Color schemes to make old kitchen cabinets look more modern

Written by anne boynton
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Color schemes to make old kitchen cabinets look more modern
White can transform and modernise old kitchen cabinets. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The cost of replacing old kitchen cabinets can be extravagant, especially if you'll be paying installation costs. Thankfully, a well-chosen colour scheme, whether in paint or accessories, can give your kitchen a makeover, making your cabinets appear more modern. According to HGTV, "almost anything goes when it comes to colour in the kitchen," but some colour schemes may be particularly helpful in transforming your kitchen.

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Warm Versus Cool Colors

In picking a colour scheme for your kitchen, it's important to know whether to choose a warm or cool colour scheme. According to Aromaleight, "Warm colours are based on yellows, oranges, browns, yellowish greens, orangish reds, and the like. Cool colours are based on blues, greens, pinks, purples, blue-greens, magentas, and blue-based reds." Designer Kenneth Brown, in an article on HGTV, recommends choosing light cool colours for the walls if you have wood cabinets and warm wall colours for white cabinets.


White is a classic kitchen colour for walls and cabinets. If you're able to repaint your cabinets, white is an ideal colour, which can create a fresh, clean look and will complement most other colours in your kitchen. High-gloss white paint can be cleaned easily, keeping your kitchen looking bright and new-looking.

Where to Put Color

Painting your walls and cabinets isn't the only way to create a modern look in a kitchen with old cabinets. Infusing fabrics, countertops, and backsplashes with colour can balance shabby-looking cabinets and modernise your kitchen. You can also choose funky or bold colours for accessories such as storage tins, cans and other containers. With bolder surfaces and backsplashes, neutral wall colours would be best.

Hardware, Accessories and Appliances

In addition to well-chosen colour schemes, you can make your cabinets and kitchen more modern with accessories and hardware. Replacing your hardware with contemporary designs in modern-looking metals, such as chrome or nickel, is a simple way to update the look of old cabinets. A contemporary sink faucet, light fixture, or stainless-steel kitchen appliances --- which complement your hardware and colour scheme --- can create an overall modern look in a kitchen with old kitchen cabinets.

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