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6 Ways to Pick the Perfect Cabinet Color

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Have you ever stared at your cabinets wondering what they would look with a fresh coat of paint? Don’t make things worse by picking the wrong paint color! This blog covers how to go about the process the right way. Repainting cabinetry is a fun and budget friendly way to quickly transform your kitchen, bathroom or laundry/mudroom. Today I'll explain how to master the process. The following is a list of things you definitely need to consider when picking out potential colors:

  • Amount of natural light

  • Flooring color / tones

  • Wall colors

  • Countertop

  • Backsplash if applicable

  • Cabinet door style

You want to make sure the paint colors you are leaning toward work with the other parts of your room like wall color, flooring, countertops and backsplash. Start by getting as many large samples as you can to strategically place in your room for lighting and coordination purposes. Check throughout the day to see how the changing light effects the colors.

Free Pro Design Tip:

There's a great source for peel and stick paint samples at For $5.95, order 12 x 12 Ben Moore, Sherwin Williams, Farrow & Ball and Home Depot paint samples to ship out the next day! You simply peel and stick them wherever you like and remove them with no damage.

After you have educated yourself on the best way to paint your existing cabinets with on line tutorials, you will probably find you need to do the following steps: remove all doors and hardware, thoroughly clean all cabinetry inside and out, lightly sand everything, prime everything, lightly sand again and then paint 1-2 coats. Yes, it takes time to do it right, but plan on doing one step per day and it's much easier that way :)

If your goal is to create a light, bright and airy room sticking with lighter colors makes the most sense. White cabinets are by far the most popular choice and there's just something about an all white room that feels so clean and fresh! Another option is to blend white cabinetry with a contrasting base/upper or island color like in this fun butler's pantry below.

Design by Robin Johnson Interiors

For some reason, most husbands still seem to prefer wood stained cabinets. Believe it or not, wood stained cabinetry can look fresh and airy when everything else in the design equation is light and bright. See the example below of a powder bath I did with a client a few years ago which turned out great. The wall paint color is SW 6204 Sea Salt and the shiplap trim is SW 7004 Snowbound.

Design by Robin Johnson Interiors

Gray cabinets are also a popular choice if you're tired of white and don't want a natural wood finish or wood stain. Depending on which shade of gray you go with, gray cabinets can look bright and lively, again deepening on what you put them with. I love how the this laundry room below turned out! The paint color is SW Repose Gray 7015.

Design by Robin Johnson Interiors

Whatever you choose, I recommend going with a timeless color for cabinetry in larger rooms like your kitchen which is time consuming to repaint. You can be a little bolder in rooms like a guest bathroom where it's easier to repaint down the road if you get tired of a color. But honestly, I suggest keeping it simple and going with cabinets as a stationary color in the room you can live with for years to come. It's much easier to repaint walls, add wallpaper, change accessories & rugs, etc.

If you decide to take the plunge and paint your cabinets, please send me your before and after photos! Join my FB group Kitchens, Bath & Mudrooms by Design to share your journey with other design savvy moms and a chance for weekly free design advice ;)


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