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How to choose kitchen cabinet paint colors

Ready to paint your cabinets but usure of what color to use? Here is a step by step process for how to choose kitchen cabinet paint colors!

Picking the paint color for our kitchen cabinets was one of the things I was most excited for in this kitchen makeover.

I loved painting the oak cabinets at our old house because it totally modernized and brightened the space.

Paint is seriously magical – it is such an inexpensive and no skill needed way to transform a room.

Today I want to talk about how to pick the perfect paint color for your kitchen cabinets, because I get so much questions about this. And I get it, there are literally unlimited paint colors available, it’s extremely overwhelming.

But, let’s take away the overwhelm by breaking it down into a simple step-by-step process.

how to choose kitchen cabinet paint colors

Things to consider before selecting your paint color

The most important thing about picking a paint color is that it flows with everything else in your space.

Remember – paint comes in almost endless shades. It really shouldn’t be the thing you design a room around.

For a kitchen, you probably want to start with the following elements:

  • tile/backsplash
  • countertops
  • flooring
  • any must-have decor or accents

Then, pull a paint color to match. I love to pull a kitchen cabinet color from the grain of the countertop. This will help to ensure a cohesive feel!

tile picking

For our current kitchen makeover, we picked the main cabinet color based off of the countertops, and got the island color to match our green Samsung Bespoke fridge!

Things like counters and appliances have much more limited colors compared to paint. It’s easy to color match paint once you settle on other elements!

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Click here to learn my simple step by step process to pick the perfect paint color every time!

How to choose kitchen cabinet paint colors

Here are the steps that I always recommend you use to pick the perfect kitchen cabinet paint color!

STEP 1: Research

Before I start picking any paint color, I like to do some general research. Usually this is on Pinterest for me, but it could be on Instagram, or in a magazine as well.

Just create a folder – digital or hard copy – and put anything that inspires you into that folder.

Don’t overthink it, just gather inspiration.

If you are taking someone else’s opinion into account, ask them to contribute inspiration as well.

looking at different design samples

STEP 2: Pick a Vibe

Now, set aside some time to look at all of your inspiration. Do you see anything in common – especially to do with the cabinet color?

I find that most times you will find that all the cabinets are white or green or at least the same general feeling.

Now that you’ve narrowed it down to a look that you like, do a little bit more targeted research.

If you decided that you want blue cabinets, start searching on Pinterest or online for blue cabinet examples.

Make a list of all of the paint colors in the examples that stick out to you.

Look for more patterns and see if you can narrow it down to about five colors that draw your eye the most.

different warm white samplize peel and stick samples

STEP 3: Get Samples

Now, go out and get paint samples of those top colors.

If you were unable to narrow down, then grab go and grab a ton of those paper samples from the paint store. These are free just grab a ton and bring them home and look at them in your space and try and narrow it down to 3 to 5 favorites.

Once you’re down to 3 to 5 favorites, you are going to want to get actual samples.

You can get small containers of actual paint, but it’s actually really annoying to paint samples on your cabinets.

It’s a lot easier in my opinion to get peel and stick paint samples. I highly recommend samplize paint samples for this.

STEP 4: Sample, Sample, Sample!

Put up your samples! Look at them day and night, lights on and lights off, from all angles. Move them to different cabinets.

Put the samples next to any major fixture, including: wall color, counter color, tile, and flooring.

Take photos on your phone. Poll your friends. Mull over it for at least 2 days!

STEP 5: Commit to a Color!

Now, you just have to commit. It’s the hardest part – but the most essential. Go with your gut and go for it!

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Cabinet Paint Color FAQs

Here are some common questions about picking the right cabinet paint color!

What is the most timeless kitchen cabinet color?

White will always be a classic cabinet color. Just pay attention to your fixture undertones. Whites can be cool or warm toned and tend to clash with flooring or counters that are different in undertone!

What color kitchen cabinets make it look bigger?

In general, a light bright cabinet color will make a small or dark kitchen feel bigger. This could be white, cream, or any light paint color.

painting kitchen cabinets with a mini foam roller

Should kitchen cabinets be painted lighter or darker than the walls?

For a neutral look, cabinets should be lighter than the wall color – or the same as the wall color! If you want a cabinet to stand out as a focal point, go with a darker color.

Is it OK to paint kitchen cabinets the same color as walls?

If you want the cabinets to blend with your kitchen, you can paint them the same color as the walls. I especially like this look in very small kitchens where you want the space to feel more cohesive and less busy.

Do top and bottom cabinets have to match?

It’s a popular look to go for 2-toned kitchen cabinets. This could mean uppers and lowers different colors, or the island a different color from surrounding cabinets.

This is a bit of a trendy look, but is a good way to add interest to your space. Typically, upper cabinets would be a lighter/neutral and lowers would be a bolder or darker color OR the island would be the bold color while other cabinets remain neutral.

What color are you painting your cabinets?!

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