interiors & styling

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - I got a really great question on Instagram, and thought it was worthy of a blog post- it’s also timely since we’re mid kitchen reno. Someone asked about choosing paint colors and finishes for kitchen cabinetry. It’s a tough decision, so I thought I’d help narrow it down, share some tips, as well as with my favorite colors depending on the look you’re going for. Click through for the post!

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - For the purposes of this post and the graphics below- I used the same cabinetry door style and swapped the color- this way, you can strictly judge the hue instead of focusing on style. Before we dive in, this isn’t a “kitchen in a box” solution… there are so many factors that determine what color paint is right for your kitchen. Think about these things in combination to paint swatches:

  • Countertop Material
  • Hardware
  • Lighting Finishes
  • Appliance Finishes
  • Tile Flooring or Backsplash
  • Existing Textiles (window treatments, rugs, etc)

When deciding on the cabinetry finish, there are also many factors that come into play:

  • Is this a DIY project?
  • How will you apply the paint?
  • Is it worth it to have your cabinetry professionally painted?
  • What type of paint does the professional require?
  • Will the cabinetry get lots of use?
  • How important is durability to you?

For example, our cabinetry is being custom made by Emmett’s work (lucky, I know). I was very specific about custom paint and stain colors, and wanted to pick those out and mix them myself. I worked with Sherwin-Williams and ordered a “pre-catelized” product that works with professional spray guns. It’s the single type of paint that the cabinetry workshop allows. Instead of normal finishes, I had to familiarize myself with the industry finishes. We went with a “medium rub” on the uppers- which translates to semi gloss, and a dull custom stain for the lowers.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite…

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry -


My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - I personally think neutrals are classic and timeless- no matter the trend. I know people tire of the white or neutral kitchen, but I think it’s all about the materials used alongside the cabinetry to make it work in a way that feels different or unique. SPOILER ALERT- our uppers will be a neutral color, while the lowers are natural wood. Any guesses what color? It may or may not be in the roundup.



My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry -

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - It’s no secret that two toned or “tuxedo” kitchens, as they’re often called, are rising in popularity. It’s a great way to have the best of best worlds and add depth and dimension to a kitchen. There are a couple ways to go about selecting cohesive colors for uppers and lowers… 1.) high contrast, or 2.) tone-on-tone. I’m predicting we’ll begin to see more tone-on-tone in the coming years, while high contrast feels classic, yet trendy.



I’m not going to lie, if I weren’t thinking of resale value– I’d 100% paint my cabinetry that very first blue color (Byzantine Blue). It’s so good! You guys already know I’m into the cornflower color. I think going bold is ballsy in the best way! Props to those of you who have committed and painted your cabinetry something out of the norm. I took a risk and painted our fireplace Olive Grove (the middle green shown above) and have zero regrets- it’s absolutely gorgeous.

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - I’ll wrap up by saying, cabinetry is expensive and pretty permanent, but that doesn’t mean you always have to play it safe. Be confident in your choice! As a rule of thumb, if I’m getting crazy with color, I try to keep it muddy and less saturated than normal. I think muted colors look more sophisticated than brights, which sometimes appear juvenile or trendy.

My Favorite Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinetry - Did that help anyone who is considering giving their cabinetry a facelift? I’m SO excited to get our cabinetry installed. The wait and anticipation is killing me, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Patience was never my strong suit.

images via: studio mcgee // magnolia home // emily henderson // park and oak // tom ferguson


  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 7:12 am

    This is such a good post and I love how you kept the cabinet style the same so the color differences truly shine! We have a tuxedo kitchen (white and black – which I love!), but I am also really digging the tone on tone tuxedo style as well. I can’t wait to see what color you have picked for your uppers!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Happy you liked the post, Allie! I’m SO excited to share our cabinetry and the process behind it – hopefully it will be super soon. xo

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I agree with the above poster—the tone on tone tuxedo is really speaking to me. Not something you see everyday, but still totally accessible for resale (now that I’m thinking about that, due to yesterday’s post). I would love to see that in a kitchen!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Haha!! I love that you’re thinking of resale Jacqui! I think tuxedo kitchens are classic and timeless, so I don’t see that being a resale issue at all. Did you see this post? I made over my best friend’s kitchen- tuxedo style:

      • Reply
        February 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

        I did, and I totally love it! I see a lot of black and white/gray and white/navy and white combos, but I’ve never seen tuxedo tonal greens or blues before, and I’m in love with the idea.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    We’re going with all-white cabinets to visually open up the space in our small kitchen. I’m going to go dark on the countertops, though, for contrast and style. Haven’t totally settled on backsplash. Love the colors, but decided that the white is best to make the space look as large as possible. Plus, I want to go with wood-look tile floors that will blend with our oak trim, so needed a definition between all the wood and the cabinets. I thought about an off-white or light cream cabinet because it would look nice with the trim, but I’m tending towards a more transitional style and I wondered if the off-white or cream would be too traditional. What do you think?

    • Reply
      February 1, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      I think that sounds perfect, Becky! Trust your instincts. Creamy warm tones are more difficult to pair because of their undertones… a true white goes with everything. Hope this helps! xox

  • Reply
    February 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I have been pondering color selection for my kitchen cabinets for YEARS. It’s daunting – but you’re making it easier. This is a great roundup! Thank you!

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