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Whether to paint the built in cabinets or not?
arc1016
December 4, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I am trying to decide whether to paint the cabinets white or another color or just put a dark glaze on them. We will be re-doing the floors to a darker color and the furniture will all be new (this is prior owner's furniture & lighting fixtures). I like the look of painted cabinets and I don't want this room to be too dark. Any help would be appreciated!
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City Cabinet Center, San Diego
Since you are going darker on the floors, I would either leave it or paint it white.
December 4, 2012 at 10:44AM   
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arc1016
Thanks! The cabinets are a natural color with a light glaze on them. Not crazy about the color but I hate painting wood.
December 4, 2012 at 11:06AM     
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Travis Robert Renovations
Paint the cabinets to match the trim. The freshly painted cabinets will be a nice contrast with the dark floors. Happy renovating!!
December 4, 2012 at 11:12AM     
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Granite Grannies
I think a dark cabinet would be a great contrast against the white walls. I vote stain them darker or paint them white, although I agree that painting wood should be a last resort.
December 4, 2012 at 11:14AM     
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Darzy
I agree to paint the built-ins white. If you like the look, you can paint the back an accent color.

December 4, 2012 at 11:16AM     
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collettec
What is the color of your new furniture?
December 4, 2012 at 11:18AM     
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
I'm with Darzy, paint it the trim colour and love changing up the back colour. You could use paint, a great textured paper - grasscloth or strie - would look beautiful. We just did a wall unit and it turned out beautifuly, used Benjamin Moore Cabinet Coat - great to work with. You could also change out the hardware and if you want a cleaner look, change the horizontal shelving to glass and add some lighting up in the top. I'd also consider scaling down the accessories in the unit and go will less but larger pieces. Just a thought.
December 4, 2012 at 11:24AM     
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decoenthusiaste
Here's a nice example, and they're not even the quality of yours. Will look great! Keep us posted!

December 4, 2012 at 12:02PM     
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Aja Mazin
What a project!
December 4, 2012 at 12:41PM     
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Aja Mazin
What is the color of your new furniture?
December 4, 2012 at 12:42PM   
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Gabberts Design Studio
We agree! White cabinets with a contrasting back color would look great and update the room.
December 4, 2012 at 12:47PM   
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arc1016
We haven't picked out the furniture yet. We just bought the house, so we were going to do the floors, figure out the built in situation and then get a dining room table. It is in the entry of the house, so it all needs to be very appealing to the eye since it is the first impression you get when you walk in the house. I agree-too much stuff in the cabinets- looks cluttered. I like the idea of painting with the contrasting back color. If anyone has some pictures of horizontal shelving, grass cloth or lighting suggested, I would appreciate it. Also, any ideas for a fabulous dining room table would be great (or chandelier).
December 4, 2012 at 2:46PM   
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Andrea Garrett
white. it would really class the place up (not that it's not already classy enough!).
December 4, 2012 at 2:52PM   
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janishill
White for shelves. Grasscloth on backs would be perfect: http://upcycledhomeblog.com/2012/08/03/easiest-way-ever-to-install-grasscloth/
December 4, 2012 at 3:07PM     
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anitajoyce
Yes! paint the cabinets white. The color they are now throws the whole room off.
December 4, 2012 at 3:08PM     
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Here is the look,(by Robeson Designs) white or off white with grasscloth and the puck lights. You can light each shelf individually or use glass and just one light at the top
December 4, 2012 at 3:42PM     
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Ramona
Stain them darker (but with dark floors that is really going to eat up light) or paint white with color on the backs or grass cloth. Since the unit has only a light glaze on it, you might be able to stain the wood a color and still show the grain.

How do you lean style wise as to furniture? This is a traditional space. Your dining room chairs will be the hardest part because nice ones are expensive. I'd look for those before the table myself as there are lots of affordable tables but no really nice inexpensive chairs. I have shopped and shopped for chairs.
December 4, 2012 at 3:49PM   
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tennisanyone
I would also think about adding a mirror and glass shelves to the back of the cabinets that have the doors for contrast and sparkle. It is so visually busy that I would pare down the accessorizes too and paint it darker.
December 4, 2012 at 4:16PM   
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arc1016
Can someone show me a picture with mirror and glass shelves please? Not sure what that would look like. My style furniture wise is more pottery barn/ traditional -love the chairs and pillows a few posts up.
December 4, 2012 at 6:03PM   
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arc1016
What type of hardware would you use? Thank you so much for all the suggestions!
December 4, 2012 at 6:09PM   
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Ramona
the hardware would depend on what you choose for the unit color and the chandelier. If you have a pewter chandelier, I would do matching hardware. You could also go black wrought iron.
December 4, 2012 at 6:13PM   
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lynn waller
I say paint them white, same as the trim- however a great product I recommend is Benjamin Moore's Advance in a pearl finish. Need a great white? I love to use AF-20 Mascarpone from Benjamin Moore.
December 4, 2012 at 6:15PM     
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Here are three cabinets with glass shelves with and without mirror back. You have to be careful with the mirror and remember that everything you put in there doubles.
December 4, 2012 at 7:05PM     
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Third one, my preference would be the grass cloth or painted finish. There's a lot going on there and it could tend to get busy. Carpet should be larger as well - extend at least three feet past the table all the way around to allow room for pulling out the chairs and not catching on the edge of the carpet.
December 4, 2012 at 7:09PM   
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Darzy
Agree..scratch the mirror idea. Double busy and a bear to windex!
December 4, 2012 at 9:13PM     
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Montgomery Communications
some handmade paper can make a stunning backwall to a shelf unit. don't have to just paint. :-)
December 4, 2012 at 9:23PM   
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houssaon
This is one time I would go with painting the builtin white. I think I would change the clear glass to frosted panels, since you have so much display space, it is almost like gilding the lily to have closed cabinets with clear glass. Here is a textured glass: Traditional Kitchen. Here is one cabinet with stained glass: Traditional Cape Cod
December 4, 2012 at 9:29PM   
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Painting Services By Steve
Take the glass doors off and if the shelves are adjustable in the unit, take a couple out so to open the areas a bit more so when you paint the wood white and put a color on the back, more of the back will show and it won't be so busy
December 4, 2012 at 11:10PM   
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
One thing I would consider if you decide to paint would be to eliminate the cabinet backing on to the hall. It's hard to tell what you should do because we can't see the entire unit from left to right. If it wraps around on the left and right side I would most likely leave it, but if it's on the right side only I might consider removing it if it's possible.
December 5, 2012 at 3:48AM   
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arc1016
That is a good idea. The only issue is that the right side doesn't extend to the end of the wall like the left side b/c it wraps around. Would that look odd? thanks again for your help. I love the grasscloth idea and painting it white
December 5, 2012 at 5:54AM   
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Can you post a photo of the cabinets dead on centre so both sides are visible. I'm just working on one right now, we eliminated an entire section and are just in the process of looking for the "perfect" paper.
December 5, 2012 at 7:35AM   
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Aja Mazin
Painting the cabinets white will be a big, messy job.

You have not yet bought your new table or lighting fixtures.
You are re-doing the floors to a darker color and you state you do
not want the room too dark.

Consider buying a table to match the cabinet finish.


December 5, 2012 at 8:00AM     
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collettec
Think Aja's suggestion is one to consider. You could find all sorts of great tables with this light wood combination. Don't think the two tone wall paint with the taupe works as well with it, but that might be easier to change than painting the cabinets. Still could do any treatments regarding the back of the cabinets.
December 5, 2012 at 8:18AM     
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Judy M
I vote painting them white and love the grasscloth idea on back.
December 6, 2012 at 5:50AM   
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Aja Mazin
For your dining room furniture:

Trend Alert -- Light wood

Forget about the dark woods you see in national chain stores.
December 6, 2012 at 12:01PM     
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Transforming Architecture LLC
Painting the cabinets white with the darker floors will add a beautiful backdrop to your new furniture.
December 6, 2012 at 12:09PM     
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Space & Place Interiors
Don't try to match furniture to the built-in, unless you are totally in LOVE with the wood/color of the built-in. It doesn't really have that Pottery Barn look to it so you might end up hating both! Painting the cabinet is kind of a pain, but not as much as you might think. There are some GREAT new paints that make painting woodwork much less pain than it used to be (the Ben Moore Advance mentioned above is WONDERFUL, it gives an oil-like finish but is water-based so safer/cleaner and won't yellow over time) Also, if you are doing work to the floors before you move in, you could just get a painter to spray, since you won't have all of your things in there yet to worry about overspray as much. That would make it simple work and should be able to get that done for under $1,000 (depending where you live, it could be as low as $4-500). And I definitely think Grasscloth on the backs is the way to go--you can find some really beautiful (and affordable) ones at Sherwin Williams. It comes in many, many shades and textures and they even make colored grasscloths, in case you want something other than beige. Good luck and share a picture when it's done! :-)
December 7, 2012 at 7:52AM   
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sacapuntaslapioz
I would paint the bookcases and the trim in a straight white (no tint) such as white in BM because they are the largest surface. Consider staining the floors really dark, and then have fun with the back of the bookcases. I would love to see a library/dining as it feels rich and inviting. Leave a few shelves for some scultpures or objects and remove the shelf in the middle and hang a picture from it. With dark floors and white trim you can have a lot of latitude for furniture. good luck it is a great space
December 7, 2012 at 9:37AM   
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arc1016
Thank you for everyone's help!
December 13, 2012 at 12:10PM   
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arc1016
I have decided to paint the built ins a white or off white. The trim in the house is porter's paint special white (very bright) and I would like for the cabinets to be a bit more subtle. I was thinking of even adding a glaze to them in addition to painting. However, I need some advice on what color white would be good which is more subtle than special white but still goes well with my trim. Also, whether to get them glazed when painted to give them a more professional/custom look. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
January 5, 2013 at 2:20AM   
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
Nice room. I would go with the same white as the rest of the woodwork. Any other white or glaze will make them look out of place. Paint the back the color of the room. Grass cloth will fade and if you go to move something it will look bad. I think you know what to do. Dont second guess yourself and go with your gut.
January 5, 2013 at 4:17AM     
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arc1016
Thanks! You don't think it will look too bright?
January 5, 2013 at 11:18AM   
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
No I dont especially if you paint the back the color of the room and dont fill it as much as the previous owner did.
January 6, 2013 at 4:29AM   
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Emily Hurley
What did you end up doing with the built ins? Would love to see how it turned out!
December 18, 2013 at 4:46PM   
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arc1016
I ended up painting them a color between the trim and white. Turned out great! Thanks for the suggestions!
December 29, 2013 at 8:38AM     
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arc1016
Disregard all the junk on the cabinets- its all stuff that needs to be put away from Christmas. I also put in new Bella Cera flooring which made the house look so much better.
December 29, 2013 at 8:41AM     
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tennisanyone
Beautiful. What a difference :)
December 29, 2013 at 11:06AM   
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wksalter
Where did you get the light fixture? Thank you
December 29, 2013 at 11:14AM   
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Bellotti Painting
I would apply a dark-ish faux glaze to give the cabinets a little more character and harmonize with the color of the floor.
December 29, 2013 at 11:28AM     
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arc1016
The light fixture is from Ballard designs
December 29, 2013 at 11:40AM   
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anitajoyce
Looks refreshing and awesome! Now that the cabinets are white, your nice dinning set and rug stand out as they should and take center stage in the room! Good Job.
December 29, 2013 at 5:30PM   
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chariroma
What is Bella cella flooring? Is it wood? Or tiles that look like wood? I love how everything turned out. You did great!!
December 29, 2013 at 6:41PM   
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smartin1
Gorgeous! And if you want to try a little color or grass cloth, buy some inexpensive foam board and cut them to the size of the backs. Paint them, cover them in fabric, wallpaper, even scrapbook paper, etc, then pop them in. You can see what you think, without making a huge commitment.
December 29, 2013 at 7:21PM   
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mermaide
Pickled cabinets
December 29, 2013 at 7:28PM   
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kksmom8
So much nicer!!
December 29, 2013 at 9:52PM   
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