White cupboards get all the attention. Sure, they’re great for creating a clean backdrop and brightening even the most cramped of rooms—but we’re ready for a little warmth. It’s time to consider cream kitchen cabinets. Every bit as calming and pared back as their counterparts, but less stark, they’re a breath of fresh air with a touch of lived-in charm. 

That said, there’s no rule about having to make them rustic. The trick to having ivory paint feel fresh is a magic formula of the right shade and the appropriate accoutrements—you know, hardware, counters, and even styling. If you’re planning to DIY new fronts, here are a few spaces at the top of our mood boards.

The Mixed Bag

Studio McGee knows a thing or two about showstopping kitchens, and in this particular room, it’s all down to a medley of cupboard types. There are short drawers and tall cabinets; glass panes and solid wood. It makes the simple color far more interesting—plus, the blue-gray stove just out of view adds the right amount of contrast. 

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swiss-coffee new
Swiss Coffee, Benjamin Moore
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The Wood Wonder

In this Naked Kitchens corner, oak shelving breaks up the clay hue. Choose a mix of open and closed storage to shake up the design; bonus points if you want to follow suit with some elegant molding. Keep the natural theme going with matching butcher block countertops, and you’ve got yourself a winning recipe. 

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5paint
Downy, Sherwin-Williams
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The Distinctive Details 

From a distance, the most striking thing about Erin Hiemstra’s room is the floor-to-ceiling built-ins. But look closer and you’ll notice a little quirk: Almost all the hardware is different. Some doors have two knobs, others have one, and the main pair have none at all—they feature sleek pulls. Uniformity is overrated anyway. 

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3paint
White Wisp, Benjamin Moore
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The Modern Shaker

The trademark border may be there, true, but this Space Exploration–created loft is anything but cookie-cutter. Chalk it up to ever-so-thin brassy handles and a particular tint of paint that’s a pleasing café au lait tone. Paired with a contemporary accordion sconce and matte black accents, the whole thing feels super-current. 

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4paint
Wimborne White, Farrow & Ball
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The “Dated” Delight

Checkerboard floors. Tiled counters. On paper, this combination shouldn’t work, but Madelynn Furlong makes it look perfect. It’s all about picking a cooler cream hue to counteract the beige walls and flooring. The quaint cane door front doesn’t hurt its design cred either. 

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6paint
Whipped, Clare
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The Cottagecore Ideal

We know, we know: Farmhouse isn’t for everyone, but when done right, it’s oh so cozy. Liza Reyes has mastered the style, crafting a sunny spot complete with wood surfaces, leather pulls, and even a skirted sink. If you’re going to go the old-school charm route with your cream kitchen cabinets, you may as well lean fully into the prompt. 

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1paint
Antique White, Jolie Paint
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See more kitchen cabinet ideas: Everything You Need to Know About Spray-Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets  You Can’t Call These 8 White Kitchen Cabinets Vanilla 5 Kitchen Cabinet Makeovers That Will Inspire You to Pick Up a Paintbrush