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Why White Kitchen Cabinets Make the Most Timeless Kitchen

By 11/18/2008December 11th, 2020260 Comments

If you are tired of renovating kitchens, then you need to read this post. If you want to design the most classic and timeless kitchen (that you won’t regret) choose white kitchen cabinets. 

My favourite kitchen is white. White kitchen cabinets offer the most timeless look and the one you’d least tire of over the years.

white kitchen cabinets are timeless


Dated Kitchens

In the hundred’s of homes that I have been in over the last ten years, the obvious giveaway on the age of the home is always the kitchen. And usually it’s the colour of the wood cabinets that defines it even faster.

  • If I walk into a kitchen that has dark brown cabinets, I know it was installed in the last 10 years.
  • If it’s an orangy, ginger coloured, shaker style cabinet, I know that it was installed in the late 90’s early 2000.
  • If the cabinets are oak (keep reading), well you get the picture!

One of the worst mistakes is when a homeowner installs an 80’s kitchen (for example) in a turn-of-the-century character home. Especially those white melamine cabinets with the strip of oak on the bottom of each door. Please consider the era of your home when you are designing your kitchen!!

White Kitchen Cabinets with Wood Floors

The most beautiful kitchen renovation in a 1905 home that I have ever seen was designed by Susan Dossetter and Andrew Skurman and featured in House Beautiful magazine. If you have a house circa 1905, this is the kitchen that should be in it!

White kitchen cabinets wood floor

The antique oak cabinet, originally made for a French store, is perfect for a collector. Susan Dossetter found the reproduction Windsor chairs in Nantucket and had the table made to work with the chairs and the cabinet. The floor is hand-rubbed wide-plank red oak.

All white kitchen

Love the combination of glass knobs, chrome faucets and pulls. See this post for more advice on hardware.The countertop is made of two 3/4 inch slabs of Calacatta Oro marble glued together, for extra thickness, then topped with a third layer in the back.Are you installing Carrara? Better download my eBook on choosing whites to get it right.

Wood kitchen island

The vintage French towel racks, which Susan Dossetter added to the antique baker’s table, are hung with vintage towels that she has collected over the years. The baker’s table came with a new sycamore top. Vintage and new cake plates hold treats for the children.

White kitchen walls

Archive beveled tile provides a clean backdrop for the La Cornue Chateau range, made to order in burnished stainless steel and brass. The floor surrounding the range is covered with hexagon tiles.

Rustic kitchen

The cast-plaster motif on the ceiling is from Decorator’s Supply. The hood over the range was part of the original kitchen. Quilted steel insulation panels, covering the Sub-Zero refrigerator, should be available at any sheet metal shop. The antique butcher block by the island is on casters, so it can go anywhere it’s needed. Pot racks from Williams-Sonoma were powder-coated in white.

80s Oak Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Oak kitchen cabinets

Here is a photo of a typical oak kitchen mostly installed in this era of kitchens.

When I am standing in a kitchen that looks very much like this one, and I recommend that this kitchen be painted white or cream–as soon as the words out of my mouth–the wife’s face lights up and the husband looks horrified at the prospect of painting THE WOOD!

I’m not sure why most men have this reaction (okay I’ve figured it out, and here’s the post–written after this one) but it’s pretty common.

Men usually come around once they understand that it’s not about the wood, it’s about the fact that it’s dated. And to be clear, I don’t advocate painting ALL WOOD, just kitchens in this era.

So for those of you with this kitchen, reading this right now, there’s really just one thing you need to know: This kitchen IS NEVER COMING BACK. So the only way to extend the life of it is to prime it, paint it, and install new hardware. Period. End of conversation.

Trying to decide if you can paint your kitchen cabinets? Don’t miss this post: Third Rule of Design: Expensive does not equal timeless

Here’s a ‘before’ picture of a kitchen I did for a client in West Vancouver with another designer, Jan Romanuk back in 2005. This client moved in with the cabinets already painted but you could still see the grain of the wood through the paint colour. They also wanted the cabinets above the peninsula removed, new lighting, flooring, colours, etc:

Ivory kitchen cabinets


Here’s the after photo with 3 more coats of Dulux Ivory Fresco, 30YY 81/123 or OC-92 or Cloverdale 7980 with all the updates.

Ivory kitchen cabinets with granite

After (Update in 2015)


How to Choose the Right White for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Now that I’ve been talking about colour on this blog for 7 years, I would NOT specify white kitchen cabinets this yellow again (see above). Especially because the granite countertops are pink beige.

Instead, I would suggest the white I specified for this kitchen (below) which you’ll find in my White is Complicated: A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White.

Kitchen cabinets before


white Kitchen cabinets after makeover


You can see that the countertops are very similar to the first kitchen, however the white kitchen cabinets here are actually a greige, not a white or cream at all. Get my White is Complicated eBook here.

If you have granite countertops, here are a few must-reads:

More Lovely White Kitchens

I love kitchens with glass uppers like this one:

White cabinets light grey wall

How about the absence of upper cabinets – this means you probably have space for a fabulous pantry!

White kitchen yellow accents

Bobbie Burgers kitchen fromHouse & Home

A post on white kitchen’s would not be complete without the famous, most copied, kitchen from Something’s Gotta Give!

Movie kitchen before

This following image is from ‘Maine Home & Design Magazine’ and is a good copy of the movie kitchen:

Movie kitchen after

Should you choose a gray for your kitchen (below)? Read this post to help you decide..

Gray kitchen


Need help choosing the right white? My White is Complicated: A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White eBook will help you get your whites right for your cabinets, trim, ceilings, and walls. This eBook also includes my Bonus book of Whites which will take the guesswork out of your decisions.

You’ll need them both if you have an entire house of whites and neutrals/colours to choose, get them here.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.

The only way to choose the right colour every time is to combine my system of understanding undertones with the most indispensable colour tool available. You can purchase your own set of my curated large colour board collections here.

Related posts:

For more advice on planning your kitchen read;

5 Steps to a Kitchen you will Love!

How to choose the Colour of your Kitchen Appliances

5 Questions to consider when selecting a new colour for your kitchenSelecting your kitchen or bath backsplash; Accent tile or NOT?

The Best Trim Colours–NOT Cloud WhiteHappiness is. . . A Happy Wife (every man should read this one)

 While you’re here, subscribe to my Monthly Newsletter so you don’t miss out on money-saving colour tips!

892 pins


  • Things That Inspire says:

    What a beautiful job you did on that kitchen – wish I lived closer to you so I could hire you for my kitchen update (just taking down the wallpaper, painting, and painting the cabinets).

  • runway says:

    I really want to paint my 80’s kitchen cabinets. I’m afraid I will mess them up. I am selling my house and the kitchen looks dated. Any tips on how to do it right?

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Dear runway,
    Using an oil based primer for the first coat is very important. Then take all the doors off (this is the time to buy new hardware if necessary) and lay them out in your garage and either paint them with a brush or get your painter to spray them. Sometimes 3 coats are necessary to hide the grain but as long as you use a good quality paint it will look wonderful!

  • amysiu says:

    I need help fast. I’m in the process of remodeling my kitchen and have the oak cabinets you’ve pictured except without the arch on the top of the cabinet. I don’t like painted cabinets and white certainly does not work in my home. I have African art and dark wood in an open floor paln. Can I achieve an updated look by refinishing the cabinets instead. I was looking at a finish that is half mahogany and half walnut or a golden mahogany color.

    working on it now

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    I have found that the ONLY way to update these cabinets is to paint them. The design and raised panel style of this kitchen is simply dated and it’s not coming back.

    If white is not an option for you, perhaps you could paint them a gray/green colour, like HC-96 Richmond Gray.

  • flick says:

    May I ask for your color help. I want a kitchen with white cabinets and white walls. Wood floors and charcoal countertop. Should I use 2 different whites for wall and cabinets? And most importantly what white do you recommend that is soft and warm but one that reads white, not cream or ivory like?

  • says:

    I am starting to paint my honey colored wood cabinets white in April! I can hardly wait! This post was Providence, I can’t wait to show it to my husband!

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Dear Flick,
    A great colour to use would be OC-1 Natural Wicker from Benjamin Moore. It’s soft without reading too yellow.

    For the walls, I would paint them a white that is grayed so that you can distinguish between the cabinet colour and the wall colour. I would recommend OC-11, Clay Beige.

  • flick says:

    Wow, thanks soooo much. I am familiar with both those those shades but I thought they’d never read white….a la the white from the “something’s gotta give” kitchen. Fascinating.

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Dear flick,
    Well you didn’t say the ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ Kitchen. That kitchen looks pretty white to me given the white subway tile. And the walls look like a creamier white.

    If that’s what you want, I would do the cabinets, Mountain Peak White OC-121 and the walls OC-1 Natural Wicker.

  • LauraW says:

    Hey there – just found your blog in my searches for white kitchen advice.

    I just bought a 1923 tudor, w/ original white subway tile all over the kitchen. Right now the cabinets are all a gray laminate (lovely) – and I’m going to reface them. Was afraid it would be too much white – but maybe not!

    Do you have a recommendation as far as countertop color, or flooring?

    Should I go with stark white cabinet, or more creamy? The subway tiles are 85 years old, so they’re not the perfect white that you see now a days…

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Hi Laura W,
    I would match the subway tile as close as possible for your kitchen cabinets. So if they are an off-white make sure the white you select is the same. Just bring a bunch of chips home from the paint store and hold them up beside the tile.

    I like wood floors in kitchens, but if that is not an option, I would choose a tile that coordinates with the countertop you select. It’s hard for me to recommend a colour without seeing the rest of your home as a lot would depend on what is happening everywhere else, the bathrooms, fireplace, etc.

  • Shelby says:

    Hi! love your blog! i have a question regarding this post on white cabinets..we bought cabinets at lowe’s (have not painted yet) when we remodeled our kitchen. i want them white but not stark white. we have dark countertops, tan walls and light wood floor. can you suggest a color of white for the cabinets and what would look best with the scheme we have?? i would really appreciate your advice b/c these cabinets go unpainted b/c i can’t make up my mind!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Shelby,
    I would recommend OC-125 Moonlight white for your cabinets. If you compare it to OC-10 Ultra White, you will see what it looks like and that it’s far from a stark white.
    Happy painting!

  • Frieda says:

    I just discovered your blog and website and your comments have struck a chord. I have been a Cloud White user for years. I am in the process of renovating my bathroom, building custom bevelled shaker cabinets to be topped with honed carrera marble countertop and enhanced with crystal knobs. Clearly Cloud White is too yellow for the cabinets. I now have swatches of Chantilly Lace (OC65), Oxford White (cc30), and Ultra White (cc10). Fixtures are all American Standard (creamy white, most similar to Oxford White). Floor tiles not yet chosen, can’t afford more marble so will look for a grey/taupe porcelain tile. Wall could be (depending upon tile), Balboa Mist (oc27), or Stonington Gray (hc170) or Cement Gray (2112-60). Help! My cabinet maker won’t start till I give him a colour!! Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Chantilly lace will be perfect. I also quite like Stonington Gray to match the veins in the carrera (as long as it’s the gray one and not the yellow one).
    And I think the tile you are thinking about for your floor is a good direction to take as well.
    Sounds lovely.

  • Frieda says:

    Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement Maria! Moral support always welcome ๐Ÿ˜‰ And so quickly! Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    We want to replace our appliances. I have white cabinets, granite (with neutral colors), medium dark wood floors, black/wood kitchen furniture and tuscany type wall paper. We like the look of stainless steel, but we’re afraid it maybe too much going on in the kitchen. Should we stay with white appliances that blend in or stainless steel? Thanks for your help.

  • Maria Killam says:

    I would definitely do stainless applicances. There are so many great ones you can buy and to me they are like jeans! Go for it, otherwise it’s too much white.

  • Anonymous says:

    What a wonderfully informative blog!!! I wish you lived closer….I’d want you to consult on site!!!

    I’m planning on painting my maple kitchen cabinets soon. People think I’m nuts, as they are beautiful, but I just installed a wide plank ironwood floor (dark brown) and I think white cabinetry would be a great contrast. I have a white island/work table with a maple butcher block top and a white round pedestal table and chairs. The walls are a periwinkle. Appliances are stainless and white (working my way to all stainless).

    So here are my questions:
    Do I need to paint the island (will there be too much white?)
    I’m going to switch out the laminate counters, too. I’m leaning toward concrete….but what color?
    The periwinkle walls look great with the maple, but will it be weird with the white?
    Thinking of a backsplash….subway tile? Or glass iridescent mosaic?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. We are having our garage turned into a kitchen in our older farmhouse. The canbinets and countertops will be white with beaded board walls, white open shelves,farmhouse sink, and butcher block island. We need to install a ceramic tile floor, b/c on a slab and don’t want to raise floors. My question is, I am considering large black and white tiles laid on a diaganol. Do you think this would disagreee with my farmhouse look. Should I use a more neutral color tile?

  • Maria Killam says:

    The Maple Cabinets are 90’s, painting them would completely give them an update.

    If the top is maple on your island, you could leave the island, or you could paint it Bittersweet Chocolate (BM) and treat it like a separate furniture piece which is a big look right now.

    Your periwinkle wall colour will look even better with white, love them both together.

    I also think the subway tile is more of a timeless look than the mosaic tile which will eventually scream 2009, 08, 07. . .

    You will love your white cabinets, it’ll completely transform your kitchen.

    The concrete is the only idea I’m not in love with. It belongs in a modern kitchen and I’m guessing your maple cabinets are shaker style which is not modern. How about honed black granite, or brown or Carrara Marble? Just a thought. You have options since you are going so much more neutral.


  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Farmhouse Kitchen,

    Black and white tile is a pretty classic look and I think you can pull it off with the kitchen you are describing.

    Just make sure your kitchen is big enough to handle that kind of scale and drama.


  • Anonymous says:

    Love this blog!! Thank you. I need to finish my kitchen but am stuck. I ordered a Giallo ornamental granite for my kitchen that looked quite gold but in my kitchen looks more brown with cream, white, flecks of color. I want to paint my cabinets white. I have a galley kitchen. What is the best color white and backsplash. I have a beautiful collection of handpainted pottery in blues, white, yellow, etc. (Some from Portugal, Mexico, Spain) which I would love to incorporate into my home’s color scheme. I love those colors. My house has an open floorplan- 70s. Most of my decor is European? not modern style. I would appreciate your help more than you can imagine.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    It’s very hard to pick a ‘white’ with the information you’ve given me. Please read my – best trim colours–not cloud white– post and talk to me about what colour the ‘fixed’ white is in your home. If all your trim is creamier then that sounds like it would work with the granite you’ve just installed. Or if your trim really is white but you don’t want a really white on white kitchen, then I would pick a white that is really more of a cream with a hint of yellow in it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you. I read that post also before I wrote and it is helpful. Actually I have true white trim with a creamy white. YIKES! I am not a color expert for sure. I am repainting the entire kitchen/great room area at the same time so that they will flow.
    PS I adore your favorite picture to represent your style–white sofa with blue and yellow. Love, love it!! Thanks again.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry but I left out an important element. The cabinets are a dark wood 70s style. The entire kitchen will have stainless appliances so the only truly fixed element so far is the granite. Thank you!!

  • Leigh says:

    I just discovered this blog and it is pure magic!! What an amazing talent! If I can convince my Husband that our 1980’s Oak kitchen would look way better white I am up for the job! Can I pull this off if I have black appliances and cream counter tops with a grayish green undertone(just learned that lingo:)) No budget for new stuff right now but I would love to upgrade the counters eventually. Our floor is a laminate ceramic look oversized squares in a warm/neutral cardboard/greyish taupe swirl color with grout that matches the counter tops. Any input would be so appreciated even if you give me the thumbs down on this project! Thank you!! Leigh

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Leigh,
    Well without seeing your kitchen I can’t give you paint numbers but my advice if your countertops are laminate would be to pick a lighter taupe colour that works with your flooring. Otherwise, you could pick a greeny/white for your cabinets as well (nothing wrong with that) or a greeny/beige so that it relates to your countertops.

    Either way, the oak is dated and would look 10 x better painted in my opinion.

  • Leigh says:

    thank you Maria! Now I just need to convince the man that the wood is no good! Thank you again for your response!

  • Maureen, Narragansett, RI says:

    Love reading everyone’s comments. I am painting my knotty oak frames white and have purchased new shaker beadboard cabinet doors. I have a medium oak floor and am considering a laminate countertop as this is in a small beach cottage and I don’t want to spend a lot of $$$. We’re considering a sand tone laminate. What I’m stuck on is the backsplash. Would white 4″ X 4″ tiles work against the beige countertop?? I’m going for a beachy feel and need help!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Seems too easy (I think there’s a post idea here) but the white is perfect for a beachy feel!

    Sometimes people forget that the hard, fixed finishes which are the hardest to replace (and get dated just as fast as anything else) should be more neutral and instead let the colour and accessories be more important!

    You are on the right track!

  • amy1nyc says:

    Hi, I am hoping someone can please help!! I am renovating a house and the kitchen is being installed in 2 weeks. I need to choose a WHITE paint color for the cabinets and I am at a loss. I def want white and NOT cream. The countertops are calcutta gold and the island is a white base to match the cabinets and island top is walnut. The floors are also a dark walnut. What is the right WHITE for cabinets that doesn't come off too yellow?

    Thanks so much!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Amy,
    If you just want white, Cloud White will be just fine! If you don't want a white-white and want a softer white that isn't yellow, try white down, 970.

  • Fay says:

    I am putting in a new kitchen. I was considering using Behr paint Swiss Coffee 1812 for cabinets and trim color. Should I use a different color for trim or cabinets? I was also considering Sherwinn Williams Roman Column SW 7562 for the cabinets. I don't want a stark white, I would like something softer. The counters will be granite giallo ornamental and the floor will be wide random width pine. I am still unsure as to hardware also, most finishes in house satin nickel. I apprecaite any help. Thanks.

  • Susan says:

    I just redid my 80's kitchen in a creamy white (looked just like the one pictured)and it looks sooo much better. I actually saved money and fauxed painted the countertops to look like granite then envirotexed. Now we are replacing the floors, and am wondering if certain colors of wood floors are in now, or what you think looks best with white. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    I had the typical oak cabinets in my bathroom. I painted the walls periwinkle then painted the cabinets white with silver hardware. Now, I need to replace the countertop. What would be the best color? The tile for the shower and garden tub are all white tile. Since I won't be staying in this house long, it needs to be a color that is neutral and anyone would like. Any help would be very appreciated!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Fay,
    Basically a creamy colour is beautiful with that granite, BM Vanilla Ice Cream is a nice one and brushed nickel looks good in a renovated kitchen (not too fancy because your old cabinets still have a more dated profile.

    Dear Susan,
    I would pick a colour that relates in some way to the undertone in your faux painted countertops. However, any colour hardwood would work with white cabinets. I would stay away from the dark chocolate browns though, too trendy and everything shows on them!!

    Dear Anonymous,
    I would install a black countertop (it's standard at hardware stores) and it looks fabulous with white and periwinkle blue! Modern and neutral, makes it easy to change the colour on the walls.

    If you don't want a solid black one because you can see everything, it's fine to pick a black one with a slight gray fleck in it as well.


  • DesignTies says:

    We just had cabinet painters here earlier this evening to give us a quote. The number is scary, but I liked their suggestion for painting the cabinets cream instead of the medium brown I was planning to use. When they held up the cream sample door against the granite sample and the backsplash tile sample, I really like how it all looked together. The brown granite & tiles really stood out nicely.

    So, it looks like I'm jumping on the white kitchen cabinet bandwagon ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I need to find a creamy white with no yellow or pink undertones…. any suggestions??


  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Kelly, if you are doing brown granite and a brown backsplash then paint your cabinets OC-1. It's a great rich cream without being too yellow. You cannot do white or even a creamy white, it will be way too white still with so much brown!!

  • Landry says:

    Hi Maria,
    You've already helped me once and I don't want to hog your time but you're so talented I have to ask! – that is a link to a picture of the kitchen in my new home. It's very very outdated, I know. I definitely want to paint the cabinets white but with white counters I don't want it to be overkill. What would you recommend doing? I'd like to eventually replace the counters but it probably won't happen for a year or so.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Landry,
    Your kitchen has a cottage like feel to it, it's playful and fun (not necessarily elegant) therefore, I would not use any shade of white. Every painted kitchen by no means needs to be white.

    In this case I would be looking for inspiration from your flooring perhaps (not shown in your photo) or from the adjoining rooms in the space (your living room perhaps) then the only thing you need to do is change the yellow sink to stainless.

    Attach a couple more photos and I'll be able to narrow it down further!

  • Landry says:

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! When I move in it will pretty much be a blank slate (the things you see in there now belong to the 85 yr. old woman who currently owns the home). I'd like a fresh and fun feel, maybe with a green accent wall, BM Pale Avocado or Brookside Moss, along the far side of the kitchen. The floors are linoleum but we will be ripping that up and refinishing the oak floors beneath, probably in a mocha or mahogany color.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Landry,
    How about Pale Avocado on the cabinets. Fresh yellow greens like that look so great with white (which are your countertops).

    I would nix the accent wall idea, (unless it's such a perfect wall for it that it's obvious) I would paint the whole kitchen orange (2167-30). That would instantly give you the fun and funky look that would work perfectly in that kitchen.

    Or if that's just too wild for you, paint your cabinets Natural Linen CC-90, that colour would also look great with the two greens you've chosen for the wall colour.

  • Koekkener says:

    Because of your beautiful blog there's a lot of people out there have commenting your beautiful kitchen. Thank you for sharing.

  • Amy says:

    I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white but not sure on the color. I have dark granite(Uba Tuba)and dark wood floors. What colors would you suggest? Thanks.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Amy,
    My answer to you is the same as to "Design Ties" above, OC-1 Natural Wicker. It's a richer cream without showing up yellow.

  • Alexandra says:

    Love your blog. You are so talented. I recently bought a home and decided to renovate the dated 80s kitchen (melamine white cabinets and butcherblock countertops). The floors are handmade venezuelan tile, orangey/pink and we decided not to replace them. We decided to put in white thermafoil cabinets (w/brushed nickel bin pull hardware)and pink hued granite with full backsplash. The appliances are all relatively new, stainless steel and the kitchen furniture includes an antique pine hutch filled with blue glass pieces (bowls, glasses, etc)and eight person pine table. My question is- am I on the right track with the pink hued granite? I love carrara marble but the rest of the home's floors are white marble and I also thought it would clash with the venezuelan tile floors. And what color should I paint the wall? The rest of the house was just painted in Sherwin Williams' Greek Villa (my husband is Greek and we couldn't resist). Should I paint the kitchen the same color or go for a bolder color? This is the last step in our renovations before we move in and I'm so anxious!

  • Susan says:

    What does OC stand for in reference to paint color?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Susan,
    OC stands for 'off-whites' in the Cdn deck. It's 950 in the US deck.

    I would NOT go with white/gray (which is what it is) carrara marble with orangy/pink tiled floors unless you were planning on taking them out sometime soon (and it sounds like you are not, which is fine) in this case, it sounds like the pink hued granite will work in this kitchen.

    I can't find 'Greek villa' in my Sherwin Williams deck, but I have their newest one. Perhaps it's an old colour?

    It's very hard for me to give you a colour without seeing a photo, and perhaps a close up (no flash) of your counter and floor but off the top of my head it sounds like a pinky beige will be in order here as that is the undertone you will have in your kitchen.

  • jwaldman says:

    Maria, your blog is wonderful. I am trying to pick the right white for my cherry kitchen cabinets. I have white subway tile, dark espresso floors and black granite…and am trying to achieve the look of the copied "something's gotta give" kitchen from the Maine Home and Design magazine. Can you tell me which white would be the closest to the one in that picture? Many thanks…..Jill

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Jwaldman,
    If your subway tiles are white, I would go with a pretty white-white so that they don't stick out. In this case you can go with (gasp) Cloud White (just don't tell anyone I specified that one–see my post, the best trim colour–NOT cloud white). Or simply white (it's a CDN colour though)

    It's all context. Since you have white tile already, then you need white.

  • Brenda says:

    Yay! I love all this talk about whites! We are rebuilding an old house and I have tons of white paint chips taped up all over the kitchen– my husband and sons just don't get it– they think they all look the same ๐Ÿ™‚
    I'm going with a simple cottage style through the whole house, and the trim is white-white. I'm thinking about Restoration Hardware's Aubrey pulls in chrome. I've seen some traditional white kitchens with white & gray marble backsplashes, and I wonder if I can make that work with the cottage style. Maybe 18 x 18 marble tile. Any suggestions for cabinet color?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Brenda,
    I love Carrara Marble! I think it's a great idea. The pulls are certainly a casual look which would suit a cottage feel.

    If your trim is already white on white, then I would suggest keeping your cabinet colour the same white (read my post on Trim Colours), or with just a hint of colour added to it. Decorator white has 4 drops of gray in it so it won't be as bright as 'ultra white' is.
    Hope this helps!

  • Dylpup says:

    My budget is small for freshening up my 26yr old kitchen in prep for resale in a few years. Can light tile floors work in a cream kitchen? Most show med to dark wood floors with dark countertops–contrast adds some drama to the room. Floor plan is very open to entry/hall so I am leaning toward tile.

    I am considering Crossville Colorblox tile in coconut cream pie–a light muddy green/yellow
    or roasted marshmallow–a light muddy cream
    or hi ho silver–a muddy grey
    (Someone had fun with these names.) Am thinking of a laminate countertop, green or oiled soapstone (the latter definitey dark)

    Can you pull it off without the darker surfaces? If so,what would be good paint colors for cabinets, wall, and trim–have lots of wood stained trim on windows that is finally going! How about backsplash colors. Want to make it an organic looking kitchen and hopefully avoid my usual monochromatic choices.

  • Camille says:

    What a great help this blog is! I am trying to choose a color for my white kitchen cabinetry. I've chosen White Dove for the trim and a warm taupe tile for the floor (although the tile isn't installed yet, so changes could be made there too!) I do have a post in my kitchen that sits right next to the island, so the trim color and the cabinet color will be right next to each other. The post goes up to cased beams in the ceiling. Black antiqued granite countertops. Walnut top on the island. I was thinking of white subways for the backsplash — maybe in a carrera-look porcelain (Vallelunga Sophia) I haven't chosen a wall color yet. So, White Dove for the cabinets or should I go with something else? Thanks!

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Dylpup,
    There is no fixed rule that says your cabinets must be white. It's hard for me to give you a colour without being in your kitchen, light colours are almost impossible to specify exactly via email.

    New kitchens show dark floors because that is the trend right now but if your cabinets are dated and need to be painted then painting them will update them regardless of whether you have dark floors or not.

    White Dove looks like it would work in your kitchen. My concern is that you say your floor tiles are Taupe, which has me wonder if they are pinky beige. As long as you know that, and you still like it that's okay (read my post, 'What everyone should know about beige).

  • Olivia Macri Rock says:

    Hi Maria, the colour diva!

    First of all, what a beautiful blog! You are so generous in your advice and I can't thank you enough!

    So, I am in desperate need of your expert help for the walls of my soon to be crisp, white kitchen. Here's the quick and dirty run-down: small, L-shaped kitchen with white shaker style cabinets, oak wood butcher block countertops, a nice crisp white arctic white 3 by 6 subway tile backsplash and some black/some white appliances (not able to switch to stainless yet but someday!!!) The floor is non-negotiable at the moment, in a neutral coloured tan ceramic tile.

    Because the kitchen is small and because we have sort of French country feel happening, we are going light on the top cabinets, making room for a nice Broan stainless hood, and including plenty of white painted shelving, plate racks, pot racks, etc. to spotlight pretty blue ceramics, pale green dishes, and even some red accents with a mixer and other small appliances. We will also have a nice window seat painted white under one of our two kitchen windows.

    OK, here is the colour dilemma that has me swimming in colour samples and thoroughly confused. We originally planned on going with a warm creamy or buttery yellow to keep that sunny French country vibe going. However, I am slowly becoming afraid that it might detract or damp down the crisp, white, clean feel created by the white cabinets and subway tile, especially when considered next to our beige floor. So then we considered blues, maybe a periwinkle or even a grey-green blue (nothing too airy and sky-like). We even went to sage green or grays but we are thoroughly overwhelmed and need your help.

    What can we do to keep our crisp white cabinets and tile clean looking and popping but also maintain a bright, classic and contemporary sunny kitchen feel?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks colour diva!!


  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Olivia,
    Because your backsplash is already very white, I would keep your kitchen white. It's nice when the backsplash relates to SOMETHING in the kitchen.
    Otherwise you will have 3 colours there that don't relate to anything, the white backsplash, the coloured cabinets and the beige tiled floor!
    Hope that helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am struggling and hope you can help. We are in the process of updating our kitchen and are struggling with countertops and backsplash. We have white cabinets, ORB hardware, the walls are now SW Baguette (bye, bye vines!), a new dark walnut island, white appliances (until they die–they're 9 years) very light beige floor tile and quite a bit of natural light. I want it to stay light and bright but also warm. The kitchen is good sized and pretty open to the rest of the house which is SW Whole Wheat, darker wood furniture. We're now replacing the white tile counters and backsplash with granite and not sure on the backsplash. What color of granite? I don't want black (not friendly for 3 young kids–heard about the fingertips/maintenence but I love it as accents and am even thinking of a black table) but Tropical brown has been suggested or what about the lighter ones New Venetian, Santa Cecelia, etc. Trying to update without spending more than we have to and keeping it somewhat neutral for resale at some point. How about backsplash? Tumbled marble is very popular here but want something classy and not dated. Also, trying to decide between subway and 4×4 on diagonal. I see pix of white kitchens I like (both light and dark countertops) but get stuck because they all have warm wooden floors. I am not good at this and am driving myself and everyone else nuts over this. I am a stay at home mom of 3 to put through college so this is a very big deal to us and I want to get it right the first time and add value to our home. Bless you for any help you can give me! Trish

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Trish,
    I'm sorry I'm not up on the names of granite (it's not something I specify every day) but if your walls are a yellowy beige/gold which is what those SW colours are, then I would go with a granite with gold in it. Yellow undertones always look good in kitchens

    Tumbled marble in my experience generally has a pink undertone to it (but if it doesn't then you should be okay) it's more of a traditional look, where I would say that subway and 4 x 4 is a little more contemporary. Subway tile is maybe getting overdone (although it's a classic) I really like the look of 4 x 4 on a diagonal. If your cabinets are white then your backsplash should either be white to relate to the cabinets or a colour that relates to the countertops.

    Light beige floor tile? It's going to have an undertone unless it's cream so make sure your kitchen countertop works with it. Brown will go with all 3 beige undertones, but if you have a pinky beige (taupe/tan) tile on your floors than I would not go with yellow granite for the counters.

    Hope this helps!

  • Get Real Kathy says:

    This is a wonderful source of information on such a confusing subject! Love this blog! I too am contemplating painting my oak kitchen cabinets white. Of course I am struggling with the white to select. I have oak floors, BM Super White is on the trim in the home, golden/brown/beige granite with some pink tones in it, and a beige tile backsplash. Should I paint the cabinets the same color as the trim? or more of a creamy white? Nothing is jumping out at me as the right white. Thanks!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Normally I would try and coordinate with the existing trim colour but super white would be way too white with the finishes you are describing.

    Does the beige backsplash coordinate with the countertop? If it doesn't, then I would go with a lighter beige (in whichever undertone it is, red, green or yellow).

    If it does coordinate with the countertop, then I would just paint your cabinets cream which sounds like it would work well with your granite, try Navajo white, BM OC-95.

  • Annie says:

    This is a great blog!! I really need your help. My husband and I are in the process of choosing things to re do our kitchen completely and are in fear of making a wrong color choice. Here's what we have chosen so far… charcoal slate floors, white thermofoil cabinets, and cobalt blue accessories. The countertop is where we keep getting stuck. The kichen is small, maybe around 11' x 11' so we thought the white cabinets would lighten it up and fell in love with the thermofoil cabinets. The countertop we are thinking about is a corian solid surface called everest. It is also very white with little specks of the slate color. We are also stuck on a wall color. There is no tile back splash and we pretty much will have a clean slate to paint on, but matching to the cobalt blue color is getting frustrating. Please Help us ๐Ÿ™

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Annie,
    I like what you are doing so far. White is good and as long as the countertop relates in some small way to the flooring (or the backsplash) you are going in the right direction.

    I would think repeating the blue on the walls would be too cool so how about the complement to blue which is yellow, and what I mean by that is you could do anything from a yellowy beige BM HC-30 to a stronger shade of yellow, like Vellum.

    A fresh green like fernwood green or georgian green would also look great with slate blue or even a funkier green like Pale Avocado. (I don't have my US fan deck on me at the moment so if you look up the names you should find them).

    Hope this helps,

  • Anonymous says:

    I am doing a white shaker cabinet (stark white /glacial white)no yellow or creamy tones with top knob Tuscany pewter hardware. I have med stained oak floors (brown w/slight golden tinge) The granite I am using is Bianco Antico (creamy white background with veining in greys, browns and flecks of shiny mica)
    I also have the glossy white appliances (I prefer the newer glossy white as stainless is not my thing)altho I am doing a Thermador 36" cooktoop in Stainless in the center granite island. I am considerin g doing white subway tiles to match the cabinets and use a medallion that picks up the mica or colors in the granite. My walls are going to be Antique red (Sherwin Williams)and the ceiling is Kilim Beige(SW). This kitchen opens up to a large vaulted den. I am using the Kilim Beige on the walls there. The trim and crown molding will be a white matched to the cabinetry. What do you think about my choices so far? Here is a link to my granite and wall/ceiling colors Please help as my color choices need to be made w/in 10 days!!!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    Eeeeek, that colour is way too pink (for the ceiling) and the red walls will pull out even more pink.

    Go with a warm/taupy gray that will pick up on the cooler undertones of your granite. That will look fabulous with the red (remember to test it now – I am way in Vancouver giving you this advice)

    SW7022 is what I recommend.

    Happy painting!

  • Sarah says:

    Here's the back story…I bought an 80s house and it has an 80s kitchen down to the appliances.

    So far all I can decide is that I want white or cream cabinets with the doors removed(to make an "open" kitchen), display my large collection of cobalt blue glass dishes. The problem is that I have off white ceramic tile on the floor. The countertops are a laminate wood look, but I would like to put granite.

    What colors should I used to base things off of the floor and blue dishes including the appliance colors?

    Help me so I can convince my husband who is scared to paint the dark oak cabinets.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Sarah,
    If your floors are off-white than your cabinets should be as well. Or it you check out Pure Style Home's blog you can see her kitchen where she did the same thing you are interested in doing. She painted her lowers a gray-green.

    A colour that would look great with cobalt blue would certainly be a creamy yellow but if your floors are off-white I wonder if they read a gray-white which wouldn't look so good. You could do a stronger yellow such as Vellum (BM).

    A fresh green would look fabulous with blue as well. Like Georgian Green (BM). Then I would go with caesar stone or sile stone and just choose an off-white countertop. Granite is so much busier and generally darker and not so great with the fresh colours that would look the best with cobalt blue!

    Love your plan, painting the dark oak cabinets ANY COLOUR will update them from what they are now!

  • BG says:

    I am really struggling with what white to use for my new kitchen. Its open plan with the family room and has lots of cabinets. Transitional style – simple shaker doors but with some mouldings and trim etc to add some character. I like Oxford white (cc30) but the designer says Cloud white (cc40). I don't want it to be too stark or clinical, but don't want the yellowish look either. Any advice?

  • hhl says:

    After reading all these posts, I'm confused again. I had just settled on Swiss Coffee (BM) for the walls and Nantucket Grey (BM) for the cabinets with Hazy Sky (BM) for the trim and doors. The countertops are a grey/black/off-white corian. What do you think? There are also lots of rusts, red and yellow accents. Also what color/type of backsplash would you recommend? Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear BG,
    Cloud white will DEFINITELY not look yellow. It's still on one of the whitest white's out there. Your kitchen should be very close to the trim colour in your house (unless you were going with a super creamy colour on your cabinets).

    Dear hhl,
    Are your walls that pale everywhere else in your house? If not, swiss coffee will be so light it might look like you just haven't painted your kitchen yet. Not sure about the grey for the trim and doors – is your house super contemporary? I might recommend painting the walls the same colour as well if that's the case.

    The greeny grey (NG) you have chosen for the cabinets will work as long as that same grey is in your countertops. If it's different, you will have 3 colours in your corian, then you will visually be adding a 4th colour to the cabinets that doens't relate to anything. Better to choose the grey that matches, it will look more cohesive!

    Hope this helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    I really love the information that you have provided on the variety of whites. I am remodeling an outdated large ranch and selected oxford white for the trim (because I thought it would look nice against the medium-dark oak floors we selected). Now I am working on the kitchen and I really want a white kitchen but am afraid oxford white will look to stark (especially since I am thinking of installing black granite). I thought I could soften it up by using a creamy white and I love acadia white and mayonnaise but I don't think there is enough contrast between the trim/ceiling and cabinets. I still want a white or creamy white kitchen. Can you recommend a good cabinet colour? Another alternative is to change my trim colour in the main part of the house to a creamy white and leave the bedrooms oxford white, but I am not sure how that will look.

    Thanks for the help!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Robin,
    Yes it would be fine to leave the trim white upstairs and continue with a creamier trim downstairs but that depends on the wall colours you choose as well. Richer, midtones require a creamier trim (it's dated to have screaming white trim along with the rich colours we are painting our homes now, it starts to look like unfinished plaster). If your colours are lighter the oxford white is absolutely fine.

    Mayonnaise is a great colour for your cabinets but it would look better if the trim was that colour too. To keep the trim the oxford white, you would have to go into a beigey cream or more of a creamy yellow colour so that the kitchen cabinets start to look like they have their own colour that has nothing to do with the trim.


  • Sapo y Pato says:

    Hi Maria-

    I'm painting my kitchen cabinets BM Mountain Peak white and am having trouble picking out the wall color. I have a brick wall in the eat-in portion of my kitchen and am concerned with the shade of white. What would you recommend? Is Natural Wicker too beige for a brick wall?

    Thank you!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Paulina,
    I'm not sure what you mean by too beige? I would probably paint it Mountain Peak White as well (keep all whites the same) if you just want to paint it out, natural wicker is just fine as a pale beige that is not too white for the rest of your walls.

  • BG says:

    Hi Maria
    I posted a question before about my dilemma on CC-30 vs CC-40 for my kitchen cabinets and you suggested to match up with the trim. My house is under total reno right now so I have a blank slate, no decisions on paint yet. I will have medium to dark brown walnut floors and I love the antique brown honed granite. Will it look to stark with white cabinets. I was also considering doing the island with the granite and a lighter colour quartz for the other countertop. I know I want a white kitchen but which white? and should I give up on the dark granite? and what about the backsplash. Help please!!!!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi BG,
    Yes screaming white cabinets with brown floors and countertops will look like you left your 90's cabinets in your kitchen. Brown and cream simply belong together. (in my opinion). I would do Mannequin Cream with this kitchen.

    Backsplash should then be simple cream tile to go with the cabinets.

  • Naomi says:

    Hi Maria,

    I know I am a little late in reading this post, but I just wanted to tell you that I loved it so much. I screamed out Yes! Yes! Yes! over your observation of dated woods. I'm planning to print this post out and show it to every client I have who is afraid of white kitchens. You can explain their beauty much better than I. Thanks for your great blog. I enjoy it so much!


  • Anonymous says:

    Hi – I'm so glad I found this blog. Do you give advice about other remodeling kitchens without using white? We have oak cabinets; bisque appliances; oak floors and we're thinking of installing a grey/black laminate countertop with stainless steel sink. What do you think? The walls are a toasted wheat.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Anonymous!!
    Love it! Sounds beautiful and dramatic!
    So nice to have a new kitchen!

  • Debby says:

    Hi Maria,

    Hooray for white kitchens! Wood cabinets and black granite still seem to prevail in so many homes areound here. It's nice to see more refreshing ideas.

    Your blogs are great and I appreciate how you continually suggest your older ones which are still timeless.

  • kitkat says:

    Hi Maria, this is a terrific blog. I have decided to jump in and do a modest remodel to my 1950's house kitchen and dining room (which are connected and open out onto a large brick and plant courtyard). I am planning on soapstone counters, stainless appliances and a 2 inch mosaic backsplach that is gray and grayish greens. The ceiling is white wood plank and my flooring is quarry tile (dark rust color). I am stuck on the cabinet color–they are the original, totally plain, painted wood (now a cream color). White is possible but I have been thinking of some shade of green (not sure how dark to go) with pale yellow walls for the kitchen/dining. Appreciate your comments.

  • Astrid says:

    I just found your blog and I've been reading your posts with much interest. I'm puzzled what to do with my kitchen. The cabinets are 7 yrs old and are natural maple (no stain). My appliances are white. I'd love to paint my cabinets white but as we don't plan on being here long term I don't think it'll happen. Plus, the maple looks pretty….but I can't figure out what wall colors would look good. I'm planning on changing my countertop to something neutral as the current one is hideous. I currently have SW Latte on the walls and it's okay but blah. I tried SW Svelte Sage and it REALLY seems blah. The kitchen is in the darkest corner of the house so I was thinking of going lighter BUT now I'm thinking that a richer, deeper color would be better suited. I just don't know! I wish picking paint colors was easier.

  • LPerkins says:

    Hello Maria,
    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for ideas to update my kitchen and I really love your sense of style! My family and I moved into our 50 year old house almost four years ago and haven't been able to do much to change the kitchen's look. We brought black and white appliances, vinyl beige tile design floor and painted our flowery pegboard a light yellow. The kitchen was last remodeled in the late 60's, early 70's era and has maple slap panal cabinets, white laminate countertop, and pegboard and wood panaling for the walls and backsplash. I had thought about taking down all of the panaling and replacing with drywall and paint, Upgrading the appliances with stainless or keeping the ones I have, and putting up a porcelin or ceramic backsplash. Other than that I no clue. I like the white cabinets but I'm afraid it would be too light since I have a huge window and black and white appliances. My husband want a modern/contempary look also timeless. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks LPerkins

  • Suzie says:

    just found this site and it confirms the choice I just made. I am redoing a 1950's kitchen that has never been updated except for new vinly floor. it still has the old pine cabinets that were in the house when it was built. I am working with a designer and i had orginally chosed Elmwood coventry cabinets in mable with a chablis finsih( brown natural wood) Well today my designer convinced me to go with the same cabinet in Tuscan Cream (white with an aged look to it. I am having natural cork floor installed in Santos Matte. I am really excited, I kept leaning towards the old standard wood color, but i'm taking a giant leap of faith and putting my faith in my designer. I kept telling her I wanted something different but was afraid to do it. Well i'm doing it. I'vs never had painted cabinets before butI think I'm going to love them. Now it's on to picking out granite counter tops. wish me luck.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have read and re-read this blog hoping to get some help in picking the right white to paint my kitchen cabinets. I am color challenged and have a hard time with undertones. Anyhow – I am hoping you can point me in the right direction. My very tiny kitchen (and entire house) is suffering from an overdoes of oak (cabinets, all the baseboards and trim and every door) and the countertop is a fake wood laminate. My walls are currently painted a not dark enough burnt orange – more melony. I have all black appliances and vinyl tile floor by Armstrong in a neutral beige color with hints of green (Durango bleached sand I think). I also have a small back splash of no longer white square tiles. I plan on making the countertops black one way or another and would appreciate any help with what color to paint the cabinets – I am thinking a creamy white but I'm not sure which. Thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry – I forgot to add to my post requesting help with which white to use in my black/orangy/beige kitchen that I am thinking of using the Cabinet Coat paint and was looking at the bisque or almond.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am so happy I found your site. My husband and I are buying a home and have to choose the kitchen this weekend. We are torn between dark cabinets or white cabinets. If we do the whtie cabinets we are thinking of doing a dark base for the island. We are leaning towards hardwood in the kitchen. I guess my questions are:
    1) Do you think we should do white or dark cabinets? Which will last longer in terms of staying current?
    2)If we do white cabinets should we do a dark base for the island?
    3) what colour granite top do you like with those combinations?
    4) What colour paint would you suggest?

    One Kitchen we liked was;

    I really appreciate your help as I am completely torn between the dark and white cabinetry. I just want the kitchen to look great and it's so hard starting from scratch..atleast for me.
    thank you sooooooo much for your time. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Kitkat,
    I like the idea of the gray green on your cabinets, a one hour on-line consult with me would be the best way to get it right though, without photos and some time to evaluate your colours, it's hard for me to say.

    A too pale or pinky beige colour will look wrong with yellow wood cabinets. Better to go with more of a colour or even a linen shade (see my go-to colours on my website if you sign up for my newsletter.

    Here too, you have a lot of decision to make and it's very hard for me to make suggestions that will help you without seeing your space and the rest of your house as well, email me for more info on an on-line consult.

    I think you'll love your cabinets, way more timeless!

    Well I would always say painted cabinets because that's the look I prefer. Dark bases for islands are a big trend because people like the fact that they tend to look like a piece of furniture.
    I personally prefer the look of Caesarstone becuase it's way more uniform which gives it a more contemporary feel, while I think granite can be too blotchy and veiny.
    Paint colour with a white kitchen would be based on which countertop you choose, and if you go for a neutral one than your kitchen colour should be based on creating flow with the rest of your house. A 1 hour consult would go a long way to getting it all right!

    Hope this helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I know you said the dark bases are a big trend right now but I am cautious to go too trendy as I don't want to get tired of it quickly. Would you recommend steering away from this because of the "trendiness" of it right now. Also, would you go for the white white or more of a softer white if we are putting in hardwood (medium coloured)? Thank you so much for your quick response and for the help

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm in the process of decorating my 2 yr old's "big girl room". We're ordering furniture (a panel bed, chest of drawers and nightstand) and can select the paint finish we want (from either Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore colours). I'm wondering what white you would recommend. I don't want it to be too stark but would like to avoid the linen look as well. Also, I've heard that I'll need to be careful on what white to select as some will yellow more than others over time. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance…and love the site.

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Anonymous [re the island],
    I think the trend to design an island like a piece of furniture will continue with kitchens, the colour and finish of the island will change, for example it will move from the espresso brown that we are seeing now to more of the washed gray, belgian look that is coming in to replace brown.

    To Anonymous, [re the white on furniture]
    I don't know if some whites yellow more over time, whites will yellow period if they do not get light and you have used oil to paint them. Perhaps try BM new Aura line which is durable enough for furniture.

    Starkness depends on the intensity of the colours surrounding the white you are choosing but I'm assuming if it's a 2 year olds room then the colours will be pale.

    Cloud white would work well in this scenario.

  • Kathleen says:

    Maria, just read your article and have a quick question for you regarding hardware with white cabinets. I was just at the hardware store debating between satin nickel or chrome hardware for my stark white cabinets. Kitchen floors are a darker brown wood, appliances are white, walls are beige, and countertops are dark green (ugh, I know, but not in the budget to replace this just yet). I thought I liked the brushed nickel at the store, but when I got home, the chrome seemed to have more "zip" and seemed brighter. Finally, our house is for sale, so this is more for the potential buyer than for us. Which would appeal more these days? Thanks!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    Well if your faucets are chrome, etc then chrome works find for your hardware.

    Chrome comes standard for faucets so it ends up being the finish of choice quite often because satin nickel is more expensive and many times needs to be ordered.

    Go for the chrome, nothing wrong with a little bling!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello….help…I'm a guy doing his first kitchen..I researched kitchens and found Steven Gambrel suits my taste. My question is …with white subway tile and white cabinets, shoukd i go with the darker grout Alabaster or white grout..I intend to tile more than just the backsplash over the range,but also under cabinets..Is this look outdated? Or is it just a personal choice? Thank you for your help..

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    I prefer white on white when it comes to tile but I think it's a personal choice.

  • Anonymous says:

    My husband is going to go nuts, but I think I want to paint our kitchen cabinets white! We have the orangey honey maple cabinets circa 1997 that you've described. Having a hard time getting cambria or granite and tile backsplash to match. Then finding a paintcolor is impossible. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars just to be "ok" with the outcome. Can I paint the cabinets white myself? What color, how to? What color granite and backsplash do you recommend with the honey maple floor still in place?
    I have a contractor coming on Monday so I need immediate assistance (and to convince my hubby). THANK YOU!!

  • Mary Ann says:

    This is the blog I have been searching for. We are painting our small kitchen, which is now totally Linen White. To make the room appear larger I was thinking that the cabinets should match the white appliances, which will remain. Is this right or can they be creamier? I started with Sherwin Williams Snowbound, but I am concerned that it may be too white. The trim in the rest of the house is White Dove, while the walls in the connecting, but separate living and dining rooms are yellow (Oriental Silk). The floor is a mid-tone wood, also to remain.

    We were thinking of painting the walls BMโ€™s Carrington Beige, with a glaze of Butte Rock to warm things up. What color counter and tile back splash would you recommend?

    Many thanks for your help.

    Mary Ann

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Anonymous,
    I would do a black granite countertop and white backsplash to tie in with your cabinets. As long as you don't have a fixed white in your home then Cloud white will work just fine. You can paint them yourself (anything is better than the dated look of those cabinets)

    Dear Mary Ann,
    For more than a one sentance answer (as it sounds like you have a lot of questions) I recommend an on-line consult, email me for details.

    Your white appliances relate to each other so I think it's fine to go creamier for your cabinets.

    I am not a faux finish expert so I cannot answer your question regarding the layering of glazes.

    Without knowing anything else about your house, it's hard for me to recommend anything but the most basic neutral finishes, sorry.
    Happy painting!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,
    I can really use your advice. I am renovating a 60's bungalow. We have an open concept, kitchen and great room. It's one big room facing the back yard with wall to wall windows. I'm thinking of medium dark wood floors throughout. We have custom built ins in the family room (I'll have very little dry wall left). I'm having a large island in walnut with off white kitchen cabinets.I'm considering Bianco Antico for my granite. I've been advised to paint my fireplace built ins and kitchen cabinets the same colour since visually they are in the same space. My friend/designer is insisting on cloud white since it's a colour that I will never get tired of. I do like the colour but I'm afraid it may look to stark. Do you think Cloud white would go with with the dark island and floors or should I go with something creamier. I don't want a yellow overtone.I would really appreciate any suggestions for the colour of my cabinets.


  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Susan,
    Definitely too stark with Brown, I would at least go with Ivory White or Natural Wicker.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Maria for your advice. I like the natural wicker. What about the fire place built ins? My pantrty is in the same sight line. Would Natural Wicker look to creamy for family room built-ins?


  • raspy says:

    Hi Maria,

    I recently discovered your awsome blog and have been soaking in all the great information.

    I am looking at painting my dated oak kitchen cabinets (from 1991!). I have Corian Linen countertops:
    Do you recommend white cabinets with these countertops? If so, is there a specific Benjamin Moore white you would recommend with Corian Linen? (Flooring and backsplash aren't a factor right now, as we may change these in the near future, as money dictates)

  • lisa says:

    Hi Maria,
    I have been following your blog for a while now. We are building a house, and I have definitely found colour challenging. I am in the process of choosing the "perfect" white to go with my medium-dark brown "wenge stained" modern kitchen. I have gotten as far as choosing OC90, but I think this may be a bit dark/intense, or with too much colour (yellow or cream). Do you think CC130 is better? – or can you suggest something a little lighter, more ivory than OC90?
    Thank you for any help you can give.

  • Suzanne says:

    Hi Maria,
    Love this blog. I'm getting ready to order painted white shaker style cabinets. 2 questions: 1)Should I go with the completely flat drawer fronts that are so often used or the ones that are framed out like the cabinets? and 2)White paint or off-white (black granite counters & white subway tile)? Thanks for your help.


  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Susan,
    Too creamy for you would be entirely personal depending on how used to white trim you are. In my opinion, no.

    Dear Liz,
    In the website that countertop looks pink, but it doesn't sound like it is by the description. Yes a white would work but in this case I'd keep it pretty white. Cloud white would be fine here.

    Dear Lisa,
    Vanilla Ice Cream would look great with brown but I like yellow, if you don't want a yellow undertone, then go with Ivory White.

    Dear Suzanne,
    Going with flat fronts is more contemporary so if that's the style of your kitchen, its a good idea.
    White looks the best with black countertops.

  • Lydia says:


    I know how much you love white kitchens but I wonder if you think white kitchens are best for open floor plans too? We are remodeling our 1970's ranch and combining our kitchen and family room into one 'great room'. I can't figure out if white cabinets look too "kitchen-y". We have a brick fireplace and bookcases in the family room that need to be updated; should they be white too? (BTW we have white oak floors I'm planning on staining medium-dark).
    Thanks so much!

  • Patty says:

    Hi Maria,

    I have a home built in 1936 that I am redoing the kitchen. It has all the original cabinets which have been painted a turquoise blue green color – awful. I want to go with a white but need your insight as to what color white. The cabinets have the original hardware which is chrome with red accents. It also has the original cast iron sink (white) which I'm keeping. It has hardwood flooring under some nasty linoleum type stuff that will be coming off and the hardwoods will be refinished. I would like the cabinets and trim white. I will be replacing some nasty countertops with soapstone – black with the white/gray veining. I will also be getting stainless appliances. Could you help with a suggestion for the white for cabinets and trim. Also your thoughts for a wall color. I really want it to look timeless and classic and keep the 1936 character of the house. Thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria –

    I am starting from scratch…well, remodeling a 1950s ranch. I LOVE the Somethings Gotta Give kitchen but I don't want a stark white kitchen.

    What is your favorite white for a north facing kitchen? I will also repeat this white on the trim throughout the house.

    We will be installing hardwood floors throughout – classic looking, in light brown (not blonde).



  • Pattie Estrada says:

    Hi! I just stumbled across your blog and already Im sure my new house is going to benefit from it! Question: I am remodeling the master bedroom with a more contemporary feel, dark woods, brushed nickel, travertine tile… but I love the feel of a country kitchen with white cabinets and a big wonderful farmhouse sink. Im not sure I should really change styles so dramatically… what are your thoughts?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Lydia,
    White kitchens are great with open floor plans. And yes I would repeat the white in the millwork in the great room.

    If your cabinets are black then I would stick to white for the cabinets (vs. creamy) Cloud white would be good here. In terms of the wall colour, I can't say without knowing what colour your furniture is, etc.

    Hi Jen,
    Use White Dove. Then it won't be stark.

    I have seen that combination in many high end homes, go for it!

  • Christine says:

    Hello! I am a lover of creamy white cabinets and have LOVED the Somethings gotta give kichen forever (bough the dvd just so I could have a copy of the kitchen!) Here is my question to you, my floors are light maple wood, my island is a black shiny granite and my cabinets will soon be a creamy white. First question, since all the trim work in my house is a nice creamy white do you recommed I go with that same color for the cabinets or should I go with a differanct tone of creamy white slightly differant? Second, I LOVE the honed granite island, but since my black granite island is only seven years old and my husband would never give the green light to replace it- is there any way to inexpensively do a treatment on the shiny polished granite to get that honed granit look? Thanks so much!!

  • Caralee says:

    Wow! Who knew picking white could be so trying…. Thanks for your forum.

    My question is similar to Christine's. I am building a new kitchen in our home. One wall will be broken down to create an open plan with the dining room, which itself flows into the living room.

    The walls in the living room and dining room are painted BM Boulevard and my ceilings and trim are BM Cloud White.

    Do I repeat Cloud White for the cabinetry? Other colours I am considering are BM Dune White and BM White Down. I have also looked at a few more grayish whites, but I want the whitest kitchen possible without clashing with my Boulevard walls and Cloud White ceilings.

    Thank you so much in advance of your response!

  • Ashley says:

    Hi Maria – Hope you remember – I am the owner of the 1980's kitchen you've posted on this site which is never coming back. Good news is we're 'breaking ground' on a full kitchen remodel in January. Replacing the narrow strip golden oak floors in Kitchen & eat in area with 3 1/4 inch natural Maple in the entire area and extending to the living room, entry and dining room. Leaning towards espresso stained cherry cabinets in a shaker door style with wide stiles (3 1/4" stiles). Likely finishing with a creamy granite counter (actually like the look of new venetian gold) and the Restoration hardware Benson pendants over the island (clearly my horrible fluorescent lights are outta there). Hardware will be a more traditional pull (not the bars you see on some espresso shaker style cabs). Trimwork in house will be painted white (adios golden oak!). I'd like to accessorize with a natural bamboo roman shade in the window above the sink, and a dash and albert striped rug with sage greens & blues.

    I've not seen this combination of light floors with dark cabinets in many homes these days. I usually see the opposite (dark floors, white cabs) Scouring the web for photos I've found 1. Maybe two, but none that deliver the transitional zen-like style I'm looking for. I don't want super modern, nor super traditional, nor super-asian. What are your thoughts on the approach and my combination of selections?

  • painted lady says:

    Hi Maria,
    I need some advice on Donald Kaufman paint: Our kitchen has 1920's painted cabinets, gray/white marble 12"x18" slab floors, white/pale gray marble counter tops and back splashes as well as some stainless counters and back splashes and stainless appliances. I'd like to use DK paint b/c I find the full spectrum idea appealing. I tried a sample of DK 97 and when it dried, it was too brown(like wet Atlantic BEACH SAND) and DKC which looked like a pale gray taupe on the card, came up like coffee with a lot of milk-very warm beige w. a hint of pink and yellow. The adjoining dining room is a BM#222, which reads as dijon on the walls. Right now, the kitchen is the palest value on the BM gold strip, and it's not good-a blah parachment. Any suggestions?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Christine,
    Yes I would continue your trim colour on your cabinets, it'll give you the best flow. (sorry can't advise you on the countertop since I'm not a kitchen designer).

    If you want the whitest kitchen without being a blue white, it's the best plan to continue with Cloud White. As long as you are paying attention to your fixed whites, that colour works.

    Dear Ashley,
    If you are doing dark cabinets you need to create a contrast with the lighter floors or it will get to dark (like a cave). I like the light countertop idea and love wide shakers!
    Send me a photo when it's done!!

    Dear painted lady,
    It's hard for me to give you advice here because DK is the one set of paint samples I don't have. Obviously full spectrum paint only looks wonderful if it is the right colour in the first place (as you know). It sounds like you are looking for a neutral taupy/gray to tie in with your finishes, so maybe try revere pewter or Manchester Tan. A yellow would look great in that kitchen too if that's what you are also considering. Try BM Barley,

    Hope this helps,

  • Anonymous says:


    We are undertaking a kitchen remodel and are also quite impressed with the "look" of the Something's Gotta Give kitchen. We have selected Amazon Green Caesarstone countertop material and like the look of OC-130 BM Cloud White for the Shaker-style Cabinets and HC-45 BM Shaker Beige for the walls. The backsplash will be 2×6 Subway tiles (handpainted cracked finish) in a neutral light beige color similar in color to Shaker Beige. We have 9' ceilings with Crown Molding, trim and doors that will be Cloud White. The adjoining b'fast room will carry the same wall and trim colors. Question: what are your thoughts on the ceiling color? We've seen ceilings with a softer shade of the wall color or slightly darker than the trims and we want to set off the molding. We are thinking about a slightly lighter color than Shaker Beige but slightly darker than Cloud White, such as BM Navajo White or BM Linen White. Comments?
    Thanks, Deb & Bob

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Deb & Bob,
    If you want a softer shade than the wall colour I would do them 1/2 strength of shaker beige. Or Cloud white. The ceiling will be flat while the trim will have some shine so it will not look exactly the same anyway, for that reason.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,

    I am soooo glad I found your blog! I need your help!!! I am also painting my honey oak kitchen cabinets white, and have lost sleep over this. There are so many whites to choose from. I am getting laminate countertops in a travertine tile "look", and I am putting travertine tiles in for the backsplash (2" x 2"), with a narrow bullnose and glass accent (browns & creams) in the middle. The floor is light terricotta tile (no option to replace right now). The trim is a stark white. Which white should I go with for the cabinets? Thank you so much!! Leanne

  • Anonymous says:


    So glad I found your blog. I've been updating a 1960's ranch. Have cabinets that I just painted "BM white dove". Walls have wainscotting on lower half, painted BM white dove). "BM Nantucket gray" on upper wall. Olive green punches of color throughout room keep the eye moving and make the kitchen cheerful i/o stark white, like before.

    Floor and counters are taupe-colored. BM Smokey taupe is an excellent match to counter and flooring (smokey taupe on walls in adjoining room).

    Plan subway tile on backsplash. Thanks for the idea! I would have run from it otherwise before I found your blog.

    All appliances are white (stove and DW have black doors). Glass-top wrought iron table and chairs in nook.

    Problem is hardware. Tried chrome, brushed nickel, weathered bronze, and don't like the look… hate brass. Should the hardware be black/wrought iron, do you recommend a simple pattern or birdcage style? (before hardware, hinges also ,were the mass produced hammered black pulls with the points at each end.

    New doors, fresh paint on every surface, etc. already made a huge improvement. Just need to add the hardware to finish… Please help and thanks again for your blog!!!

  • Tiziana says:

    Hi Maria,

    I am so glad I've found you. I was hoping you could help me. I am in the process of getting a new kitchen made. I am getting a white kitchen made with an island that will be a dark chocolate stain. My floors will be a medium dark stain. I really like the carrara "c" marble (one with a more white base). I ask my kitchen manufacturer to make me a sample door – decorator's white AND IT IS AWFUL. It just looks wrong. Any ideas what colour would be better for the white cabinets? How about the walls and trim (this colour will ultimately have to go around the whole house). Also, would you carry the carrara mable up to the backsplash or would you do a tile backsplash? As you can see, I need quite a bit of help.

    Also, do you do private consult? If so, can you provide more detail?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Anonymous,
    I can see your dilemma, I would not choose a stark white (but I would recommend that you paint the trim the same colour as the cabinets) I would suggest OC-50 white down for your cabinets. Not too white and not too yellow.

    2nd question,
    I like the black hardware plan as it would look good with your taupe counters and flooring. Cabinet hardware should be chosen based on the style of the door so it's hard for me to say, the birdcage ones might be too traditional though, keep it simple with one knob then they are easy to change down the road.

    Hi Tiziana,
    A one hour consult would answer all your questions and give you the confidence to proceed with your paint colours. Since you are doing brown floors and island your cabinet colour cannot be a screaming white! Email me for more details.

  • Fran says:

    Maria, I am loving your blog! After testing paint colors (like you showed us) I have carefully chosen BM Powell Buff as the color for the "public spaces" in my home, including the kitchen. Could you please recommend a trim color to use with Powell Buff that I can also use for the cabinet color and the beadboard that covers part of the kitchen walls? I'm dreaming of something creamy off-white that will look simply beautiful with the Powell Buff. I'm not a fan of bright white and I rather like the yellowy undertones.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a beautiful white kitchen that is only about 2 years old. The cabinets are maple, painted white, and the paint is chipping in some areas. It's mostly in the highly used cabinets (around the area where the doors meet) and the ones that are right next to the dishwasher/sink (these are really in bad shape, in some places I could pull the paint right off). I'm assuming it's b/c they were poorly made or painted because there should be no reason for the amount of damage to them in a such a short time. I'd like to repair the ones that are damaged and prevent the others from future damage. Do you think another coat of paint will do it, or is there a product that I can apply over the cabinets to keep this from happening?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Fran,
    Ivory white will work great with Powell Buff, it's a great cream colour!

    Hi Anonymous,
    Sadly the best solution is to sand them down the best you can and apply an oil based primer which is what should have happened prior to the cabinets being painted.
    Hope this helps!

  • Miki says:

    Hi Maria! I am planning on matching my cabinets to the wainscoting that runs all through my house in bright white but my question is what do you suggest for the backsplash if I want to go with honed black granite countertops? Im having trouble finding pictures where these beautiful bright white kitchens tie into the other colors in the house. It seems that all the houses with these kitchens are mostly white. My walls everywhere are Sherwin Williams Anew Grey. Thanks!

  • J says:

    Hi Maria.
    I am refacing our kitchen cabinets and getting new countertops. The countertop I picked is Silestone, Mountain Mist. I'm not the best at describing color, but I would say it is dark grey/brown earth tone with specks of off white and black. Should I stick with white or off white cabinets? Also, I think I want a little color on the walls of our North facing kitchen, but probably a neutral, or bright green or red. What would you suggest? The color will mostly be above the cabinets and on the wall opposite the sink above a white chair rail. The rest of my house is white now. This is the first place I'm picking color.

  • Renee says:

    Hi Maria,
    I have a newer kitchen with maple cabinets, black granite countertops that have grey/green in them. The backsplash is gold travertine that matches the gold travertine floors. These were the previous owners choices and I don't like any of them. I almost didn't buy the house because of the kitchen. I was hoping I could work with the granite and paint the cabinets replace the floors and backsplash. The trim through out the house is navajo white, should I paint the cabinets that color? The kitchen is part of a great room and the other side of the great room has a wall of maple cabinets should those be painted the same as the kitchen? Any suggestions on backsplash and floors? All of the appliances are Stainless Steel. Should I paint my island a darker color? I love that look! I hope someday my house color palette will have blues greens creams whites and tans.

  • amym says:

    Hi Maria-
    I have been searching the web for advice on white kitchen color ideas and your blog is by far the best.
    Here is my situation: I just purchased cabinets from Home Depot. Thomasville Linden in a Pearl painted finish – basically a warm off-white. I have several glass mullion doors on the cabinets and an island in the same color with bead-board. I am thinking about doing a beadboard backsplash. The pulls and knobs are Antique Pewter. I will have stainless steel appliances.

    My floors are a 5" rustic walnut in a medium dark finish. My kitchen table is a antique white round pedestal with napolean chairs a la Pottery Barn. I am thinking of purchasing black schoolhouse bar stools and a black wine bar buffet.

    My question is, I am at a loss regarding a granite choice. Any suggestions? I am afraid to go with honed black because it might make the kitchen too cool looking. Was thinking of Giallo Ornamental but I thought it looked too gold and may not be enough of a contrast. I was thinking of painting the walls a shade of green. Any suggestons? The rooms off the kitchen are painted BM Spiced Pumpkin and BM Cameo White. Thanks so much in advance for your help.

  • doublel says:

    Dear Maria, I found your webpage and haven't left the website all day. We are updating our old 80's kitchen too. I am getting white cabinets with mocha glazed. We like maroon cahiba/antique brown granite countertop. How do you feel about a black granite composite sink instead of stainless steel? Our applicances are stainless steel/black.
    Also, must the faucet match the knobs on the cabinets? We want bronzy circle knobs, but prefer a brushed stainless steel faucet

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,
    I have the pickled almost pink coloured cabinets in the kitchen and would like to paint them white with the brown antique worn look in the corners.
    The back splash is in natural stone, taupe/beige colours. The flooring is something I'll address later as they have the same salmon/pnk tones.
    The walls are a soft yellow colour. Can you help me with picking the colors and giving me a brief explanation on how to achieve the look. I realize the cupboards need to be washed and sanded and primed, but then what?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Miki,
    Your backsplash needs to be the same bright white as your cabinets, any creamier and it will look wrong! That cream should then relate to something else in your kitchen so stick to white!

    Hi J,
    With that silestone, I would try Manchester Tan, HC-81.

    Hi Renee,
    With that many questions, I would need to see photos and would recommend a quick on-line consult. email me for more details at [email protected]

    Hi Amym,
    I like the black, as long as you balance with warm and cool it would work. Plus it would relate to the furniture you are buying. If you want a green in your kitchen I would match it to an existing green in your home decor, then the colour will relate and create flow instead of being right out of no where!

    Hi Doublel,
    The bronze knobs should relate to something in the kitchen or they would seem wrong.

    Not crazy about the black sink but that's just my taste, it seems like it would relate to what's happening in your kitchen from what you've described.

    Hi Anonymous,
    I'm sorry I am not an expert in achieve a layered glazed look, a paint store should be able to help you achieve this look!

    Hope this helps!

  • Hong says:

    Dear Maria,
    we have painted our kitchen cabinets with Sherwin Williams Antique White; we used oiled broze knobs. but the cabinates looked more yellow than i expected. would you please suggest what colour back splash and granite counter top i use to make the cabninets less yellow. thank you so much!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Hong,
    I would do a dark chocolate brown granite so it creates contrast. The backsplash should relate either to the countertop or be creamy so it relates to the cabinet colour.

    I'm not a big fan of a dark backsplash but a lot of people like it, especially if their kitchen is already light. Since you don't want any more cream then maybe something to coordinate with the counter would be your choice.

    Why don't you wait until the granite is installed before you make the decision on the backsplash, this way you can look at them with the granite installed and it'll be easier to decide which look you prefer.

  • Hong says:

    Dear Maria, Thank you so much for your advise! have a good weekend.

  • muskokamum says:

    Hi Maria,
    So relieved to find this site and get an educated opinion! We're building a house and are overwhelmed with all the decisions! Our kitchen is open to breakfast nook and family room. Right now, we have planned white cabinets with silestone Black Anubis counter and the island will be black with anitque gold silestone counter. Appliances are stainless steel and hardware is black. Floor is Trillium 'moka java' engineered hardwood. We are STUCK on BACKSPLASH! Is it necessary? (our cooktop is in the island) Can we just do a short silestone backsplash or should we tile? I'm thinking white subway tiles but my husband is concerned it might look too stark. I don't want to loose the contrast btwn cabinets and counter. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am thinking of remodeling my kitchen. I saw a photo of a kitchen with creamy white cabinets, and white with gray accented marbled countertops. The walls were a burgendy color. I love the contrast. I was wondering what color floor would go best with it. I prefer to use a type of tile or stone floor in the kitchen. Thank you!

  • Lori B says:

    Hi Maria!

    So happy I found this blog! I see you have suggested a lot of great white paints, just wondering if you have a good suggestion for me. I have already primed the cabinets, now trying to make up my mind on a white paint. My walls are BM Shaker Beige, the floors are not done yet but will be fairly dark (probably stained concrete), and trim color is BM simply white. Simply white seemed a little bright white for my taste, but I don't want too much color in the white either. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  • DNA says:

    Hi Maria. Love, love, love your blog. I am painting the common areas of our new home BM Delaware putty, and the ceilings BM 0c-6. I am desperate for a white trim paint color to use throughout the house (I'm losing my mind and driving my hubby crazy), as well as a nice white kitchen cabinet color (we have oak right now, yuck) that's similar to the Something's Gotta Give kitchen color. We have butterscotch oak hardwoods throughout the house, and plan to put them in the kitchen as well with butcherblock counters from Ikea. So many decisions…. you truly do have a gift ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, we purchased a home with 80's oak cabinets and oak trim throughout the home. I am looking to paint my kitchen cabinets all white or complementing with the bottom ones black (similar to ap pic you have posted with the bottmo cabinets chocolate, top cream). Do you think that they will compete too much with oak trim? or will the kitchen be it's own identity?

  • Anonymous says:

    So glad to find this great resource. I have a 1980's kitchen that has melamine cabinets with a wood trim. I have added bronzed knobs to make them look a little better but they are still ugly. I have always wanted to try and paint them but am to nervous to completely ruin them and wouldn't know how to go about it or what color to even use. I do have a brown/caramel granite counter top and my walls are roxbury caramel. Any suggestions?

  • Sarah says:

    Maria, I am so happy to have found your blog. I think you make some amazing suggestions that I would have never though of.

    Last year we purchase a home built in 1980's. The upstairs is great for my kids, but the downstairs is the problem because it is all open. I love it, but it hard to coordinate. When you enter the house, the entryway is open to the dining and living room and stairwell. The dining and hall walls are cottonseed (behr paint) and the living room is dark paneling which I want to paint. These rooms have a beige carpet that seems to have a yellow undertone (so it works well with the walls). The kitchen is open through a doorway that can be seen from the front door. The main trouble is that the beige kitchen tile is very pink. We currently have a mix of appliances (I am not sworn to any of them so I am open). Is there any colors that you think might work (for the cabinets and countertops)that can tie the tile with the yellow in the rest of the house or do we have to replace the floor?

  • Anonymous says:

    Great blog. I'm one of those "men" who had to be told by someone other than my wife that our 80's oak kitchen cabinets needed to be painted. We like the Benjamin Moore's OC-92 Mannequin Cream cabinets in the picture on your website with similar countertops, wall tile, brushed nickel hardware, stainless appliances and new hardwood floors (gunstock). Our adjacent rooms are varying shades of darker beiges but our kitchen is currently gold. Is there any complimentary paint color for the kitchen besides the light green in the website picture with the cream cabinets? Thanks for your help.

  • jane says:

    I need help! I am painting my kitchen cabinets creamy white, and I can't decide on a color. I love BM white dove, but my trim throughout my 1918 home is acadia white. I will have a calcutta gold island countertop and black/grey soapstone perimeter counters. We have a tile bachsplash that reads pretty white. Do I need to paint my cabinets the same color as my trim or will BM white dove work? Any suggestions? I think the wall color will be BM rich cream.

  • Anonymous says:

    O.K. I have to know – why not cloud white? Please comment Maria. I have to know.
    Thanks from Saskatchewan!

  • Anonymous says:

    P.S. Saskatchewan was refering to your 5 questions to consider when choosing a kitchen color. What do you think if cloud white is the cabinet color and the trim color in a house?
    Thanks! Love this blog!!

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Muskokamum,
    The white subway tiles will relate to the white kitchen so keep going. Backsplash tile is totally overrated, I personally think you should keep it simple. DO NOT add the 4" splash!!

    Hi Anonymous,
    If you prefer a tile with this kind of kitchen than I would look for something in the same gray tones of the marble counters.

    Hi Lori B,
    Just go with Cloud White if your trim is Simply white, it's so close and the Cloud White is a touch warmer so it'll look good.

    Hi DNA.
    YOu didn't say what your countertops were in this kitchen, if they are really dark go for Ivory white, if they are light, Cloud White would be white and warm enough.

    Hi Anonymous.
    Unless the oak trim is fabulous and beautiful and you love it, I would paint it out as well. It belongs in that era so it would look more updated if you painted it.

    Hi Anonymous,
    Regarding your melamine cabinets, I would want to see photos before I could make a suggestion (email me for a 1/2 hour rate).

    Hi Sarah,
    Your dilemma would also require a consult to get it right I would need to see photos. My general advice would be to stick to green or warm gray tones so that you aren't clashing with the tile.

    Hi Anonymous,
    I never like choosing a colour from the sky without knowing what else is happening for colour in your house. I'm glad you came around to painting the cabinets though, you'll have a new kitchen when you are done, it always amazes me how fabulous the transformation is! What colour is the furniture in the great room or living room? that's always one place to look for the wall colour in another room, this way you create some flow because the colour isn't coming from no-where!
    Hope this helps!

    Dear Jane,
    I would stick to your trim colour for the cabinets, it will look the best (unless you really don't like it).

    Dear Anonymous,
    Cloud White is not a NEVER TO BE USED white, my point in that post was that it should NOT BE USED as a go-to paint colour, blindly and automatically chosen without considering the 'fixed whites' already existing in a home. If you don't have that issue and need a white, it's a good warm, off-white without being too yellow so go for it!


  • Anonymous says:

    I have the 90's ginger coloured wood shaker cabinets in my kitchen. i LOVE white kitchens BUT my kitchen currently has white appliances and a white countertop (not our choice…) WE will be painting the dining / living rooms (which have sight lines to the kitchen) OC-2 pale almond.

    What would you suggest for kitchen wall colour and cabinetry colour? i can't WAIT to paint them this spring!

  • Anonymous says:

    Maria, I am remodeling my kitchen with Kraftmaid Cabinets in Canvas, which I would describe as a creamy white. I hope to find a light color granite countertop in whites, or creamy whites. Can you suggest a color for my walls? White or otherwise? My flooring will be Pergo Red Praire Pine. Thank you!

  • Virginia Merwin says:

    Hi Maria –

    Thank you for your blog. I love your inspiration kitchen from House Beautiful. We're buying a new house and will put dk brown wood/laminate flooring into this small kitchen and paint the cabinets white. Also we will add stainless counter-depth refrigerator and new countertop probably in honed black granite. Should we go with cloud white, mentioned in the house beautiful article, for the cabinet color or is there another color of white you would recommend? Also, do you have a favorite wood flooring? We're open to laminate or hard wood.

    Here's the link to a few pics of the house/kitchen:

    Thanks for your help!!

  • Beth says:

    Okay, seriously? Your blog is, like, my own personal suicide hotline from my kitchen remodel materials decision agony.

    I, too, adore white. It makes me feel so good. When we moved into this 1975'ish house, we scraped the wallpaper, yanked the heavy drapes (a Waverly bomb exploded in this home), and painted. I painted the den, living room, and kitchen white. Kitchen: Mountain Peak. Den ended up being a custom color because of how many times I took it back to the Benjamin Moore store to remix it to approximate a very pale taupe, but the original looked pink; and the living room is Super White with a (gasp!) Hot Spice accent wall which will promptly be painted over since I read your post about accent walls.

    Yes, I love the white. And then Revere Pewter entered my life. We painted the master bath RP with crisp white trim, and I feel so airy in that room. The den is also RP now, and it should come as no shock to me that some force beyond my control chose a pewter-stain/wash cabinet for the kitchen we're finally remodeling. (The dark, 70's wood cabinets we refreshed with black paint in 04 just finally wore out.)

    So I'm having a very, very hard time staying on track with the white love. I keep trying to restrain myself from using more black (mantle in adjoining den was painted black, and I painted white and black stripes on the paneling behind the book cases); but the cabinets look gorgeous with the darker granites. I need to hire someone to order my white quartz countertops for me next week so I don't do something stupid!

    Thanks for listening! ACK! I'm losing it!


  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria –

    I love your blog. I'm so glad I came upon it when I did. I'm trying to pick colors for a new house. My trim is BM White Dove and I have dark hardwood floors (brown with black in it). I can't decide on the kitchen cabinet color. Do I paint the cabinets White Dove or go with a cream colored paint? I'm concerned about the grey undertones of the White Dove – I don't want anything to look dirty or dingy. Also, with either cabinet color, what color should I paint the walls? Your advice is most appreciated!


  • Linda says:


    Just when I thought that it was smooth sailing, now I have to pick a trim color.

    Should I match the trim color to my white appliances or should I match the trim to the more yellow beige of the floors, countertop, backsplash and walls ( Shaker Beige ).

    Currently the trim is Oxford White CC-30 but now that I have changed the wall color, tiles and backsplash it seems a little too white.

    BTW. Great site. Love all the comments as well as the great knowledgeable advice.


  • Anonymous says:

    Great blog. I'd appreciate some colour advice. In our kitchen we have antique white cabinets, a tongue and groove pine ceiling (minwax putitan pine), reddish brown ceramic tile floor, and new giallo ornamental granite counters with mostly browns and gold and white and a bit of gray; I would like to choose a tile backsplash and new wall colour and was thinking earthy tones. The living room and dining room are Shaker Beige so I'd like something different. I've checked out 4×4" travertine for the backsplash but that seems too light beside the counter and maybe too pink against the white cabinets. I think that white subway tile would be too much white, and probably whiter than the antique white cabinets. Do you have any advice re tile choice and wall colour? Thanks!!

  • Barbara says:

    We have a very small one-wall kitchen. We chose a white and stainless steel stove. It's very white. Do you think white cabinets with walnut butcher block counters would look okay? What color for the floor? I wanted a pale yellow wall. Does that sounds strange? I'm terrible at picking designs and colors. I wish you lived near me!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi 90's Ginger Coloured Cabinets,
    An off-white like Cloud white would work here, wall colour should be chosen based on colours that you're decorating with in your home, that will determine whether the colour has a yellow, red or green undertone to it.

    Dear Kraftmaid Cabinets,
    See advice above re: wall colour. To pick a colour without knowing what colours are in your house would be adding an opinion without any reason which would not help you further.

    Hi Virginia,
    If your countertop is black, cloud white is a good white without being too white.

    Hi Beth,
    Your story made me giggle!! Get those white countertops quick!!

    Dear White Dove,
    Your cabinets will not look gray as all colours technically get 'twice as bright' anyway. Keep the cabinets the same.

    HI Linda,
    A colour like oxford would start looking stark with warmer, earthier tones! Change it to Mountain Peak White.

    Hi Antique cabinets,
    I would NOT introduce a backsplash tile in a whiter white that you don't have already in your kitchen. I would not introduce the travertine for the reason you gave, keep it cream to match the cabinets.

    That granite would look good with a yellow beige like Monroe Bisque or Powell Buff.

    Dear Barbara,
    White would be absolutely fine with your counters, how about a wood floor to relate to the counters?
    Pale yellow like Filtered Sunlight would be nice. I always love yellow!


  • Barbara says:

    Thank you so much, we are taking your advice on the floors. If the rest of our house is a light cream with an antique white trim, is it okay to use plain white for our kitchen cabinets (the white matches the appliances) since our kitchen is just one wall? Our house is small, built in 1906. The wood butcher block countertop will match the walnut floors throughout most of the house and I think the pale yellow will pull everything together. Just thought I should double check before ordering the white cabinets after reading more of your blog. You are a gift to those of us who are color challenged!

  • Maria Killam says:

    No, go with the same colour as the trim in the rest of your house, just like I ignore white vinyl windows when choosing the trim colour that is appropriate in a clients home, it's the same with the white appliances. They are white, they don't come in cream, so I ignore them when it comes to the right white on the cabinets!

  • Barbara says:

    Thank you so much!!!! Your advice has been incredibly helpful! We're going to go with the antique white cabinets.

  • Anna says:

    Dear Maria, We are updating the kitchen in our 1970's colonial. We chose creamy cabinet with a carmel glaze and dark chocolate brown corian counter top. We currently have maple laminate and white appliances. We are stuck on hardware and perhaps on backsplash tile. Thought 4 inch square creamy/taupe tile??? Had originally wanted subway but didn't see a cream one. Were thinking bronze, copper, or dark silver cup pull and debating between bird cage or a circle knob? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Linda says:

    I love your blog. In the picture with the farmhouse sinks, what color are the cabinets there. They are white, but they dont seem stark white. My home was built in 1994 and I have outdate arch cabinets.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear maria,

    Love, love, love your white kitchen! We are planning on painting ours white. My kitchen is open to the family room area. What type of fireplace surround would you suggest for my fireplace. I need something that would complement the white cabinets and dark hardwood floors. I would love any suggestions you might have.

    Sincerely, Audrey

  • Liz says:

    We are remodeling our kitchen and putting in new white cabinets. We already have newer white appliances and will have a natural oak floor. I am debating about the backsplash. I would love to use glass tile accents in blue but am not sure if it is too bold. I also don't know if I should do a few tiles in blue or a whole varigated blue backsplash. I also wanted to paint the walls light yellow but am unsure if that would match with the blue. Do you have any ideas? Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria! If I go with BM acadia white (same as BM ivory white) for my cabinets and trim, what color walls would look nice if I want to have an all white scheme. Any other suggestions. The walls in the adjoining room are BM desert tan. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,

    I have decided on acadia white (ivory white) for my cabinets and trim. What color white would look good for the walls if I keep the white theme? The adjoining room has BM desrt tan on the walls, and you can see them from the kitchen. My countertops are calcatta gold (island) and blackish soapstone (perimeter). Thanks!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Anna,
    Do NOT go with Taupe tile, it will look like a different colour from the chocolate brown counter and then you'll have 3 different colours in the kitchen that do not relate to each other. Cream tile, keep it simple period.

    If you want your kitchen to look more french country go with the cage and the cup pull. I like the idea of oil rubbed bronze to relate to the cabinets.

    Hi Linda,
    I would say they are at least last Ivory White because if you compare them to the white porcelain sinks they are creamier than an off-white.

    HI Audrey,
    It would be impossible for anyone to pick a fireplace surround for you without seeing your space.

    Yellow and blue are complementary colours so I don't see why you couldn't do that combination in your kitchen. Personally I would bring in blue vases and pots and keep your backsplash neutral and white but that's because I've seen too many outdated accent tiles.

    If you plan to live in the house for another 10 years and you love blue then go for it!

    Dear Anonymous,
    I would look for a colour already existing in your house, most colours will look good with Ivory white. If you want them to be white but you've painted a midtone like Desert Tan in other rooms you might run the risk of the kitchen looking unpainted. But if you really want white, go with White down.


  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Maria,

    I seem to be stuck with my decision on new kitchen cabinets. I have newer white appliances, white woodwork and doors throughout the house, and natural oak floors. At first I wanted to put white painted wood cabinets (not thermafoil) in the kitchen, but I have noticed that everything new is off-white with stainless appliances. I found an off-white maple cabinet that has a glaze on it that makes the definitions of the molding on the doors pop. I like the look of it, but am unsure with my white appliances. I have looked through countless magazines for a picture of off-white cabinets with white appliances, but have only found one or two. Some cabinet professionals have also told me that stark white cabinets are out of style, so I'm not sure what to do. Do you think white appliances would look that out of place with off-white appliances? Thank you so much for your time.


  • Anonymous says:

    Oops, I meant white appliances with off-white cabinets in that last sentence.


  • Emily Ucrainet says:

    Dear Maria,

    We will be renovating out 1969 kitchen soon, on a VERY limited budget. We are installing white kitchen cabinets that are not very old, although they are from another kitchen. They have an inlay (is that the word?) on them so they look decent.

    The rest of the decor (living/dining room, which you can see from the kitchen) is a tuscan style. Darker wood furniture, dark browns, red, burnt fall colours.

    The only thing that has to remain the same in the kitchen is the window trim, Behr white (can't remember the name, but it's the whitest white there is). The appliances are white. The cabinets will be white.

    The colours I need advice on are: wall paint, counters, floor (will be tile). I need these colours to look good with the white cabinets, but also look good with the tuscan & darker colours in the living/dining room.

    Your advice is much appreciated!

    ps. I am from Port Coquitlam BC…. Canada owns hockey! Yay!!!

  • muskokamum says:

    Hi Maria – in desperate, ASAP need of your incredible talent!! We're building a house and our kitchen is open to nook and family room – floors are "moka java", dark oak, counters are gallo ornamental granite (dark and light brown with white, cream, and 'goldish' hues). Backsplash will be white/off-white subway tiles. Walls are Grant Beige and I CANNOT choose a BM white for the cabinets. I am losing my mind over this. We got a sample of BM Swiss Coffee from our cabinet maker, but due to the oil based lacquer it lends a slightly 'yellower' tone that I want. Now am thinking perhaps Simply White or White Dove? I want it to be white (not yellowish) but not too stark. I love a colour on the BM chip, but not when the sample is made up.
    We need to decide this by Monday morning so I realize this is not much time for you to respond – just praying you see this before then. Thanks so much for your time!!

  • Courtney says:

    Hi Maria,

    I am in love with this blog! I have actually started to understand color! With that being said I am still "hurting" in that department. White is my color of choice for the cabinets, but I am having the hardest time choosing the white as I am saddled with white appliances. I thought about nantucket grey for the cabinets but my husband hated the sample board. Currently my kitchen is in a primed holding pattern! hahaha

    I found this kitchen (,,1183826,00.html ) and just love the wall and cabinet color combo, it is just what I have been envisioning for my kitchen. A white that is soft and creamy but not yellow or dingy. Can you guess what they used for the cabinets and wall colors? Or offer a suggestion for a similar combo.

    Oh almost forgot, my countertops are faux black granite formica and my floor is honey oak pergo.

    Thanks so much for your help!


  • Kitty says:

    Hi Maria,
    I have antique white cabinets, a cream subway tile to match, giallo ornamentale counters and a red-brown terra cotta ceramic tile on the floor. The ceiling is natural tongue and groove pine. The kitchen has lots of sunlight. The adjoining diningroom and livingroom are painted Shaker Beige. I painted the kitchen Monroe Bisque and it seemed too orange-gold. I re-painted with Baffin Island and it still seems gold, with green undertones, especially next to the pine ceiling and trim. Can you suggest a BM colour that would make it less gold, and that would go well with the Shaker Beige? Thanks for your help; I love reading your blog.

  • Mary says:

    Hi Maria,
    Can you paint the cabinets white when there is no light in the room?
    You had posted once that a light color would never come to life in a dark room. I have no windows in my kitchen, it is an EXTREMELY dark room. We have installed under cabinet lighting, above cabinet lighting and recessed lights. So our only light is artificial.
    Would white cabinets work in my kitchen? Would it lighten up the space?

  • Michele Morgan says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am now officially addicted to your blog. I LOVE it.

    I have the same questions as Mary above about the use of white kitchen cabinets in space with little natural light. I was planning on white or black base cabinets, a white countertop that is or mimics carerra marble, and glass front wall cabinets. I have a small kitchen we recentlyopened up to the small diningroom. I will also be trimming the hedges that block out light in our diningroom. Guess after that I better get some window treatments. I've kept it this way so I can run in kitchen scanity clothed at night without worring about the neighbors- teehee. They are in their eighties so they are prob asleep anyway.

    I'll probably contact you and pay you for color consultation down the road bc I have alot of decorating and repainting to do. I also have a mint green house. It's vinyl. I have been tempted to paint the brick brown and make the whole thing one big andes mint. But I'm scared to. My hairdresser who flips houses with his partner suggested it years ago.

    Again, LOVE your blog!!!!

  • Michele Morgan says:

    Love your blog. I have the same question as Maria.

    Hopefully once I get my kitchen cabinet quotes I'll be able to afford to hire you to color consult with me. I have many questions about tons of different issues in my home.


  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Anonymous,
    When you saw the 2 photos that had off-white cabinets with white appliances did you like the look? The main thing is you have to like it. People do them either way and it works in my opinion. Although I would probably go for an off-white whether it lands up being a linen colour or neutral soft gray, it really depends on what's going on in your house.

    For anyone to say white cabinets are out of style is not taking the context of the kitchen into consideration.

    Hi Emily,
    It is impossible for me to suggest colours for you unless I see your furniture, and all the other finishes in your house, email me for my consultation rates, [email protected]

    Hi Courtney,
    Ivory white is a nice creamy white, try that one.

    Hi Kitty,
    Without being in your space it's hard for me to help you as I can't image Baffin Island going gold but that is why I love colour, you can't pin it down, you must have some interesting lighting happening there!

    Hi Michele and Mary,
    When I'm talking about light colours in dark spaces I mean wall colour. White cabinets would certainly lighten up a dark kitchen but I would still suggest any colour other than white for the walls. Also I would never paint the cabinets the same colour as the walls, I like cabinetry to look different from the wall colour.

    Re your house colour, I'm not sure what you mean to make your house one big andes mint?


  • Kitty says:

    Thanks, Maria. Yes, the lighting is everything. The Baffin Island on the sunniest wall looks completely different from the other walls and is very gold. I'm thinking I might try painting a poster board with Smokey Taupe to see if that is a pleasing colour on the sunniest wall, (and the other walls) and whether that looks good with the giallo ornamentale. I love the antique white cabinets with the matching subway tile – it should be so simple to find a paint colour to tie in with the cream/grey/brown counter. But the Shaker Beige in the adjoining dining room seems to have a pinkish undertone, so it clashes with the gold of the Baffin Island. I wish you lived closer to Ottawa! Thanks for your help.

  • Granny says:

    I'm also happy that I've found this blog. I'm in the process of redoing my kitchen. The new laminate floor is Wild Jatoba (the same as Brazilian Cherry). I have a matching table and sideboard – both with cherry tops and the rest of the wood is distressed green/blue wood. The chairs are upholstered with a creamy light goldish textured fabric. Tomorrow my granite countertop will be installed. It's Lady's Dream and should look beautiful with the furniture. I'm thinking about 6×6 travertine tiles for the backsplash in a color called Travertino Beige that is really more gold than beige. The trim and door in my kitchen are Sherwin Williams Extra White and the blinds are also white. I would love to have white cabinets and can't imagine anything else since I have the white trim/blinds, but am wondering what white will look like with the Lady's Dream (green, peach, gold, burgundy, brown). If white will work, what shade of Benjamin Moore paint would you recommend? I'm interested in any ideas you might have. Thank you so much for your help! I'm running out of time. Granny

  • Granny says:

    This is Granny again. The Lady's Dream counters have been installed and I've already bonded with them. They don't have as much gold in them as I had thought and the Travertino Beige tile doesn't look good, so I'll have to find a different backsplash. That's fine because I'm not a big fan of gold anyway.

    Since so many whites were mentioned in this blog, I went to Benjamin Moore today to get paint samples. The Simply White is perfect and I've already decided to use it for the cabinets. I like Old Country for the walls.

    I didn't mention that I recently had my cabinets faux painted and varnished and they were so ugly that I decided to start all over. My designer's painters did some sanding and prep work and applied the oil based primer – and now the primer is peeling off. I don't know if it's a general problem or if some areas weren't prepared properly, but if they have to take off the primer and do some super prep work, it's going to be a drag. I'm waiting for her to come check it out and am anxious to have my new Simply White cabinets. Thank you for this blog. It's good therapy and a great source of information.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Thanks for the giggle ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry to hear about the peeling, I have never heard of oil based primer peeling off before? I would take it to the paint store to have a look, it's usually a prep problem though.

  • Granny says:

    How fun to get a response. Earlier I starting investigating the peeling problem and realized that it's only in the areas that have a sheen and are where the paint underneath is thick – on the sides by counters for example and tight areas – but the cabinets themselves are in good shape. I hadn't ever heard of oil based primer peeling either.

    I'm excited about the Benjamin Moore paint. The inside of the glass front cabinets are going to be painted a different color. I'm hoping that san clemente rose AC-10 (which really isn't what I would call rose) really looks like the paint chip because it will look great with the Lady's Dream counter and the Simply White cabinets.

    I do have a question. Have you ever seen white cabinets with the edges and corners rubbed (perhaps with bark) to make them have the antique look? I was going to have that done with import ivory cabinets, but I like the idea of clean looking white cabinets.

    When the kitchen is finished, I'll send you a picture!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Granny,
    It's more of a country look but it can work as well if that's what you're going for!
    Happy painting!

  • Granny says:

    This is Granny again. My designer wants to use a neutral white instead of Simply White. My counter is Lady's Dream granite and the floors are Jatoba laminate. Instead of a light peachy color for the wall, she wants to use a khaki color. I have green-blue chairs with a table and sideboard with cherry tops. What white would you suggest that would be a neutral white and what Khaki would you suggest top go with the furniture? I know that it's difficult to make suggestions without seeing photos. We are going to get together on Monday. Thank you so much for your help! Granny

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Maria:
    We have a medium/dark oak cabinets from the 80's in our kitchen. 2 years ago we cleaned, re-stained and re-varnished since my husband was afraid of painting them. He is now ready. We also changed the back-splash to 4" square white tiles, and changed the counter tops to melamine, with a special edging that makes them look like corian in beige and white speckles.
    Our appliances are new, but white, and right now we do not have funds to change them to stainless steel.
    I am worried if I paint the cabinets all white, walls are white and the extra Ikea cabinets that are white on one wall, I will create a total white-out.(My appliances stay white).
    My floors are wood, not oak, like the rest of our house, but pine, narrow slats, and have that yellowish stain.
    How do I bring this kitchen into modern times? What color should I paint the cabinets and what to do with the pine floors?
    Thank you,

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Maria:

    How I love your blog! We are the lucky owners of a dreaded early 90's kitchen with raised panel "honey oak" cabinets that are in desperate need of updating. They are structurally sound and I like the style, but just not the oak, so I am going to paint them. We have put in natural ash wood floors througout the house (ash has shades of blonde, creams and light browns.) My kitchen walls are painted a "spring grass green" color; which I like but am not against repainting. Our countertops are run of the mill laminate in an off white/very very light beige speckled color. Our appliances are black with some stainless steel accents (front of fridge and top of range) Are you cringing yet?
    Ok, so now comes the hard part; painting the cabinets. The parts of the kitchen that will stay are the cabinets, appliances and floors; the counters will eventually be replaced and we will add a backsplash of some kind. I really want to paint the cabinets an off white, almost beige color (like Natural Wicker.) Assuming the countertops are replaced I would like something in the chocolate family. Will all this clash with the black appliances? Should I just paint the cabinets a shade of white white instead? And then go for a charcoal/black countertop? The latter seems to me to coordinate better, but I love browns, chocolates, and creams. And then there's the question of the backsplash. I was thinking a subway tile. Any input you can give would be so much appreciated! Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,
    I LOVE your Blog – I check it daily for new inspiration.
    We are starting from scratch and could use your help with the right white for our kitchen cabinets. The space is open concept with great natural light – south and west exposure. The hardwood that runs through the main area and into the kitchen is a very dark oak. I am torn about the wall colour throughout between my safe choice – BM ranchwood and something different for me – BM silver marlin. The kitchen island will be something like BM weimeraner AF-155 and the quartz countertop is pale with off white/gray/light brownish. For the cabinets, I want a creamy white but not too yellow. I have contemplated BM linen white, BM white dove, and now BM antique white. This colour would also be the trim throughout the space. Your thoughts and comments would be so appreciated.
    Thank you.
    P.S. I loved seeing you quoted in my latest issue of Style at Home.

  • Granny says:

    Hi! I'm really having trouble picking a white for my kitchen cabinets. This isn't the first time I've written to you. I want something bright but not too stark. The counters are Lady's Dream and the floors are a medium wood laminate called Wild Jatoba. The walls are going to be Benjamin Moore Carrington Beige HC-93. The backsplash is going to be 6×6 ivory tumbled stone that will be enhanced and look a bit less light. Inside the glass cabinets will be Cedarvale B13-4, which is a subtle coral color and will be an accent to pick up the color of the existing wallpaper under the chair rail on one wall. My appliances are stainless with black trim. My chairs and sideboard are distressed green-blue with cherry tops that look good with the floor.

    We have "bright white" recessed florescent lights and sometimes the light looks green. I wish I could find a more natural light.

    Right now my trim and a door are very white, but I can't remember the color. I'll have to repaint the trim with the cabinet color, but that's a problem with doorways (without doors) because the other side needs to be white.

    So, back to the cabinets. I tried 50-50 Carrington Beige with Cloud White and it was too dark. The whites seem too bright, but I do want to lighten up the kitchen. What do you recommend? Help! Thank you!

  • Ruth says:

    Hi Maria,

    I admit I stumbled on your blog over a month ago searching for advice on this very topic. But I immediately added your blog on my newsreader and have been reading more and more of your older posts since. While I understand color a little better … (like why my basement bedroom with the light paint color looks so dark)I am still at a loss with my kitchen cabinets. We just got "New Bianco Romano" granite countertops. We have 80s ugly oak cabinets and are going to paint them white. I have no idea what Benjamin Moore white is right. I want a white that is warm and inviting but definitely not yellow/cream – while still going well with our new granite countertop and gunstock bruce hardwood floor. Any advice you can give me would be great… I have been to Benjamin Moore so many times, but still have no idea. If you also have suggestions for a complimentary wall color, I welcome your expertise!!!

  • Granny says:

    Yipeee! I found the perfect white for my kitchen. It's Sherwin Williams Dover White.

    Here are my current concerns:

    1) I still have the challenge of what to do about the SW Extra White trim around the windows, entryways, door and floorboards on one wall. I could paint the kitchen side and the middle section the Dover White and leave the trim the Extra White on the side of the other room. Since the trim and crown molding in the house is all Extra White, I can't change it in the other rooms. I guess I could leave the trim white in the kitchen and just paint the cabinets Dover White, but I keep reading that it's best for the cabinets and the trim in the kitchen to be the same.

    2) Another issue is that we have "bright white" recessed florescent lights and sometimes the light looks green. I wish I could find a more natural light. The room gets very hot if the lights aren't florescent.Do you have any suggestions for recessed lighting?

    Thank you for your help. It's nice to know that I can send my questions out in cyberspace and get an answer!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I'm very confused about which white to use for the cabinets. The cabinet guy is highly recommending Cloud White (cc-40) and I wanted your thoughts. My floor will be a natural stained red oak flooring. My cabinets around the perimeter will be a white colour and the countertop will be dark suede granite which is a black/brown counter. The island will be stained Heritage Walnut by Gouday. Please help me select a white colour for the cabinets and a colour for the walls. Thanks!! Help..

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Everyone,
    Thanks for your comments, since all of these questions are getting long and involved I would suggest a one hour on-line consult to get your colours right.

    The difference between the right white and one that's not quite right can make or break the kitchen. I charge $200 for a 1 hour on-line consultation, please email me at [email protected] so I can send you what I need for pictures.

    I know I need to write an e-book on the right white for kitchens but I'm not there yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kimberly says:

    Hi Maria,
    I love this site! I'm currently replacing my kitchen. The cabinet maker only has a choice of "cream" lacquer or "white" lacquer. The cabinets are maple. I'm confused about which to choose. I'm worried the white will be too bright and the cream will look dirty. Help.

  • Anonymous says:

    Also love this site, great advice. I am also choosing an off-white/creamy white colour for my new kitchen cabinets. I was just at Benjamin Moore store and the manager said Marscapone is becoming very popular and Ancient Ivory for cabinets. What do you think? I have dark wood oak floors, stainless appliances, open concept with cream/black/brown and some barn red furnishings.

  • Peggy says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am currently in the process of painting my orangey oak kitchen cabinets in BM Natural Wicker – a color you suggested in some of your previous comment answers, which is AWESOME by the way, thank you! – Is there anything I can put on top of the cabinets to protect them that won't affect the paint color?
    ps – I did not use oil based paint, I just took my chances on that one (fingers crossed!) So far they look fabulous!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,

    Great website! I have an old farmhouse with traditional maple butcher block countertops & an overmount white porcelain sink. Our cabinets are more of a creamy white. I was hoping to do a white subway tile & am wondering if I should match the tiles to the cabinet or to the white porcelain sink. Can you advise?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your website & advice. I have an old farmhouse with fir floors. We want to go with white shaker cabinets & a white subway tile backsplash. We are thinking about keeping our porcelain white overmount sink & re-doing a maple burcherblock. We will have stainless appliances. I am thinking a more creamy white would work better in our house than a bright blue white. My dilemma is do I match the subway tile white to a creamy white cabinet or the whiter overmount porcelain sink? What do you think? Which paint colors do you suggest for the cabinets? Thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi! I just came across your blog looking for advice on whether to paint cabinets white or change all of them altogether. I just bought this house:

    The kitchen actually has quality cabinets and the refrigerator's panels can be changed to stainless. I would like to have a white kitchen. I would change the oven and microwave to stainless also. I'm planning to change the counter tops to granite. My questions are: What do I do with the brick? and Do you think I can paint the cabinets white? Should I leave them alone? Should I replace everything? Please be as specific as possible. Thank you for any help.


  • Anonymous says:

    I really want creamy white cabinets, not stark white, but am not sure about white appliances or bisque? Would bisque be too dark and would white be too stark against the cream cabinets? I really don't want stainless steel and my other colors will be in the brown range. Sears is having a 50% off sale on Kenmore ovens til Saturday and I am trying to decide quickly.

  • Catherine [email protected] says:

    Wow, I wish I found you years ago! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!

  • That one girl says:

    Can I just give you a HUGE hug for writing this. Same boat:
    Me: "Cabinets are terrible, they have to go."
    Husband: "No way, wood, they are awesome."
    Me: "They were awesome in 1983, just like shoulder pads. Fine, they are being painted white. Sorry, oak sucks.
    Him: "Paint WOOD?! Never!"

    Thanks for making it so clear, I'm sending him this…

  • Kathy says:

    Maria – just recently found your blog and absolutely love it!!!!! I was hoping you could help me with our kitchen. The kitchen has honey maple cabinets, giallo veneziano granite countertops, and honey maple wood floors. We bought the house new 8 years ago, and still have the original neutral off white wall color in the kitchen which flows right into the family room. We have a mix of black and stainless steel appliances. We have not been able to come up with a paint color for the kitchen/family room. We recently painted the front rooms of house/entry Benjamin Moore Lenox Tan which I love. Not sure if it would be the right color for the kitchen. I am looking for a warm neutral color that would not blend in with the cabinets/floor but that would also not make the honey maple cabinets/floor appear yellowy/orangey. We are not big fans of a green kitchen. We were thinking perhaps a nice creamy latte color – but again not sure which one and how it will look with the honey maple. We are looking for a color that we are going to love since we would use the same color in the family room and we spend most of our time in these 2 rooms. Your help is greatly appreciated! Thanks, Kathy

  • Marble And Granite says:

    I am also choosing an off-white/creamy white colour for my new kitchen cabinets. I was just at Benjamin Moore store and the manager said Marscapone is becoming very popular and Ancient Ivory for cabinets.

  • allison says:

    maria, thank you for all the great advice you give to your readers. I appreciate that you take the time to help each of us with such an important element of our homes. You truly have a gift!

    we recently did a kitchen renovation and went with shaker style cabinetry in SW Alabaster, with a small herringbone patterned carrara marble backsplash and black pearl granite (the piece we have leans gray instead of brown, but still has some warmth). all of our appliances and hardware is stainless and we have hardwood floors.

    I am struggling to make a decision on the wall color. I've been thinking light blue or gray in my head all this time, but every shade I try turns me off. Should we stay in the alabaster family and go all white? Alabster looks very white in natural light (not that i have much in this particular room), a little creamier in artificial light…i really am happy with the cabinetry color in general, but have never done white on white before.

    the kicker is that only a small section of our wall is next to the tile/cabinetry. we have an L shape kitchen with just one window above the sink. since i only tiled a little above the window base, there's only a small section of wall that goes above the window that i'm worried about "taking away" from the overall kitchen. The opposite wall has no cabinetry on it, just a piece of furniture, so i feel as though any color would be fine over there.

    because of the variation in the hardwoods (warmer tones w/ dark slats), we have a neutral wall color of PP Indian Ivory on most walls of the house, accented with lots of white/dark wood furniture/accessories w/ pops of color here and there. We also have a few blue walls, one of which is in an ajoining room, but i'm considering changing that to grasscloth in the near future so if the kitchen needs to be blue, i'm happy to go that route.

    i'm really stuck. any suggestions?

  • Anonymous says:

    i ablsolutely love the ideas from this blog! i am building a home and am doing monroe bisque walls and white dove trim/cabinets. i'm torn on my countertops…superwhite quartzite is blue/gray/white that gives the feel of a marble or should i find a creamy granite. i have looked for a creamy granite but it's so hard to find one without a lot of speckles in it. i'm not a fan of speckles. i would love to do carrara marble, but i plan on having kids and living in this house for 30 years and am not sure it would hold up to kids?
    help me thanks!!

  • dani says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and have to say that your articles are so inspiring! I'd like to paint my builder grade oak kitchen cabinets a slight off white color. What shade of white would you recommend for the kitchen cabinets with Virtual Taupe SW as a wall color? Additionally, I have granite look-a-like laminate counters in shades of ebony/dark brown/tan, creamy off white and tan tile flooring, and have Aesthetic White SW as a trim color. Currently my eat in kitchen is accented with black painted furniture and white (Mikasa Italian Countryside) dinnerware. I'm most concerned of finding the right shade of white that will look classic but not bright white or dingy next to my taupe walls and white dinnerware as I'd like to display them through newly painted white glass cabinets. ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate any suggestions you may give.

  • beegirl says:

    Hi Maria – I stumbled across your website and couldn't be happier!!! I'm giving my kitchen a facelift and LOVE the white kitchens. I wondered if you could give some advice about what colors to use on the walls, trim, and cabinets. I'm also going to replace the counters and can't decide if I should go light or dark. There is an island I was thinking about painting an ebony color. I have an ebony colored kitchen table I love that will stay. The floor is a light cream/beige mix. I plan on tiling the backsplash and was thinking about white tile but use some pop of colored tile behind the stove. The kitchen gets the morning sun from the east and has a large opening to the living room area. Thanks!!!!

  • danielle says:

    You are so kind to share your talents and knowledge on this topic! I would love some advice: we have a 1910 bungalow and
    We just put in absolute black granite counters. The cupboards and floor tiles are currently a very yellow cream. We are going to repaint the cabinets white…the walls are SW useful grey(looks like a blu/sometimes green gray). Backsplash is beadboard that will be painted the same color as the cabinets. We'd like to go with a whiter white, and our crown mouldings/window trim etc is very white…but we aren't ready to trade the floors ffor hardwood quite yet. So two questions I guess: 1. What would you suggest to match the room ignoring the floors (as they'll change eventually), andd 2. What would you suggest taking the floors into consideration so it won't clash horribly for the next year till we do the floors?
    Thank you sooooo much for your help! Am totally hopeless when it comes to paint!

  • oldfactory says:

    Hi, I just found your blog while searching on 'painted cabinets'. The idea of priming/painting oak THRILLS me vs. throwing out perfectly good/newer cabinets, but since I don't have a garage/workshop I'm going to need to hire someone. I wanted to ask your advice ๐Ÿ™‚ I live in an old factory from the 1900s, that was rehabed in 2001. Its a very open floor plan, I have not painted anything yet, going to begin with the kitchen.
    Style: Antique-y, but try to be polished like house beautiful/elle decor stylish, not 'country'. The 1905 kitchen u showed is just my type, but i have a very small space.
    Cabinets: Builder oak. (If it makes sense the wood seems to 'fit in' but is too base level/cheapy/ doesn't give a polished feel. Thus, thinking paint.
    Appliances: Need to stay white, not replacing
    Floor: a pretty, light wood. not original, its new but they made a great choice. Love it.
    Peninsula: want to replace icky greyish/fleshy patterned laminate with reclaimed wood, found a carpenter who will do cherry (lighter) or walnut (darker). Can only do peninsula at this time, other countertops will have to wait.
    2 Chairs at peninsula are pottery barn dark brown with reed seats, keeping these
    BEST PART:On both sides of the kitchen several feet away are huge gorgeous (pine?) exposed beams, with black steel hardware. They are a medium colored brown wood, treated with something.
    Table at entrance of small kitchen, glass top, iron scrolled on cement base, 2 chairs are soft turquoise fabric…2 are neutral

    So here I am struggling with cabinet paint color. My gut tells me white would look like an operating room because of small size of kitchen with a lot of cabinets surround (7X7 floor area inside of counters)and would't 'flow' with the open floor plan. Afraid softer off white looks off in small kitchen with white appliances. Thoughts? Also any opinion on peninsula wood? If there is an option to send you pics and pay a fee, I would consider that as well, I really like your style ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am in the middle of a whole-house renovation so I have pretty much a clean slate to work with. The only "fixed element" are the wood stained windows and natural cypress beams and posts in the open plan livingroom/ breakfast room, which opens to the kitchen.We have large Travertine 12X24 tiles in a buff/taupe/grey color pallet (named "Storm"). I would like a suggestion on a white color for the kitchen cabinets which I think I will use throughout the house as the trim color. I fancy BM Bone White as a wall color in the living area but am not sure how that will look in the kitchen, so if you have a better id