Are you a bit tired of the colors in your kitchen? Does it need some sprucing up, or do you want to make it a real feature in your home? Painting the cabinets is the first step in changing the look and feel of your kitchen. We have put together 21 painted kitchen cabinet ideas to inspire you.
On To The Painted Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Pick Up A Color From The Granite
Many kitchens have granite worktops, which usually have more than one color or tone. Choose the least dominant color or shade in the granite and turn that into a feature in the kitchen by painting the cabinet doors in this color.
Keep it to a fairly light shade of the color, so that the cabinets complement the worktops and don’t overshadow them. Read our post to find the best paint for kitchen cabinets.
Geometric designs can either dominate or draw the eye. The trick is to use simple geometric designs in a color that complements the main color in the room. Paint a simple geometric design on the cabinet doors. Rather than cover the whole surface of all the doors, you could paint a border around each door.
Use Chalkboard Paint
If you’re into the country chic look, try painting two or three cabinets with chalkboard paint. These can be used to write shopping lists, or even to jot down thoughts. If you have kids, paint two or three lower cabinets, so they can.
All kids like to doodle and writing on the wall is their ultimate entertainment. If they have their own chalkboards to use, then they can indulge themselves while you are busy in the kitchen.
Cabinets With ‘Inside’ and ‘Outside’
Some kitchen cabinet doors have an ‘inside’ panel, with what looks like a raised frame around it. You can get creative with these kinds of doors.
Contrasting ‘Inside and Outside’
Paint the inside panel of the doors in one color, then paint the ‘frame’ in a lighter shade of the same color. You can reverse the shades but do so consistently through the room.
‘Outline’ the inside
Paint the whole cabinet door in one color and then use a lighter shade of the same color around the inside of the ‘frame’ to outline the inside. You can also do this with a complementary color.
Replace the ‘Inner’
Replace the ‘inner’ part of the cabinet doors with mesh or glass and paint the ‘outside’ with the basic color of the kitchen.
The inside ‘panel’ of this type of cabinet door can be cross-hatched wood. I this case, paint the whole door in one color because the ‘panels’ will draw enough attention to themselves. You could enhance the look by scraping the whole cabinet and then only painting the cross-hatching.
Contrast up and down
Paint the upper cabinets in the kitchen in one color, then paint the lower ones in a lighter shade of the same color. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can switch this around. You can also use a complementary color. For example, paint the upper cabinets in a light brown and the lower row in burnt orange.
Take to the stencil
Paint the cabinet doors in the basic color of the kitchen. The color should be solid. Select a few cabinets and stencil shapes onto them. You can choose to keep these to a theme, such as kitchen utensils. Keep the shapes random. Don’t try to do something on every cabinet.
Check out this awesome post on stenciling cabinets.
Use stencilled letters to write word on the cabinets. These can be words related to the kitchen. What is also effective is to write a few inspirational quotes. Don’t try to cover all the cabinets, or the kitchen will become too busy.
It’s In The Backsplash
The backsplash is often a feature in a kitchen, so why not use it?
Copy the Pattern
Copy the pattern of the backsplash onto the cabinet doors. It would be most effective if you use this throughout the kitchen. One way to do this is to paint the pattern along the bottom of the cabinet doors. For a more subtle look, you can do this only on the bottom cabinets.
You could also copy the pattern onto every second door. The aim should be to keep the backsplash and the pattern as a feature, not the focus.
Paint the cabinets in a neutral color, such as white, beige, or pale grey. Make sure the color you choose matches the color of the walls and the main color in the kitchen. Paint the handles of the cabinets in the brightest or darkest color of the backsplash. It may be necessary to buy handles that match the color, if you choose metal or plastic handles over wood.
You can take the plunge to make the kitchen cabinets a really bright feature and go completely bold. Paint the cabinets on one side of the kitchen in a bright, even shocking color. Don’t’ hold back. Use bright orange, canary yellow or deep turquoise.
A popular technique for painting cabinets in a kitchen, especially in a cottage or farm style kitchen is tor create a shabby chic look. This works best with wooden cabinets. Use chalk paint and paint the cabinets in two coats. Then use medium grain sandpaper to sand down the areas of the cabinets that would normally undergo wear and tear. This would be the corners, or around the handles.
Paint the cabinet doors in a color that matches one of the appliances in the kitchen. Try to avoid using white for the cabinets if your fridge is white, or grey if the stove is silver. Choose something like a green toaster and kettle, or go full out and buy a red fridge to match the cabinets.
Choose complementary colors to paint alternating doors. For example, if the basic color of the kitchen is grey, then paint the cabinets alternately in a shade of the grey and a pale yellow. Or you could go really bold and paint the cupboards in two bright colors, such as green and blue. On the other hand, keep it more muted and use a sky blue and a pastel blue for the alternating colors.
Create a Tea Chest
Use paint to create a classic look of something like a tea chest, or a panelled create. This should cover all the bottom cabinets. This is an easier look to achieve with wooden cabinets, but the idea can be translated for other surfaces. Use stencils to write words lie ‘fragile’ or a section of an address onto the cupboards. To write a word that goes over the gap between two doors.
Create a Frieze
Turn the kitchen cabinets into your private canvas. Paint a frieze across the top cabinets. Choose a theme that means something to your family. This may be animals, or fairies, or moon and stars. Paint the simple pictures in full color, or choose one, solid, dark to form a silhouette.
You can also choose one or two cabinets to paint a form form of mural on. If you are artistic, this will be easier. If you feel that you can’t paint, though, you can use simple images, or even outlines for effect.
Create an Ombre Look
Why not use graded shades of the same paint to create an ombre look in your kitchen. Begin with a darker shade at the top of the higher row of cabinets, then paint in gradually lightening shades of the same paint all the way to the bottom of the lower cabinets.
You can also be creative and grade the paint from one color to a pale shade and then introduce a light shade of a complementary color at the bottom of the higher cabinets. Pick up this shade and color at the top of the lower cabinets and continue the grading until the bottom edge, which will be darker.
It is not useful to paint on a surface that is not thoroughly prepared, because the paint won’t adhere to the surface properly. Especially in the kitchen, where the cabinets are going to get some form of moisture or even oil on them occasionally, this is very important.
Before you paint any of your cabinets, you must make sure the surfaces are well-prepared. Click here for advice on how to do this properly.
Wrapping Up Our Painted Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Simply painting the cabinets can create a whole new look for your kitchen. Take some of the painted kitchen cabinet ideas here and that look will be unique or special. Before you embark on any painting project for your kitchen cabinets, though, check below for even more kitchen cabinet painting info.
Ready To Learn More?
Check out our Painting Kitchen Cabinets hub page for everything you could want to know about cabinet painting including costs, how-tos, reviews, and more.
I started painting in 2001 and have seen just about everything in my painting career. I started in production and commercial painting, then moved over to new construction and remodeling during the boom of the early 2000s. Post 2010, I niched down into residential painting where I have done everything from exteriors, decks, interiors, furniture and more. Over the last few years, I’ve had a focus on kitchen cabinets.
I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves.
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