Published on April 14, 2020

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

cream colored kitchen and glass front doorsPin It
Courtesy of Studio McGee

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. 

Try it out: 

The Wood Wonder

wood and cream kitchen cabinetsPin It
Courtesy of Naked Kitchens

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. 

Try it out: 

The Distinctive Details 

cream colored kitchen with stools at barPin It
Photography by Seth Smoot; Styling by Rosy Fridman

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. 

Try it out: 

The Modern Shaker

open shelves and cream colored cabinetsPin It
Photography by Nicole Franzen; Design by Space Exploration Studio

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. 

Try it out: 

The “Dated” Delight

white kitchen checkerboard floorsPin It
Photography by Maggie Shannon; Styling by Merisa Libbey

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. 

Try it out: 

The Cottagecore Ideal

rustic kitchen with skirted sinkPin It
Photography by Laure Joliet

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. 

Try it out: 

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

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