What to do with Kitchen Soffit above cabinets

chaten2January 19, 2011

Hello...I recently painted and glazed my old 80's dark brown kitchen cabinets - they are now antique white with a brown glaze. I have HD laminate countertops in Sedona Trail and my island is HD Luna Night (black). I have an ugly soffit above my cabinets and don't know if I should paint them Antique White to make my cabinets look taller or if I should paint them to match the rest of the kitchen/dining room....or an accent color? The rest of my kitchen and dining room is painted Pony Tail (Olympic Paints - Menards). My backsplash is beadboard painted Antique White like the cabinets. I really like country/antique/cottage style design. I would post pictures but I can't figure it out - if someone has tips for me that would be awesome.

Appreciate all the ideas I can get.

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Hi chaten2,
A picture would help to visualize, but I'm thinking that painting the soffit area the same as the rest of the walls would be best. We have a soffit area in our current kitchen and it is wallpapered the same as the rest of the kitchen. We'll be tearing it out in a few weeks when we begin our remodel.

One way to add a photo is to set up an account at Flickr or Photobucket, upload your photo there, and then copy and paste a link to the photo.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:10PM
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I agree with the PP, paint it the same color as your walls. I definitely would not paint them in an accent color. Soffits are rarely items that you want to showcase. Make it blend in.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:44PM
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We have same problem. Go with your instincts....Make them blend in. Either the same color as your cabinets or walls. We painted ours the same as our cabinets (white). Our walls are cream.

Another, costlier option, is to put a molding on the top where the soffit meets the ceiling . If you have a large kitchen you can even put paintable textured anaglyptic wallpaper to emulate the carved surface of crown molding. Then, as you and others have suggested, paint it the same as your cabinets. It will look like a big crown molding.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:16PM
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Someone here put molding in large rectangles. Can't think of what to call it. maybe they will see this post and put a picture in. I will try to see if I can find it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:44PM
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#1. Rip out the soffits and replace with stacked crown molding.

#2. Use beadboard wallpaper on it (adding no real thickness) and create "doors" in it by using molding strips to mimic your cabinets below. Paint the same color as your cabinets and use crown molding at the top the same color as your cabinets and it will blend in much better.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:07PM
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I was just going to suggest, if possible, getting short cabinet fronts to match your existing cabs and hid the soffit that way. LWO #2 would be a less expensive alternative.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:23PM
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I am sorry for this post, I am so tired that I am about to pass out. I hope everyone catches on to what I was saying....and I might have repeated myself a time or two.
I am sorry for that, but I do make a point for not taking the soffit out.

One thing my Wife and I did was collect copper molds that come in different shapes and hung them from the front of it and it adds some interest to the area.
Are the soffits there are support for the cabinets hanging.

Were your cabinets built into the kitchen while the house was being built. In other words, If you wanted to take them our would you have to rip the cabs out which would most likely ruin them?

Only reason I ask is because I have soffits and the cabinets were custom built and built into the house, It woudl be near impossible for me to get them out in one piece. I am going somewhere with this.

Looking at how my cabinets are built make me wonder if they are not only hanging from the wall but built into the soffit above, Using the 2x4 framework (which is very solid) would be a great way to add more support for solid custom made cabinets.

The cabinets today are built different and have a lot of internal support where as my cabinets have very little internal support and because of that and the way they are built and attached I am wondering if they are indeed using the soffit for structural support.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 7:48PM
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I just painted my soffits the same cream color as my cabinets, added crown molding to the top, next to the ceiling, and a smaller molding to the bottom of the soffit next to the cabinets.......it really looks nice, it makes the soffits blend in so the appearance is that it is part of the cabinets. I like it much better than when it was painted a contrasting color.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Fori is not pleased

If you don't need to hide them, paint them wall color (and hang stuff on them--copper molds! I like it.).

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:32PM
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There may be duct work or plumbing in the soffit.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:49PM
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I agree about adding copper molds or some other type of artwork. There is no shame in having soffits. No need to hide them as if they were a flaw. They are good for keeping dust off cab tops. The reason they are out of favor lately is if one has the option of taller cabs, therefore, more storage, it makes sense to do without. If they are there, they might as well look pretty, so gussy them up some and do not worry one bit about having them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:58PM
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I have soffits too. We're planning to trim them out with a very thin plywood that follows the location of the cabinets, so there's a break where the wall color takes over. We'll add molding just above the top of the doors and crown at the ceiling to make them look like a solid extension of the cabinets. I hope I haven't confused you. Here's a few of my inspiration pictures. The first one I believe is a GWer, whose name I didn't save on the file. I just filed it under soffit molding. Sorry. If you know who's this is, please chime in.

This picture is a kitchen by Laura O'Brien of O'Brien Harris. I only know this because I drool over this picture in the Summer 2010 issue of Renovation Style everytime I see it. Here they've done a panel look in a slightly contrasting gray.

Another GWers kitchen, cabinets painted yellow.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Love the floors in that first kitchen!
Here are a few more ideas that might help Chaten2.

Soffit Trimed out this is from Gardenweb a clipping I am
not sure whose..

Fake uppers in this Soffit solution

Fake window cabs in the upper

Soffit with trim to look like part of the cabinet this is from GW TNTW

This soffit is painted like the walls and stands out.
It looks beautiful but this may not work for every kitchen.

Painted Soffit

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:02AM
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Hmmm... fabulous ideas. Now I have to rethink taking out my soffits. LOL.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:26AM
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I love the pics posted by Kathec, specifically the painted soffits with moulding on top and bottom. My soffits are 12 in below the ceiling, would you treat it the same way? I had a carpenter come in today to look at my cabinets and he said he's never seen that done before.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Bump up to help me identify who's beautiful white kitchen is up there, posted by kathec. Do you know who's kitchen this is? I have a question about the molding she used around the soffit :)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 11:55AM
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