Which cabinet color? Mockups-need opinions!!

chantelnJune 16, 2013

I need some help choosing how to stain/paint my kitchen. We have installed raw maple wood cabinets and we are now ready to paint. I took a photo of the kitchen with some of the hardwood laid in front of the island. Added in the counters and appliances with some photoshop magic. Most of the images have dark counters because that is what DH and I both liked at the granite yard, but we aren't locked in yet.

I want something that says "Wow" without saying "Whoa," So I am stuck, this is a big decision. For me, there isn't a clear winner...I like something about every one of these images, I could go with any of them. Which is why I am having a heck of a time deciding!

What I would like you to do is look at each image very quickly and tell me which is your gut response as the "top" one. Then read my comments under each and see if that changes your mind. I would love to hear the initial response and the on-second-thought, if it is different.


This is the easiest option and the least risky since all the tones go with our acacia wood floors, but it also feels sort of ho-hum.


Wondering if a little darker stain looks better, more timeless, or does it makes the space feel too small...


This is with a lighter counter. Theoretically, I could change slabs if I could find something DH & I both like in the lighter tones. My concerns with this: Does the busy counter compete with the busy floor? Does the darker, more reddish stain conflict with the floor? Its definitely not the same tones, but the contrast is kinda "hey, look at me"...not sure if its too loud/different


Playing with this idea...duotone in the kitchen...it's a little radical for me since we have maple cabinets and once you paint, you can't go back to wood...but it really lightens up the space and goes well with the counter. This may be my 15 year freshen up plan. I am also a little worried that it's trendy and will look super dated in 10 years.


Or maybe just a little radical and emphasize the range surround with white...or does it just look out of place?

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j_hack

I like the 3rd one best, but with maybe a darker brown cabinet. On my monitor it appears a little more red. To me it draws the eye up and doesn't seem to get all mixed together. Second choice would be the first option. Any of the ones with dark cabinets and dark counters would be my last choice. If you want to make the range a focal point then maybe do something different/special with the backsplash.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:38AM
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herbflavor

the two tone kitchen is a great start....but lighten the island stain ...maple will take a lighter stain better and if the back panels are situated where visually they receive a lot of focus I'd be concerned about the usual "blotchy" issues with dark stain. Perhaps reverse the 2-tone-white paint on the island and a light stain on perimeter.[but I do like the white perimeter].My least favorite is dark staining to any part.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:35AM
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allison0704

I like #4 but would do a different counter on the island. Lighten it up a bit. The dark/dark of several pictures looks to dungeon-like to me.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:01AM
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snookums2

Can maple be stained that dark? I like the two tone, light perimeter with the island stained.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:07AM
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williamsem

I like 1 and 3, but light counters. If you are staining yourself, I would agree with herbflavor about the dark stain even though mine are maple stained java. The factory finish uses wood conditioners to help the stain take evenly. I think a darker stain is riskier to DIY on maple, though I have never tried myself.

Can you mock some up with lighter stain? Like maybe a spice color or other medium tone that picks up a color from the floor?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Sophie Wheeler

None of the above. Especially the stained woods. The floor wants to be the star here, and the cabinet design with the wood mantle is wrestling with it for dominance in a clashing manner. If you want the mantle hood to be the star, you need the cabinets to be painted so that they eye doesn't view the fight between the wood tones and focuses on both the floor and the mantle.

But, it doesn't necessarily have to be white painted cabinets to work in the space. I'd look at maybe a grey green, or a light sugar cookie tan, or even a soft blue.

BTW, staining maple isn't for an amateur. It should have been done in a cabinet shop by a professional finisher, NEVER EVER on site. The cabinet maker shouldn't have installed unfinished cabinets. They should be finished and topcoated in a clean room offsite. He needs to come back and uninstall them and have them finished by a professional finisher who has the proper equipment to do so. You want the control against trash and debris that a finish room provides, as well as the durability of using the topcoats that can only be used in a finish room. You want a catalyzed varnish, preferably heat or UV cured. That cannot be done on site.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:39AM
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sixtyohno

Hollysprings is right. This is not a dyi finishing job. Were you intending to do it yourselves or does the contractor think he is returning to do it on site? A good finish on raw maple can not be done on site. I have been in the finishing business for 25 years. I'm sorry you have this problem.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:51AM
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teachertile

#3 looks very similar to the colors of my kitchen. I love it!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 3:39PM
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joaniepoanie

If you do a dark stain it should not have red undertones as it appears there are not red tones in your floor. Do not like dark cabs and black counters...too much dark and it brings the room down. There needs to be some contrast. Agree with Holly...your floors are busy and should take center stage. Counters and BS should be fairly tame.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:12PM
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sis2two

Love # 4 but with an olivey green island, somewhat the color on the wall over the range.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Holly- Kay

I like the third one the best because I like the contrast. I agree with the maple being stained and finished off site. I have stained maple and my cabinet maker did a great job on the staining. I think the glazing was a bit heavy handed though. They were all stained, glazed, and finished off site.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:20PM
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raee_gw

I am voting a little differently because I do like dark counters with medium to dark stained wood. However, none of the colors seem to be quite right with the floors. I think, with those floors, I would use a painted finish in a soft color as Hollysprings suggested. Someone had a kitchen several months ago that had 2 tone cream and green, which I loved -- I think that green would look very good with your floors

Here is a link that might be useful: green and cream cabinets

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:02PM
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crl_

I suggest considering painting the cabinets a color other than white.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:25PM
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susanlynn2012

I like #3 & #4. I love your floors!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:32AM
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ivaniphone

I would definitely one of the tones that matches the acacia, either a light tone or light-medium.

The acacia is very busy and a high contrast stain to me would be jarring.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:34AM
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