I’m am a big fan and follower of your “Ask Maria” series. I’ve never done anything like this before so I thought I’d give it a go.We’re looking to update our kitchen and our dilemma is what color to paint our cabinets and island. Our cabinets are in good condition so we can’t justify replacing them. The sink, faucet and appliances will be swapped out for stainless. We’re also looking to replace the countertops to either granite or quartz.We needed additional storage and added the dark cabinets in our dining room which adjoins the kitchen. My husband and I want to see the blonde cabinets go but can’t agree on what to do. One item I will have is a subway tile backsplash. I love the white fresh look with Carrera accents (maybe backsplash?) and he would love to have grey cabinets. His one concern is whatever we end up doing not looking dumb with the dark cabinets in the dining room.So here’s where I seek your professional advise because I’m stuck. What do you suggest we do? Should we repaint the cabinets white, grey or dark like in the dining room? Or, a dark island with white cabinets? Dark with white quartz countertop? Ahhhhhh it’s all so overwhelming.
This is such a great question because it’s such a common dilemma.
Here’s why neither of you can decide what to do: your Maple kitchen was most likely installed around the early 90s. Then the Tuscan Brown trend came along, and during that time, you decided to add millwork into your dining room.
Great idea, right?
Unconsciously or not, you made the decision to ‘move forward’ when you ordered them. Your kitchen was dated, so it made no sense to introduce more maple cabinets in the dining room.
But then, the brown trend came and went before you had time to get to the kitchen.
Now we are in the grey trend. Painting the cabinets espresso to coordinate with the dining room might seem like the right thing to do to update your kitchen, but if you do that, the entire kitchen will immediately look about 15 years old, depending on where in the country you live.
Why would it look 15 years old (here in the Westcoast)? Because that’s how long the brown trend has been around.
Just like I said in this post, if I’m looking at anything but a white kitchen, I can tell you within five years when it was installed.
But let’s move on, shall we? Some of you have brown kitchens, and I don’t want you to get cranky. This is just my opinion. It doesn’t mean its right.
Okay, so how do we fix this dilemma?
Well, technically, your espresso cabinets should be painted to coordinate with your new kitchen (above). Except to work better with your dining room, your countertops should be cream not white.
The white or cream you choose will depend entirely upon the countertop. Since you mentioned that you like Carrara marble and might want to include that in your backsplash, that would dictate a true white colour for your cabinets.
However, this would not work when you got back around to your dining room because it looks like you’ve got a more earthy granite countertop there. This dictates that you paint your kitchen an off-white or creamy shade.
If you paint your cabinets grey and leave your dining room as is, it will look like “brown trend over here, grey trend over there.”
Yesterday and Today.
In a perfect world, your granite should match the dining room (similar to this look above), but if you don’t want to keep going with the same granite, choose a solid off-white quartz and paint your cabinets off-white. (You will find all the details, including which whites to choose, in my White is Complicated e-book).
Thank you, Heather, for sending in this question. Your dilemma will help many others who have the same one!!
If you have a question for my Ask Maria column, email it here.
Thank you so much to all of you who bought my set of 25 white and grey large samples from Sherwin Williams! 100% of the proceeds will go to CARE to help the people of Nepal.