Would you do white cabinets again?

JaniceJune 12, 2013

I've never had white cabinets but after 44 years living in our home, being DIY'ers, remodeling, adding on doing all anyone does to make their home perfect for themselves, we are moving to a much smaller home with MUCH to be done to make it uniquely 'ours' again!

The ONLY reason we are moving is to be near our two daughters and their boys! We have wonderful SIL's, too!

In that endeavor I will be working with a very small kitchen area, buying space from an adjacent very small dining area/at the end of the living room, by putting up a wall to divide the living room and new kitchen area!

I feel that I need to go very light to give me the feeling of space so I am making the transition from beautiful stained hickory cabinets we have installed ourselves in our present home to maybe white cabinets we will make, install and paint ourselves!

If you had to move and rennovate, would you choose to have your white kitchen again?

Thank you for all the good advice I know will be coming from the forum!!

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I would not go with white cabinets again that I painted myself---only a factory finish-if there is such a thing for white cabs. At the very least, I would have them professionally painted. When we moved into our house in 1984 we had dark oak builder grade cabinets in my small, north-facing kitchen with only one slider. I got tired of them and painted them in 1997 to brighten the space. And I did a good job...sanded, primed, sanded again and between coats of Pratt and Lambert semi gloss. The uppers held up fairly well, but were still difficult to clean, especially the nooks and crannies. The lowers did begin to chip and will do, especially with grandkids around.

When we remodeled last year, I went with natural maple. I was tired of white, but still needed the kitchen to be light. I love them. And i got slab doors--no nooks and crannies to trap food, spills--so much easier to clean.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Yes, I probably would because I like the look.
But have to agree with some of what joaniepoanie said. I had factory-applied paint. Because the raised panel and corners collect dust, dirt, and grease, I basically "cleaned" off the paint with the grime. Or rather, now the paint is off and the dirt is still there. And since they were not wood, the plywood or MDF has swelled up where water got in.
Some of my bathroom vanities that are wood are a lot easier to re-vitalize.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:25PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I would! Actually, I did ... first painted with oil-based in 1994 (rolled), then in 2010-11, with oil-based primer and latex (brushed). I have to say that the oil based paint, although it yellowed slightly, held up better that the latex--very few chips or dings. But I think my 5 yr old grandson has been harder on the present paint finish than all 3 of my kids. In fairness, they were older when we bought the house, 10, 8 & 4, more into roller blades than tricycle-type toys. (Yes, I know it's my fault for allowing both the roller blades and the tricycles in the house.)

A couple of years before I redid the kitchen, we'd had some closet doors built and professionally sprayed/lacquered. Although durable, they had a 'plasticky' appearance that I didn't want for my vintage-style kitchen. One advantage to a brushed finish--it's much easier to touch-up small chips or scrapes, and I haven't had that many.

After spring-cleaning my father's knotty pine cabinets, I'm happy to have a kitchen that shows every drip and smudge. I want to find the grunge before it becomes 'patina.'

If ever I remodeled, I would still do a hand-painted white/off-white kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Forgot to mention that I did use oil-base paint (P/L). It will hold up better than latex.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 2:45PM
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I would. But, instead of going with a white, I would go more cream.
You say you now have stained hickory. I am assuming they are dark? My sister in NC has hickory, but stained in a natural finish.
If you don't want white, go with a light stained wood.
For those of us who love a white kitchen, there is just something about how it reflects the light and feels so open.
Yes, there is chipping, but you have to examine really closely. i have a touch up kit that I use every once in a while.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Not in a kitchen. I have 2 bright white vanities, one from Crystal Cabinet Works and one that was enameled onsite by professional painters. I have to wash them constantly to keep them from looking grimy. If they get something on them that stains, it doesn't go away or blend in well. I have a creamy white island in my kitchen and last week when school was out for the summer my 3 year old found a backpack with markers and colored on one of the doors. I washed it off, but if I look closely I can see the marker. That island was is from Crystal Cabinet Works so it is factory finished.
I am glad I don't have any more white cabinets than I do!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Holly- Kay

I am doing a kitchen reno now. My heart says white please but the house just cried out for a natural wood. I went with wheat stained maple with a chocolate glaze. I wish I had skipped the glazing as I think they did a sloppy job on the glazing. It's funny how as much as I wanted a white kitchen I knew it wasn't the right look for my space.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I always have, no matter where I wandered now and then. For decades I always had old, built-in kitchens because I like old houses. With those, there's no such thing as oh-my-gosh-a-chip-in-the-factory-finish! trauma. The finish is renewable.

And, note, that trauma had never existed before now--not all the way back to the very first interior kitchen ever, wherever that was. This attitude is brand new, a special problem for people of today, and it's a shame.

For those who like an old look, hand brushwork IS the authentic quality look of older looks. Wealthy people spend happily for others to do the brushwork. So, a chip? You grab some fine sandpaper, grab a brush, grab the can in the basement, and fix it. No big deal.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:28PM
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I definitely would, depending on the kitchen. I have creamy white and am really glad they're not white-white. The color looks creamy and soft and good enough to eat. They were professionally spray painted and have held up really well, although there aren't any kids at home anymore. A few months ago, in another thread I mentioned that on a regular basis, every 6 months or so, whether they look like they need it or not, I go over all the cab surfaces with water/Dawn and a microfiber cloth. Another poster thought I was nuts to do that. Dust/dirt will gather in the corners and crannies that you never notice until it's a major thing. I'd rather put in a little extra work and not reach critical mass.

I have lots of light year-round in my kitchen and I often think how I'd love to have mid to light colored wood cabs, esp. 1/4 sawn oak. I like the warmth and coziness of them. I like a slightly older, vintage look. Also, my kitchen is small, so white tops and bottoms doesn't look like too much. Some of the larger kitchens, while breathtaking, can be a little too much in all white.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:56PM
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No. I was in a condo with white cabinets for 2 years and they never looked truly clean. If I had to have them, they would be slab.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Yes, absolutely... but I would do factory finished... not hand-painted by me. (I've done that... they don't look polished.)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:21PM
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No. I've had white cabinets in apartments and found that I spent too much time cleaning them. Now I have white doors all throughout this apartment and I'm always wiping off smudges and dirt. It's just my dh and me - no children at all.

We're doing light hickory in our new house - just a clear finish on top. I couldn't do white again.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:38PM
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i had white cabinets in my former kitchen. I renovated six months ago and how have stained walnut modified Shaker cabinets.I love white cabinets, but like holly-kay, they would not have been right in the kitchen now that it is open to the dining room. I am very happy with my decision. I love how I don't have to worry about every little bit of dirt or fingerprints.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Absolutely. Mine aren't bright white, but our old kitchen had white cabinets on top that were bright white. Yes they show dirt and with 3 little ones running in and out all day, they get smudges and fingerprints daily. However, a damp rag is all I need to make them clean again and will wipe them down every night after dinner when I'm cleaning up. Takes about 2 minutes. Previous kitchen was brushed, new kitchen is sprayed by cabinetmaker. I'd do either again. Honestly, I like knowing when they are dirty much more than the hidden grime that happens with a lot of wood cabinets. Our previous home had builder grade golden oak that always looked clean until I saw what would come off of them when I wiped them down.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I've seen some horribly cheap white finishes in big box stores, not the glossy wrapped-in-plastic look but the ones that already looked dull and dingy before they were even off the floor. I can readily believe those latter always looked dirty and just got worse, no matter how well they were washed.

Like Mrsmortarmixer, though, I simply don't have that problem with normal painted cabinets. When I don't wash them, they're dirty. When I do wash them, which is quick and easy with usually a damp cloth, but soap when I've let them go too long, they are clean and look clean.

I'm not a diligent housekeeper, but I've never stuck to my white cabinets, which is more than I can say for those of others over the years, many, or even most of whom were more conscientious housekeepers than me.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:54PM
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I have gone with white cabinets in two previous kitchen renovations and plan to do so again. Love them.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Loving hearing all your thoughts! The kitchen is small, as I said with one window facing East! I'm thinking to make the 36" window as wide as I can! The counter under that window is about 10 ft.! The white I would choose would have to be a creamy white since I love warmth more than stark whites! I'm toying with the idea of using a green-apple shade of paint on the walls, etc. (where there is any left after I fill the space with cabinets) with black accents where possible!

Any thoughts on my thoughts are most welcome! I love this forum--always have though I use to contribute a lot more in the Hosta Forum. I've mostly lurked and devoured all your wonderful suggestions and pix through the years!

Again--thank you so much!!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 9:50PM
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In a heartbeat! I have three young kids and love having white cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 3:47PM
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hey, my kitchen has an east-facing window and I get light all day long! In the morning I get direct light, and the rest of the day I get light reflected off my back fence and the house behind me. The lots are small in my neighborhood. :) A creamy white is what I have and I love it, like rich vanilla ice cream. Remember that the light that comes in the window can be influenced by structures and vegetation in the area, like green from foliage. I don't mind, as my brain corrects and sees white.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 4:56PM
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last kitchen was a DIY paint job. Went slowly but turned out great.

Then we moved, and I did white again. (technically it's a very light gray, but the non-TKOers see "white").


And I'd do it again and again.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 5:38PM
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I'd say to go for it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 7:30PM
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Again--thank you ALL for your advice! As always, this IS the place to go for good suggestions that make for good results!!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:48PM
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I would, but it's probably a kitchen by kitchen basis. My kitchen gets dark after the sun has risen over the house. It has a couple of east facing windows and a couple of north facing windows. The white really reflects light and helps the room feel less cave like. I hand painted my cabinets and used Benjamin Moore Advance. It's a newer paint that's an oil hybrid. It's a satin finish and it's been hardwearing - so far. We've only had the doors on for the past year. Occasionally, I'll mark the cabinets with a pen or pencil or food. The best way to clean up these little mishaps is to use Krud Kutter. It comes in a gallon from the Home Depot for about $10. You dilute it to about 1/2 or less strength and it gets everything off. Other than that, I'll just do a quick pass with a damp microfiber cloth every other week or so for dusting, etc.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Absolutely! In my last kitchen I had thermofoil white cabinets with wood grain and rope trim on the doors made for my uppers. I had some with glass doors and lights inside. It look fabulous! I had the lower refaced with the same doors and the white thermafoil. I loved the look!

My current kitchen came with good quality attractive maple cabinets so I've kept them. They look nice but I don't love them like I loved the white.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Over and over and over again! :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 8:22PM
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I love white cabinetry! I like the look of all the handrubbed wood finishes but when i do the style quizzes im always drawn to whites and creams. I changed my 60s slab birch doors that were ipswich pine to Sherwin Williams Roman Column. Love it! Its the perfect creamy milky color without being too yellow. Used Proclassic which was hard to work with so getting ready to lightly sand and repaint them a darker shade since i repainted the wall. Going with Manor Hall exterior/interior this time. My kitchen is tiny and white made it look larger and more updated.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:10AM
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I love my white cabinets from Shiloh. We do have a few chips, mostly on the trash pullout. We painted all our trim thE same color white so we have extra BM paint color matched to fix dings. I have 2 small kids, a messy DH, and 2 dogs... Would do it again. I just wipe them down about once per week, more for the trash pullout. I do it in sections and it only takes me about 5 minutes each time I do it about 3 x's per week.

We also DIY painted some cabinets white, was less thrilled with those. Probably would do a gray on a DIY paint job, but live my factory painted white.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:14AM
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I've wanted white (soft white) cabinets for many years. When we moved into our present home 2 yrs ago, there were shaker cabs, painted green with an asian wallpaper insert and they were prime targets for a redo. I went to a kitchen and bath place, sampled a few doors in my kitchen, picked one, took it to SW, and they matched the color for me. Like Hollykay said, sometimes a room begs for certain colors or styles. My room, with wood ceilings and floors cried for white. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Glad to hear more votes still coming in! I'm thinking I'll be very happy with the lighter look--just hope I can do a good paint job that will hold up well and that I'll be happy with!!


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:51AM
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absolutely. am shopping for a new (old) home, hopefully one that needs a kitchen remodel and i plan all white cabinets once again!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:14PM
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absolutely. am shopping for a new (old) home, hopefully one that needs a kitchen remodel and i plan all white cabinets once again!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:15PM
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Rosie- LOL! It's so much easier to touch up trim and cabinets, when you paint them yourself :)

MamaGoose- All your rooms are so wonderful!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:15PM
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