Published on March 9, 2020

Painting kitchen cabinets shouldn’t be an intimidating task—you can always redo it, after all—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one. Between picking the right finish and committing to change, it’s a lot, especially if you’re not DIY-prone. The best reassurance: looking at success stories. So we went through our archives and rounded up five before-and-afters that got it right. 

There are neutral rooms that make the case for elevated minimalism, and punchier spaces that may just convert even the most color-averse. We even found a rental makeover—yes, temporary homes can still be personal (just be sure to double-check with your landlord before doing anything drastic). These kitchen cabinets are the nudge you need to get started.

Pretty in Pink

Behind the hue: This kitchen’s original color-blocking involved neon orange, a supersaturated look that isn’t for everyone. Kelly and Jeff Mindell wanted something more timeless and landed on blush. “Pink happens to be one of the colors Jeff and I can easily agree on, so it pops up frequently in the rooms I do,” Kelly explains.

Detail to steal: Balance out contemporary cupboards with old-school accents, like zellige tiles and a vintage rug. 

Drama Queen

Behind the hue: When she designed this space for her parents, Jenika Kurtz blended two very different aesthetics: One favored the classics, the other went bolder. She picked matte black painted kitchen cabinets as a compromise. The shade goes with everything but takes plain old wood cupboards up a notch. 

Detail to steal: Play up the sleek vibe with clean-lined hardware. Anything simple and brass will do; the paint is already splashy enough. 

Airy Oasis

Behind the hue: Bright, calming, quiet: the three words Bri Ussery wanted to embody in her remodel. A lot of it came down to the shade of white she used; it has slightly warmer undertones, so the crisp space doesn’t feel stark. 

Detail to steal: To avoid a one-note room, switch things up with the addition of warm materials, like Ussery’s butcher block countertops.

Rental Revamp

Behind the hue: Mallory Fletchall was dealing with a lease, so her options were limited. But one update anyone can add? A fresh coat of paint. In this case, a soft gray brought the door fronts into the 21st century.  

Detail to steal: If you’re going to play it safe with color, might we suggest something more graphic for the backsplash? Fletchall was able to get her landlord to agree to real stone, but if you’re not so lucky, check out peel-and-stick tiles

Feeling Blue

Behind the hue: “The blue is powerful but restrained within distinct areas, and against the fresh off-white it gives a minimal, geometric feel to the space,” explains homeowner Jessica Preston. She went all in with the cornflower hue and sprinkled pops of it throughout, from the wired fruit bowl that lives on the countertop to the patterned curtains that dress up the windows. 

Detail to steal: Look closely at the upper kitchen cabinets: The knobs also feature the primary tint. If you’re not ready to make as big of a commitment, start small. Slow and steady, as they say.

See more ideas for your kitchen:
5 Kitchen Sinks That Put Drab Stainless Steel to Rest
You Don’t Need a Sprawling Kitchen When You Have These Designer Tricks
There’s More to Farmhouse Kitchen Cabinets Than Reclaimed Wood