How to Choose Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

In the traditional home, a woman did the cooking, and the kitchen was unmistakably hers: frilly curtains, kitschy knick-knacks made by her son when he was eight (he’s in college now), and a counter with brightly colored tile.

Family friendly

We can work miracles on your cabinets to create the color you want.

We can work miracles on your cabinets to create the color you want.

But, then moms went to work, dads discovered they could also make great meals, and the kitchen became a hub where family and friends could gather as a team for food, fun, and love. As a result, kitchen styles have evolved, and options for kitchen cabinets and colors have also changed. 

How to choose

When homeowners decide to restore their kitchen cabinets, we can create a custom color to suit them. The options for kitchen cabinet colors have stopped being a ‘woman’s choice’ and become a family-driven choice. Invariably, the question of color comes up and, sometimes, it can be hard to know how to choose. So, today, we’re going to take a look at how to choose the right colors for your cabinets. 

Light is king

The first thing you have to consider in a room is the light. Light effects color dramatically, so, if your room has a lot of light, the kitchen will appear brighter, and the intensity of lighter-toned cabinets will also seem bright since light colors reflect the light. By contrast, dark colors absorb light, which can make a room look cozy, or depressing if it’s overdone. Take the countertops, flooring, and furnishings into consideration when you choose a color range for your cabinets, and then make sure you love it. 
The next thing to decide is the feeling or mood you want the color to convey.

Eclectic mixes

For a great effect, you can use more than one type of cabinet, paint one set in a slightly darker shade on the same color strip, or paint them in an entirely different color. Another option is to stain or paint a feature, such as a window seat or stair hollow, in a complementary or contrasting shade. This type of variety is attractive and pleasing to the eye. Regardless of the choice, cabinets and other features should work in unison to please the eye.

Bold or neutral?

If you want something bold, choose darker shades. If you want something less bold, but still dramatic, pick the medium tones. If you want something soft and bright, choose the lightest shades. 

Neutral colors are the most flexible for people who have bold tile or frequently change the colors of other decorating elements in the room. 


The finish will also make a difference. We've covered this topic in a previous blog on painting, which you can view here.

A note on damage

Previous damage has to be taken into consideration, as well, especially if you want a lighter color. The problem spots are often cabinet surfaces which frequently come in contact with dirt, fingerprints, or moisture, or where pets or children have been involved. 

We will work with you and your choices to create the most beautiful kitchen possible, something which the whole family will love and be proud to gather around and enjoy.

The Wood Doctor is the leader in wood restoration, refinishing and refacing in the Portland area. Call 503-560-5220 for a project consultation.