What Kind of Paint to Use on Kitchen Cabinets Of 11 Color Styles


So, you have a brand new backsplash boasting a vibrant design, with the walls draped in a beautiful hue, all of it creating the perfect foundation for your kitchen.

And then the problem of choosing the right color for your cabinetry comes crashing down, not to mention the appliances that will have to complement the setting later on.

Don’t panic, as here is how to choose types of paint to use on kitchen cabinets and favourable cabinet-appliance combinations for the kitchen of your dreams.

Types of Paint To Use On Pastel Cabinets

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When people think of kitchen designs, they tend to envision a brightly-colored setting imbued with peace and positivity. While bright hues are certainly not the only way to go about your color scheme, they can create a beautiful, open space you are bound to love.

How To Paint Pastel Cabinets

Pastel hues on the cabinets work wonderfully in creating that charming feeling, such as turquoise, light emerald, pumpkin, amethyst, or alizarin.

However, you can’t simply add a new coat of paint and hope it will stick – you’ll need to strip away the old coat and sand the surface first. Once you have sanded the surface with light and medium-grit paper, you then want to use a primer.

Your best all-around option is the oil-based primer, as it works well on most surfaces, including wood, gloss, and laminate. Once the primer has dried, you can opt for oil-based paint or water-based latex paint. Oil paints are more durable, but they are also more difficult to clean up, and take longer to dry.

Pastel colors are fragile, so look for paint that doesn’t dry too fast and can be touched up afterwards. You can use latex paint for this task, staying away from acrylic enamel paint as it dries way too fast and is bound to leave marks.

Matching Appliances

Now it is the time to add matching appliances. Specifically, look for pastel, white, and off-white appliances, as any other color will only disrupt the environment and disorient the observer.

Pastels can go with both modern and retro appliances, however, interior decorators usually use pastels to bring that “cabin in the woods” feeling to life. So perhaps appliances with their own quaint charm would work best in your kitchen as well.

Timeless Wooden Cabinets and Lacquering

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Everyone is familiar with the timeless wooden kitchen design. The cabinets, flooring and various amenities boast a light or dark wooden hue, complemented by stainless steel, charcoal, and even black appliances. This is more of a subdued, intimate look where privacy and a homey vibe reign supreme.

However, it can also be a cheerful or rustic setting should you choose to introduce light wooden hues or even salvaged wood for the cabinetry, complemented by modern appliances. If you decide your wooden cabinetry is in need of a little touch-up, you can always choose to lacquer the wood to give it that beautiful glossy look.

Lacquering Tips

Simply remove the cabinet doors and sand down the surface, making sure to apply the stain immediately after sanding and let it dry overnight. You can then spray a seal coat, after which you want to sand it down again and add another coat of lacquer.

You can repeat the process as many times as you wish, depending on the level of smoothness you want to achieve.

These spaces, although undeniably beautiful, also require ample amounts of sunlight and plenty of bright illumination during the evening hours. This will allow the setting to preserve its signature look without looking too dark or brooding.

Make sure the flooring presents a slight contrast if you choose wood as well, or go for a completely different look by opting for tile designs. If you pick the latter, then stainless steel appliances are your best choice.

Types Of Paint To Use On White Cabinets

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When it comes to kitchen design, white simply goes with white, and rarely anything else. Rather than thinking of this as a limitation, look at it as an opportunity to create a beautiful white foundation you can accentuate with various colorful elements later on.

Different White Hues

And you’re not only limited to plain white, as all off-white hues work wonderfully in a bright kitchen design.  So think about ivory, eggshell, Dutch white, vanilla, champagne, and everything in between.

How To Paint White Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your cabinets white can be a long process, but the effort is bound to pay off.

Starting by sanding the surface of your cabinets and the applying a primer in order to allow for the new paint to really sink into the material later on. Once the sealer has dried, you can add the first coat of paint, making sure to follow the lines of the wood in order to prevent irregularities. Add another coat and then a top-off coat for a nice finish.

You can use this video and follow the step-by-step process to repaint your cabinets the right way.


As far as appliances go, you are bound to find models in complementary hues, and don’t make the mistake of combining an off-white color with a pure white appliance. It won’t turn out as aesthetic as you might have imagined.

Contrasting Hues to White To Create Harmony

White kitchens can, however, work wonderfully with only a handful of contrasting hues, such as a focal stainless-steel range surrounded by white appliances and cabinets. You can also choose an elegant steel sink to complement the decor line.

Types Of Paint To Use On Monochrome Cabinets

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The monochrome approach to interior design and decorating is swiftly taking over the world, with the design approach predominantly adorned by city pad dwellers rather than house owners.

This is simply due to the fact that the monochrome design promotes a more chic, “live in the moment” kind of vibe rather than a homey feel.

Nevertheless, combining pure whites with pure black hues is a beautiful way to bring elegance and class to your kitchen. There are several ways you can implement this design into your living environment, and each approach will portray a different story to the observer.

Types Of Paint To Use For Monochrome Cabinets

Use your primer and oil-based paints to create a new solid look, whether it’s black or white, or use spray paint if you want your cabinets to really pop, giving them that elegant glossy finish.

You can opt for all-black cabinetry and appliances, contrasted by white countertops and walls for a sense of freedom and elegance. On the other hand, the combination of black cabinetry and white appliances, complemented by black countertops and stainless-steel kitchenware creates a wonderfully intimate setting.

You can also consider white cabinets surrounding black matte appliances with either black or white countertops. The possibilities are numerous, and the monochromatic approach certainly is an elegant option every city pad owner should consider.

Stainless Steel Goes With Everything

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In almost every one of these design options, stainless steel has managed to make an appearance either as a focal point of the room, or an overarching design. Either way, stainless steel truly does go with almost any approach you choose.

However, it’s still important to decide on the color, finish, design, and whether to go modern or retro. Generally, contemporary models such as LG appliances with smart features can work in any type of setting. However, you can also think about whether the stainless-steel surface should boast a traditional, or perhaps a matte finish.

Matte looks beautiful and it gives an interesting twist to the entire concept, while dark stainless steel can introduce a dash of mystery and variety in a predominantly wooden or dark setting. Stainless steel can also work with pastels and it’s absolutely gorgeous in an industrial space.

Types Of Paint To Use On Color-Blocking Cabinets

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In case you haven’t heard of color-blocking before, it’s essentially combining colors from opposite sides of the color wheel to create interesting and complementary color combinations. While you might not have thought about combining green and red, orange and blue, or purple and yellow before, these combinations can actually create interesting patterns in your kitchen.

Color-Blocking Cabinet Painting

Before we move to different color patterns, it’s important to note that you should stick with an overarching finish for your cabinetry, going for standard, lacquer, or even matte.

If you opt for a matte finish, simply choose oil-based matte paint in a desired hue, and paint away! Matte finishes can look very modern and homey at the same time, but their main advantage is that they highly resistant to fingertips and scratching.

However, keeping it all aesthetically pleasing and not going overboard with your choice of colors can be a difficult task, so it’s best to stick with four basic hues that will define the setting.

Think about forest-green cabinetry with appliances boasting the same hue, but the cookware is red, the dining table and the floor are light wood, and the chairs are bright yellow. Does that sound a bit chaotic? Don’t worry, color-blocking can look amazing if you focus on meticulously positioning every element around the room.

Types Of Paint To Use On French Kitchen Cabinets

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French cabinets are wildly popular among homeowners looking to add a touch of elegance and class into the mix. Typically, these glass cabinets are graced with a pure white hue, but they can also boast a myriad of other colors and still preserve the upscale vibe of the room.

Types Of Paint For French Kitchen Cabinets

When painting our French cabinets, you want to use a slow drying paint, and it’s imperative that you use painter’s tape in order to avoid leaving streaks on the glass, because those would never come off. Don’t forget to add a primer beforehand, and a good paint sealer afterwards in order to give the paint some extra durability.

The dominant aesthetic feature of these cabinets is actually their distinctly ornate design that brings an old, almost Revival-style charm to life. This is the perfect opportunity to complement the cabinetry with modern appliances, but this time boasting a rose gold hue that will give the space a charming, retro finish.

Types Of Paint To Use On Dark Cabinets

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Dark kitchens are the pinnacle of elegant, intimate designs. Yet, the majority of homeowners dare not play such a risky move when decorating their kitchen space. The slightest mistake can bring the design tumbling down and create a completely different vibe than what you expected.

However, if you succeed, the rewards will be great. Dark kitchens are laden with pure black and off-black hues such as charcoal or wrought iron on the cabinetry and the countertops.

Dark Cabinet Painting

You can opt for a lacquer finish or even matte depending on your taste, and it’s important that you use a primer before you start adding the new coat. Top the final coat with a sealer, as streaks or scratches on dark cabinetry are highly unsightly, yet extremely noticeable.

When the time comes to introduce the appliances, you have the choice of challenging the design with stainless steel or complementing it with dark hues.

Setting With Dark Cabinets

No matter the approach, it’s a good idea to let plenty of natural light to permeate the setting. Moreover, the flooring should also boast a dark hue, but one that is lighter than the overall design. Don’t forget to add accent pieces throughout in order to deconstruct any monotony in the room.

Types Of Paint To Use On Cabinets Of Patterns And Textures

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While the traditional kitchen design would only have patterns on the walls and the backsplash, the modern approach is introducing patterns to cabinetry and the surrounding elements as well. Be careful though, as there needs to be a balance in order for this approach to work.

So if you opt for striped cabinets, it’s best to stick with a neutral foundation on the walls and the appliances. The countertops can also be textures or simply ornate with beautiful quartz, tile, marble, or granite designs.

Painting Cabinets of Patterns and Textures

When painting patterns on your cabinets, you will need a steady hand and laser-like precision in order to avoid leaving noticeable imperfections.

For this reason, it’s advisable to leave the task in the hands of a professional. However, if you use some painter’s tape wisely along with a ruler and a marking pen, you could complete the task all on your own.

The key with patterns is that they always need to have an opposing force pulling them back in order for the overall design to retain balance and harmony. To that end, only a single decor line in a patterned kitchen can actually have patterns – such as the cabinetry.

So, if you put a pattern on your cabinets, make sure the floors, appliances, and walls are neutral.

Painting Cabinets Of The Industrial Look

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Finally, you have the industrial look that has been widely used in recent years to bring the modern-retro, debonair interior design to life. In the world of interior design, industrial is the rebel kid you don’t want to introduce to your parents. But it has some amazing qualities the younger generations adore.

What’s more, if you play with the elements right, the industrial look can also be quite elegant, even sophisticated at times. The key is to emphasize steel, wooden materials, and dark, earthy hues throughout the setting.

With that in mind, think about light wooden cabinetry with steel appliances and really try to emphasize that industrial vibe with steel lighting cones on the walls and a steel-bodied island with a vinyl or marble countertop. Don’t forget that brick walls are the hallmarks of the industrial approach.

Bottom line

Choosing the right color hues and matching appliances for your kitchen is not an easy task. With so many choices in shades and finishes, you can easily end up with a kitchen you didn’t actually want. Luckily, you can follow this easy guide to find where your true tastes lie in order to create the kitchen of your dreams.


About Author

Hi, I’m Jennie who loves cooking and fascinated by healthy lifestyle. I set up this website to share with you all I know about cooking and making our kitchen a better place :)

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