Skip to main content
One bad decision pays for the designerwhite kitchens

Vancouver Colour Consultant: Paint Your Cabinets White to Sell Your House: Before & After

By 10/10/2011January 28th, 201734 Comments


Remember that video blog I did a while ago “Will Installting Granite Sell Your House  House Faster?‘ Well, here is the Before and After of the kitchen I was talking about. The house has now been staged and is up for sale. My client just sent me these photos:


This was the kitchen where the real estate agent had said, “Just install granite, that will sell the house!”


Here it is now painted white with new stainless appliances and charcoal quartz countertops. My client did not take out the tile for this little reno. The walls are OC-28 Collingwood. The cabinets are painted in












The floors were originally oak and had been stained a dark cherry colour. The previous homeowners had also taken the oak fireplace and stained it the same colour and it did NOT work at all. It also did not relate to the existing kitchen in this incarnation.  My clients were refinishing the floors and I advised them to paint the oak/cherry mantle as it had not been done well and clashed with the existing pink/purple tile.









After –  Much better!

And, instead of installing granite in all three of the dated bathrooms in the home (like the realtor had advised) they instead used the money they had to refresh the house for resale in the kitchen for a much better bang for the buck. My clients did the staging themselves and I think they did a great job!

A designers fee looks like a bargain when the advice fits the house! What’s the best money-saving advice you ever gave a client?

Download my eBook, It’s All in the Undertones. If you have a computer, you can download my book!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

Is Quartz Sexier than Granite?

White Kitchen Cabinets; Advice for my Sister

Which Backsplash Tile goes with Granite?

0 pins


  • Real estate agents are NOT designers! I’m glad the homeowners listened to your advice instead. The kitchen looks 100% better!

  • Brenda Hyer says:

    What an improvement! The kitchen looks fabulous! What paint color was used for the kitchen cabinets?

  • Jen says:

    Just curious — what kind of quartz is cheaper than granite? I love the advice you gave, but I haven’t seen charcoal quartz for less than granite anywhere, so including painting and appliances, this would cost much more to do for me.

  • Way to stage that baby to sell, Maria!!!

  • Scribbler says:

    When did Realtors decide they know best about design matters? It seems that they have all taken a little McDec continuing ed and now they are all experts.

    • Susan says:

      Well, we are not decorators, but we do see dozens and dozens of fabulous and not so fabulous homes every week, year in and out.

      We see the inspired ideas and the ones that failed miserably. We see clever quick fixes and renovations that cost millions, too. If you are looking for some great ideas, talk to some great brokers, then hire a designer. Sometimes, though, people have GOT to sell a house and can’t even afford an hour’s consultation with a pro. We can suggest they take down that wallpaper border, get rid of the clutter and furry toilet seat covers and guide them to some tried & true BM neutrals. Then we get to work selling it.

      Love these articles 🙂

  • Ellen Rhett says:

    What a nice transformation! Just one question:
    Did they move the island? I am trying to get a handle on the perspective in the after photo. I count 4 squares of tiles in the after photo, but it doesn’t look possible that there is that much room between the island and stove in the before photo! Just curious about that.

  • Carol Ann says:

    nice job on the kitchen, I find it sad when someone lives in a home with a less than kitchen… then sets it up beautifully for a stranger to enjoy… should have done it up earlier for themselves to enjoy…

  • Ilona says:

    Lovely! What colour paint are the cabinets?

  • carol says:

    Beautiful rooms! What color are the living room walls painted? Is it bm collingwood? Same as the kitchen? I cant tell on my monitor, but is it a gray ? Thanks Maria.

  • Becky says:

    Love it – -bet the seller wishes they had done this sooner so they could enjoy . Also, love the new website – Good Job!

  • Rosie says:

    The kitchen looks great white. Just concerned about that beige floor tile. It really pops in the photo. Maybe it’s less obvious in person……

  • HUGE improvement! Great job.

  • Mary says:

    It’s so sad that some people improve their homes just to sell it. If they had done it for themselves, they could have been enjoying it the whole time.

  • Maria Killam says:

    The cabinets are AF-65. This client had bought this house and had rented it out, so they had not in fact lived in it at all, and I agree, so many people love their homes after they refresh it to sell!
    Thanks for your comments,

  • Maria Killam says:

    Ellen, I think it just looks like they moved it because the after photo is not from the same angle unfortunately. I don’t know for sure though.

  • Debbie says:

    Love the white cabinets! We have a similar situation, but out baseboards, windows, doors, casings are all oak (or wood) stained the same golden color as the cabinets. Is it possible to do the painted cabinets, and leave the remaining wood intact?

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    This IS a wonderful transformation!
    These people could be in the staging business….
    Great (un)common sense. Appears to me that they took the “after” photo with a wide angle lens–even in that they were professional. A little trick I’ve learned, even if you’re not selling—paint just your top cabinets white. It opens up the upper half of the room and gives it “air”. Almost like a crisp white shirt with a pair of jeans.
    Thanks for all the effort to make your site even better, Maria! I thought the old one was lovely too.
    Paula in NC.

  • Huge improvement! That will pay off in the sales price for sure!

  • Katherine says:

    I have neutral off white laminate counters in great shape my 1990 kitchen. There is an oak veneer edge on them, perpendicular to the countertop. Would like to paint the oak cabinets and not redo the counters right now but don’t know if I can because I don’t think it would look right or keep from chipping if I paint the wood wrap around the countertops. Suggestions Maria? Thanks

  • Linda says:

    What a difference! Totally beautiful!

  • My dad was never a believer until it came for me to stage his home this past summer. He since has been painting everything light oak and I can’t control him!

    Check out the link if you wsih. It may be a great example for your site. It was also great to meet you at Blend 2011. I love your new site, it’s so cheerful now and easy to navigate in. All the best.


  • Joan says:

    It looks so beautiful now they may have second thoughts about moving!

  • Carla Brooks says:

    Great post, love the results, I totally agree with your assessment!

  • SH says:

    Wow…what a transformation. Great work and it really day and night difference!! Great post and great blog…I’m a new fan :-))

  • Crazy gorgeous! Personally when house hunting I avoided white cabinets because between dh and I and our kids and dog…well, nothing stays white. BUT I have to admit that this kitchen looks way better in the “after”.

  • mere says:

    what a transformation. im’ painting over my brown cupboards white and it’s looking new against the lettuce green wall in the kitchen. my house is all white, stowe white paint from dulux and i am loving the feel of it. it gives me space, lots of air and freedom within the room. even bought a dinning light that’s white and soft tone bulb..loving it! enjoy decorating.

  • I have a question… if a homeowner is going to invest in upgrading to Quartz countertops is there a drawback to simply painting marginal cabinets? Curious what the feedback from the market is.

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Darcy,
    Great question. and I would NOT just throw stone on bad cabinetry. Some might consider oak cabinets to be marginal but I think painted they are so much better. I have had emails from clients who want to install stone on flat cabinets from the 60’s for example, that is where I think you are truly wasting your money.

  • The new colors look great. The after photos are really wonderful! I love them!

  • Mary says:

    I can’t get enough of your blog! I wish I had found you three years ago when we bought our house and made all kinds of bad paint and furniture mistakes! Roughly how much should it cost to have the cabinets painted of an average sized kitchen? Thank you, Maria!

  • Galee Fitch says:

    Love the white cabinets. Could you suggest a white color for cabinets with walls painted BM Natural Linen. Rooms are combined. Great room and Kitchen. Couter tops are black galaxy granite, spiced walnut

Leave a Reply