Stain or paint - best option with existing counters and floor?

SheeshareeIIMarch 20, 2014

I've been trying to plan a kitchen refresher on a budget. I need some helping eyes as I'm really struggling with what is the best option for what I need to work with.

The wood valance over the window will go and we'll add a light. We'll be replacing the appliances to stainless (looking at GE Cafe) and the counter and floor have to stay. The counters are two shades of brown, black, gray, and white that is really a very pale gray when you look close. The floors are browns, gray, and a similar grayish cream. Both the counter and flooring have a PINK undertone. - At least they coordinate together I suppose. The pink undertone eliminates using any shade of yellow or orange which is why my current cabinets clash.

My dream kitchen would be rich stained cabinets, LIGHT counters, light backsplash, wood floors. So I was set on staining the cabinets with General Finishes Brown Mahogany gel stain,painting walls BM Muslin or BM Shaker Beige to tie in the pinky brown, removing existing backsplash and replacing with bb and painting it the same as walls. I was uncertain if I was going to stain the island or paint it perhaps something like BM Kendall Charcoal.

If this were someone else's kitchen my advice would be paint it. It would add contrast that I crave and seems to make sense with the counter and floor colors.

If I paint the cabinets the issue becomes what color. I like white with black and feel cream looks better with brown, but I need to pay attention to undertones. I could rattle on and on, but I want people to actually read this. :)

My kitchen - my counters tend to look gray in some photos but they're brown and you don't see the gray unless you're staring at the colors in it.
Pic showing current hardware. - remember the wood valance will go.

Older pic, but you can see the tops of the cabinets.

Other side of the room. The table will stay. The tile is a beige with pink undertone (similar to BM Bradstreet Beige). The rug stays, chairs will be recovered, and art can go.

Showing counter and floor.

I think the colors in this kitchen look really nice together. I think I'd like a tad more contrast with the wall color though.

Here's a photo showing the stain I was going to use - General Finishes Brown Mahogany over oak. She has lovely LIGHT counters.

A photo showing stained cabinets with pinky brown counter and flooring. Honestly the stain in this photo seems a little lacking in richness.

This will be a DIY job either way. If painting it won't be sprayed, however, I do know how to properly paint and would use quality products, but it's still not going to be completely bullet proof. I'd strongly consider filling the grain if I paint since it's the kitchen.

What's the best option with my existing counters and floor?
Thank you!

This post was edited by sheesharee on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 3:18

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I'd stain. So much less work and easier to achieve professionally looking results.
I like the first picture of Brown mahogony. Looks to me like the second one could have used one more coat.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:35AM
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    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:38AM
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I figured everyone would say paint so I'm surprised, and happy, that there may be hope in that direction.

Nosoccer - Just to be clear, the second stained photo isn't of the actual of the Brown Mahogany stain. It was the closest picture I could find to dark cabinets paired with similar counters and floor to what I have.

Also, the painted kitchen I posted, I'm not saying I want that exact color. The counters were similar and the island is stained.

At this point it doesn't matter to me which one is more work. I'd like to pick the option that best suits my existing counters and flooring. (This sounds snarky when I read it, but isn't meant that way.)

I will say white/cream kitchens I'm drawn to are much more elaborate than what I have to work with.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Since it’s much easier to paint over stain than the other way around, I should probably start with staining the island and see how I feel about that. If I like it, go the stained direction. If I tire of it I think it would be smart and money well spent to then pay for a color consult with Maria Killam for paint direction. I know for sure I won't like the wrong colors of paint and it would save me a lot of time and grief trying to figure it out myself.
Trying to stay true to my love of stained wood, I’d have paint to fall back on as plan B.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Why not just have someone come to the house? No one can see color accurately through photos online. Everything is distorted and your verbal descriptions could be quite different than what a color consultant would see.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:49PM
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I talked with her a while back about it and she has you take photos of certain finishes in natural light with a white sheet of paper beside it. I understand what you're saying, but reading her blog, I honestly believe she knows what she's talking about and feel it would end well through the online/phone consult. I'm also very confident the undertones of the counter and flooring are pink and that she'll have no trouble spotting that. The pink undertones will dictate the direction that's best. I do have a sample of the flooring I could send her. I suppose I could try and track someone IRL, but they're not common around here and I'd have to weed through the people. I honestly don't think I have the energy to do that right now and people seem happy hiring her. I don't always know the right fix to the problem, but I seem to realize when things look wrong.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 14:08

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:05PM
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I think you have nice cabinets. I would have said paint, and not too creamy of a white either; but you have convinced me! If staining is not that hard, you should try it first since that is what you are most drawn to.

For me, it would all be too much brown and tan.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:33PM
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The only thing with staining the island first is that it looks like a different kind of wood from the cabinets, so it may not give you an accurate picture of what the cabinets will look like. Also, I wonder if a painted island would look nice :)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:09PM
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Raee - I'm a little concerned about it being too dark and blahh with the overall tonal look, but I'm hoping I end up with a cozy feeling.

Nosoccermom - That second photo is one of the many I have saved. :) The cabinet/door side of the island that isn't showing matches the cabinets. The island originally had flat paneling on the outside so I added bb paneling, corbels, and baseboard to make it more interesting for the time being. I figured I'd start with the island to practice technique and see the color. I also thought once everything were almost finished (stained cabinets, bb backplash, new wall color, etc.) I'd get a better response for island paint color suggestions. I'd remove the paneling and add the same bb backsplash if I went with paint so it coordinates better.

I originally thought white would be too start, black too harsh, so that got me thinking maybe BM Kendall Charcoal. I thought it would help pull the gray color, but it might not look right with the counter. I don't have a sample yet.
Here are two pics of BM Kendall Charcoal.
I just want to run and hug these cabinets. Notice the counters are light. :(

I'd also like to sample Revere Pewter - maybe I could use that on the island and keep the walls with the Muslin or Shaker Beige idea. I'm just spouting off stuff that comes to me now.

I wasn't sure if I should really do something different to the island, making it stand out, since it doesn't have a stellar furniture look. I'd love to add legs or something, but I'm not sure how. The corbels wouldn't have to stay. Barstools stay for now, but could change color or stain until I figured out what I wanted for replacements.

Another close up shot of Tntw's cabinets with the GF Brown Mahogany gel stain. I'm really amazed at the transformation.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:50AM
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I'm aware my kitchen doesn't look like this, but these cabinets make me want to run and hug them too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:56AM
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It sounds like you have a game plan! Those GF Mahogany Brown cabinets look amazing, as does the first kitchen you posted with the Kendall Charcoal. You could even go with a lighter grey, blue, green, or cream. Is that grey and cream or white in your counters?
(I like the blue/green of the island in the second pic I posted, but that cabinet hanging off the ceiling is strange :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:53PM
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