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How to Choose Whitewhite kitchens

Can you paint your Cabinets the same Colour as the Walls?

By 01/11/2011January 26th, 201724 Comments

Whenever anyone asks me this question I always say no. I think cabinetry is like furniture in your house, it should be distinguished from the wall colour.  The only exceptions to this are:

If your walls are white already (above) it works because the rest of the walls in your house are white too. I would still install a white kitchen in a white house that’s for sure! Or, this one:
I saw this image today in my travels and thought it was fabulous!  I love how the blue/black lowers relate to the black and white floor and then the shelves above are painted out a dramatic shade the same colour as the kitchen. Notice though, to pull off open shelving like this you need white dishes. And of course the white vintage fridge certainly adds to the charm of this kitchen along with the chandelier.

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  • Mr. Goodwill Hunting says:

    If the hardware can speak volumes as with the white one above it can be done…otherwise i agree totally. N to the O…NO.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  • Teresa says:

    I LOVE white on white! Perfect for colorful accessories and lots off natural texture especially in the kitchen. Good food would be the star in this kitchen!

  • Tamara Nicole says:

    I love the look of white on white, but I am always drawn to colors! But I do admire the look:-)

    Love your blog hun!

  • Squeak says:

    Painting the walls and cabinets different colours probably makes sense in a large kitchen. However, I have a tiny kitchen and will be painting the walls and cabinets the same colour (Benjamin Moore's Delaware Putty). If I were to paint them different colours, the kitchen would look even smaller than it already is. With all the other stuff going on – countertops, appliances, lights, etc., I want it to look serene, not busy.

  • Emom says:

    White on White I love….but to feel really like home I need to "ground the room" like the blue and green room….smiles.

  • Virginia Blue - Director Blue Fruit says:

    Hate to disagree with you {and it is a rare thing!} but I think painting the cupboards and walls the same colour can sometimes look amazing. Especially if it is a sultry, dark moody colour. Think dark warm mushroomy-grey. Then the contrast can pop out from unexpected spots – like bright handles or flowers or a light fitting.

  • The color in a kitchen has to make me want to cook in it and feel relaxed. I'm not a happy kitchen color person, I'm more about more quiet colors. The blue/black and green looks fun, but I'd have to change that in 5 minutes. The black and white floor — love — but I'd do blacks and whites with it. Love these opinions of yours, and your interview is great.

  • Mary says:

    I think painting the cabinets the same color as the walls could work.
    Of course it has to be the right color. Nothing too loud or bright. I think it would provide less contrast and make other things stand out. Like your counters.
    I liked Squeak's comment. I think she has the right idea.

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Virginia,
    I think there are always exceptions to every 'rule' but it certainly is rare to see a kitchen painted the same colour as the walls. If you have a photo like that, send it over, I'd love to see it!
    Thanks for your comment!

  • Luciane at says:

    I'm with you in this, Maria!

    I love learning and your blog is always teaching me something… that's why I keep coming back! 😉

    Have a beautiful day, my Canadian friend! 🙂


    Luciane at

  • beyondbeige says:

    Hi Maria- We just moved into our new to us home where the kitchen is dated. For now until I can replace everything I painted the bottom cabinets Bennington Gray and the top cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling in Manchester Tan. The walls are Manchester Tan too. I have a white formica counter (ugh) and white apppliances. The pulls are stainless for now. Antique blue and white plates are on one wall. And a zebra rug is on tne floor. I love color but for this space It just seemed right. I think every rule can be broken in the right context.

  • Ideezine says:


    One thing we all can benefit from is light. White or off -white creates more light in a room. Combined with a window or two as in the above picture is heavenly.

    Windows influence the impact of many colors as does the direction the room accepts the sunlight in or lack of sunlight coming in.

    Let there be light! Great post!


  • Donna says:

    That is a very interesting question that you posed and I like your answer. I do understand the idea that if your kitchen is very small, having a contrasting color would make it too busy and feel smaller. But even in my little kitchen, I like that my cabinets stand out somewhat from the wall color.

    I LOVED your interview! It was so interesting reading the answers about you and how you think. Fascinating! Also, I was very interested to find out what color helps tone down a pinky beige carpet.

    BTW, Maria, I did a post today that I hope you get to see. It's an 'organizational' room makeover. I've finally decided that if you are a naturally organized type of person, you probably aren't a naturally artsy decorator type of person. Though this may not be true as I assume that most interior decorators must be a little bit of both.

    As I told your friend, Kelly, I'm an organizer type. I read your blog so I can learn about color and decorating, since that does NOT come naturally to me. Great post and great interview!

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  • Design in the Woods says:

    Nice post. I do like a mix of cabinet colors sometimes. It depends on the job and the size of the kitchen. Going with the same or similar color as the walls on the perimeter cabinets can make the kitchen look larger and the island stand out, if it is contrasting. I totally agree with the white on white….beautiful!

  • CRICKET says:

    Glad I read this post. Have been thinking about installing and painting cabinets in my launry room the same color as the walls.

  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Maria –

    I asked a kitchen-obsessed bunch and they came up with a lot of examples:

    I'm not crazy about some, but the yellow one and the taupe one are pretty nice.

  • Catherine says:

    Really interesting debate! Like you said, Maria, all rules can be broken at some point. I did some searching and found a couple good looking kitchens with matching walls and cabinets:

    1. This one also has the open shelving, like in your example, so maybe that feature helps it from feeling too one-note.

    2. (Picture #3) Okay, I actually don't love this because of the turquoise choice, but I can imagine loving it in a different (darker?) color.

  • Catherine says:

    Oh, I just checked Lazy Garden's link and there are some really interesting examples! Some of course, I hate (I'd die a painful death in that lavender one..), but some are quite cool. I'd forgotten about those two Miles Redd kitchens. The kelly green is a bit too much for me, but I love the dramatic moodiness of the navy/indigo one. He's always one to break the rules, and I love him for it!

  • Heather says:

    I go by the 'if I want what is on it to be the focus, then paint it wall colour ie book/display shelves and kitchens ( still working on hubby to paint the kitchen cabinets).

    This does bring me to a question though, what can you do with a full timber kitchen (cabinets, benchtops and floors) all in the same honey tone? Would painting the cabinets white date it even more as per your post on white kitchens with timber benchtops?

    Also, I'd love your opinion on whether green is actually a neutral as in nature all colours look good with green. Its been something I've been pondering.

    Another question just came to mind – how different lights (northern and southern hemisphere natural light and also halogen, flouro, warm/cold etc light bulbs) affect how we perceive colours.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Catherine & Lazy Gardens,
    I think there are always exceptions to every guideline (which is really what they are over rules) nothing in design is fixed in stone. Catherine you had some good examples, Lazy Gardens the link was broken when I checked it out. Thanks though!

    Hi Heather,
    What's a 'timber' benchtop?

    Greens do go with everything but I would still consider the clean/dirty mix when choosing colours to coordinate with the greens you are looking at, so if you are doing a muted, gray green, then the colours that go with it should also be muted, etc.

    Lighting definitely changes colour constantly, North adds gray to a colour, South adds yellow and generally washes out colour, East adds green and West adds orange,
    Hope this helps,

  • Katie Kirby says:

    I love and prefer the contrast of the last image!

  • Katie Kirby says:

    I love and prefer the contrast of the last image!

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    Why would you paint your cabinets the same color as your walls? Are you trying to hide them? 🙂

  • Meger Anski says:

    The link no longer works. Based on comments here from folks who read it, thought I’d ask if you could post it on your site. 🙂

    Love the question of walls/cabinets, same/different colors. Never thought about it.

    That is why I adore your blog!

    My two cents is the wall on the modern all-white kitchen pictured at the top is not the same color as the cabinets, though.

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