This week’s question comes from my friend Julie. Our friendship started out as fellow dance mom’s three years ago but I have wormed my way into her cupboards. Here is her design question:
I have some yellow oak cupboards that I want to refinish in some bathrooms and in our family room but don’t know the direction I want to go. It seems everyone is going white right now. Is that the only way to go?
This is a great question! So many people are wanting to update their cabinetry but are at a loss as to which direction to take. So, let’s talk about some options.
Option One: Staining
This option does require more extensive sanding and stripping of the current finish, but if you’re wanting to keep it in a “wood” color palette, this is your best bet. You can select the finish you want, from light to very dark. Generally you can’t go lighter than the current stain but you can go darker.
Option Two: Painting
Painting is probably the most popular option, partially because it is easier than a lot of sanding and refinishing. It does still require sanding but not as much as with staining. But beware….once you paint, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to go back to a wood grain once you’ve painted. You also have a lot more color and glaze options with paint than you do with stain.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk colors. Although white might be considered trendy right now, it really is classic. No one ever walks into a room and says “those white cupboards are so 1980 something”. Unless they’re the particle board white kitchen cupboards that are so 80’s. White kitchens and cabinetry have been around for many many years.
But, white cupboards are not for everyone. If you really don’t like white cabinetry, than definitely go with something else! If you’re wanting to go with something that is more classic than trendy, black cabinetry can be just as timeless as white, but without all the finger prints. Especially if you have really lovely woodwork in a family room, it can really just make a statement. A good statement. ;o)
Gray is more on the trendy side as far as cabinetry goes, but it’s a good compromise between black and white. The perfect compromise! It’s a more subtle color and won’t be wildly out of date in a year. Also consider a lovely cream…not as stark as white, but just as classic. It all depends on your preference.
Neutrals are not your only option though! If you’ve had a life long love for turquoise, then painting your cupboards turquoise may make your heart skip a happy beat every time you look at them.
On the other hand, if you’re having a fling with bright yellow, you might want to hold off since six months from now you may be so sick of yellow you never want to see it again. A larger project, like painting built-in cabinets or remodeling your kitchen, should have personal taste and style prioritized over trends and color flings.A larger project, like painting built-in cabinets or remodeling your kitchen, should have personal taste and style prioritized over trends and color flings. Click To Tweet
Now that you’ve heard some options, here comes the tricky part. Selecting finish and color. After the advice I’ve given you, you may know exactly what you want to do. And if that’s the case, great! The hardest part is done. But if that’s not true, don’t worry. This can take time. I recommend that you just start paying attention to what catches your eye. You can look at magazines (both IRL or online), books at the library, favorite websites. Even Pinterest, if that doesn’t overwhelm you. As you start to pay attention to what you naturally like, you will be guided to the right finish and color. And when you get there, send us pictures so I can share it here and we can all ooh and aah over your beautiful handiwork.