The Power of Painted Cabinets

by Kelli Kehler

Never underestimate the power of paint. When saddled with an interior design situation that isn’t ideal — like ugly or dated cabinets in a kitchen or bathroom — it can be easy to become overwhelmed, thinking the whole room needs to be overhauled. Especially if budgets are tight, a full gut job is often not an option, but this is where paint comes to the rescue.

Painted cabinets can not only transform a room, but cabinets painted in nontraditional colors become conversation pieces in their own right, and can define an entire space’s color palette. Greys and deep blues seem to be trusted mainstays in cabinet paint colors, but lately we’ve been seeing black, mint green and more of an emerald green color making their way onto revamped existing cabinets. We’re loving painted cabinets in all hues these days, so take a spin through some of our favorite examples of this DIY element to gather inspiration for your own project. —

Image above: In a hotel designed by Jersey Ice Cream Co., makes a jaw-dropping statement on streamlined, shaker-style cabinets. 


The Los Angeles home of Candis Cayne has an undeniably memorable kitchen thanks to cabinets painted in emerald green and their perfect ability to contrast with an intricate tile wall.


adds an air of sophistication to the small Craftsman bungalow of Anne Sage.


A barely-there powder blue hue uplifts the kitchen cabinets of a Hudson Valley home. The butcher block countertops are the perfect complement to this soothing shade.


A high-gloss teal paint paired with sleek Carrara marble countertops gives off a high-end and moody feel to this Salt Lake City kitchen.


In Saugerties, NY, homeowner Roy says, “We chose the color (Benjamin Moore) for a modern look but designed the kitchen cabinets in the classic shaker style.”


enlivens the cabinets in this New Orleans kitchen – a perfect color to perk up a home built in the early 1800s.


The owners of this Cleveland, OH home took a bathroom that had tan colors throughout and flipped it on its head with hand painted walls and a painted vanity in a similar shade.


It took many weekends for homeowner Nadia to paint her kitchen cabinets in , but the moody and rich results are well worth the work.


To save on reno costs to update a 1980s kitchen, the owners of this home opted to keep the old cabinets intact, but they painted them in New hardware combines with this chic blue-grey color and the whole kitchen is transformed (for less).


In Sweden, this whisper of a  on existing cabinetry pairs nicely with white tiles on the wall, modern grey sconce lighting and, if you look closely,  the same paint color is used on the shelving brackets above.


For a quirky pop of interest, red cabinets play off of blue and white backsplash tiles in this London home.


In Texas, the homeowner uses her go-to paint color of to complement a mustard yellow retro oven that came with the house.

Suggested For You


  • The thought of painting wood surfaces like cabinets, doors and furniture often scares people off … how many times have we heard wood-grain purists express horror over changing the natural look?!? Well, I for one love a little rebellion :) and say, choosing a gorgeous color and laying it on with abandon is an easy, affordable way to make something unique and perfectly suited to its space. So, yes, paint, paint, paint!

  • Great article! I would appreciate the paint colors for the cabinets since the article is about paint colors. Specifically, several requests have been made for the color of Candis Cayne’s kitchen cabinets without a reply. Is it possible for you to reveal this color?

  • That does it – I’m painting my cheap melamine cabinets green. They’ll contrast in a very 70s way with the weird pale orange walls. I figure if that awesome New Orleans kitchen can get away with it, my 1910 house can pull it off too! And of course, green will go nicely with all the plants in the kitchen.

  • I am in favor of painting the cabinets, I would choose a natural beech wood and combine with a dark colour or white, or an interesting shade of green.

  • Im an interior designer and I would say painting a cabinet is not a good idea! most of the kitchens pictured here look nice because they’ve been lacquered – not painted over. Painting a cabinet will either leave you with an uneven finish or a very obviously “painted on” look that ends up feeling cheap instead of chic :) But I do agree – always have a fun with color! Especially somewhere unexpected, like in a kitchen

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.