Painting Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Please excuse the musical metaphors through out this article that compare creating inspiring kitchen cabinet ideas with Rock’in Roll great songs and legends.

Painting kitchen cabinets has certainly become the trend and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. If you excuse me for twisting a verse from the King, even wise man say, that painting kitchen cabinets from the 50’s is not a foolish thing to do. The smooth flat surfaces of those cabinet 50’s and 60 designs creates a perfect canvas for apply different colors for good vibrations.

If you currently have stained oak cabinets from the from the 80’s or beyond, they probably are not looking to trendy right now. But don’t worry, in this article I want to inspire you to at least look in through the out door or a glass onion, and come away with some just maybe come up with cool kitchen cabinet painting ideas of your own. As long as they are structurally, sound they are candidates to be painted.

In the White Room: How about plain white? Straight white cabinets will give your kitchen a clean look but will most likely be a supporting character for something else in the room (probably not black curtains). For example, an attractive backsplash, or a wolf stove and stunning exhaust vent. If everything is white a neutral than the overall effect can look a bit boring and steril as Pat Boone standing next to James Brown.

Consider this when choosing the right color and creating a classic

  • Does the floor go well with the cabinets?
  • How about thecounter top?
  • The walls and the cabinets should not be the same color.
  • Using all knobs is boring as well. A mixture of knobs and handles will add interest
  • Do you really need that clutter on top of the cabinets

In contrast, this picture answers all the questions above.

  • Blue backsplash offers interest
  • Floor compliments cabinet color
  • A mixture of knobs and handles
  • Countertop works great with all colors

Having your kitchen cabinets painted white with nothing to grab your attention is like having a rhythm section with no lead vocals or soloist. Having a blue kitchen island like this here is like bringing in Rod Stewart on center stage.

Painting kitchen cabinets in two different colors is one of my favorite ways to create a new and interesting kitchen. It’s like getting Walter Becker and Donald Fagen together to form Steely Dan. Painting kitchen islands a dark espresso color is an easy choice but how about painting a floor to ceiling section of your cabinets its own unique color. Is there a pantry door right next to the floor to ceiling cabinets? Why not paint that the door the same color as the floor to ceiling cabinets? In other words, get creative. Remember it’s only paint and not a tattoo. There is no permanent damage caused from experimenting with different colors.


The kitchen cabinets and doors were painted the same color.

Sammy Davis Junior – The Candyman

If you are going to apply two different colors typically the bottom cabinets is the darker color of the two. This seems to make sense to me. In nature you often see the Green Grass and High Tides which goes from dark to light.

There are exceptions Who might say like The Sea and the Sand is light to dark!

Breaking the rules: If you want to create great music you have to break the rules. Jim Hendrix comes to mind at the top of my list. Not only was the music he produced as unique as anyone’s, he decided to take it two steps further. His guitar strings were reversed, and he played the guitar upside down. So, when trying to come up with some interesting kitchen cabinets ideas, you don’t have to follow the rules. You can follow the rules or trends, or you can create something that is as unique as you are. If you put enough samples on your cabinets, it might turn out to have a Partridge Family theme.









When I first bought my house in 1992, I had more imagination than money. We had an old vinyl floor in the kitchen from 1957. The most economical things to do was paint it. My first wife, loved cows, so she painted a cow on the floor. It certainly was a conversation piece.

Why should cabinets be any different?

Ideas for painting kitchen cabinets can also be inspired by the sheen. Typically, cabinets are painted a satin sheen which is slightly less than a semi-gloss. If you really want your kitchen to pop, try an intense color and then paint it in a high gloss paint like this one shown here.

Satin finish cabinets

Hi Gloss Cabinets

One warning with using high gloss, it will have the best look by far if it is sprayed.

In full disclosure I searched the internet for most of these pictures. The truth is, most people for whatever reason like to play it safe when it comes to creative ideas for kitchen cabinets. But there is no reason too unless you are planning on selling the house soon or genuinely like the look.

When I designed my own kitchen in 2009, I wanted something that would be timeless, and unique. After looking at dozens of magazines and even a few books on the history of kitchen cabinets I came up with a combination of stained maple and painted butter cup yellow with tobacco glazing to bring out the details. I am no more tired of the look of these cabinets than I am of listening to Dave Mathews Under the Table and Dreaming.

Don’t forget about the hardware. There are 1000’s of handles, and knobs that can add so much character and interest to look of your kitchen. The ideas and combinations are endless and there is no reason to limit yourself to just one or two styles. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that kitchen cabinets began to appear. Food and utensils, etc. were stored in random pieces of furniture, and shelves in kitchen. In essence it was a mix match of different types of furniture, tables and shelving. There were no monolithic kitchen cabinets until the 1925 when the Franfurt cabinets were first made in Germany.

Incorporating different sizes and styles was the only option. One piece of furniture would be used for cutting and storage and another for some other practical function. This is why painting different colors and adding different hardware can allow you to create your own personal space. Having different colored cabinets, with different hardware, is like creating a band and with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jon Paul Jones, and John Bonham. It all comes together beautifully with each piece complementing the other. The only thing missing from the picture is a happy Black Dog.