Painted Kitchen Cabinets Are Making a Comeback—Here Are Our Favorite Colors To Try Now
Looking to add some pop and personality to your kitchen? Then, open the door to the idea of enhancing your space with painted cabinets.
While this trend originally harkens back to the mid-1990s, colored cabinets are suddenly making a resurgence in the hub of the home. "In recent years, as we took refuse in our homes from the COVID crisis, colorful kitchens began trending again in earnest," says Dennese Guadeloupe-Rojas, an interior designer in Silver Spring, Maryland. "The right designer color on kitchen cabinets adds a dimension of sophistication and charm to this 'family' room."
Here's why painted cabinets have become fashionable once again, which colors are most popular and how you can introduce them into your kitchen.
The Comeback Kid
Over the past few years, homeowners have been swapping older cabinetry for painted versions that enliven their cook and prep spaces. "Whether they prefer a lighter, softer color or want to bring in bolder, more playful hues, consumers are seeing their cabinets as an opportunity to bring another color into the space," says Arianna Cesa, associate manager, color marketing and development for Benjamin Moore. "They are no longer feeling like they must default to white or whatever material the cabinets are made of."
More than ten years ago, darker hues in the kitchen were much more in style. "Cabinets were typically dark mahogany, cherry and golden oak," recalls Antoinette Rourke, who specializes in painting kitchen cabinets in Jupiter, Florida. "Today, wood-stained cabinetry is dated…and the [painted] options are endless."
For families spending more time at home, albeit on a budget, painted kitchen cabinets offer a new look without the cost and labor associated with a top-to-bottom kitchen overhaul. "Oftentimes, cabinets are in great shape and good quality, but the color just isn't the homeowners' taste," notes Rourke. "It's also a much faster process." Paint jobs need only take three to five days, compared to months for new cabinetry.
And if you are looking for an easy way to introduce more color into your home, painted cabinetry is the way to go. "Kitchen cabinets are now being looked at almost like an accent wall in the kitchen," notes Cesa. "A fresh coat of paint is a quicker, but still impactful way to update your kitchen."
Colors That Pop
When deciding which hues will work best in your kitchen, take a look at colors that are currently trending. For a fresh, clean look, Alabaster (a warm white) is a popular selection for contemporary kitchens. Guadeloupe-Rojas credits this creamy shade for providing "the perfect backdrop for stone countertops, colorful cookware and kitchen accents." She is also seeing earthy green, citrus colors and ocean and deep shades of blue, which provide an airy feeling to smaller kitchens or those with limited natural light.
Blues and greens with a touch of gray also lend themselves well to kitchen space. Cesa recommends Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy HC-154, Caldwell Green HC-124, Misted Green 2138-50 and Aegean Teal 2136-40, shown here, as colors that work well with a variety of fixtures and finishes.
Rourke also salutes gray for its versatility in kitchen styles, from modern to country. "Grays can also be more forgiving than white with the grime that comes with everyday kitchen use," she says.
Tips and Tricks
To achieve the best results with painted cabinets, select a color that will complement your existing design, including counter tops, backsplash, fixtures and flooring. Torn between two different hues? Consider creating a two-toned kitchen. "Having fun with color on the lower cabinets can be a fun way to incorporate color without the commitment to an entire kitchen of colored cabinets," says Rourke.
If you're in the market for a low-key approach, Cesa recommends employing the same color on the walls and cabinets for a consistent design. "Change up the sheen for a subtle contrast, but let yourself be surrounded by that hue," she says. "This works for both lighter and darker colors, and everything in between."
And it goes without saying: Make sure to examine the color in your kitchen before painting. "Every kitchen is unique, and lighting plays a huge role in how the paint color will cast in the space," she adds.