Ideas for painting a kitchen with oak cabinets

Written by becky lower
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  • Introduction

    Ideas for painting a kitchen with oak cabinets

    Oak is a favourite choice, especially among builders, for kitchen cabinets. Oak cabinets are durable, relatively inexpensive and versatile. One drawback, however, is their colour. They are a pale gold, which is almost impossible to match; it's also difficult to find a colour that's complementary.

    Oak is a very pale wood. (modern kitchen with cabinets image by redking from

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    Consider the Entire Kitchen

    Before locking in a colour choice, consider the entire kitchen. If the floor needs an update or the countertop needs replacing, this is a perfect time to plan for those upgrades and make choices that match. If you're content with what's already there or can't afford to make those changes now, then you need to factor what's already in the room into your colour choice. If there are other rooms that need to have the same colour scheme due to open floorplans, consider those areas as well.

    Consider the entire kitchen and the rooms around it, especially in open floorplans. (kitchen image by yong hong from

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    Choose Your Mood

    Since oak cabinets are so light, you can go bold with colour on the walls. A medium green would make the cabinets pop, as would rust or adobe red. If you want to keep to a more neutral shade, almond, peach or ivory would be a better choice. Bright reds and blues are not good choices for the kitchen.

    Go bold with colour or keep a neutral palette. The choice is yours. (Farbpalette image by Beate Gube from

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    Play Up the Accents

    A backsplash made from silver or copper would add a designer look to the room. You can coordinate your cabinet hardware to match and can extend that look to the ceiling, too.

    A metal backsplash introduces an interesting texture into the room. (diamond plate copper image by pcphotos from

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    Consider Painting the Cabinets Instead

    If you truly want something different from builder-grade oak cabinets but don't want the expense of ripping them out and replacing them, consider painting them instead. A cream colour with glaze provides a brand-new and completely different modern look. You can cut out part of the interior of the door and add glass or mesh for a higher-end look.

    Consider painting the cabinets and inserting glass or mesh panels to update the look. (kitchen image by Rich Johnson from

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