Are these wood cabinets/floor too dark?

ritholtzMarch 31, 2013

I am newbie. We made a offer to home. While searching about type of the wood for kitchen cabinets, I noticed these forums. Just wondering, are these wooden cabinets/floor too dark. They felt nice to us. We are just thinking about common preference.

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I like them! Congratulations on your new home.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:12AM
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Classic and very nice to my eye.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:13AM
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I don't think there is such a thing as common preference when it comes to this type of choice. I just read a survey somewhere that reported that 67% of people prefer white kitchens. I read somewhere else a few weeks ago that most prefer stained wood. Both can be lovely.

I personally love dark wood cabinets but prefer much more contrast between the floor and the cabinets than your picture shows, but that's just me. If you are going to have both dark, I recommend paying a lot of attention to your lighting: multiple layers and lots of it, so the space doesn't feel like a cave at the end of the day.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:33AM
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For current tastes? (You asked.) Too 1990's. Yes, too dark in combination with the floor. One or the other should be lighter. And they are much more ornate than is currently in fashion and yet they have no knobs and pulls on them, which is odd. They are also arched partial overlay cabinets, where the current fashion is for straight lined full overlay or inset only. And then there is the travertine backsplash.

That's all irrelevant if you like it though.

I'd be more concerned about the CFM of the hood and whether or not it vents externally, and how many drawers there are, and the general workflow pattern. Fashion is fickle, but the layout is the bones of the kitchen and is set in stone until you decide it's time for a full gut remodel. If the basics do not work, then it doesn't matter if it's the latest and greatest white inset with marble tops that you're trying to make dinner on. Non functional is non functional, no matter how much (or what color) lipstick you want to put on that pig.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:53AM
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What LWO said!

If you like it and it fits with the rest of the house, I wouldn't worry. I personally like a little contrast, but I'm drawn to the dark cabinets and floors so I had to fight my love of them for the contrast I want, plus our kitchen is tiny. If you have enough light you will be fine. Dark floors also can show a lot more and need more attention with the broom, another reason I will resist temptation as I want an easy to maintain space (that drove my door selection, sink, faucet, etc).

It looks lovely! Even after a year here, if i bought that kitchen (house), and it functioned well and was in good repair, I wouldn't do anything except change the hood if it would fit in, but only because I'm too lazy to keep something like that clean.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:03AM
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ritholtz - Congratulations on the home.

So, here's the thing...are you buying this house to resell it or to live in it?

If it's for resale, then yeah, it would probably fare better on the market with a more "current" kitchen. This style would be more along what I'd expect to find in a kitchen done in the 1990s...not that there's anything wrong with that.

If it's for you to live in and you like it, then it's great. It tends a little more to the "traditional" side and some people really like that look and some people don't.

You will find that the majority on this board prefer white cabinetry. Personally, I like white cabinetry in other people's home, but I'd be quite unlikely to ever have it in my own. I LOVE dark cabinets and dark wood floors...however, the style shown in your kitchen isn't my preference - I like a cleaner, simpler look overall - we're going with slab doors in our kitchen (we started out planning on Shaker). Against typical style ideas, we will be going with both very dark floors and cabinetry...we'll bring in light with the countertop, backsplash, and walls as well a little bit of window light and abundant supplemental lighting.

For now, worry more about if the kitchen is FUNCTIONAL. Is the flow good? Folks here are big proponents of mostly drawers in a kitchen...and it's for good reason - drawers are more functional than a door and then a pull out. If you are here, you will learn a lot about what makes a good functional kitchen so that when/if you decide you are ready to remodel, you will be able to come up with a kitchen that will work really well.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Thanks for all your kind suggestions. It made us feel better. We are just worried about making a terrible mistake and struggle to resell. We will work on improving the lighting as members suggested something like bright day lights.

We are too much bothered about getting home in good school area and closer to work location. We did not think too much about these things. But spouse liked it. Probably, we might need to brighter the kitchen at the time of resell.

Kitchen has bright granite counter top. It is opened to family living which has windows to let the light in. It has plantation shutters.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Thanks to all the members for your suggestion. Any information on type of this floor. Is it too dark. Floor felt bright enough for us. I am going to spend lot of time reading here and taking tips from members to handle these kind of situations. We are going to stay in this house. Hopefully we spend enough time in this home such that we can remodel down the line and make them little brighter.

Home is built on 2009 by Darling. Surprised owners choose this kind of styling for relatively new home. It has drawers inside the cabinets.


This post was edited by ritholtz on Sun, Mar 31, 13 at 11:40

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:39AM
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I would love to have that kitchen - love the dark wood. It's very rich looking and classy. It wouldn't work in my townhouse, but it works in your house.

Every house is a little different, I do not believe in following trends - installing the "2013" kitchen will only look "dated" when you go to sell it. Enjoy your beautiful new home!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:07PM
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The house is lovely and I personally like the style. There are many kitchens posted in this forum that have several of the same details that are current. Location, location, location - that will sell your house. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:43PM
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What a lovely house! If I were choosing the kitchen elements, I would have chosen more contrast between the floor and cabinets, but I certainly could happily live with it the way it is. I love those dark floors in the hallway. Living close to work and in a good school district really outweighs minor details like a kitchen that isn't perfect, but still quite functional.

If I were you moving into this new house AND I had a little extra money, I would replace the hood with something simpler. First on my list, though, would be adding some pulls and/or knobs to the cabinets. My mom had a kitchen without and it drove me nuts! I was always trying to open the wrong side of the doors.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:04PM
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I think just removing the picture with its ornate gilded frame from the mantel would simplify the look. I wouldn't replace the whole hood!

But I love moldings and corbels. And they definitely will be in vogue again one day, just wait and see. :-)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:12PM
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Seeing the style of the other areas of the house, I think they picked cabinets that harmonize well with the style, just guessing here, but I'd imagine the exterior has some tudor style to it? I really like the kitchen, and with the light counters to balance it out, I don't think it's too dark at all -- especially if it's an open concept. Congratulations on your new home!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I LOVE the floor by the stairs. What I don't like is the color of the trim, I don't think it compliments the floor!

Yes, why is that picture on the hood? that should be removed. Otherwise, it is a lovely kitchen (and I like travertine, am I hopelessly behind the times?)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 7:42PM
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I think it's the tile that you may replace at one point down the line. To me it looks kind of like a Flemish country kitchen.
First, I would get rid of the shutters and the spooky indirect light on top of the cabinets and update the lighting.
i also wonder if you could add some glass inserts to your cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We will try improving lighting, removing the picture on the hood and fixing handles to start with. We will think about bigger changes few years down the line.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Kitchen is open to nook area and living room one side. It is open to foyer and Formal dining to west side. There are few windows to living area towards north side. There are no windows to other side (east) of the living room. We wish there is a window to the east side. But It has only 5 feet setback this side.

Are we going to have issue with lighting in the kitchen and in general.

Home has 3 car garage in tandem style to the east side. So, kitchen is not open to that side. Unlike lot of homes in my area, sellers did not build any living area on top of garage.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:24AM
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This is the front elevation of home. We are not familiar with different styles (Tudor etc). Most of the living space built to west side and it is a corner lot with 4 feet elevation. Hopefully, we do not have any issue getting plenty of light into the home and kitchen. We are doing the appraisal. We are at the last hurdle.


This post was edited by ritholtz on Wed, Apr 3, 13 at 10:33

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:30AM
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We got the appraisal equivalent to our offer price.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:00PM
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Congratulations. It looks like a beautiful home!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:39PM
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I like your kitchen and house just the way it is. It reminds me of a European villa, with a lot of character. The dark wood carries through the interior and to the exterior. It looks cohesive and well done. I would not mess with it. You'll spoil the integrity and styling of the house and it won't look right.

I also wouldn't do those bright day light bulbs. They're stark and fluorescent looking. Supplement if you need to but keep the light warm like the house.

You do lose a lot of light with the dark wood shutters. Maybe that's something you could try addressing.

Beautiful home!

This post was edited by snookums2 on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 21:23

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Thanks for all the compliments. Nervous few more days for us. We will remember all these valuable suggestions once we move in. We also noticed about wood shutters cutting off lot of light. But they felt very nice, functional and easy to use.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:05AM
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We closed the home and planning to move during 2nd week of June. Any specific reason for using wood shutters instead of normal white shutters. Wood shutters seem to be cutting off lot of light even when opened. Seller used wood shutters to cover every window in the home. These shutters are suppose to be expensive. Is it good idea to replace them with white bright shutters in living area / everywhere.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:48AM
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I prefer white shutters, I've been house hunting here the last few months, and I have been in 2 houses with the natural wood, and hated them. it made the whole house feel dark.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:52AM
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I would take the shutters down, clean them with TSP, let them dry, prime them, and spray them white. It'll be a pain but will be much less expensive than replacing them.

edit: rent or buy a paint sprayer for this, don't hand brush

This post was edited by tracie.erin on Thu, May 23, 13 at 9:12

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:11AM
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I know they are expensive and a lot of people like them, but I would remove as many shutters as possible and let the sun in. You are right, that even when open, shutters block a lot of light. I personally find rooms with shutters claustrophobic, but then, I grew up in a climate where there was not a whole lot of sun.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Holly- Kay

Congrats on your lovely new home.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:03AM
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As long as there is ample natural light I think it's fine but my personal choice is it's nice but a little dark.
Looks like a great house.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Lovely home!

Area rugs will lighten up the look of your kitchen floor so there isn't so much "dark floor with dark cabinets" going on. I prefer wood cabinets over white, myself.

I like the look of white shutters and I had them in a previous home, but they are such dust collectors.

Enjoy your new home!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We did not put emphasis on brightness. We kinda missed it. Hopefully, it is not going to be a issue with resale in future.

Most of the living space is built on west side. we get plenty of light from west side. Garage/ tandem garage occupied most of the east side. Changing plantation shutters to normal ones might help us. We will try making changes to living area to start with.

Does it help if we paint these wooden shutters to white. They might still block all the light when closed right?

We are looking for very inexpensive solution as of now. After few years, we will think about some modifications (paint, extra window, white cabinets and replacing all shutters to plastic ones).

This post was edited by ritholtz on Fri, May 24, 13 at 1:56

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 1:44AM
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I like your kitchen just the way it is. It fits the house, imo. There are always people who are going to want a white kitchen, some who want a contemporary kitchen, and some who will love the dark cabinets. Congratulations on your new home.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:27AM
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The wood color of the shutters (and cabinetry) fits the styling of the house. If you don't care for the dark shutters and they block too much light, I would just remove them.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 5:21AM
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Congratulations on your new home, Ritholtzes.

Regarding the wood shutters, a fair number of people here weren't alive last time they were considered very desirable, and if they were in style now advice would be leaning a very different direction. Same shutters, different points on the trend graph. When I was young they were very highly thought of, quality throwbacks to the American colonial/revolutionary era that was very in style. That was our own new parents era and we could have afforded the sort of fine 18th century furniture being shown in decorating magazine pictures about as readily as the shutters on the windows beside it then.

If they were mine, because I do like sunshine, if they could be folded back against the sides of the windows I'd do that. Otherwise, I'd just take down all that I didn't want to leave up now and clean, wrap, and store them. I personally would only paint any if that was right for the decor, and that kitchen makes me wonder about that.

BTW, although I prefer very light kitchens, I also really like dark when it's done well--no wishy-washying around midway, rich and dark and luscious. That's your kitchen. It feels good to me too, and it going to be magnificent in the evening. I wouldn't want the floor a bit lighter, or the cabinets. I would prefer the hood vertical so art could be hung straight, like my hood and my art standing on its shelf, but oh well. :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 6:40AM
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It is lovely. Don't touch a thing. You are thinking clearly by maybe changing small things. It takes time getting used to a new home. Always recommended to live in a home for a while, usually one year, before making major changes. And that first year goes by fast!
Moved into my home 7yrs ago. My initial gut reaction and the 'want' list changed over time. So glad i did not make those changes. (and i did not have the time).
I did take down some tired heavy drapes but had them cleaned since the fabric is gorgeous but i don't need curtains at all.
Maybe your kitchen shutters can be carefully removed and saved. Just so you can feel what it might be like without.
Your cabinets may just need good pro cleaning. Not Pledge or a silicone based cleaning. A real good rejuvenation like one would do for furniture. Maybe find out who made the cabinets and ask them what they recommend. Sometimes darker woods fell old and tired but can very easily be given a bright new life by cleaning correctly.
Falling into kitchen envy can be dangerous, lol. Trends and fast moving fads.
Ultimately it is your decision, but taking your time and living in your new home for a while will solidify that. I would not get caught up in re-sale just yet.
Congrats. Moving should be fun. Also stressful if you let it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:43AM
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Agree with Rosie not to paint the shutters. If they're not the hinged type (and it looks like they aren't ) and you think it's too dark, remove them and store them.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We started moving into home. I just noticed that, plantation shutters can be opened like doors. If we want 100% light, we can always open them like door and fold back.

They make house look little dark. But they make even empty house look nice. According to seller, they spent 10k to get plantation shutters throughout the home.

House started looking much better than what we thought earlier. It has 8' upgraded doors in 1st floor and solid doors everywhere. We worried little about 9' ceiling height in both the floors. But he accommodated 10' height wherever it is needed (tray ceiling master, 10' family living and media room, game room with cathedral ceilings and high ceiling foyer with steps). Looks like well thought out and built.

Are there any newbie forums? I have lot of questions regarding dining table (round / rectangle shape), trends in sofa furniture, lighting, gardening, wiring and A/V receiver setup.


This post was edited by ritholtz on Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 11:28

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Holly- Kay

Rit, your home is lovely. Try the home decorating and garden forums on GW. There is a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:48AM
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