Kitchen cabinets in new build: stained or painted?

southernmumFebruary 5, 2013

I'm so intrigued about how every magazine shows all these white kitchens, yet locally where I live, there are more stained cabinets. So, I'm wondering, what finish/color cabinets are you putting in your kitchen? Also, what style? I had no idea how popular Shaker cabinets were until I started reading about them here! Can't wait to hear responses! Thanks for any input.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love painted cabinets. My kitchen will look something like this:

Here is a link that might be useful: beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pretty, Carsonheim!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went back and forth about this very thing in our planning stages. My husband is making our cabinets. I thought for sure I wanted our cabinets to look like the ones listed in the link below. We had originally purchased African mahogany wood for our kitchen and dining room cabinets. So, my husband went out and purchased maple wood. He started making the laundry and pantry room cabinets first out of the maple. We've decided to stain those in a mahogany stain.

So, when he got ready to start building the kitchen cabinets he planed the mahogany wood to see how it looked and we both fell in love with it in its natural state. So, we decided to use mahogany in the kitchen and dining and probably any cabinets in our family room as they are all open to each other. Our plan is to go with a tinted (mahogany) Danish Oil treatment before the coats and coats of finish he'll use. It's similar to stain but a better blending (or so he says). :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Painted cabinets

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I again could have wrote this! I initially wanted painted and still do. The hubby could care less. We have a 2 yr old and the cabinet maker told us that stained cabinets would look better longer, be more durable, camouflage better, an be easier to touch up. I don't know if this is true but he does make cabinets everyday. I wanted creamy cabinets with some sort if glaze but my better half thought they looked cheap. We even looked at some stained special walnut with a chocolate glaze which looked nice. He's making up some samples doors. I have no idea what to do, love me some painted cabinets though, good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

We went with stained...the kitchen is open to our family room with our more rustic wood stove area so we wanted the warmer tones in the area.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

GF also went with wood in her kitchen, though she chose a lighter stain than I did and a different door style....both kitchens were from the same custom cabinet maker.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We went with a stained cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but Annie, what granite did you choose? It looks great with your cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do what you like and what goes with the style of your home. You will most likely still be using the same kitchen long after the white shaker trend is gone.

Our area also has mostly stained cabinets or cabinets that are painted ivory with a glaze. There is almost none of the pure white shaker style you see alot here. Personally I prefer a mix of painted and stained pieces. We choose white for the light airy feeling. Stained is definitely more durable, but I do love our white.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cabinets and trim (base, cove, window, doors and door trim, etc) are all very personal tastes. But your best bet is, whatever your final choice is, do them all the same in order for maximum harmony and consistency. Nothing creates more discordant contrast than to have cabinets one finish and have wood base, window trim, doors and door trim all differ (at least in a given room or space). If your house has distinct rooms with doors that close one room from another, then you can easily change finishes if that's your preference.

Generally speaking, stained cabinets and trim always look darker and make the space look darker than painted finishes using lighter hues and values. For example, just look at the cabinets pictured above--they create a quite dark appearance.

Painted cabinets and trim, on the other hand, give an opportunity to not only create a lighter room, but also one in which carefully chosen and harmonious colors can breathe much more life into a space than, say, the ever-present walnut stain.

Which is easier to maintain and touch up? I'd suggest that neither will be fully resistant to a 2-year old with a hammer or similar hard object in her/his hand. But a painted surface is much easier to touch-up with a bit of matching paint than trying to sand, restain and refinish the entire stained cabinet door as a reult of two dings at the bottom.

Everyone has their own experienc and preference, so I hope this is helpful. Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a white kitchen in my old house, and I never considered stained for our new house. While I admire many kitchens with stained cabs, for me, kitchen = white painted cabs. I adore light, and I adore painted trim. Every time I see a white kitchen on the cover of a decor mag...I stop and look. Truly addicted! :) Here are a couple of shots of mine. The cabs are painted maple.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bridget Helm

I vote for painted cabinets in a white, cream, or light gray. i like the fresh airy look.

I'm seeing mixed cabinets now too. for example, painted cabinets with a stained island

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

nini804, I LOVE your kitchen! It's so pretty! Since you mentioned magazines, your kitchen could definitely be in one! :) Update: the wood samples I received from my cabinet co. for cherry cabinets were TERRIBLE. They now tell me that cherry takes a year or so to darken. The inconsistency in color in cherry itself, along with it darkening over time, caused me to "officially" sign off on white cabinets today! I do agree that wood will probably hold up better over time, but I went back and reviewed my pinterest and houzz boards, and 99.9% of my kitchens I've saved are white, light & airy kitchens! I chose white perimeter cabinets and a painted warm gray island. Now they're off to production and I'm not thinking about this again! Now I'm moving on to granite! ;) * I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. Many thanks!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am putting pearl painted cabinets my new build...I needed to keep it light because it is going to be small.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Phoggie, I know what you mean! Another reason I chose white cabinets (actually off-white) is because I do not have any windows in my kitchen. I have a wall of windows in my breakfast room, but the actual kitchen doesn't have any. I thought light cabinets would work in there.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in the south (LA) and we did white cabinets. Starting to see a little bit more of it where I am. I have to say I love how our kitchen turned out. I need to take better pictures now that we're pretty much settled (moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving):

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

Hoosier, my counter is chocolate truffle caesarstone.

GF's kitchen is Verdi Karzai granite.

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 9:33

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're putting painted white cabinets in our new kitchen. I love the look but not sure I have any friends or family with white cabinets, just been scouring magazines for the last few years. DH didn't like the idea of all white so we will have a cherry island in a chestnut stain.
Southernmum glad you came over to the "light" side, lol.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

nini804 & dash3108: Your white painted cabinets are beautiful! I am looking for a cabinet maker outside of California who makes a great white cabinet. Will you share your cabinet maker name?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too could have written this original post. Our cabinet company happens to do a fantastic job with stained wood. I almost wish we needed more cabinetry from them because their stained wood is that gorgeous. But, in the end, we decided to do painted cabinets in the kitchen. Originally I wanted white, but ended up with Farrow and Ball light blue. I honestly could not love it more. We had them hand painted and the color and finish are absolutely perfect. My inspiration was Plain English Design's Spitalfields kitchens because they make sense with the Georgian aesthetic. Our cabinets are incredibly simple (though it took me months to realize that simplifying things was the right thing to do) and, if we tire of the light blue we can paint them easily. I realize the light blue is not everyone's "cup of tea," but it really suits me and our house. The room is full of all kinds of things and we don't have cabinetry or lighting in, but I'll update with a photo in a month or so when you can get a good idea of it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stain and paint are both excellent kitchen cabinet finishes, but under certain circumstances one can be more appealing than the other. Staining will provide a form of transparent value allowing the wood grain to show through. This process possesses a limited number of colors and is usually not as vibrant as paint. Paint is an opaque layer that will stand out regardless of the woodâÂÂs type or color. Take a look at some spectacular kitchen cabinets, designs and floor plans to help you decide:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Laura, there are several really fabulous images on houzz with kitchens that have both stained and painted cabinetry. I had a hard time ignoring those as I went down the direction we decided on.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We'll be doing cream-colored cabinets. I've been living with super-dated oak cabinets for the last 11 years, and I am soooo sick of them. I don't like darker woods, though, and I'm not particularly fond of blond woods, so that doesn't leave me many options ;)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Painted. I had cherry cabinets and had them painted BM linen white. My new house will have white cabinets.

These kitchens have been my inspiration for my new kitchen as we build. The wall of windows above the sink and the whiteness just make me so happy:

Modern Kitchen by Providence Interior Designer Kate Jackson Design

Modern Other by San Francisco Architect Charlie Barnett Associates

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are in the process of looking at different cabinet choices. But am fairly sure the cabinets will be off white, as well as the trim, and the island will be painted a different color. Thinking of maybe a sage green for the island. Our last kitchen was cherry and there weren't any windows in the kitchen, so it always felt dark. Looking forward to having lots of light and light colored surfacesI

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are doing a mix. An off white with chocolate glaze for most of the cabs while the island will be stained to match the chocolate glaze. I can't wait to have pics to show.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm a fan of painted cabinets. Ours are maple and painted black onyx.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Considering buying an odd lot
We've been planning with the assumption that we'd build...
Thinking about driveways
One of the few things my husband requests in our new...
Frank Betz Chapman from Start to Finish
Following in the footsteps of 'jnjmom,' our family...
Windows question
How is this look achieved? Are these casement windows? What...
Have a personal build blog? Link it here!
I have LOVED looking through all the blogs that have...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™