Help! Brand New Kitchen But hate it!

ammcdApril 8, 2013


We just bought a new construction but we didn't pick out the kitchen cabinets or granite. I do not like the reddish dark wood of the cabinets and there is so much of it. even worse, it is paired with dark brown sludgy colored granite. So, my questions is: How can we make it liveable? Paint the cabinets white? Wait and save up to get them re-surfaced? Add a backsplash to counter-balance the cabinets/granite?

Ideas are very much appreciated!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think the cabinets are bad at all. I would consider changing the granite, even though it hard to see in this pick. I actually thought it was laminate when I looked at the pic. Put up a backsplash. The biggest problem I see is the floor. It looks terrible to me. If you still hate the cabs, then paint them.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

Paint the WALLS!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the feedback. We don't like the floor either. Here's another pic.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is the island countertop wood? I think painting to cabinets creamy white would look beautiful with the counters! The floor is ok just add some colorful rugs. and paint the walls after the cabs are done.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Definitely paint the walls. Maybe paint the island too. Put some fabric on the windows, add some accessories and I imagine it will look very nice. The cabinets are not bad at all and it looks like the kitchen is nice and roomy.
Right now the space just looks unfinished.
Congratulation on your new house.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Holly- Kay

I think it is more the lack of color and textural interest that makes the kitchen look so blah. There is no contrast between the cabs and the counter.

I would keep the cabinets. Add some really beautiful pulls and/or knobs and replace the granite with a beautiful creamy granite with a lot of movement. Paint the walls, or maybe even paper for more interest, add some beautiful rugs and I think you would like your kitchen! If you do all of that and still hate it then I would consider painting the cabs.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remove the cabinet on left and right of window,add window treatment/backsplashs/maybe openshelves to replace those 2 cabs if you need it. Run the backsplash tile up that area also if you wish. The floor does not lend any character,altho it's okay. If you really dislike the granite I'd start searching for a replacement,along with backsplash-that alone with the 2 cab removal will do quite a bit. I would not paint the cabs and probably leave the island alone-the top looks interesting along with the shape-that's something you can work with.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the cabs. But when will builders get the "drawers on the bottom" memo? I also like the dark granite with the dark cabs - very elegant.

Paint the walls. Add a BS to make it yours.

What is the floor made of?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just curious - was this a new spec house that you bought as the builder built it or was it a new house that was custom built for you but you didn't give them any input on the kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Paint the walls, add a backsplash, new pulls/knobs, and get rid of the floor

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would paint the island white, a light color or possibly a very dark color -- even black, to show off that wood top, add a backsplash and paint the walls to . I'd put a lighter counter on the perimeter cabinets unless you plan to paint them white. Add a window treatment with some color and/or texture. If you can't replace the floor, put down a couple of rugs to break it up.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Another idea is to swap out those smallish (to me) pendants for something larger scaled with real impact, perhaps a big halo chandelier, or crystal. Short money for big change?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can we talk for a second about the layout? Not that you need more problems to solve, but that island looks like a barrier to fridge access from the stove. With that bulb on the end it also resembles something from the 1950s.

So, look. I know you didn't plan the kitchen. Is the builder still in the picture? Could he possible use these cabs in another of his homes and outfit you with cabs he was planning to use elsewhere? Is there a clever way to be unstuck from these materials?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frankly, I think the cabinets are beautiful. Add some gorgeous brass knobs and they'll be stunning. While the countertops are a little bit blah, I think that once you add some accessories -- a bowl of fruit, some colorful canisters, etc -- the room will look really good.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

amm-- The question is: how far are you prepared to go to get a kitchen that will make you happy. And what does that look like?

If you were to find and post pics of kitchens you like it might be easier for posters here to make useful suggestions vs less useful.

One issue you should be aware of is the way dark colors act. All the cabinets and counters are very dark because everything else is white and there is a light floor. That in itself makes them take on an aggressive quality and make what's likely a spacious kitchen look smaller because visually they push forward -- that dark massiveness is dominant.

If you don't like this kitchen because, say, you prefer an all white kitchen, that's a fairly easy fix. If it has to do with the layout or cabinet style, that's another level of change. The floor is more or less neutral so if that's something you can live with, at least it's versatile enough to withstand a number of different directions.

Finding the look you like is the first step in figuring out what to do and what it would take to do it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The top on the island is beautiful but it is getting lost in the sea of same color. I would put panels all around the island in a light color, then paint the cabinet to match. You could get some side panels from Barker Door in Dove White and they offer another white if you don't want to paint them yourself. I think the panels would add a lot of interest to the island and beef it up to be a focal point. Maybe put some furniture feet on it and other embellishment. Accessorize the island after doing that and it would go a long way to divert attention from the things you don't like.

I would definitely do a backsplash and for sure do under cabinet lighting to highlight a the darker granite and add a light skirt to elongate the cabinets.

I second taking a look at the pendants in exchange for a really fabulous light fixture to highlight the new tricked out island.

Do a backsplash and really I think you would love your new warm kitchen. You have a lot to work with there, it looks like those are pretty nice cabinets, I wouldn't paint them but would paint the island and add side panels and if you have a good carpenter I might even enclose the open space with the rounded doors that I have seen on islands like this and it really is nice looking. All the other suggestions for window treatments etc are good too. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with those who like the cabs and counter; I think that they are fine, and just need the right wall colors. The floor color in these pics doesn't look like it is very complimentary to the cabs and counter, either, so you will need to pick the wall color carefully to get one that pulls the three tones together. And, change to brighter hardware.

However, if you just plain don't like the counter/wood combo, or don't like that shade of wood, then by all means paint the cabinets. I think the granite would look terrific with a creamy white paint.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all these suggestions! It is really the reddish tone of the wood that I dislike most. But I am worried that painting the cabs will result an easily chipped finish that won't look good for long...

I will definitely add a backsplash and new lighting.

The house was a new construction built for another buyer who failed to close on the property. So, we were able to pick flooring for the rest of the home, just nothing in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you really really really don't like the cabinets, consider selling the whole kitchen. Then you can put in what you want. If you are going to do it, do it now. Everything is brand new and you would get the best price.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also think those cabinets are stunning. But I don't particularly like the wall color with the cabinets. It's a little hard to tell since the two pictures show the wall color a little differently. It's an easy place to start. I'd also probably change out those pendants because I don't think they're doing justice to such a lovely kitchen. They're not ugly, just a little boring. Then I'd say live with it for a while. The wood is really, really lovely and it may grow on you. Adding in some appliances and counter stools will help break up the large amount of cabinetry. Give it some time, you may find you like it or conclude you just can't stand the wood anymore and either restain or paint.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really like the cabinets, and the wood top on the island is exactly what I've been researching and considering doing on my island, so I really LOVE it! I agree with some of the others - a different color of paint, a beautiful backsplash and the right window treatment and it might pull out some of the red you see in the cabinets. I agree, too, that the island would be pretty in a cream color. I hope with a few changes you are able to love your kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The floor isn't complimentary. I'm more of an all-white kitchen person, myself, but I don't mind your cabinets...I think a stone floor in tones that compliment the cabinets and counter would be beautiful. If you really hate the cabinets, we just sold ours on Craigslist. You might do pretty well as they are brand-new!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's the flooring that's glaring at me, but we're all going to have different opinions on this because we all like different thinks so loaded question alert! Plus we're only seeing 2 pictures with a black hole of a window because it's dark outside. You don't even have all your appliances yet! No window treatment, no accessories, nothing. You haven't even moved in to this space yet.

I doubt most people would buy new construction and think about gutting or tinkering with the more permanent fixtures or layout of the kitchen yet unless they had to. You bought the home so you must love it.
Just move in to your kitchen and then think about it and start with little changes. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with debrak, redo it all if you can.

If you really want white cabs, no amount of others thinking your kitchen is beautiful will change your mind about your orangey cabs.

What's your budget, though?

I hope my story isn't too long and boring, but FWIW, I bought a beautiful new spec home with brown granite that I hated, and a two-tone kitchen with half white cabs (beautiful) and half reddish-orange cherry cabs (yuck).

I lived with that nasty granite and that red-orange cherry for a few years, feeling spoiled and guilty whenever I thought about wanting to tear out & replace half the kitchen (counters included).

When I mentioned my secret desires to people who thought the brand new kitchen was very beautiful, I felt even more guilty.

Anyway, one day DH told me to just do what I wanted already! The granite, half the cabs, b-splash, and a few appliances were torn out and replaced. I now have my dream kitchen and I couldn't be happier. I also believe that my white-with marble kitchen helpes the value of the home.

I was able to recycle some of the granite--my island top went onto my friend's island (they previously had a tile top), the cabs we tore out went into the garage as storage cabs, the fridge went into my parents new home, the cooktop was sold.

The kitchen totally brightened up with all of the light/white surfaces. It looks 30% bigger and is such a cheerful place to be. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen, and I still get happy just about every time I walk into the room. My only regret is not doing the project sooner.

Moral of the story--don't waste time, if you can afford it, get what you want. If you can't afford it, paint the cabs white and see how happy you are from there. That can make a huge difference, I've done it in more than one kitchen. You'd be surprised at what a skilled painter can do.

This post was edited by Madeline616 on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 15:05

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Live with it a while. You might find that you hate the layout. You might love parts, but not others. You won't know what works (and what doesn't) for your family until you've been there a while.

I agree with the other floor-haters - it is a big distraction. But it doesn't make sense to put in different flooring if you may be making other big changes later. I think I'd look for some rugs to tone down the floors, and definitely paint! I think even getting appliances in will change the look.

I'll bet it looks a LOT different in daylight.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not knowing your budget it's hard to say what will make the most sense. You can certainly paint the cabinets and if you have it done professionally and well, it can really hold up. But if you put in light countertops - marble with some green in it would be so pretty - anything lighter, I think it will change the feel of the kitchen. Then add new pendants funky up to date fabrics (if that's your style) and paint and you may grow to love it. I am a white kitchen fan but dark cabinets do add a lot of warmth. Is the wood counter top on the island nice? Maybe paint the island a creamy white for the contrast. Mostly, breathe deeply, put your personal touches in and then live with it for a little bit. Oh - and first thing - buy a faucet you love. Not a big investment and you'll use and enjoy it every day. Then you can slowly make the other changes.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Congratulations on your new home. You should feel proud that you got a really good deal on this house.
I agree with many of the previous posts.
My take on this: You at looking at an empty kitchen with no personal touches. Even those who love their kitchens now, were critical and sometimes unhappy as each element went in.
Assuming that you have a small budget since you just bought this house, I would paint the walls, add a backsplash and I agree with the poster who said to change the floor to something that would coordinate with the backsplash and the cabinets.
I can see a multi toned backsplash. Maybe if you find one with the beige of the floor, then floor can stay.
For a higher budget, I would change the granite. It would made a world of difference and if it was light, again than the floor could stay.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love the cabinets. Love them. I say embrace the red! Add some 5" pulls in brass or brushed nickel, slap some Typhoon Bordeaux granite on that perimeter to lighten it all up, and backsplash it accordingly. Magnificent. Except that floor. My God . . . ?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's a good point, Annkh. Living with it for awhile will help you figure out and prioritize what you really want to change based on function as well as aesthetic elements that either grow on you or not.

That said, if you hate reddish cabs and the floors now, you'll likely not start loving them. I'd plan for a bit of a remodel--budget permitting--and live with the current kitchen long enough to figure out what your priorities are.

Also have to second the poster who said that lighter granite would work wonders for the kitchen. With that, white cabs, a b-splash and some wall paint, the floors may just disappear into the background.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would add a mosaic backspalsh that ties all the colors together and paint the walls another color. I would find out who makes the cabinets and order glass doors for several of them, or take some of the doors you have and have them routed and replace with a nice glass to lighten the look. I'm not crazy about that curve on the island. If there's tile under it I would remove that piece, and replace the island top with a lighter beige granite with some brown and reddish colors to tie in the rest. I can't see how busy the granite there is to see if that would work or not.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want to break it up replace the inner panels of the upper cabinets with glass of some kind. There are many cool choices and you could probably get enough for your kitchen for Agree with painting island. Also think you could do two different countertops, but ditch the furniture style wood on the counter unless you plan on lots of placemats and lack of use as it will get scratched and beat on.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My 2 cents: paint the walls and change the lights over the island. I, too thought something more substantial would look better there. Maybe some new pulls and knobs. Then live there and think about it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for all the responses. I am leaning towards keeping it as is for now, adding a backsplash, under cabinet lighting, and new hardware and pendant lights. Also a window treatment. Then, after living with it for a while, we'll see how we feel. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with the way you're leaning. Even if you can afford to rip it all out and replace it, do you really want to design a new kitchen in a hurry? Better to live with it awhile and think about the layout.

A few thoughts I've had that I didn't see mentioned above:

Backspash--I would see if the short granite backsplash can be pried off, so the new BS can go clear down to the counter. That would remove some of the darkness.

Appliances--stainless steel (or look-alike) will help brighten up the space.

Cabinets--I second the idea of putting glass in a few of the doors (it can be fairly obscured glass if you don't want to show the cabinet contents). That would get rid of some of the red-orange. You might also look into removing the upper cabinets above the range and putting in a nice stainless hood. You'd probably have to get some extra crown molding from the cabinet manufacturer and maybe side panels for the flanking cabinets.

Paint color--sometimes in these situations a complementary color, in this case a muted blue or blue-green, can salvage the cabinet color. I'm not sure this will work here though; I think it might end up making the light floor stand out even more than it does already. I would consider actually using the floor color, but a couple of shades darker, for the the walls. I would also keep the backsplash in this color family, but maybe with scattered darker bits in it to tie into the counter. (Maybe one of those "Fire and Ice" type mosaics?)

Decor--see if you can find a shade of blue or blue-green that would look good as decorative touches in the kitchen (window treatments, towels, utensil jar, etc.). Then, in the rooms that are open to the kitchen, use some touches of orange or orange-red. Sometimes using more of the color actually makes it stand out less.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, in general, with living with it. The exception to that is the island. That gorgeous counter is getting lost with the cabinets. I'd paint just the island and enjoy the heck out of that counter.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think living with something is generally a good idea. I do agree with Steph about the island. I would paint that -- it isn't that much to paint again if you come up with a scheme that requires a different color, an add the window treatment as my very first even to live with it changes. The island top looks like it would be so pretty -- on a contrasting island where you could see it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi ammcd - I am dying to know what you ended up doing to your kitchen! I am in the process now of buying a house and of course, they only majorly renovated room is the kitchen, which I hate! It's not my style all all, somewhat similar to yours (dark granite, maple cabinets...) I am a white cabinet, white/quartz countertop, beautiful backsplash girl. My husband says it would be a shame to paint new cabinets to replace the granite... but until we close and get in and get some work estimates, I can't stop thinking about what we will do. I googled "buying house and hate new kitchen" and your post came up. I see its from 2013, so I HOPE!!! you will see this and share what you ended up doing. I hope you have your dream kitchen!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 5:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, first off, congratulations on the new home!! From what I can see, your kitchen is in good shape.

Here are two ideas, quickly photoshopped. First, with darker backsplash (paint or fun tile), second with darker floor, lighter backsplash.

I really like the second one. Subway tile, with either gray or white grout for backsplash and fun either dark wood look tile or other gray/dark tile on floor. Maybe dark hex tile on floor? Great fun.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Per the hex floor, here is one of my favorite Houzz tiles:

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 9:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Poorly photoshopped:

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A couple of things I didn't see mentioned:

= If the floor tiles are 12", the island is barely 3' from the sink.

= White faceplates on the electrical outlets on the 4" backsplash on either side of the sink.

I hope the OP didn't hire the builder to do the reno....

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Folks, this post was dug up from 2013, so the OP has probably made progress on figuring out what to do with this kitchen by now.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 10:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think just painting the cabinets white would make all the difference you need it will lighten up the space.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 9:19AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Kitchen sink: Help me find the right one!
This should not be as hard as signing in and finding...
Alma Williams
WAC vs. Seagull vs. Kichler or what else - "best" LED UCL
can someone please help/advise i feel like a fish out...
Barker Cabinets sample cabinet came today!!!
I am so excited to see the sample cabinet from Barker...
Why is a backsplash so hard to choose?
Got the counters in place my Taj Mahal...
"Ledge" sinks and accessories -- do you use them?
I'm considering an undermount stainless sink that has...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™