debbie_greybear

Indecision paralysis on kitchen cabinet colour

Debbie Rybicki
last month

Currently painting the cabinets in this kitchen.


Please help me decide what colour. We will be selling this home, so I want it to be appealing to others.


While I think that white would be the "safe" colour with the broadest appeal, I worry that a white kitchen could look stark and out of place in an 80s house.


Instead perhaps sage? Two tone warm grey on bottom, white on top? Navy?


I will retile splashback with white subway tile. The house will keep it's timber window frames and skirting boards. It will have a timber benchtop.





Comments (27)

  • Austere Hamlet
    last month

    I would actually paint the cabinets. Dark timber kitchens can be a turn-off and a paint job is a quick and inexpensive way to transform the look of this room. Not everyone can visualise, and while they might not want to keep the kitchen, having it a lighter colour will simply be less off-putting than leaving as is. If you leave it looking super tired a lot of people will factor the cost of an entire new kitchen into their offer, on the basis that the kitchen is unusable.


    As is there are a number of people who will walk in and not even be able to live with the kitchen for a while. It's dark and very early 80's. But painted a lighter colour and a lot more people will be able to walk in there say...I'll change this but I can live with for a few months before I do. I wouldn't go white given the very dark brick behind the stove, it will look awful against that brick and the benchtop is cream anyway. I would go a very light wheat colour. It will tone with what's in there and make the area look a lot fresher than it does now. Taubman's Hauloumi or something similar. Light, inoffensive and livable. Do not go grey, you have a lot of yellow based stuff in there (tiles/benchtops etc). The louvre doors are a pain to paint, but they do look quite good once done. So don't be tempted to spend money changing them out. Just paint it all the one colour.


    I would not re-tile the splahbacks but if I wanted to change them I would use one of any number of sheet splashbacks which are inexpensive to buy and very easy to install and remove. You literally just glue it on top of the existing tile. Pressed tin is excellent for this, it can be painted any colour and it's in vogue. Just choose one of the geometric design. The other fittings in there are good. So just get rid of the wood and harmonise it all to look lighter and inoffensive. Unless you are a professional interior designer, don't try and renovate the kitchen in some new style. You will alienate buyers with personal taste.


    Ideally you want someone to walk into this house and see it's potential but not feel as if the kitchen is unusable and low ball you on the price. That's what I'd aim for. Make sure you declutter and put a bowl of colourful fruit and a small pot plant in that space. It will bring it to life.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Austere Hamlet
    Best Answer
  • oklouise
    last month
    last modified: last month

    poor you, i'm sorry to add another idea but have you thought of leaving what looks like good quality timber cabinets ....first take everything off the fridge and counters and tidy all the cabinets so that they look no more than 2/3 full and make sure all the shelves are clean and box up anything that you don't use regularly, store all other appliances and only keep the kettle and toaster on the island side of the sink (ready to be put out of sight for house inspections) and have nothing next to the cooktop... unless there's a horrible view out the window just lose the curtains, add a modern light fitting in the dining room and a clock? on the wall and maybe a new white counter OR new floor coverings with the new white splashback... even if the sale is ages away it's so much better to start packing early so that you can keep the house neat and tidy ...don't spend time and money trying to disguise things that already look pretty good..aim for fresh, clean and uncluttered and let the new owners choose their own colours

  • KK1000
    last month

    Just declutter and leave it as it is. New owners are going to rip it out anyway it’s outdated . They might even want to relocate the kitchen or rebuild. Don’t waste time and money.

  • Kate
    last month

    Agree don’t update kitchen. The floors will let it down. Give it a thorough clean and declutter. Remove curtains, replacing with a simple blind or timber venetian blinds if you need privacy otherwise leave clear.

  • macyjean
    last month

    I think the cabinets are beautiful and will look better with the new splashback. A timber benchtop would be too much timber though, but for resale I think something harder wearing like engineered stone is better anyway.

  • juliahocking
    last month

    Everyone is giving good advice,Debbie.

    New owners like to put their personality into their 'new' home.

    Remove the curtains, add lots of green indoor plants (maybe one or two could be hung at the window instead of a blind), oil the timber (especially the handles), declutter.

    Maybe a green floor rug near the sink would add some colour.

    Is it possible to paint (white) the bricks behind the stove? That would lighten the area without too much work.

    Make it like a 'blank canvas', so prospective buyers can imagine living there with their own belongings.

  • me me
    last month

    I agree with the others, and oklouise who has some good tips.

  • pottsy99
    last month

    I think you are focussing on all the wrong things . The benchop looks alright , as macyjean says it may look too much timber with a timber benchtop .


    I'm weird , but here's what I would do --


    -- Downlights ( 3 or 4 along the bench line ) -- it looks like you can get into the ceiling ?

    -- Fan -- change to a rattan style with 3 glass shades similar to the dining room one -- a bit old fashioned I know , but it all looks a bit Hamptons with the timber , plus you then have either that for lights , or the downlights , or both .

    -- Don't do white subway tiles -- I'd do 250 x 250 white porcelian gloss tiles WITH orange subways horizontally done around the top -- introduce some colour !

    -- Hard to tell if the doors are varnished , but if they will take it , I'd re-stain all the doors in a darker shade , getting closer to the brick colour but NOT trying to match it . The 2 stools look about the shade I'd go for .

    -- Orange door handles/pulls , even orange and white porcelian ones . Against the slightly darker wood , with the orange subways , they'd add colour , look modern but also pay homage to the 80's , and you just know I'm going to say it -- add colour !


    I'd double/triple down with orange dining chairs , or at least orange cushions as I suspect you have stained timber chairs already , and if the house was a keeper , I'd be tempted to do an bright orange Smeg 50's look fridge too !

  • oklouise
    last month

    pottsy you do realise that Debbie wants to tidy the house for sale

  • julie herbert
    last month

    Agree don’t change your beautiful cabinets, add tiles to match bench top above stove and behind range hood, de clutter add some minimal items to bench. A new blind , and your done

    Debbie Rybicki thanked julie herbert
  • pottsy99
    last month

    Oklouise , I was working on $3k of materials and whatever labour she can't do herself . Not counting the fridge of course -- I added that suggestion if she was keeping the house .


    Her suggestions would have been similiar in $$ , and IMO focussing on the wrong bits , and therefore less likely to appeal to a potential buyer .

    Debbie Rybicki thanked pottsy99
  • differentways
    last month

    what other renovations have you done or plan to do ready for sale?

    Debbie Rybicki thanked differentways
  • Debbie Rybicki
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks for everyone's ideas. Feeling a bit embarrased because I've just seen all these comments... but I've already primed the cabinets! So I'm committed to painting. I also totally love the look in timber caninets in some kitchens, but the photos I posted make this one look nicer than it is, it was really quite very dark and dated.

    New benchtop is very likely because when then the ugly and redundant elec cooktop comes out there will be a hole in the bench. I'm planning to put timber ones straight over the top.

    So now I'm committed to painting cabs - any thoughts?


  • oklouise
    last month

    white on white!!

    Debbie Rybicki thanked oklouise
  • pottsy99
    last month

    I reckon the two first problems I can envisage --


    Painting the cabinets any colour , and the lino will look shocking and old , so you'll have to do that too ( tiles ? ) -- more $$$$ .


    If you do timber OVER the existing benchtop , it will look tacked on -- meanwhile , you are going to redo the tiles on one wall , but the other one will need new trim , and whether you replace the existing top , or cover it , it then means painting ( presumably ) every wall .


    So instead of a tidy , you are doing a semi-rebuild , spending $10k or similar , for something that is still essentially covering problems , and 90% likely it will be redone in the first couple of years by a new owner . If it is going to be a rental ( by a new owner ) then you could have left as is or given a cheap and cheerful re-tart , now you are spending $$$ that will likely be ripped out , and add no more value than a $3k re-tart .


    The stainless range and hood I take as a positive , but also a distraction in a positive sense , which means it wouldn't reduce the value leaving the old elements there IMO , but then I'm no expert . A hole would devalue it , a poorly fitted new bench will devalue it , but left as it is with a minor tart-up leaves new owners their budget and tastes .



    Debbie Rybicki thanked pottsy99
  • julie herbert
    last month

    A few colour combinations for you.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked julie herbert
  • dreamer
    last month

    Julie Herbert first photo is a good colour to seriously consider. It picks up the colour in the floor and the colour in bricks around oven.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked dreamer
  • Debbie Rybicki
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks for all the ideas. FYI timber benchtops will cost $350 plus hubby's labour. Quote for laminate is $750.


    I really hope I'm not doing a reno just for the sake of it 😞. For less than 1k I'm hoping it will appeal to a broader range, yes, some groups will rip it out straight away, but I don't won't to rule out others who can live with a perfectly fine kitchen.

  • Jan Dobson
    last month

    Hi Debbie, if painting, I thought a carefully chosen sage would be a good choice. Versions have been on trend over several decades. Do a test spot tho, to ensue it blends with the other features such as floor and new benchtop

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Jan Dobson
  • ar27dodo
    last month

    I'd suggest changing the cupboard handles too, something more modern. Bunnings has quite a few inexpensive options. Nothing says old kitchen like those round pine handles. I think white gloss paint is fine and I really like Austere Hamlet's idea of a sheet splashback. So much easier than retiling. Good luck!

    Debbie Rybicki thanked ar27dodo
  • Lisa Bird
    last month

    Charcoal on bottom, white on top. Change handles too. Don’t think sage or navy would go with the red brick.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Lisa Bird
  • JE C
    last month

    Love the dreamer/ Julie photo. Think it will be fine. Find an inexpensive round jute rug ( kmart had some) to take the focus of the flooring. I think you are sending the message to buyers ( especially younger ones) that it may be ripped out at some stage but it can be lived with perfectly well while they decide what to do.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked JE C
  • Maun Collins
    29 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    Blue seems to be the new coming colour and it is very fresh and attractive. I would do the lower cabinets a pale powder blue. It goes well with wood tones. Do the uppers white, to reflect the light, and I would also do the cupboard doors in the blue. I find blue to be a feel good, cheerful colour. Just did my kitchen island deep blue against dark wood cabinets with a white benchtop, but I think you need light colours to open up the space. Try one of those chalky paints. It will give a beach vibe that is very soothing. The blue will also tone down the yellowness of the floor.

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Maun Collins
  • Gary Winterbottom
    28 days ago

    Hi Debbie,
    As you are selling you would obviously not want to spend much money on it as you may not get it back at sale.
    I would paint the cupboards and bench tops to make it look more modern. The only thing that I don't like is the bricks behind the range hood, it just makes it look dark. Hopefully it is something you can paint with a paint that can take heat.
    There are so many amazing paints now that won't mark or chip. so much easier, cheaper and quicker than replacing the Bench tops.
    good luck

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Gary Winterbottom
  • Julie2266 B
    28 days ago

    Hi, paint cabinets white, off white, deep navy blue, greige or moderately dark grey. two tone would also look ok - light/white on top, darker on bottom. Maybe choose paint based on other colours used in house. Please do not paint sage!!!! replace the cabinet handles with modern chrome T handles or similar. Replace curtain with white venetian. paint/cover brick. get rid of brick next to stove and replace with a panel. tile paint tiles white and extend to behind stove. or get creative and add a nice geometric feature tile that compliments the colours behine stove and exhaust fan. put down some cheap water proof wood look laminate click flooring. consider adding same geometric print to breakfast bar and add a couple of cute high stools from kmart or ebay. Change fan to chrome or spray paint silver. replace beam light with pendant light, maybe glass to be safe or something that is modern, meracrtor is good brand, or even just a modern round oyster type light. Cheers goodluck

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Julie2266 B
  • Julie2266 B
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    Also no need to buy a new bench , just paint with rustoleum, will end up cheaper, also consider changing tap to more modern style chrome :-). If you have a hole in the counter just replace it with a new stove top in same dimensions or fill it with some second hand counter and paint the whole thing. no need to have all new benchtops. You could cut it square in the corner instead of curved and then iron on the edge again - see youtube - save yourself the time and money.

    Tile paint - bunnings $120

    Counter paint - $200

    Cabinet paint - bunnings $175

    Venetian - ebay/spotlight - $40

    floors - 10m $350

    spray paint for fan $15

    tiles/grout for back splash - $150

    handles - $50

    Debbie Rybicki thanked Julie2266 B
  • amonymousanne
    27 days ago

    I would not do sage ! White on white as Louise said with new handles and tap ware . Leave the brick . Remove the curtain and replace with a cheap white blind .

    Debbie Rybicki thanked amonymousanne