Friday, March 28, 2014

Painted Kitchen Cabinets: Pros & Cons

One of my most popular posts is the Before & After of painting my kitchen cabinets, and people frequently ask how they are holding up.  It’s been about a year and half since I painted them, and as we’ve settled into having them the lighter color, I feel like I’ve learned what I like most about the change, and some things that aren’t so great.  Hopefully if you’re considering painting yours, this will help.

What I love:

The color completes me.  I *love* the warm white.  I know a lot of people go for the bright or true white, but that was a little too stark, a little too contemporary for me.  This color is somewhere between white and ivory, and for me, it is perfection.  
Again, for those who want to know, the color I used was a custom color match from Sherwin Williams.  The exact code for the color can be found HERE.  I had it mixed in the SW ProClassic paint, in a semi-gloss finish.

It feels like we added square footage to the kitchen.  Lightening things up really opens up the space, and shows off the higher ceilings.  In fact, the first time my sister came over after I finished them, her first comment was “it makes your kitchen look so much bigger” and I have to agree.  Love that.

It’s a blank canvas.  I love that I can change accessories with the seasons or on a whim with my mood, and no matter what colors I choose to work with inmy kitchen, they always look good.  Prior to painting, colors tended to look “muddy,” for lack of a better term, alongside the orange-y wood.  Now, they *pop*

What I'm NOT crazy about:

They do require a bit more maintenance.
Dust *does* show.  The positive to this con is that my kitchen cabinets are cleaner because I notice the dust more than I did when they were wood tone, therefore I clean them more often.  I don't mind it too much, but some people do.  Just be advised.

 There WILL be ongoing maintenance.
Even in parts of the country where the climate is fairly steady year-round, there are fluctuations in temperature, pressure and humidity that affect the wood in your home.
I don't know if the grain of the wood hides things or if it is something else, but for whatever reason, stained wood tends to disguise cracks and imperfections.  Once that wood is painted, they are spotlighted for all to see.  And that requires a little upkeep for things to stay lookin' good.

Here's an example:

When I initially painted the cabinets, this crack wasn't there.  It was painted and smooth and perfect.
But, after a year and a half of harsh Iowa winter, followed by a wet spring and an alternately oppressive and humid/scorching and dry summer, the wood would contract and expand and the paint finally had enough and broke away.

The fix is super simple... just some caulk and a swipe of paint...
 ...and it's good as new.  But bear in mind that things could start to look a little ghetto if you don't maintain the seams.  If this is something you're not down with, you might think twice before committing to painting your cabinetry.

Overall, I'm still thrilled with my cabinet makeover, and if given the choice I definitely would do it again.
But, no matter what paint you use or how gentle you may be, in one form or another white/light cabinets simply *will* require a bit more maintenance.  If you're cool with that, it's totally worth it to take the plunge.

Happy Painting!

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  1. I love what you did and I am considering the same thing by painting a creamy off white for my kitchen. I have been researching techniques. Can you share is you brushed or sprayed? What type of paint and sheen? Did you use a sealant or clear coat for more protection? How long did it take?

    1. Hi there! Thank you! The cabinets are all hand-done--roller or brushed, mostly brushed. I didn't spray anything. I found I liked the control of the brush the best. The key is using a really good paint that will minimize or eliminate brush strokes. I used ProClassic from Sherwin Williams in semi-gloss and it was awesome. It's self-leveling, so those brush strokes just melt away. And it dries to a hard, wipe-able surface. I did not use a clear coat over mine, as I worried about yellowing over the white over time. But some people do, it just comes down to your personal preference.

      The entire thing took me roughly a couple months, BUT that's because I was only doing it during my kids' naptimes or at night (I work full time and have 2 little kiddos). I think if I had taken some days off of work and devoted more time to it, I could have plowed through the project in a couple weeks. Drying time accounts for a lot of that time.

      Thanks for stopping by, and Good Luck! :)


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  3. Hi very interested in painting my kitchen cabinets but worried they will be constantly chip. how did yours hold up?

  4. Amazing! I wish you would come here and do something with my kitchen! thanks

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