretty colored cabinets (the green included) are beautiful and tempting, but IMO, it's a fad and there are pro's and con's to them. The pro is obvious, they are beautiful. Cons: Not only do they limit you on color options over the long term but due to cost, they're just not very realistic for the average household and painting them is not for the faint of heart, it's hard.

    Before you rule out the white completely, you may want to ask what it is about them that you dislike. My husband hates white cabinets too, but come to find out, when he says white cabinets, in his mind he sees cheap builder white, when I showed him stained and off white, he had a change of heart. So you may want to look through Pinterest or google white kitchens to see what exactly turns you off and still if not white, you may want to consider a different neutral instead like something in the gray family.

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • patty Vinson
    7 years ago

    Rather than a simple paint job, I would paint, then use a glaze. Using a white paint with a gray glaze(Valspar may have a gray)would tie in with the granite. Your cabinets have great areas where the glaze would settle giving them more definition. All you do is brush it on and wipe it off(it's a water base)a little more time, but well worth the effort.

    Dee Bridges thanked patty Vinson
  • My3dogs ME zone 5A
    7 years ago

    Here is another pic of a kitchen done in Ben Moore Fieldstone -

    You've probably been here to see what they suggest for coordinating colors -

    http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/fieldstone

    Since you're going to paint the cabinets, maybe get a sample of the Fieldstone and paint a drawer of two on the island to see how it looks to you with your granite? I suggest the island as the light looks good there, and since you'd be re-doing the backsplash, putting it on a wall cabinet near it might cloud your vision of it.

    Dee Bridges thanked My3dogs ME zone 5A
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hi All,

    Well, I am not sure where to begin. I do love white/cream idea but I am afraid it will clash with the white trim which was painted by the previous owners. I don't really want to have to repaint all of that. I personally don't really like bright white, or stark white, I prefer off whites and creams. DH and DD were not fans of ANY whites. Not bright whites, not true whites, not off whites, and not creams. As an example, we painted my mom's apartment trim and ceiling White Dove. I love it. DH and DD are not fans. The walls are Mannequin Cream (an idea I got off of here actually), and I love it! They don't. They are not crazy about the combination of the grayed down white and the cream yellow of mannequin cream. To me it is classy and beautiful. To them it is blah.

    The Oak bathroom vanity my husband painted a ways back with BM sharkskin -- I thought it came out really nice. I can see the tiniest bit of grain, but not a lot. I will try to take a photo. My DH is actually a pretty good painter, so I think it may come out okay.

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Oh and I do like glaze, I just don't know if my husband is a fan of how it settles in the cracks and crevices.

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    here is the cabinet with sharkskin. This was just a practice piece to see how it would come out? I can see a little grain in it, but I thought it was ok? you all think there is too much grain?

  • nini804
    7 years ago

    I think your vanity looks very nice! Your husband did a great job. I love how the fieldstone looks in the pictures posted...I think it might work with a different backsplash. Hint....a VERY subtle backsplash, barely off-white or something! Any chance of changing the floor to wood? :) My 3Dogs pic just is compelling!

    Dee Bridges thanked nini804
  • cpartist
    7 years ago

    What about using a colored stain instead. This way you'd get the color with keeping the grain. The advantage is it wouldn't take as long to do, and it would probably hold up better than painted. look at minwax. I know there are other brands too.

    Dee Bridges thanked cpartist
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hi nini804 -- Yes we will change the backsplash and the floors will definitely be changed to wood! My mom's backsplash is breadboard painted BM Winds Breath. It is a grayed out white and I really love it.

    chartist, hmm I never really thought about colored stains. I don't know what i think of that. My initial reaction is that the cabinets are very grainy and because there are so many of them, all of the grains going every direction.... i think it would be lots of movement in addition to the movement in the granite countertop. I was kind of thinking doing a more plain and neutral paint in terms of cabinet color, to make the granite "pop", and not compete with it because i do like it. I am not saying it would have been my first choice in granite, but it is very nice and the 7 foot island works great to make tons of christmas cookies :-)

  • User
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dee, I think your test cabinet is lovely. I painted an oak cabinet in our bathroom black and had similar results with the grain.

    Not to beat a dead horse, I'm with you, as I'm sure many of us are, when I do something decor wise, I always want my family to be on board with my choices cause it's their home too...but if your guys are anything like my husband, they lack the foresite to see what a finished project will look like. For example, my husband was dead set against painting the bath cabinet black. He's a wood guy (most are) and wanted to keep the wood. I persisted and he finally gave in, once the room was done, there was color on the walls, window treatments and so on, he got it, loved the results and even said those magic words "you were right" and I had to agree. :c)

    More food for thought, you have an island, do it in the green and the rest in a neutral at least that way if you tire of the green, you only have to repaint the island.

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    lukkiirish haha -- here's the truth of the matter: I know what I like, and I think I have pretty good, consistent taste. I cannot say I love my husband's taste in home decor, (and I think he may be a little color blind, because today was the first day he could see the difference between the linen walls and pale oak walls.) My daughter and I like a lot of the same things in fashion and style, but we RARELY agree on ANYTHING decor- related. (she is more eclectic and free-spirit, I am a little more traditional). So. I guess what I am saying is, I don't feel like listening to everyone b!@ch and complain after we do the cabinets, saying they are ugly, and they don't like it, for YEARS. It really comes down to doing something everyone is ok with, which is hard when there are so many people with so many [misguided?] convictions.

  • patty Vinson
    7 years ago

    Years ago when I painted my cabinets white, and glazed with a maple stain per Lynette Jennings lol, the grain could be seen. Imo, sealing with a polyurathane would avoid the grainng from coming thru.

    Dee Bridges thanked patty Vinson
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    i think asking DH to add the step of glaze is...pushing my luck frankly.

  • patty Vinson
    7 years ago

    Dee, I get that! lol It is really easy since the glaze is very water-like, and wipes right off. Put DD to work. I've had to do that on occasion. lol

    Dee Bridges thanked patty Vinson
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    oh patty patty patty...you speak so much common sense. I have said the same thing. If only it were that easy. DH does NOT WANT DD or ME or anyone else to "help".

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Anyone have any color suggestions that are different than fieldstone, or the ones I posted, or white? I am open to other idea/colors. I don't think the glaze is a likely option at this point.

  • patty Vinson
    7 years ago

    You're very lucky to have such an ambitious DH! A bluish gray might be very pretty, and I like the Fieldstone. I have a friend who painted the uppers a very pale gray and the lowers more of a charcoal. I think there may have been a picture posted on the forum of similar colors used. Just another thought.

  • torreykm
    7 years ago

    Dee - I'm with you. Paint the cabs! Yes, it will be labor intensive and the grain may show through a bit (there are products to reduce that). Maybe it will look dated in 10 years, but lots of looks/styles change. I do agree with most - the ultimate color decision should be your and your husband's. I'd be tempted to go with a cream color, but if that's truly not an option then a warm grey/greige or light grey/green (if that works with your stone).

    Dee Bridges thanked torreykm
  • housecat
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have your color granite and your color floors and I painted my oak cabinets BM Berkshire Beige (in their Advance paint, which is self-leveling). It's more taupe than beige and goes with LOTS of different wall colors. It stays cleaner than white, but doesn't make the room look dark. I have stainless appliances and stainless pulls and knobs.

    Dee Bridges thanked housecat
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    torreykm -- yeah i know that painting them ourselves may not get rid of ALL the grain, but honestly we have no where to go but up at this point. I love the cream idea and i would veto my DH and DD opinions about it, IF i wasn't concerned about the clash with the already painted white trim, crown molding, etc. Housecat if you have any photos of your kitchen in the berkshire i would love to see it. Seriously i am open to anything.

  • User
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You mentioned you like the color BM color your mother painted her backsplash, would that work with your granite?. I googled it earlier and it looks like a really pretty color

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • zippity1
    7 years ago

    who actually spends time in this kitchen? i do like the fieldstone color (i think that's what it was) but i like whites/creams also and a fern green would be nice make sure you do what you want that step frees up other people to do what they want even if it isn't your taste having everyone agree really makes life a little difficult...

    Dee Bridges thanked zippity1
  • My3dogs ME zone 5A
    7 years ago

    "Beautiful kitchen with tan cabinets painted Benjamin Moore Berkshire
    Beige paired with white granite counter tops and herringbone subway tile
    backsplash. Iron and glass lantern over dark gray kitchen island painted
    dark taupe, Benjamin Moore Texas Leather, topped with white granite
    counters and gray and orange rug layered over wood floors. Two-tone
    kitchen with stainless steel range hood over Wolf Range next to
    concealed refrigerator and freezer drawers hidden behind paneled door."

    https://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=110203

    Dee Bridges thanked My3dogs ME zone 5A
  • User
    7 years ago

    I hesitated to offer this idea but since you said you like cream I figure why not? For our kitchen, dining and attached walls in the living room (we have open concept), I decided to go with Behr Raffia Cream which is perfect as a room brightner and has a very pretty contrast with our white trim (Behr Cup O'Creme). It may not be the right cream for your situation, especially with your granite, however it does help to show you that there may be a cream out there that is.

    And don't forget, unless you go with a specialty paint, you can always have another makers color mixed at BM or whatever paint company you prefer, so your options are really unlimited. Here are some pics I found with the Raffia both against white and used on oak cabinets (although it looks a bit dark in that kitchen). The first shows you can accomplish a good contrast with the white. The next two belong to a fellow gardenwebber and this is the thread in case your interested: Raffia Creme Cabinets. And the last is a picture of our cabinet with the white we used and natural lighting from a large window facing that wall. As I said, it may not be the right color for you but it does show that cream can and will offer a nice contrast with the white. I wish I could have found a pic of the cabinets in a finished room, but there wasn't one available, I would have loved to see it.

    Dee Bridges thanked User
  • tinam61
    7 years ago

    I like the pix my3dogs posted. I like the fieldstone. I think a blue or green toned grey would look great for cabinets - BUT NOT SURE HOW IT WOULD LOOK WITH YOUR COUNTERTOPS. I am not a fan of white cabinets - pure white/stark white but as Lukki suggested - cream/off white cabinets I do like much better. My suggestion would be to have someone who paints cabinets come in and look at your kitchen and give you an estimate and some ideas. You don't have to use them, but it might be eye-opening.

    Dee Bridges thanked tinam61
  • eandhl2
    7 years ago

    At the top of this thread, do a search for yellow kitchen cabinets. I can see a paler hello with your counters and yellow & gray play nice.

    Dee Bridges thanked eandhl2
  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    lukkiirish -- funny, the winds breath IS one of my fave colors. (and to anyone who is looking for a magic white/grey paint, I swear, it really is just the most wondrous color!). I also have it on my bedroom ceiling with camouflage on the walls and a white crown molding. I did look at it as a potential color for the cabinets but decided against it when DD and DH said they think white/off white/cream cabinets are "boring" and "trendy". Winds Breath did seem too look good with my counters....i just asked dh to go paint a board and i am gonna check it out. the raffia cream i really like. i think i like it on the wall better than the cabinets, i don't think i like it next to stainless as much as maybe something else.

    eandhl2 i have considered some pale yellows. One color I looked at was sugar cookie (benjamin moore) but i never did pursue it. When i abandoned the white/cream idea, i abandoned pale yellow. i am not sure what my reasoning was.

    tinam61 i have talked to some people about the cabinets. They were painters first and designers second (or maybe third or fourth). They really didn't care if i painted them purple or ochre or white. They were interested in the painting, not in the aesthetic. Not sure I would have trusted their aesthetic anyway...even if they were so inclined to discuss it.

    My3dogs (Maine zone 5A) i do like the pic you posted. I think the grey in the pic is cooler than i want, but i would like to see berkshire beige on the cabinets. i am going to look and see if i can find a picture.

  • Dee Bridges
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    oh i forgot zippity1, you asked who spends time in there? Answer: the whole family. Everyone...including my mom, a cat and a dog. i have thought about fern green. i used BM soft fern in my mom's bedroom, and my son's bedroom and it looks great. i don't know if that shade would work or not. I could try it.

  • My3dogs ME zone 5A
    7 years ago

    Dee, that second pic I posted IS Berkshire Beige. I copied the text that accompanied the photo from the article.

    I've always liked this soft green kitchen, but don't know what the color is.


  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Whose house is this? Who pays the mortgage and taxes? That's who gets to decide on colors other than their own bedroom. When they get their own house or apt, then they get a vote. Get what you and your husband like, but mainly what you want.

  • User
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dee, regardless of what DD or DH think it is obvious from your response that you love the Winds Breath and it's the one. No one should tell you how the dynamics of your family should work, what's acceptable and what isn't, but you know what they say, "If Mama ain't happy, no one is happy".

    My daughter was very vocal and opinionated too when she was growing up (still is) and that's good to some degree but every once in a while, there's still times when her opinion isn't welcome and I have to tell her that. If I were in your shoes right now, this would most definitely be one of those times. That said, regardless of what you end up choosing, I hope it turns out well.

  • Jane
    7 years ago

    I would pull colors from the granite and think about mixing it up a bit. For example, some cabinets could be espresso and others cream (if those are actual colors in the granite), some uppers could have glass doors (clear or obscured or patterned or with grids) or you could take the doors off for open shelving, or use two different types of knobs that compliment each other. Or you could do all of these things.


    For colors, you can vary the lightness of any color in the granite.


    I have a very small kitchen. I took down half the uppers, then painted most of them white and two short ones over the stove black. The hardware on the black cabinets are short cylindrical stub knobs while the white cabinets have towel bar pulls like my refrigerator. It all works great together but the variety makes it so there is not too much of one color or pattern. (My appliances are black glass.)

  • User
    7 years ago

    I honestly like your cabinets the way they are in your kitchen setting and would just change the backsplash, lights, and cabinet hardware to orb, but I understand wanting a change if you're not liking them.

    I think the color samples you bought are nice on their own, but don't think the color relates to anything in the kitchen. I think you need to pull a color from the countertop. I would go with cream. Creams go better with browns and earth tones and white better with black. If you do go this direction, I'd just be careful not to pick something too stark or it can look jarring and off. I'd keep the backsplash simple and use beadboard painted the same color cream as cabinets or a cream subway tile. Others here could help with that selection. I'd figure out what color you want the cabinets first.

    Also since you'll be changing the tile out to hardwood, I think the cream cabinets will make a nice contrast there.

    I personally would not glaze the cabinets. I think they end up going from cream or white to beige and end up looking dingy.

    You're kitchen is nice and I look forward to following along with your changes.

  • Kippy
    7 years ago

    If you find a paint you like but it is not dark or light enough, you can have them make samples 50% darker or lighter.

    seeing the grain on the doors would not be a big issue for me, and after a day painting in the pantry, I wish I had some one who did not want my help!


    My son liked the Behr Tea Cookie

  • Jennette Home
    3 years ago

    would love to see a pic of how the kitchen turned out! :-)