Kitchen Cabinet Decisions. Help.

It’s been really quiet around here, but mostly because it’s been loud in real life.  Not bad loud, just holiday crazy loud.

I don’t even know what day of the week it is at this point.  It’s all just a weird blur.

What I do know is that the time has come when I’m ready to do something about my kitchen cabinets.

(Quiet, Andy.  I can hear you groaning from here.)

And I need your opinion.  Because I have gotten to a point in my life where I cannot make a decision without consulting the Internet.  Not weird at all.

So, a little tour, shall we?

You might remember my last was fairly new, with good “bones”.  BUT, the cabinets were an orange-hued oak stain that made the room dark and dated.  I painted them white…and while it was a GIANT TIME CONSUMING LABOR INTENSIVE PAIN IN THE REAR…I didn’t regret doing it for one second.  It made a huge difference, even if it wasn’t my favorite project.


Irony of all ironies, our next house has a kitchen with blonde oak stain…and the same dreaded white tile and white grout countertops we had just gotten rid of in the last place.  Gah.

Someday we will do an actual remodel of the kitchen.


Option 1 is a fairly straightforward Lipstick and Earrings type of remodel.  New countertops, backsplash and updated appliances.  The layout and all that would be the same…just new finishes.

Option 2 would be a full gut-job where everything is removed, a whole new layout, a wall knocked out, and even moving the sliding door for a completely different space.

Option 2 is what Andy lovingly refers to as Jeannett’s Pipe Dream.

Regardless of which option we end up doing, it won’t be happening for at least a few years.  (Andy just looked over my shoulder and said 10.  We’ll see about that.)


But in the meantime, I’d like to do something to update the space and make it feel more Us.

Not to mention that I have never been accused of Leaving Well Enough Alone.

I admit fully that it really isn’t terrible.  It could be a million times worse.  No doubt.

BUT…it could also be a million times better.

So, I’m wanting to paint the cabinets as a placeholder.  Let’s call it Option 0.5.  The Hold Over.

Now keep in mind that I’m stuck with white counter tops…so the all-white kitchen of my dreams is probably out of the question.  While white cabinets and Carerra Marble scream luxury…white cabinets and white tile sound a little more First Apartment.  (Actually our first apartment had buttery yellow tile.)

I did some research (and by research I mean scrolling Pinterest), and I found a few ideas:


Granted, these counters are new and gorgeous and I want to make out with them, but this gray with white option is definitely right up my alley.

IMG_0732 (1)

In fact, you might remember that I painted the kids’ bathroom cabinets a similar gray in the last house…and that had white tile counters…so I know this will work well.

But then I found two-tone kitchen cabinets…


I love this idea because it keeps the room feeling really open and bright by having the upper cabinets my beloved white, while still working with the tile counters I’m stuck with for now.

(Sadly, I won’t have that fabulous subway tile…but this is a Hold Over, right?)


I love the idea of gray on the bottoms because it’s neutral and it would match the (much paler) gray I have on the walls.


This is where I need you.


I found two-toned cabinets IN FUN COLORS.

Edie’s kitchen with the aqua…love.

So, so so fun.


Also swooning over this peacock teal on the bottoms and white uppers.

Still a fun color with a twist on the ubiquitous aqua you see all over the place.  I like that it’s more bold.



Bright, brilliant, bold blue.

Um….I kinda want to marry this.


Okay, wait.  This.  Blue, but more to the navy side of blue.

Again, I wouldn’t have the brilliance of genuine marble, but I’m digging this bold splash of color.

So here’s my dilemma:

I’ve never been one to be afraid of bold colors…but this is a HUGE project.  One not easily painted over in case I tire of it. And it’s in the kitchen.  Not a small bathroom or one wall.  But it would be fun and vibrant.

I know that gray will stand the test of time better and will be most neutral and work for a longer amount of time (in case Andy’s 10 year timeline is extended even further).  And I know that it will work well with the counters since I’ve done a similar paint job in the last place.


Do I go big and bold and throw caution to the wind and go Navy/Blue/Teal…or stick to safe and neutral gray?

Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi.  You’re my only hope.

(Andy and the kids watched that last night.  It’s in my brain.)

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    LOVE the last photo with the navy cabinets. If you like the style of those cabinets in that photo you could insert beadboard in the flat section of your cabinet doors.

  2. 2

    Because your kitchen is open to your livingroom, I vote for the more neutral gray. (And personally, I would do the gray on both the lower and upper cabinets, since there is already so much white in the rest of the kitchen.

  3. 3

    I think aqua and teal are going to date themselves the fastest. Go with grey or navy.

  4. 4

    Navy all the way. It is a nuetral but still pretty and it mixes well with so many color schemes.

  5. 5

    I think that because it’s so open, I would not do an aqua/peacock. Plus I am looking at your floor, and unless you are replacing that, I don’t think it would look great together. I for sure think you could do the second blue….but I am having a really hard time picturing white on top because of your backsplash. I am just not loving it.
    Honestly, I’d go gray. But that’s just me.

  6. 6

    Love them all, but I vote dark grey on bottoms, white on top.

  7. 7

    If you are swooning over those bold colors in a picture – just think how you’ll swoon if those are actually your boldly painted cabinets in real life. Go bold Obi.

  8. 8
    Leah Heffelfinger says:

    I’m going with the grey on the bottom, white on top — Karri brings up a good point about the backsplash but, I think if this is an interim fix, then you’ll just have to deal with the backsplash. I also agree with her comment about the floors – I don’t think the aqua/peacock combo will look great with the floors, but the grey seems like a great option. Grey with pops of aqua and red would look amazing!

  9. 9

    Gray on bottom, white on top. But that’s my dream kitchen so maybe I’m forcing it on you.

  10. 10
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner says:

    If I remember correctly, the last time you went cray with color you ended up HATING your mustard yellow bar and repainted it. So my voice of reason says grey on the bottom and white on the top.

  11. 11

    i think the gray would look great. i think the two tone would be so much fun! and would look great in your kitchen! YOLO right?? go for fun!

  12. 12

    Go BOLD!!! Go with something you love. YOLO!!!!

  13. 13

    I think gray on bottom and white on top gives you the best of all worlds. I love every single one of your inspiration pictures, but I think that option you already know will WORK will look GOOD and will work for you and your family for many a year.

  14. 14

    White top and turquoise bottom…did I break the tie? ;)

  15. 15

    DO IT! two tones white & aqua is amazing and I would never get sick of that color! My hubby built out girls a play kitchen in that color and I’m seriously jealous every time I walk by it. Mine is a lovely pickled oak color… GAG.

  16. 16

    Since it sounds like your timeline for being in this house is long term, I’d vote for the gray. You could easily accent with pops of color in frames/pictures, artwork, etc. while not creating a situation where you are painting everything again in the next couple of years. The white top cabinets with the gray bottom cabinets look amazing!

  17. 17

    Gray will look dated in ten years, too. It’s not a classic, just a longer-term trend.

    So: what looks best to you NOW? Don’t pick a color because you think you should. It’s your house. Pick what makes you happy, love it for years, then change it one day if you get tired of it.

  18. 18

    I think the gray is pretty however, I’ve lived in my home for five years and can’t decide on a countertop color so I am by far not an expert. Good luck. I kinda like what Whitney had to say.

  19. 19

    I like the grey on the bottom and white on top. That will ast longer though I love the aqua too.

  20. 20
    Tiffanie of Truly Skrumptious says:

    LOVE the aqua on the bottom and white on top!!!! Gorgeousness!!

  21. 21

    I think grey would be beautiful – then paint your chairs and bar stools for a pop or color – aqua or blue! Those are more easily updated down the road!

  22. 22

    I like the peacock color. It would look good with your tiles, your black bar chairs and great with with upper cabinets.

  23. 23

    Go bold! Teal bottoms, white top! Omg I want to paint my kitchen cabinets, now!!!!!!!

  24. 24

    Even though you do love the fun colors, theres a good chance it *might* get old saaaaay if it all of sudden goes out and the Pantone people are like, “teal is the worst color ever.” AND if you find yourself with your style changing in a couple-few years you are stuck with what matches tealy/blues. BUT if you go with the classic gray it will still look oh-so-chic and wonderful (plus you are going into a HUMONGO project knowing it will turn out wonderfully) and still be neutral enough to decorate around it with any color your little heart whims. May the force be with you.

  25. 25

    Just an FYI I have all the tile from when we were gonna finish our house with, which never came to fruition. I hit the side walk sale for tileco. I have I think 18 inch tiles and all the matching stuff to do the bathroom and shower including decos, I also have countertop granite but i couldn’t afford slab so they’re tiles (12×12) but gorgeous. Just happened to come across a bookmark for your blog. I moved to LA but will be in Santa Maria tomorrow if interested in taking a peak. I’ll give you a smokin deal. No pressure though.

  26. 26

    Or I can just dry up and blow away since you never bother to answer. Not very Christian like really.

  27. 27

    You could do the cabinets all neutral (your choice–all white, all grey) and then paint the island something fun!

  28. 28

    Oh!–and definitely some hardware on the cabinet doors and drawers! That could change the look nicely too.