Cherry wood stained cabinets were once a popular and expensive kitchen option. Then after the brown trend took hold, they felt outdated – like a leftover from the 90s. But recently I’ve noticed this cabinet colour being used in fresh new ways, making me think cherry cabinets might be back.
This has been on my radar for a few months now. That is, once I saw Chris Loves Julia’s master bathroom reveal with the all-over limestone tiles combined with warm, reeded CHERRY cabinet vanity – I knew we would be seeing more of it.
When I saw this bathroom, I decided Chris Loves Julia, single-handedly brought back cherry cabinets, which were last on trend in the 80s/90s.
But everything old comes back around again and always in a new and inspiring way, which makes us forget what it looked like decades ago. And that has many of us run to embrace it again.
Well, some of you aren’t old enough to remember ‘decades ago’ but one day you’ll know what I’m talking about. 😉
Before | Tuscan trend bathroom
Cherry cabinets, are just like brass. It took a few years for brass to hit the mainstream. I started specifying brass when it arrived in 2013-2014 and got a lot of resistance in the beginning. Too many people still remembered the shiny brass doorknobs and swan faucets from the 1980s.
I hope brass remains a timeless finish. And I predict it has some staying power because we’re making more thoughtful and beautiful combinations of hardware, which warms up all the grey (and now) black that we’re decorating with.
Julia combined both brass and black in this renovation and created a beautiful bathroom design.
Take a look (below), and try and picture everything in black. It would look flat and predictable really quickly.
Read more: The Perils of Decorating with Too Much Black
And what’s more? This bathroom is styled beautifully. Her art-filled wall around the bathtub reminds me of my ensuite bathroom.
And the cabinets? They gain currency because they feature the new fluted texture that immediately makes them look custom and high end.
Notice too that all the tile, floor and walls, is grey limestone. The days of trying to match wall tile to floor tile with tile that coordinates (instead of being the same) hopefully died with the Tuscan brown trend.
We all saw too many mismatched, bad colour combinations back in those days.
So, before you jump up and down because you think this means you can keep your cherry-cabinet kitchen, I have bad news for you.
If your kitchen looks like this (below)… well, it still needs paint to update it and create a fresh look.
Why? Because when a trend comes back around, it always has a new twist and some refinements to make it look new. Really, what makes a trend stalwart like cherry cabinets, or earthy tile or brown everything (or grey all over) go OUT in the first place, is not only trend fatigue, but also seeing it done badly, in uninspiring ways (think builder grade versions) over and over until it just seems BAD.
And then someone comes along and uses it again in a way that puts its appeal in a favourable light again.
Without all that? A tired finish is a tired finish and it’s worth making it look fresh again with paint and styling. As this blogger has done beautifully below.
But first, before we get all cynical about the drivers of changing trends purposely trying to separate us from our money, let’s just reflect that we are all complicit in wanting a new look that feels fresh and current.
The ONLY way to get off the trend cycle is to install classic and timeless white or cream kitchens and bathrooms in the first place so you can endlessly update them with colour and decorating to suit your changing interests. Just saying.
The complex cream chosen for these cabinets (below) creates some definition between the even paler wall colour, while softening the look dramatically overall. It also lends some warmth to the Uba Tuba, builder-black countertops from the 90s.
You can feel that this kitchen is loved now, and not just a tired holdover from a bygone trend.
Isn’t that a big part of what gives a room appeal? A sense of the care and attention to detail that energizes the space? Yes, you can achieve that with a major renovation full of designer attention to detail, but you can ALSO infuse a room with love simply with paint and creative styling.
Even Julia’s gorgeous bathroom above would not have us all pinning it without her wonderful styling and art wall. Small updates and creative decorating can take a room a long way.
Too often, homeowners just put up with a dated room and give it no love. But I say it’s better to get creative and make it the best it can be NOW. It’s always worth making those smaller changes to give a tired room new life, even in the interim. Don’t give up on your kitchen or bathroom just because you can’t afford a full overhaul at the moment. Get creative with paint and decorating, you won’t regret it.
Wood stain colours, except for the most natural neutral ones, will come and go with trend cycles, which is why I constantly advised against the grey weathered woods and grey flooring during the last ten years we’ve been in grey trend. And sure enough, I’m not surprised to be seeing much warmer wood tones emerge in reaction.
Are you noticing cherry-wood cabinets too? How do you feel about this wood stain – yay or nay?
If you’d like help with your kitchen, you can buy my Create a Classic Kitchen package here.
The first two dates of my Virtual Specify Colour with Confidence Events are SOLD OUT, go here to register in either of the final two dates available, October 21 & 22 and 28 & 29, 2021