Want to gel stain kitchen cabs. Look ok?

SheeshareeIIAugust 16, 2013

Hi guys. I’d like to bounce some ideas that I’ve been pondering. I need a change. My cabinets have turned that horrid orange color. If I were giving advice my knee jerk response would be to ‘paint them white’ but I don’t want to for a number of reasons. The main one being I prefer stained wood . The appliances aren’t that old so they need to stay for now.

I’m thinking a rich brown color. I’m leaning gel stain and maybe a glaze. I have products in mind, but to keep this thread simple, I’ll try and focus on the stain color.

My kitchen and DR.

Close up of counter, cabinets, and floor.

DR side
*note - The hutch is sentimental and I’m not willing to alter it.

*note - There’s a white pantry door on the left wall (not shown) across from the island.

I think this color works with the counters but will this make the kitchen more disjointed with the DR? The wood tones don’t currently match but are similar. I do have a small table in the corner of the DR (see above - holds a computer) and it’s similar to the stain color I’m aiming for. I think it looks fine but it’s a small piece in the room vs. all the cabinets.

Here’s the bottom piece of the table. Looking a wee bit rugged but you get the idea.

Here are some inspiration pics with cabinet tones I like. These first two photos look really close to the table in my DR.
1 I like the 2nd piece of furniture. - it’s glazed which I like very much. EDIT - 1st piece done in General Finishes gel stain in Candlelite. 2nd piece Java over the Candlelite as a glaze.

2 Fireplace EDIT - General Finishes 50/50 mix of Candlelite and Java gel stains.

3 Looking at the island in this photo with similar countertop.

4. The floor and countertop on this one is very similar to mine. I wouldn’t have the slate (?) backsplash so it would be paint or I’ve been tossing the idea of beadboard wallpaper (have some left from another project).

5 Another option - EDIT General Finishes Brown Mahogany gel stain.

6 Gel stained oak kitchen with similar counters and painted island. I like that the grain shows. I like this one but it’s very brown.

7 I absolutely don’t want them dark opaque or this color.

Other things I’m willing and/or want to change!
-PAINT - I’d probably want to go the lighter/so called ‘neutral’ direction. Getting ahead of myself, BM Shaker Beige works well with the counters and floors but might be too dark. FWIW, I’m planning to paint my LR and foyer/hall this color.

Here are some photos showing similar features. Yes, I’m a visual person! (Hoping this helps some of you too!)

8 I think the lighting makes these cabinets appear a little darker but I wanted to show with a white island.

9 These are too dark and opaque but they too have white appliances.

10 Again too dark but wanting to show with white in the room.

A few more.
11 Thriftydecorchic



Can I make this work with the white appliances and the open DR area? If so, do you have any thoughts as to which of the photos to go to for a color guide? I think the cabinets would look much better dark (with other changes - paint, etc.) but IMO too red (or purple) will, for sure, make it look disjointed.

Any thoughts as to what to do with the rest of the kitchen (paint, island, etc.)?


Oh and FWIW, we have dark wood (not matching) in the rest of the house and I think the kitchen looks like the odd ball. Also, I do plan to test whatever stain out but wanted feedback first.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 13:10

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the color on the second set of drawers in the picture showing the drawers side by side.

The color of wood from your table in the pic where it's leaning against your cabinet has an orange undertone on my monitor, but I can't see it in your table.

Now this is just me, but I don't like wood grain showing on cabinets unless you're going for a rustic look.

While black or SS appliances look better with dark wood, I wouldn't worry about it right now because we all know how long appliances last these days. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think a rich brown (General finishes "brown Mahogany" with maybe a bit of Java to make it browner) would look good. You don't need to do a separate glaze - multiplecoats of stain can darken selectively.

The countertops would stand out a bit more - right now they blend into the similar tone of the cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Shee (waving)!

First I want to say your kitchen and dining area look great! I love your accesorizing. Not cluttered, just enough.

I agree with lazy - darkening your cabinets will make your countertops stand out a bit more. I wouldn't go too dark - just darken them up a bit. I don't agree about the grain looking rustic but again, I wouldn't do something that overemphasizes the grain. We have solid oak custom cabinets - kind of a medium shade - but our kitchen is not rustic at all. Grain is going to show in solid wood. Unless you alter and like you said you don't want opaque.

I also really like the idea of painting the island. And I see no reason why you'd need to alter the hutch!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would go a few shades darker as mentioned but not super dark like espresso or java. Just dark enought to provide some contrast with the floor and counter.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I highly recommend General Finishes gel stain, but I think beekeeperswife (?) recommended another brand. Old Master? Perhaps google. I think GF has fewer stain collors

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oakley - I do like a rustic look and know what you mean, but I think the other elements in a room can change that somewhat.
I'd love to sell our appliances. When I was thinking this through, I really only like white appliances with white paint but I think that will bother me less than the way my kitchen currently looks.
You'll be happy to know I'm tired of the green! :)

Lazygardens - I was thinking that. Pic number 5 is General Finishes gel stain in Brown Mahogany. Pics number 1 is GF Candlelite and the second cabinet has the Java over that. They staid they used it as a glaze though I'm sure there are many ways to achieve that look. Number 3 (fireplace) was done with a 50/50 mix of GF Candlelite and Java.

Tina - Hi! *waves!* Thanks. I was hesitant to even post because I think it looks much better IRL!
I don't totally dislike opaque that just not what I'm aiming for in here. Both my bathroom vanities are painted a gloss dark color. I just think if you're going to go that dark you might as well paint - unless you're looking at it from a durability factor. IMO, paint would be easier though.
I'm excited to do something with the island. I need to learn to photoshop better. I need to go back to those tutorials Roobear did.
I think the wood of the hutch (not really the style) is kind of rustic looking. It's pine and the stain is brown but does have orange/yellow undertones. I think the cabinets would look better with a tiny bit of red in them vs. brown (because of the counters) but then I wondered if it would look strange with the hutch. Maybe no more strange (stranger?) than the oak does! I need to see this, lol!

Joanie - Yeah, I'm thinking something to get rid of the orange and make them a little richer looking.

Nosoccermom - I've been doing reading on both. I'm 99% sure I'll be using a gel stain from one of those brands. In GF I've been looking at Brown Mahogany, Antique Walnut, Java, and Candlelite as maybe a mix. From Old Master I liked Rich Mahogany I believe.

I also wanted to mention besides prefering wood cabinets, the white kitchens I see have lots of features my basic kitchen doesn't and that seems to make a big difference for me.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like your natural oak , by the way, but I understand wanting a change. I have to say I find sanding and staining to be easier than using gel stain if trying to achieve a grain look. . I found sanding and staining my entire kitchen to be easier than gel staining and trying to achieve faux grains on one large furniture piece. To achieve a dark finish with gel stain you will lose most if not all the grain.
My armoire took weeks to complete the way I wanted it, which was to look like stained wood not painted. My kitchen per square inch took a fraction of the time but the results look like dark natural wood as opposed to dark painted wood.

kitchen sanded and a dye stain

Before and after pine armoire with gelstain

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I just started my cabinets with General Finishes Mahogany gel stain. My cabinets are not as light as yours. They're almost 30 yrs old, and birch, not oak. So far I've only done 1 door and I'm liking the results. I put on 2 coats with a foam brush, rubbing off excess with a rag. The grain still shows thru nicely. I won't be able to do more till the end of the month, as I'm leaving soon for vacation. I say try it.
Like you, I was thinking of painting, but no other wood in my house is painted and I didn't think it would look right.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, what features do you see in white kitchens that your kitchen doesn't have? You're lucky to have the island, that's definitely not basic. I wish I had it!

I think the reason I'm not fond of grain showing through is because I had it for a long time and got sick of it. When we first built I told people it was like cooking in a cabin, I really liked it. But after 30 years it got old so I went to white.

I love dark wood with the granite color you have, it's one of my favorite combos.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah! Shee's back in action! Let the fun begin.

I love the stain in pictures 1 & 2. Loving the Candlelite and Java mixed. Good color for you countertop.

Shee, do you have access to some scrap pieces of oak hardwood flooring. They would be good to practice color and technique on. Wish I was closer - I have plenty. You might also check with the guys "in the back" at Lowes or HD to see if they have scrap pieces of oak.

Your furniture pieces will be fine with the stains you are looking at......according to GW, we mustn't have everything too matchy-matchy :).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unless you do one of those opaque finishes that you posted and hate, these will always look like 90s oak cabinets.

It would be helpful to understand your motivations and end goal. Are you trying to modernize your space? Or just freshen it up? Or something in between?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roarah - Thanks for posting your photos. I really like how your cabinets look (& the armoire looks nice too!). Will you explain more about the process? What dye stain did you use? I did think about going the sanding route and then looked at all the cabinets, lol. Did you start with 80 grit and work down to 220? I've noticed looking through gel stain photos/tutorials that the grain appears to show through only if you wipe off vs. leaving it painted on.

Gracie - I'd love to see a finished photo of your cabinets when your done! I hope it turns out for you!

Oakley - I really like your kitchen. I'm not even wild about my flooring. Could be worse though. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about.
I'll admit I don't care for the stools.

Also love the LR.

Out of the two, I prefer the green one. *swoon*
With all seriousness, I couldn't even try to copy those looks.

Tuesday - Hi! Yes, I'm in full house mode! I have a list of projects I want to tackle but have been so busy lately - not in a bad way though.
I like 1 & 2 too. I have the panel insert from the corner cabinet to work on and I figured I could try the backs of the doors. The finish isn't quite the same on the back though. I was thinking GF was sold at Lowes but looks like I'll have to order online. I could've sworn I saw it there before.

Krycek - Just to clarify, I don't hate the opaque finish, I just don't want black cabinets in here. While it's not my first wood choice, I don't have a problem with any oak wood, even if it's not quartersawn. I just don't care for the orange finish. I get what you're saying about they'll still be dated cabinets but they'll look different to me. I was hoping by changing them, possibly adding bb backsplash, changing the paint, fabrics, and art, I could update the space from what it is. Changing the appliances is something I'd really like to do but it's certainly not high on DH's list of things to do. However, not that long ago he wasn't up altering the cabinets at all and now is for it (he normally is fine with whatever I want to do, but the kitchen cabinets were a 'please leave alone' for some reason) so he may change his mind about that too. I'm not trying to be trendy. Like I said, I just want a change. I'm looking to freshen it up to my eyes. And who knows, maybe I'll attempt staining these and it won't work out or look right to me and then I'll paint. I look at it as at least I'll have tried the stain.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Sat, Aug 17, 13 at 0:33

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Out there in the real world, there are still lot of oak cabinets and oak furniture pieces. I have several pieces of oak furniture that I like, and a couple of cheap, orange looking pieces that I really dislike. A lot of it depends on the stain, or lack of.

I googled and found lots of nice kitchens on Houzz with the darker stains you are looking at. I am glad you are still wanting the grain to show through. I have always been interested in the gel stain products, but I really don't care for the opaque look either - it looks like paint. Don't get me wrong, I have seen some kitchen makeovers with the Java and Expresso in a more contempory kitchen that looked really nice, but in a more traditional setting, I don't care for the look.

I loved Bee's gel stain bathroom vanity in the dark gel stain, but it suited the room. Have seen several other nice dark vanity makeovers out there in blog land also.

Here is a pretty stain I found on Houzz that is similar to what you are looking at. Love this color

Here is a link that might be useful: Pretty oak stain

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the 50/50 candlelite/java mix. Also, IKEA has a new dark oak kitchen, Rockhammar.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elraes Miller

I am in the same situation. Maple cabinets which have yellowed and really tired of them. House is a 50s cottage and would love to have a close to...original kitchen.

I looked at Ikea for doors and they do have enough options for the right sizes. Your kitchen looks to be pretty standard for sizing and about the same area as mine. Before Ikea hiked their prices recently, this change would have cost 800 for the doors. My thinking was it would be easier to change doors and get a match to the door color for painting cabinets alone. I am a bit cautious about painting the doors and ending up with a "painted wood" look.

I love the green kitchen posted and have seen others in a deep teal green. If you have a Restore nearby, they have a lot of oak doors for .50 cents. Perhaps buy some and test your ideas before jumping all the way.

My plan at the moment is the same you suggested, a backsplash with beadboard. I also have a wall area with enough room to add another counter and am using restored furniture I painted white to match the beadboard. There isn't enough room for an island which would look right size wise.

I would paint your island white first and see how the feel of the kitchen works for you. Along with a beadboard backsplash it may be enough for you to really enjoy the change. If it doesn't, than you are 1/3 there and can work on staining or painting the cabinets.

My go to place for most hardware and paint is ACE. Love the guys there as they never question my projects and get into "sometimes" crazy ideas with great suggestions. One of the paint guys said the best paint for cabinet doors was floor and porch. Hard as nails, easy to clean and very little chance of edge wearing. Does not need more than two coats. Less prep, other than a good cleaning. Flows well without seeing brush marks. Any color mixed. Although he really didn't want to see me paint the maple, said a good wood should stay that way. We didn't talk about staining. I think most men are against painting any wood. And I'm still in the middle as to whether I should go there.

Have fun doing this and keep us up on results, decisions.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 7:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing to keep in mind is that oak has a different, wider, more pronounced wood grain than the cabinets on the inspiration pics have.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've posted this oak kitchen redo without painting a couple of times now. Still think it's quite impressive, even if the underexposed lighting in the after pictures seem to make it look better, especially the pinkish counters.
However, your counters are a lot nicer.

Here is a link that might be useful: oak kitchen redo without painting

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Sat, Aug 17, 13 at 16:30

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nosoccermom that make over is great! Shee, I think maybe start with the backsplash and hardware and see if you like the look better. I do not see 80s orange or even that much yellow. Also, your have a smooth matte finish rather than that high gloss builder grade finish:).

But if you still want to go darker, I did the brush on rub off technique on my armoire and it keep making the piece look yellow and after five coats was still way to light for my liking. Then I just let it sit for longer and after the color was to my liking I "painted" grain lines on it. From afar it looks great but I feel it looks fake upclose. So if you want more than a few shades darker I would go the stain route.

I did my cabs years ago but I think all I did was remove all the doors and, this is very important, I numbered the inside of the doors and placed the hinges in bags with a taped matching number. Then I sanded with my very old power sander with probally an 80. Next I went to 180 to finish the job with a smooth to touch feel.

After this I rag applied the stain to the doors and bases. I did 2 coats and I never applied a topcoat and I have not a single mark on them 8 years later. While my armoire even with the topcoat his a few chips and was done only 2 years ago.

General Finishes Enduro stain dyes are water based I believe and I love the results.

I think the whole refinishing took most of a two week vacation pre children:). I have 25 cabinet doors and 12 drawers.

Here is an upclose of the grain painted on with general finishes gelstain. I plan to strip this and do it right this winter.

Edited to put the photo back in...showed up in my preview window but is a small square with an x in the post? Why does that happen anyway?

This post was edited by roarah on Sat, Aug 17, 13 at 10:12

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I had orange oak cabinets and stained them dark brown. I would say kind of like number 6 in your pictures in the first post. I totally regret it. They are a light sucker and make my kitchen dark and I wish I had kept looking and went with my first instincts and found someone to paint them. I am still thinking about getting them painted some day. DH will think I am nuts. but I really dislike them now. So, just be sure you are ready for so much darkness. :)

I know some kitchens can handle it. Mine was not one!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh roarah, that is beautiful! That came out wonderfully.

To the OP, are you wedded to the rug under the table? I think replacing that would make a huge difference in refreshing the space!!! Taking that away would instantly liven up the area. The hutch is quite nice and I totally understand the sentimental value...we have a couple pieces of furniture my partner refuses to part with due to sentiment :x.

I do like most of your gel stain ideas...I prefer the opaque darker finishes but we enjoy a more modern design (am 29). Our new cabinets on order are cherry with a dark finish. I think that whatever you end up doing, a glaze would really help de-emphasize the grain and give it a nice warm feel.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You probably don't want to hear me, but I lik e your cabinets as they are. I would not consider darkening them with stain..
I like nosoccermoms pic
. I will also say that I have the light oak cabinets, and agonized over paint color for the longest time and finally finally went with Shaker Beige and I think that color is superb.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really like the idea soccer mom posted. We did something simular to that using the toekick you buy anywhere they sell cabs to raise the hieght and then trim and crown molding to top it off. Its rediculously simple and give the cabs the wow stock cabs don,t have. Now would be the time to do that while your staining everything anyway. I used poly shades bombay mahagany and its to red for my next project that I am wanting a browner red for so I will be watching your project with interest.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tuesday - You’re right about the setting. I don’t think the opaque I don’t think would look right with my taste.
Thanks for the link. I like that kitchen. I’ll look at more later tonight.
Nosoccermom - Thanks for posting that. I like it. Actually my guitar I think is a similar color. I may take some photos of that later.
I like the kitchen you posted and think it looks much better. Besides the lighting and backsplash I think the accessory colors really. Unfortunately I have a strong aversion to turquoise/aqua. Probably not the only color that works but it looks good there. I have some photos of oak kitchens that I do like. I’ll post some in a bit.

Technicolor - Unfortunately I don’t have a Restore near but I’ll be sure to test out first! Were you planning to keep your bb white? I’d like to change the island regardless so that may be the place to start. I love our Ace store too!

Graywings - That’s a very good point and something I’ve been giving much though the past few days. I’m having a hard time picturing it on my cabinets. That’s why I tried to post some stained oak photos too.

Roarah - Thanks for the explanation. So GF stain is a stain dye? I’ll head over to their site and look around more. I thought stain and dye were different things.

Boop - Oh, I’m sorry you don’t like your cabinets. Oh a positive note, it’s easier to paint over stain!

Krycek - Removing the rug completely or replacing it? I felt the floor look unfinished/bare without one. I do like sisal type rugs but that wouldn’t work with our cats. I still like the current rug and didn’t have any plans (or funds really) to change it. FWIW, we’re about the same age.

Sheilaaus - Hmm… Shaker Beige does seem to work well with all the flooring in my house, lol. I’m not sure I’d like it against the current oak color. I have to dig out the sample again. I do know I want to repaint the walls.

Madeyna - I’ve thrown around the idea of trimming the top out different too. Someday I’d like to add extra cabinets and take it to the ceiling.

I’ll be back later. I have some more photos to post and ideas to throw around. Thanks everyone for you feedback!

This post was edited by sheesharee on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 0:51

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would remove the rug completely...with the hutch and table all combined it kinda looks "old lady". Just my opinion. I really do think it would look great. We have no rug under our kitchen table and I think it looks much cleaner and more contemporary.

We have cats so sisal is a no no too! They have some really nice more contemporary rugs at Home Depot and ikea I've seen. Our dogs seem to think rugs are grass so no rugs for us...

This is actually a wonderful space to work with, I'm kinda jealous! You could change the curtain above the sink, both light fixtures, and put a different picture up and that would make a very large difference. Your kitchen has a lot of potential and I like what you are thinking for the cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Technicolor - I’d love to see your kitchen when you’re finished if you’re comfortable posting. I hope yours goes well too! I’m wishing I didn’t have a ton of outlets! Seriously, I have 7, S-E-V-E-N!, outlets on my backsplash. It’s crazy. I could do away with at least 3 of them if not more.

Nosoccer - Looking again at those pictures I missed the pinkish counters earlier. I didn’t even notice them. The cabinets no longer even look orange but a warm cinnamon. Maybe it is the lighting, but it sure looks better on that picture.

Roarah - I wanted to mention your armoire looks pretty good. It sounds like it was challenging.

Sheilaaus - I’d love to see a photo of your Shaker Beige kitchen if you would feel comfortable posting it. I have my sample out tonight taped onto a larger piece of white posterboard and it’s still hard to visualize. I’m pretty excited about this whole thing.

Krycek - I knew old lady was what you were getting at before you said it and I do understand why you think that. It’s a topic that’s come up quite a few times over the years on here. I don’t believe you meant anything mean by it but it usually bothers me at first. I suppose it’s probably because our likes are what they are and my decorating taste is of no reflection of my personal style IRL. I know it’s silly for me to be bothered by it at all.
So anyyyyhow…. Maybe I’ll put away the rug for a while to change it up. I would if the new fabric wouldn’t work with it. I’ve been looking on and off literally over the past year and haven’t found anything that really speaks to me. And as I mentioned I would like to change out the art. I never felt the plates went with the picture but didn’t find anything else and just left it as is.
Side note, my one cat used to CHEW on the edges of our area rugs. Ugh! I’m glad he’s over that!

Here are some kitchens with light cabinets I’ve saved. Besides not liking my orange cabinets I want some contrast. (I know I already said that.) If the counters were only darker. It’s interesting, during the day I think,”Oh, they’re not so bad” and as the day goes on they just get more and more orange and I cringe. I changed the light bulbs and that has helped a little.

I think this one ties together very nicely.

Not liking everything with this one but like the contrast. Looking again, maybe adding the white backsplash and new hardware will be enough of that for me. - I’d still paint, pick new fabrics, etc.

I’m not feeling the backsplash in this one but I like it other than that.

I believe I’m going to buy some ½ pints of the gel stain in Candlelite and Java. I can’t see buying a quart of each right now. The stain on my guitar is very similar. I’ll try mixing them and try the Java alone. The Candlelite stain kind of reminds me of my current cabinets so I’m wondering if it’s a waste to buy; won’t know until I try.

The look is determined by your wood type, undertone, and how you apply which is why I see so many different results online.
I’ve seen the Java described both as having a dark brown and undertone. Here’s showing original, one coat, and two coats. I do like this but don’t know if it’ll be too dark. Appears to be two different results and the original cabinets look different.

I'm not sure if I should cross the Brown Mahogany off for now or not. I may pick up a 1/2 pint of that too. A reviewer mentioned,” if you plan to use the Brown Mahogany over oak that has become orangy over the years, the color on the finished product will look more reddish than brown.”


I busted out my bb wallpaper and plan to do a mockup. Graham & Brown bb wallpaper

Oh, I don’t know what I’ll do with the island but I do really like this distressed one.

*Side note - You don’t have to box stain like you do paint, right? If I decide to go through with the gel and run out to buy more mid project, is it typical to have matching issues?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Heck, maybe I'll add beadboard to the bottom of the wall in the DR and do something with shelves. I actually have a few shelves that look like this. And I've talked about the bb on and off for a few years.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wonder if your green wall color may make the cabinets more orange. Could you tape up white "tiles' or plain paper to see how a white or cream background would work? Also, I think beefing up the molding and getting darker hardware would help a lot.
Or perhaps try photoshopping. Maybe someone can help.
You could also start with gel staining the island a dark color and see how you like that.
How old are your appliances? Any chance to replace at least some of them (range and MW), panel (DW) or paint the fridge with chalkboard paint? Pretty much all the pics that you like have either black or SS appliances.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you thought of stripping down your cabs and then staining them
with a penetrating stain instead of poly stain?

All you need is a decent sander, sandpaper and some liquid stripper.
Take all the doors and drawers off, and sand them down outside.
The trim can be sanded as well...The liquid stripper is sometimes
needed in the corners to get off all the old poly and stain.

If you're open to the idea, I can go into how to refinish them to the color
you want, that would blend well with your DR furniture.

Is your china cabinet is a little darker than your table and chairs?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, have you considered using Briwax or some other wax product to nudge the color of your cabinets to a darker shade? Wouldn't be as drastic as gel stain, but might give some depth to your current finish.

Here is a link that might be useful: waxed cabinets for makeover

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nosoccer - For sure I think the paint is part of the problem. I really like the color (more so during the day) and even get lots of compliments on it but there has to be a better color for the room.
Great idea about the paper! That'll be easier than the bb scraps I have. I'll work on that in the next day or so.
I also think starting with the island, once I think it's a go, would be the best idea.
The appliances are only 6 years old. At this point they'll have to stay. I know they're going to be very in your face white. I'm not sure how much it will bother me though since I already feel that way about them now. Doing the mock up will be a good thing. I'm always about mock ups!
I have a few photos saved with dark cabinet and white appliances. My computer is being miserable slow so I can't post them right now.

Joann - I have but am concerned about not being able to get all the finish off. Ehh, liquid stripper . . . perhaps if it's only occasionally in the corners. I once attempted to refinish an old claw foot table and only got the top finished. I used that orange gel stripper. I was quite disappointed in the whole process. The piece is still in my basement unfinished.
Yes, the china cabinet is a litter darker. I can take a close up shot for you if that helps. I'll have to wait to post it though (could probably tomorrow) because my internet is being really slow.

Awm - Hmm.. I never thought to do that. I have to say though, I don't really notice much of a difference in her cabinets. I actually think they look a little darker before. Maybe it's the lighting and my monitor. If I used a wax, would I have to strip it off before using a Zinsser bonding primer? I'll have to check out the can.
Thanks for the idea and link. Even if that doesn't work for this project it's definitely something I'll keep in my mind for future things!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, the stripper is only used in some places like corners that the
sander can't get into. I know the gel stain is easier, but it is completely
different look. Which color are you favoring -- the darker stain
like the china cab, or the table and chair color?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Joann - Hmm.. I don't want the cabinets real dark. I just want less orange and a richer brown tone. I don't know how helpful that is.

I did a mock up of a white backplash tonight. I don't have much of an opinion of it right now other than it's bright.

I'm getting somewhat frustrated. I know my kitchen isn't a lot of things but I don't know what to do to make it work (I'm mainly talking cabinet color & paint). Even if I embrace the orange oak (which I don't like) the rest of the kitchen doesn't work with it. I want to do SOMETHING but don't know what to do.

I might post some pics of the 'backsplash' tomorrow after I get some day shots.

In the meantime, I like this kitchen. Maybe I should just save up for new appliances and a backsplash. I think the backsplash would be too busy with my floor maybe. Anyhow, my counters are different but this oak doesn't bother me at all. New hardware is a for sure thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: light oak with stone backsplash

This post was edited by sheesharee on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 3:50

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that you should stick with your gut feeling. You like the candelite gel finish and I do too. I think you should buy the gel stain and play with it on a piece of similar wood to get a feel for it. Then try it on your cabinet in a small, inconspicuous spot. Then go for it and do all of your cabinets. I think it would be beautiful. JMO on your island, I really like the interest that having a different colored island lends to a kitchen. I also really like the glazed white cabinets in your 3rd photo posted. Since you don't want your cabinets white or glazed white, I would consider doing your island white with the glaze similar to that picture. If you don't want to do that, at least do it last so that you can consider another option for the island. Your house looks great and you have good tastes. I think that the decision that you come to will be the right one.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a practice door I stained with GF Mahogany. After scrubbing the door and letting it dry, I put on one layer with a foam brush and wiped off with a rag. I did this twice. It was really easy. I will use a satin wipe on poly when done. You can see I filled the holes where the handle had been. I need to practice with that a little more. My cabinets are almost 30 yrs old and the finish is just looking tired; plus I wanted to get rid of the "yellow" in the stain.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Joanie - Thanks, I'm still considering painting the island something. It is a good idea to start there first!

Gracie - Thanks so much for posting a photo! It looks great! I didn't even see the holes you filled until you mentioned it.
You didn't scuff sand at all?
I'm going to order that color too and try them all. I don't want to wonder about the stain I overlooked.

Here’s my *ahem* backsplash. I only did half. I don’t have much of an opinion right now other than bb would look better than paper. I’ve been looking at oak kitchens with so called light neutrals, sages, and even BM Chelsea Gray (there’s gray in the floor and counter). And no, I’m not a gray person but I’ve always loved that gray and believe I could live with it.

Here’s a photo with hardware from a dresser. I like the dark very much against the cabinets. I think I’d prefer cup pulls that were thinner and wider. Thoughts on hardware? Spray paint the ones I have or buy new?
Note - the paint sample is BM Shaker Beige. I just wanted to see what it looked like.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After looking at your kitchen again, I really don't see orange. I think it's the green paint that makes it look a bit off, but that's all.

The white backsplash looks too stark. I'd go with one of the lighter colors from the granite.

As far as your rug goes, I'd keep it for now until you replace it. I like the red in it, and I think with some red accessories in your kitchen would bring the rooms together.

You can buy little floor covers for babies, or do what I did and use a twin flat sheet to put under Baby Shee's chair when he eats. :)

I also don't see old lady decor either with the hutch. People said my curio cabine was old lady too, and well...too bad, I like it! lol

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, I didn't sand because all the finish is off my cabinets; they're old, and at one time I sprayed them down with Greased Lightning to clean them, which took off the finish.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I gel stained my bathroom cabinets without any sanding, just some slight scuffing with a sanding block. The gel stain even worked on the fake-wood plastic sides.

Also agree that your cabinets really don't look like the normal orange oak.
I really like the black hardware; I also like the white backsplash.
I'd beef up the molding on top,
replace the faucet,
add white or off-white backsplash
maybe remove that bridge over the window,
paint the wall a grayish color,
stain or paint the island.

What kind of overall look do you like? More traditional or transitional?

Kitchen below has BM Healing Aloe (note, it's a bit bluer)

On my monitor, your counters look more grayish beige, except on the close-up picture.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd gel stain them a darker color... we used Old Masters Red Mahogany stain on our cabinets. We loved it so much that we just started staining all of our doors & trim the same color. Minimal sanding is required... I just stuffed up the front a little with some 120 sandpaper to get any grease or anything that might have collected over the years.

Our old color was a golden oak type colored. Right now most of the stuff in our house is stained this new color, except for 1 bathroom. Which still has the golden oak cabinets. When you go from the kitchen into the bathroom... it's like stepping from 2013 back into 1980... even though our house was built in 2008 lol. That's how much older the oak cabinets made our home look.

Here's what it looked like after the house was built in 2008:

Here is what it looks like about a month ago... right now all the doors and trim are also stained this color, but not pictured:

Our bathroom vanity we stained with General Finishs Gel Stain in Java color which also looks nice, but way to dark for a kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oakley - I agree about the green paint having some impact on how I feel about the cabinet color. The seem less icky to me when seeing the white against them.

Gracie - Oh, ok. I just didn’t think you could apply the gel without even scuffing but to know the finish was off a little is helpful. Thanks!

Nosoccer - That’s good about the plastic sides because my kitchen has those. I figured it I couldn’t get it to look right I’d cover them with wood.

Maybe I will beef up the moulding. That would be an inexpensive thing to do that would make a pretty big impact. I could also remove the valance thing in the middle while at it. Wonder if I’d need to stain the crown first before applying a gel stain.

I do like some transitional stuff but probably lean more toward traditional. I very much like the style of Savvysouthernstyle’s blog but our houses our so different I can’t really decorate mine the same.
I do like the color of that kitchen but the note of more blue kind of scares me. I’ll check it out more.

Ah, the counters. *Shee hangs her head* I think they actually have a pink undertone like every other neutral (NOT) thing in my house. Before I learned my brown carpet had a pink undertone I thought it looked like a brown/purple. My counters appear a more cool brown to me and I see that same ‘purpley’ brown. Here’s some shots with the carpet to see the resemblance.

Here’s a gray (I know gray had different undertones too) lid to show that it’s brown. There is gray in the counter but you have to actually be looking close at the colors to see it. It doesn’t stand out.

Ricksample - Wow, what a difference. It looks great! Thanks for posting those photos.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Tue, Aug 20, 13 at 13:12

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee don't let slight undertones throw you. If you think about it, most wood tones have SOME red undertones - cherry, red oak, mahogany, even some walnut and chestnut. I love a good rich tone wood with a little red to warm it up. They will all "blend" in the big picture.

My DD has new Lauzon wood floors that are are dark brown and I really don't like them because they have NO red tone in them. Don't get me wrong, they are pretty in her home, but they have a "dead" brown mouse tone. No warmth.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about a very creamy white for the walls and back splash, kind of like the Rosemary Lane pictures?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tuesday - You're right and I know what you mean about the dead mouse brown. Since Nosoccermom mentioned the gray I was hoping that would help show the counter color better. ?

Nosoccer -Creamy white for the current cabinets or if they were stained? In the I held up a few samples (BM Linen White, SW Aria Ivory, etc.) and thought they looked really washed out. I'm sure there's a color out there that would work though. The room gets a good amount of light and even more as the day goes on. I just realized Rosemary’s backsplash is white and, after looking again, her walls are green. I'm leery of yellows clashing with the floors/counter.
Here are two creamy pics.

Rosemary kitchen - Well I think it's green. Maybe it's more blue and the lighting is changing it.

Buuuut, since I had more time to look, I'd like to go back to the BM Healing Aloe. I really like it in that photo! Maybe it could work. A lot of the pictures I’ve been gravitating towards are light blue/gray/green. It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time, lol. I think I’ll pick up a paint sample.
More shots of BM Healing Aloe. I like this color (& similar ones) with both light and dark wood.

After dinner design blog


I don’t know what color this is but it looks similar to me.

I don’t think I’d could handle anything too (bright/clear?) blue, gray, or purple. That should be easy, right? lol

I also really like Restoration Hardware Silver Sage.

Here is a closer shot of the rug.

I was looking at (dark) sage greens but I think I’d like to go lighter. I like the lightness of the ‘baclksplash’ area if I wouldn’t use a shade of white. I don’t think I want a dark color butting against the counters anymore.

Should I go with cup pulls or longer pulls like in Rosemary’s pics? If cup pulls, these are 3-1/2” wide.

These are 4-7/8".

Which ones?
I figured plain for the knobs.

We’re for sure going to change the moulding and remove the wood valance. I won’t have a light above the sink anymore. I won't miss it, but hopefully it doesn't look weird.

Thanks for sticking with me this long!

This post was edited by sheesharee on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 3:33

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Eeee, BM Healing Aloe is looking a too pastel (?!) here.

A suggestion that had more gray was BM Sea Haze.

Or BM Gray Horse.

I know it depends on lighting but what do you think about paint? Am I heading the right direction?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, look at SW Sea Salt also. DD just put it in a bathroom with new Kraftmaid cabinetry (Chestnut, but it has some orange/red tones) and it look awesome. Of course, no natural light.

When you google Sea Salt, you don't get many pictures of stained wood, but the ones I find look good.

Scroll through the attached images and see how pretty it looks with the stained bedroom, vanity, and on down the oak flooring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sea Salt images

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I sampled Healing Aloe, and it didn't look like that pastel picture at all. In fact, I discarded it because it turned too gray for my taste.
I hadn't seen the Rosemary Lane full kitchen, only the creamy backsplash. I'm currently looking for a very creamy white but still at the collecting paint strip stages.

Could you upload photos on one of these paint viewers and see what you may like?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the silver sage and similar colors. Would love to see how that looks in your kitchen. I already gave you my thoughts adding black - which I think would work with the SS colors.

Thanks for sending me that blog link - I am blog addicted!!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tuesday - That is a pretty color, thanks. A few pictures look very aqua but I didn't click on them to see if that was the color. I like how it looks in the bathroom! *sigh* Lighting is everything.

Nosoccer - Here are some I did on BM site. I don't know why the top didn't fill with color since I clicked around the whole area. Place your hand over it. I'm not going to bother to list the names because some of them look nothing like the paint. I tried to go by how the color looked.





    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Shee, I like the last one possibly.... I am going to try to link pix of my kitchen with shaker beige. I love the way it looks, but of course, different strokes for differnt folks. I think I have to take new pix because I am unable to find the old ones. In any case, I will try to do this this evening...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I found it--- the far away pix show shaker beige throughout the kitchen and family room. I dont think I have an updated picture with the shaker beige close up to the cabinets. The one which shows the backsplash is before it was painted. ( It only took me about 2 years give or take to decide on the paint, but in the end I love it so all is well). Scroll down midway

Here is a link that might be useful: googled shaker beige and lo and behold there's my house

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sheilaaus - Oh, that looks really nice! Thank you for posting the link. Hmm....
This sample in this photos is Shaker Beige. I really need to paint a larger section.

I meant to post this mock up too. A little deeper sage.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, I have not read everything, but I am guessing this is far out of the question . . .but I think it the white appliances are not working. It would be interesting to just cover them up to see if you like your cabinets more.

My kitchen looks similar to yours-- very similar countertop only my cabinets are maple. We also have green walls. Trim is oak. Here are pics, though the table belongs to the PO. We have a similar table but mine is old, old.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anele - You're right they're not working. I can't replace them right now (too many other things should be done first) and am not sure when I'll be able to. I'm just trying to figure out something I can do in the meantime to make the kitchen work better to my eyes.

Your kitchen looks good! What color are your walls they look more blue/gray than mine. I like your floors better. I still see orange in mine but comparing the photos, the colors look very similar.

Maybe it would be best to update the hardware, beef the trim, change the valance fabric, and sit on this until I can replace the appliances. Even if I buy stain samples I can't seem to make up my mind what direction I want to go now. - deeper sage, cream, keep the cabinets, stain them darker.... Even without changing the appliances the changes I just mentioned might be enough to hold me over.

We're getting read to leave for vacation soon so I won't be able to dive into anything but I'll be tossing all this around!

This post was edited by sheesharee on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 16:27

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you considered painting the lower cabinets dark green or black? It would also be nice (if possible) to change some of the uppers to glass or maybe a fabric...bringing in your inspiration pictures. I like the Rosemary Lane kitchen and I think you could do something like that...maybe paint the dining room chairs black? Bring in a similar fabric? Even with the white appliances, I think that would be a great look for your kitchen :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 5:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lavender - I normally have mixed feelings about half the cabinets painted or different colors, the one I posted above is an exception.

I'm willing to put paint on the island though. A few years back a poster photoshopped it in black and also green. I did like them.

I'm not opposed to painting the chairs but the style is pretty different from the Rosemary pic. The middle of the rug is also black so I didn't know if that would be too much. I do want to change the chair fabric out.

The reason I considered doing a (creamy, less glaring!) shade of white for the backsplash or even the island, was an attempt to coordinate the appliances better. I'll most likely have to keep the white for some time and I was hoping there was a way to change the rest to make it work.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I completely understand about not changing the appliances. There are a million things that I'd love to change in my own house and can't. ETA: And now I noticed that in your very first post, you specifically said you were not changing the appliances, so it was dumb of me to even mention! I apologize.

I think we can make this work for sure.

What would it be like to paint the trim to match the wall color (whatever wall color you end up with) or some version of the wall color (lighter/darker)? I don't know if it is open to the rest of the house and would affect things. My kitchen is the only room with that color trim. The rest is more like the stairs (dark), which you can see in the pic.

I am looking through Houzz photos and trying to analyze why these work.

This looks way more orange than yours. White accessories:

Deeper color, wood floor, silver hardware:

Wall color matches cabinets, white countertop:

Wood floor, white island, darker, trim matches cabinets (that is why I am thinking maybe blending your trim in with the wall might give it a cleaner appearance)

Countertop and wall color match

Floor color matches cabinets, no trim:

Much darker, but looks like the floor is in the same general color family as yours?

I say, do nothing until you have a plan. Don't feel like you should ignore the appliances/hope you won't notice. If they are in good condition, there is no reason to change them because there are other options. And, ENJOY your vacation!

This post was edited by anele on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 19:27

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm reading quickly so now I'm a little confused...are you now considering painting the walls and leaving the cabinets as is? If so, any blue color (Healing Aloe is one of my faves, but it is quite blue) is going to make your cabinets appear more orange, and since you seem to want less orange, I'd recommend that you avoid any blues!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wanted to mention I didn’t do any cream colors on the virtual mock up because none of them looked realistic.

Anele - Oh, it’s ok really! I know I write a lot. I’m a detailed person. The original post is my ‘edited version’, no kidding. And you weren’t rude when you mentioned the appliances. (note - I didn’t think others who mentioned it were rude either.)

Paint the trim, hmm… it would be the only room in the house without white trim and you can see other areas of the house depending on where you’re at in the kitchen.
Ha, at one point today I thought I should paint the walls the color of the cabinets (wasn’t being serious). I wondered how that would look and now I know. : ) I prefer the overall look of the 4th and they also have a white backsplash. I think the other ones work together even if they’re not my style. My floor is more similar to the last photo. Here are some more kitchens with white appliances I saved.

This one is the most jarring to me.

I love the wood with the creams and red in this photo.

Sue - I’m bouncing all around as usual. I started the thread planning to gel stain them darker but some people mentioned they didn’t really look orange which got me thinking maybe it would be better to repaint first.

As for the blue, I know what you mean about the orange. The oak paired with the grayed/green/blue colors look richer to my eye and are more appealing. I know that doesn’t make sense since I’m saying I dislike the orange. It seems to compliment it.

However, check out his example. This stopped me.

Does that paint work with the carpet in the photo? It looks like it’s making it more pink. ?? That same pink tone is in my flooring in the kitchen (their carpet is what my LR carpet looks like in photos) What color does that leave? Pick something with red/pink undertones? What is that doing to the orange tones in the cabinets?

I’m all over the place with my thoughts but one thing’s for sure, I can change the cabinet color easier than I can replace my floor and counters - which at least they don’t fight each other.

I found these photos quite shocking so I wanted to post them. Look at the cabinet color difference! I’m not saying I want my walls stark white but what a difference! I’ve noticed my counters look more brown to me without the green against them.

After - Yes, this was the after.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know what you mean with the cream paints on the online painter not looking like the actual paint at all. How about sampling a creamy white, or maybe even a very light yellow, like Wyndham Cream or Philadelphia Cream?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you ever read Maria Killam's blog? You should check out her posts on color tones…I've found them very enlightening.

Based on her philosophy, the issue you're seeing is the yellow tones of the oak against the pink tones of your tile/countertop.

I think that's what you're seeing - not so much that your cabinets have turned orange, they just look orange against the floor and counter. If you look carefully at the photos where you like the light cabinets, the floors are a warmer tone or a neutral cream tile.

I think darkening up your cabinets would be a good solution, but in choosing your stain, I'd take into account you need to stay away from an orangey/yellow brown.

I think your photos showing the gray paint and carpet against your counters really look nice.

I also like the idea of the bead board in the DR and around your backsplash. Maybe the island in a distressed black if you do black hardware. I don't think you need to go super crazy darkening your cabinets, just changing the tone with one or two light coats of gel stain will make a world of difference.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also like the gray paint samples you used with the online painter. Here's another kitchen reveal with light wall paint.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen reveal

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

re Anele's question about why the first photo (warm beadboard & white antique stove) works: It's because the photographer has a studio light shining on the stove to make it look very white against the warm colored woodwork (made to look even warmer by the yellow incandescent light from the sconce). Think of your wardrobe: most of us would wear a white blouse with tan pants, it's a classic combo. But in a house, you won't get that bright white. Shadows render the white to a light gray or gray white and muddy everything else too.

Sheesh's kitchen doesn't have great natural light, which I think is one of her problems. Shadow muddies her colors. Also, the floor reflects a gray tone too, further muddying the colors. Finally, the color palette is all the same tone: very little contrast to give the illusion of highlights and shadows, light & dark.

Sheesh, if you stain the cabinets a darker color, you're going to make a dark kitchen even darker. Maybe you won't mind that, but you need to really think that through.
Here's mine: reddish brown oak cabs, gray counters, white sink/fridge/oven (not pictured, but white works well here) sage green tile, but a lighter floor & perhaps more sunlight (northern exposure,sun light on work spaces).

It's too dark in the daytime for many people. It's great at night with the can lights -- the cabs look a rich mahogany color. Could you be happy in a dark kitchen like this?

Maybe consider just darkening the island color. It would add necessary contrast without sucking the room light. A deep red would add more life to your kitchen, since red & green are opposites on the color wheel, thus are vibrant together. The vibrancy would help with the colors in shadow problem. You wouldn't have to redo your whole color scheme either. Here's a mock-up (and I realize you don't like painted wood):

I think it could add the oomph you're looking for without a drastic overhaul of the kitchen (and aren't your kitchen colors tied closely to the rest of your house?)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a soft black, which is also nice.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a soft black, which is also nice.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tina - Sorry, I missed your post! I’d like to see what SS looks like.

That end cabinet I keep showing probably isn’t the best example. It looks kind of nice in the photos. For some reason it doesn’t look as garish as the others do to me. Don’t know if it has to do with the color or the grain.

Nosoccer - I’ll look into those colors. I also have a whole stack of paint samples I need to dig through.
Hmm, I don’t really like that last kitchen. I think because everything is about the same color.

Caroleoh - I have read her blog before but think I’ll head back to read more. Yes, the clashing thing is the problem for me. I originally thought it was the cabinet color but it doesn’t look right with the counters.

Awm - "... very little contrast” Definitely.
I like your kitchen a lot! I know our floors are different but out of curiosity, what’s your wall color?

I took all those kitchen photos in the morning but as the day goes on the lighting gets brighter. I have been questioning if I can handle darker cabinets since all the photos usually some lighter element like floor or counters - another reason I considered white for the backsplash and or possibly island. I much prefer a darker tone wood. That pink brown color is throughout the house (carpet/floors). My LR sofa (that’s visible from the kitchen) is a red/maroon paisley. My green bathroom is getting repainted BM Van Duesing Blue to better work with the floor and fabric.

I'm not an anti paint wood person just would prefer stained kitchen cabinets. Also there's the concern about paint nicks with small kids. We plan to teach them to take care of things but oopsies will happen along the way. I’m not sure if I can handle a bright, all white kitchen (w/ appliances). That would certainly add contrast but . . .

Thanks for doing those mock ups. The countertop looks much better without the yellow/orange.
I think if I don’t address the cabinet color, the other changes I make are only going to be temporary fixes until it’s bugging me again.
I wouldn't have to do the cabinets dark, dark but think I should attempt to change the tone. I could then paint the walls a lighter color - maybe like Shaker at 50% or something. Maybe even a pale shade of gray (YES, I know I typed I don't care for gray in a recent thread! :) I'm not big on it but there are rooms like like with it.) but I don't want the room to look cold.

Anele - Thank you! I like the black with the counters too.

Going back to one of my original photos that look the closest to what I have. I think the counters, cabinet color, and floor work well here. It is dark.

If the kitchen does end up a dark cave and I can’t stand it I will grab a paint brush. That’s the point I’m at with the color of the cabinets, you know?

This post was edited by sheesharee on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 14:03

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I keep thinking "dark, no contrast, hole."

Please don't hate me. :) - I'm still going to test gel stain.

Will someone please ps my cabinets white with a stained (darker) island. As much as it wouldn't be my first choice, that could be the best one in the end.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I keep thinking "dark, no contrast, hole."

Please don't hate me. :) - I'm still going to test gel stain.

Will someone please ps my cabinets white with a stained (darker) island. As much as it wouldn't be my first choice, that could be the best one in the end.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't read all the responses, but wanted to give my two cents that staining the cabinets darker will only make the white appliances stick out like sore thumbs; whereas it you painted them white they would disappear. The island could be stained and/or painted a contrasting color for more interest. You can also add stand alone stained furniture in the dining area to mix it up. It doesn't have to be just one or another. Once you starting thinking about replacing appliances it's a slippery slope as you may want to get different sizes and/or replace/modify some cabinets. When you get to that point, I'd recommend swapping out the OTR microwave; perhaps extending your island and adding a cabinet to house it there.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, shee. Here's another view. Hope it helps you to get a feel for your ideas.

White walls, but there's not much wall space (one door + 3 other entries).

Used to have a paneled dishwasher for a continuous bank of oak, but the old dw croaked & I didn't want to go through the hassle & expense of ordering/installing a panel. The stainless dw doesn't look bad.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why don't you gel stain your island first? The photo you posted last looks like a color that will go with your countertops and floors. It's a much smaller project and you will get a feel for how it looks with your DR furniture etc. Also, if you do decide to paint the cabinets it might be nice to have the island a darker color vs. painting it white too.

I think painting your cabinets white is going to open another can of worms because even white is not just white. I would want to choose a white that had the same tone as your appliances or the cabinets will look yellow.

Once you decide on your cabinets, I'd do the backsplash and paint as "decor" vs. trying to figure out what might go with a cabinet stain that isn't there. You need to have the paint colors in your kitchen against the new stain color to really see what looks best.

Now, if you decide you want to work with the cabinets as they are then that's another situation in my mind - paint or a backsplash might help neutralize the cabinets against the floor/counter. But if you really don't like your cabinets, I'd tackle that first.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since I mentioned the difference in cabinet color I thought I'd show this photo. I see the whole kitchen like this.

Valinsv - Hey Val. Good points.
“You can also add stand alone stained furniture in the dining area to mix it up. It doesn't have to be just one or another.” Huh?
I’d like to do something like that with the microwave when the time comes.

Awm - Thanks for posting the other photo. I know I already said this but I really like it. Would love to not have the pink issues. And after reading your post I decided to really observe my lighting again. I seriously just didn’t realize the lack of light in here. It’s nothing like my LR that gets glorious sun. Can’t believe I missed that observation.

Caroleoh - I’d definitely start with the island. Picking a white would be a challenge. I thought just go with a white that’s not as stark but they all have to have some undertone. I don’t know how bothered I’d be if it didn’t exactly match the appliances. I keep reading over and over again similar statements to this,

“ looking at a lot of images and reading designer opinions, we came to the conclusion it would be best not to compete with the appliances by matching them or even coming close, since they are so stark. We let the cabinets related to each other and let the appliances relate to each other.”
I've haven't found many examples of whites that were at match to the appliances and the ones I did find didn't mention paint color.

“I'd do the backsplash and paint as "decor"..” Sorry, I’m not understanding what you mean. Do you just mean it’s easier to figure out the cabinets first and go from there for everything else?

I spent a little time on Maria’s blog tonight. It’s been a while, she knows her stuff but the way she presents her confidence at times slightly grates on me. It’s definitely the orange/yellow clashing with the pink issue that’s bothering me. Oh, also found it a good read about how light colors don’t usually work in spaces with poor lighting.

A few white kitchens I do like. - I would want my island stained or painted a dark color.

These next two have stainless.

Not saying I want to do this, but since we talked about the whites not matching with appliances I wanted to show this kitchen. I like it and it looks intentional with the floor tying it in instead of ‘alllmost matched but FAIL’. I know the undertones aren’t pink though.

I'm rather embarrassed I bounced around so bad in one thread. Working it out. Going to buy some stain, test it out, and go from there. Thanks so much everyone for feedback and dealing with my indecision.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A good and timely read for me.

Some clips. . .
"I think most of the time, fear of making a mistake that will cost money is the cause of the paralysis. Another reason is an unrealistic desire for perfection. Sometimes we get tripped up by one detail and it prevents us from taking another step forward. "

"Better may not be perfect but, better is still...better".

"The unexpected usually makes the space better in the end."

"Have fun and don't be too serious."

Here is a link that might be useful: conquering analysis paralysis - decorate fearlessly

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been messing with your kitchen using Benjamin Moore. W/o seeing your room IRL, I think the flooring and counter are going to guide your color decisions more than anything else. They really seem to lean toward gray on my monitor, which is why I think we all seemed to prefer gray in your mockup and browns are having a harder time working.

I still don't have a combo I like, but I think you need to look for:
(1) a color that will play nicely with gray
(2) a color you like on your walls that will be about the SAME on your cabinets-- doesn't have to exactly match, but should blend in . . .in other words, your walls/cabinets should be fairly seamless, maybe a little deeper in either the walls or cabinets
(3) an element of either contrast and/or accent color in your island
(4) the white appliances will then work well with your white trim and seem 100% intentional

Now, the other issue is the shades in your lighting. You may find that, once this is done, you don't like the yellow tones as much, in terms of how they fit into your cabinets and flooring. Or, maybe keep this in mind as you choose your colors (think of the yellow as part of your palette). Ditto for your furniture. This is why changing one thing leads to another and is such a pain, IMO!

Another option is to love it (or like it) as-is. When I was working on your room, my 11 y.o. saw it and thought it was very pretty. She rarely gives compliments about decorating.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You got what I meant with my comment to do the backsplash/paint as "decor" - I just meant those two items are easier to figure out after you decide the cabinets. The floor, countertop, appliances and cabinets are all pretty much big ticket items that you don't want to have to replace so pick your cabinet color to go with those items and then finish the kitchen with a paint and backsplash.

I do like the white cabinets with white appliances that you posted. I have always had stained cabinets in my kitchens, so in this house we moved into 3 years ago, I wanted white cabinets and white trim. Have to say, I love my white kitchen cabinets. They feel so clean and fresh, and I love them.

Maria is a bit of a hard nose, and she doesn't sugar coat her advice, but honestly, I like that. I'll read something she writes and I'm thinking - really? I don't always agree with her, but a lot of the basics she writes about are really true - especially her backsplash to granite countertop posts. Since I've read those, I cannot believe some of the countertop/backsplash combos I see in Home Decor magazines.

So, as with anything on the internet, I find I take bits and pieces from what I read and really have come to agree with her on many things!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anele - I agree about the flooring and countering guiding my decisions.

Color are so hard on the monitor. There are gray flecks in the counters but they don't stand out like the black, white, and dark brown flecks do.

"You may find that, once this is done, you don't like the yellow tones as much, in terms of how they fit into your cabinets and flooring. Or, maybe keep this in mind as you choose your colors (think of the yellow as part of your palette)." Hmm.. sorry, I'm a little confused. I don't like the yellow tones and think that's the issue with my floors and counters.

Well the month of Sept. is pretty shot so if I'm going to dive into something it'll have to be done in Oct./Nov. or wait until the new year.

Deep down I believe painting the cabinets will look best but I feel like is so permanent and it's such a large project if you're going to do it right (staining is too but I feel that it will be less involved). I'm nervous to touch them at all but something must be done. I've tried to like them for quite a few years now and need a change.

That was very nice of your DD! Tell her thank you.

Caroleoh - My grandparents had white kitchens for years and I always loved how they looked.

I agree with what you said about Maria. I can't even think of any examples at the moment but a few things I read last night was her opinion and she boldly was acting like it was fact. It just comes across as quite pompous to me. On the other side, she might not get anything done if she constantly tried to candy coat everything. Take the bits and pieces!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shee, re: the yellow tones, I knew you wanted them out of the cabinets, but I was not sure if you were up to changing the lighting and maybe even the dining set. (I have been skimming-- sorry!) I guess what I am asking is, how much do you want to change? Right now, a lot (in the photo, at least), does work really well.

BTW, you asked about my kitchen paint color and I am not sure, since the PO did it. I am pretty sure we have extra in the garage. I should probably find out so I can keep a record. (I asked them to write down what paint colors they used and they did not . . .and did not have extra for most rooms in the house.) I think they mostly used SW.

Now, re: the gray . . .when you step back from the counter, is it still mostly brown? Up close, it looks mostly brown to me, but at a distance, I see gray. I see the pink undertones, too, when I put it with pinkish-brown.

How similar is this floor compared to your floor?

Thank you so much for posting the conquering paralysis link. It's true--- usually things ARE improved. As much as I dislike my new paint color in my LR, it is still better than the last one. It also inspired me to just get the dumb Dyebrick sample and try it on my fireplace. It can't really be worse than what is there now . . .

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anele - At some point I'd like to change almost everything but can't right now. I love how things domino. I haven't painted my LR yet for this reason! In the near future I'll only change the hardware, cabinet finish, paint, fabrics, bar stool color if need be, and art. I'm honestly not bothered by the lighting fixtures. The table we talk about from time to time but who knows when we'll actually replace it. I never thought the chairs looked like they went with the tile top. I did consider a new rug but don't know what size because of the table issue. Plus there's the cost factor. I also think DH won't be down with changing the entire room. I'm surprised he's ok with me altering the cabinet finish as he wanted it left alone before.

While eating dinner tonight I stared around the kitchen and there was about a 1 foot section near the refrigerator that sort of looked gray. Other than that, walking around, I think it reads a flat, pinky brown. Cold is another word that comes to mind.

That picture looks like it is more rusty/orange than mine. I think my floor has more darker areas - it actually is a darker brown but it reads a charcoal gray to my eye while not making a close observation. I think it's because there is also a good bit of blue gray in the floor. My floors look closer to the picture I reposted at Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 13:59 -I think my counters look about that color too. Also the first photo I posted with the carpet against my counter you can see the floor colors a little better.

Are you able to test the dyebrick sample?? I hope it goes well for you! Did I miss threads along the way? I need to catch up on GW. Let me know how it goes and thanks for trying to figure this out with me!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 3:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elraes Miller

Shee, I didn't answer your question far back about the BS with BB. Am using wood and painting it a shade of white . My bathroom has BB on all walls and behind a pedestal sink which is mounted directly against the wall. In 7 years I have not had any water damage there. A simple cut off saw makes cutting BB very easy and quick.

I really wanted dark counters to upgrade the kitchen, but after it was done everything was too dark. Plus the backsplash of mixed stone tiles made it even darker. Even with a huge kitchen window and open glass door looking out at the garden. Am going back to a light counter and felt the BB would soften the look. With unfitted furniture painted white (2 simple, old glass china cabinets, will do the glass interiors in BB. I separated the tops from bottom and hung the glass cabinets on the wall for working counters. Am also wrapping the BB around any open wall area, which is really minimal. Don't choke anyone, but my walls are painted a medium shade of brick red and really works toning down yellowed cabinets. That said, I would still like a white kitchen to go with my 50s cottage.

Am rustic and have the same cabinet hardware you showed, the cup handles. They made a great deal of difference in the looks of the cabinets and room.

As much as I would like a white kitchen and or lighten up the cabinets (Maple) which are the same color as yours, I just can't seem to go there. I get this final image of someone trying to make something into what it is not. And have years of mucking around changing things on a whim with love ever after. Didn't try this with my husband, it would never have worked. But then I liked him as he was in complete perspective.

The first oak kitchen pic Anele posted is a great go to for me. They have embraced the oak. But suspect it is more than a rustic kitchen with a good blend of antiques.

With all written, I like your cabinets and would still paint the island white. BB around the full area would add another texture. My senses tell me it is the dining room that is making this so difficult for you. I know you don't want to change it, but the styles are clashing regardless of color. Perhaps if this were not an open concept you may not see so much oak.

And I still like your cabinets, they are in such great shape.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elraes Miller

Forgot to mention and not sure if anyone else has. But I would remove the dark toe kick and put in whatever wood that will match your cabinets. I find this to be easy to clean when doing my floor.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Technicolor - After reading your original post again, I never thought about porch and floor paint but that would make sense. What brand (Ace?) were you talking about? Oh, and wouldn't you still need to sand - at least scuff sand and use a (bonding) primer like Zinsser first?

*NOTE - Just a general heads up, I don't recommend anyone using SW Porch and Floor paint. Total crap. I supposedly got a 'bad batch' (it never got past tacky and I went above and beyond to do that job right.) and had to redo my stair project which was MISERABLE. They gave me a new gallon of paint and threw in some tape and sandpaper but that still didn't fix my stairs. I was told they were discontinuing the product but I believe it's still available.
Your kitchen sounds really pretty. And I like red - have a bathroom painted BM Moroccan Red.

You think bb around my DR side too?

"My senses tell me it is the dining room that is making this so difficult for you. I know you don't want to change it, but the styles are clashing regardless of color."

I almost hate to ask, but can you be more specific? I look at it everyday and I'm sure can't 'see' it like someone else.

I'm assuming it's too formal/stuffy for the kitchen side? I've been trying to get away from that a bit, tho the rug didn't bother me enough to make it a replacing priority right now. I figured I'd have a better chance of stumbling across art I liked first. Even if I had more money, I don't know what I'd pick or replace first. Ha, it's a little tough to change anything if you don't have a clear game plan.

It's interesting, in the past when I had a project, I'd throw ideas out and go back and forth, back and forth with what I wanted to do and I always have to WAIT, sometimes months, until I figure out what's going to work for me. I wish I knew how to speed the process up.

I'll post a photo with the new hardware on when it comes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you don't want them super dark and you don't want red in them, do not use Brown Mahogany. Just say'n. I went much darker than I had originally planned because it was too red in the earlier stages. (I have gel stained my kitchen)

I also buy and refinish furniture myself and I have to say, if you don't want it too dark, but you want it brown, like your pictures, the best way to do that on oak (IMHO) is to strip, sand and then carefully gel stain. (regular stain on oak does not come out as even IMHO).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


This was my kitchen experience. And it shows how red it was with the GF Brown Mahogany. If you scroll to the bottom you can see how it ended up. I like it now, but at first it was much darker than I had wanted to go.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


This was my kitchen experience. And it shows how red it was with the GF Brown Mahogany. If you scroll to the bottom you can see how it ended up. I like it now, but at first it was much darker than I had wanted to go.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kadydid - Thank you so much for linking to your kitchen. It helps to compare and read in detail about the red mahogany.

I think your kitchen looks really nice! It looks good with the ss appliances and I like the white backsplash too.

So you're saying I could get a lighter application with gel stain on bare wood?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elraes Miller

I need to look at the manuf. of the floor/porch paint. Actually bought this at Restore, lucked out on the quality and never been opened for $5 a gallon. It went on great and was used outside on raw wood lasting 7 years so far with no walking area worn. I'm in snow country, so the area gets a lot of different environments too. Perhaps there is a difference when using it over finished wood. I'll have to ask the ACE guy some more questions and look at their name of paint.

My comment about the dining room wasn't a negative. It was meant to be a suggestion for looking at the entire area working together. Colors, patterns, etc. which may be added. My decorating is rustic, so don't use me as a given for what I am doing at this end. And the other posters are the decorators, not me.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From Apartment Therapy:

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't realize there were more posts.

Technicolor - Gotcha. I've been thinking about both areas lately.

Nosoccer - I like that picture very much. To my surprise, I don't even mind the flooring. What are you currently thinking for my kitchen? Still stain or no stain? Lighter walls and backsplash?

I so wish my counters were darker or lighter.

Good news is I have the new hardware on and I think it looks much better. I'll hopefully get some photos tomorrow. The kitchen is currently a wreck!

The other good news is, after talking more with DH, we'll probably switch out the appliances sooner than what I originally thought (not this year though).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sheesharee, I don't know if you got my email, but I used Old Masters gel stain, and the color is Special Walnut.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a great link of the Old Masters colors. I am glad that you mentioned it. There is a store that carries Old Masters products nearby.


I googled best gel stain "general finishes" "wood kote" "old masters" and this link was the top of the google list. How cool is that? Never got sent to my own question looking for an answer.....

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 10:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do all decorative vases need flowers?
Just moved and trying to decorate new home. I bought...
Office ready for window treatments - WWYD?
I finally hung the diplomas and DH's favorite print...
Wood filler when sanding isn't possible
My toilet paper holder is attached to my vanity. I...
Photoshop Help with my exterior remodel!
Help! I want to remodel the exterior of my house. I...
Office Desks - Coordinating Styles
Hello all, I'm working on my home office, and I'm excited...
Sponsored Products
Shaggy Vibes Faded Lattice Macadamia Nut Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$238.40 | Bellacor
Le Chef Ultra-flex Silicone Padded Kitchen Oven Mitt Set (Pack of 2)
Eangee Green Banyan Uplight Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Jaden Table Lamp
Rural Home Table Lamp With Tiffany Stained Glass Shade
Balencia Wrap Headrest
$59.00 | FRONTGATE
Liberty Furniture Hearthstone Poster Bed & Dresser & Mirror in Rustic Oak Finish
Beyond Stores
Teak Window Box Planter Bracket - Set of 2
Signature Hardware
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™