DIY Painting Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Get DIY ideas for painting kitchen cabinets.


Ugly kitchen cabinets are hard to ignore. You see them every time you walk in the kitchen and when you open them up day after day. But DIY kitchen cabinet painting ideas could save you some money in updating them.

Crave-Worthy Kitchen Cabinets

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Form and Function

This kitchen was designed to accommodate an enthusiastic cook and entertainer who wanted a contemporary feel that would not be at odds with her colonial townhouse. To create this look, NVS Remodeling & Design used frameless Dura Supreme Cabinetry in maple, painting the perimeter units in a creamy white and the island in a surprising splash of yellow (Sherwin Williams Butterfield with Espresso glaze). "To maximize storage, we stacked the cabinets to the ceiling, and specified deep drawers and tall pantries," say the designers. "The open corner and ribbed glass doors prevent that wall-to-wall cabinetry look."

Young At Heart

"Creating a hip, young kitchen while respecting the architectural heritage of an old house can be a challenge," says designer Jason Ball. To meet the twin needs of this particular project, Ball chose cabinets in a traditional raised-panel style, but gave them a fresh look with a trendy color: Behr's Dark Granite, in a rich semi-gloss finish. Hidden storage features complete the clever design. Deep drawers under the range keep pots and pans handy; cabinets extend to the ceiling for maximum stow-away space; and a pullout on one side of the kitchen keeps dog food easily accessible.

Real Steel

For a client who owns a company that manufacturers steel scales, Hufft Projects designed cabinetry that would reflect his business and his life. "We used metal panels throughout the house," says the designer. "The kitchen cabinets are one example. The gunmetal cabinets are made from galvanized hot-rolled steel with a clear-coat finish over an MDF substrate. They have integrated edge pulls to maintain a clean, seamless appearance."

Classic Cottage Charm

For a homeowner with a deep love of gardening and a fondness for English cottage style, Wright-Ryan Millwork created custom cabinets of white pine finished with a specially mixed stain of brown and yellow hues. "Concealed storage was important in this highly functional space," say the cabinetmakers. "Flat panel cabinets have adjustable, roll-out shelving inside, and concealed European hinges and soft-close drawers." Decorative feet beneath the sink adds cottage flavor.

Light Effects

In this open-plan kitchen, a combination of glistening white lacquered upper units and a striated wood style below creates a tailored, contemporary look. "Storage and functionality were both key to the design, so we optimized storage space by continuing cabinets along the bottom and into the adjacent dining room," says the designer. Design by DKOR Interiors.

Summerhouse Sophistication

In this luxurious Hamptons-style kitchen, designer Jamie Herzlinger created an updated traditional look that's long on luxury. Acres of white marble top the dual islands, complementing the custom millwork's graphic interlocking diamonds, a motif repeated on the upper cabinets that line the long walls. Panels cover the built-in refrigerators, for a sleek, integrated look.

Contemporary Cabin Style

Set on a wooded waterfront property on Lake Superior, this contemporary cabin shows a close connection to its natural setting. Architect Nils Finne used eco-friendly materials throughout the design, including in the kitchen. "We used PLYBOO, an FSC-certified bamboo product, for the cabinets," he says. "The end panels are mahogany, as is the dining table."

European Elegance

Inspired by the homeowner's love of Old World design, Ron and Martha Wolford created a rich, traditional look with frameless, raised-panel cabinets painted steel blue and accented with a creamy glaze. Important extras include in-cabinet puck lighting, under-cabinet lighting, mirrored glass mullioned doors (not pictured), and marble countertops. For a cohesive look, "the kitchen's cream, gold, and blue palette flows into the family room and covered porch," say the builders.

Bright Idea

In this long, narrow house, Kariouk Associates Architects used walls of glass to usher in light and designed sleek custom cabinets in bold yellow to help to capture and reflect the sunshine. Walnut paneling and accent cabinets offer a warm contrast to the splash of color, keeping the kitchen grounded within the open plan.

Fresh Outlook

For the heart-of-the home kitchen in this traditional Massachussetts home, designer Maqued Barsoum created custom cabinets with rich detailing: inset doors and drawers; deep, stepped crown moldings and a custom range hood canopy. The soft, sage finish lends softness to the look, and helps to highlight the island's dramatic Via Lattea granite.

Painting Kitchens

Get info on kitchen paint colors and be ready to choose the right hue for your kitchen design.

If you're a homeowner who can't afford a major overhaul or a renter whose landlord won't update your ancient kitchen, there are many DIY ideas for painting kitchen cabinets.

Cabinets are a focal point in the kitchen, so if you can't stand your current ones, give them a facelift with paint! Painting kitchen cabinets can be exhausting, but if you're up for the challenge, you'll have a kitchen you love soon enough.

If you're ready to update your kitchen cabinets, you'll need to select a new paint color. There are many directions you can go when it comes to kitchen cabinets and it's not always easy to figure out which one is best. Consider the other items and colors that are already in your kitchen and select a color that will complement them. Take your backsplash, counter top, floor and walls into account. White is a common go-to color for kitchen cabinets because it feels clean and fresh. It also works well with every other color and can brighten up a dark space. Gray and greige also look great on kitchen cabinets; the colors pair well with yellow and blue, two common kitchen colors.

If you prefer a pop of color for your kitchen cabinets, the sky is the limit. There are many shades of yellow that would really shine, from bright, almost neon hues to lighter, more buttery shades. Other pastel shades that would look good on kitchen cabinets include sky blue and mint green. If you have a big, airy kitchen and want a deeper, more sophisticated shade, try emerald green or navy blue—but only do this if you have light-colored walls; otherwise, your room will feel too dark and heavy.

Two-toned cabinets are also in style these days. If you like this look, select a light color such as a creamy white or light gray for the top cabinets and a darker color such as a cobalt blue or even cranberry red for the bottom ones. If you're really adventurous, try color blocking your cabinet by choosing two bright shades that are on opposite sides of the color wheel—for instance, bright yellow and navy blue. Some designers are using the ombre trend on kitchen cabinets. Achieve this look by selecting one color and painting your cabinets varying shades of it. Chalkboard paint can also look cool on cabinets and will make it easy to record shopping lists and to-dos.

Distressed and Antiqued Kitchen Cabinets

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