Hero image

How to Choose a Cabinet Color: 7 Kitchen Cabinet Color Ideas

    We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It plays a big role in setting the tone for our day. It’s where we start to unwind before dinner and catch up with family and friends. It’s a productive space, but also a refuge. Given all that, the color you paint your kitchen cabinets is a significant decision, contributing to the overall aesthetic of this important part of your home. 

    That’s why we’ve gathered some great kitchen cabinet color ideas below. But before we get into that, let’s talk about how to paint your cabinets, and which type of paint to use.

    What Kind of Paint Should You Use for Kitchen Cabinets?

    It's essential to choose a durable paint that can withstand the daily wear and tear of cooking, cleaning, and moisture exposure. 

    Oil-based paints provide a hard, durable finish that’s highly resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture. This makes them ideal for kitchen cabinets. Just be aware that they require longer drying times between coats. They also have a strong odor and will require good ventilation during painting.
    Another good option is latex enamel paint, which offers similar durability and resistance to stains and moisture. This type provides a smoother, easier-to-clean finish and has a faster drying time with less intense odor. 

    paint for cabinets in small cans

    How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

    Whichever type of paint you choose, it will perform best if applied in the right way. To paint kitchen cabinets effectively, follow these steps:


    Start by removing your cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. Thoroughly clean the cabinet surfaces with a degreaser, and then sand the cabinets lightly—just enough to roughen the surface and help your paint adhere as well as possible.


    Next, use a brush or a roller to apply a high-quality primer to the cabinet surfaces. This will lengthen the life of your paint, helping prevent chipping or peeling.


    Whether you go with oil-based or latex enamel, use a high-quality paint that’s specifically formulated for cabinets. Using a good brush or roller, apply the paint evenly, following the wood grain for a smooth finish. Use long, even strokes and avoid overloading to prevent drips and streaks. It’s all in the wrist.


    Now we play the waiting game. Give that first coat plenty of time to completely dry. Check the paint manufacturer’s instructions, but usually latex enamel paint will need about half a day, while oil-based paint will need more like 24 hours.

    Sand and Repeat 

    Once the paint is totally dry, lightly sand the entire surface to smooth out any imperfections. Then you’re ready to apply another coat of paint. Let that coat dry, and repeat this step for as many coats as you need for full coverage and to achieve the finish you want.

    Final Touches

    Once that last coat is dry, reattach your cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. Clean up any drips or spills, and give the cabinets several days to cure (the waiting game again) before using them.

    Now that we’ve covered the kinds of paint to use and the method for applying it, we’re ready to start the process of finding the perfect color for your kitchen cabinets. 

    How to Choose a Cabinet Color

    Choosing the right cabinet color for your kitchen or any other space requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure it complements the overall design scheme and meets your preferences. Here are some steps to help you choose a cabinet color effectively:

    cabinetry color choices for kitchen

    Consider the Overall Style

    Think about the aesthetic you want for your kitchen. Are you going for modern or traditional? Rustic or eclectic? You’ll want your cabinet color to complement that style.

    Evaluate the Existing Elements

    Along those same lines, take stock of what’s already in place, including flooring, countertops, light fixtures, and wall color. Your cabinet color should harmonize with those elements to give your kitchen a cohesive look and feel.

    Assess Natural Light

    The right cabinet color can create balance with the natural light in the room. For example, in a kitchen with limited natural light, painting your cabinets whitecream, or light gray can brighten the space and make it feel more open. In a kitchen with lots of natural light, you can use darker colors, like navy, charcoal, or espresso, to give the room warmth and depth.

    Think About Maintenance

    Cooking leads to cleaning. Keep in mind that a lighter cabinet color might create the aesthetic effect you want, but it may also show dirt, fingerprints, and wear and tear more easily, requiring more frequent cleaning and touch ups. If you want something lower-maintenance, a darker color might be the way to go. 

    With these considerations in mind, let’s look at seven of the best colors for kitchen cabinets. 

    The 7 Best Paint Colors for Cabinets

    1. White

    Classic and timeless, white can add a bright and airy feel to your kitchen. It pairs well with virtually any design style, from traditional to modern, and can make your space feel bigger and more open.

    2. Cream

    Cream-colored cabinets create a warm and inviting look with a touch of traditional charm. This is one of the more versatile choices, pairing well with a wide variety of countertops and hardware finishes.

    3. Gray

    Gray can add a modern and sophisticated look that’s still subtle and versatile. Go with a lighter shade for a soft and elegant feel, or something darker for a bit of depth and drama.

    Light grey cabinet paint color in kitchen

    4. Greige

    This blend of gray and beige vibes warm and inviting. It complements a wide range of design styles, laying down a neutral foundation that allows other decorative elements to shine.

    5. Soft Green

    This is a great choice if you want a fresh and tranquil atmosphere. A nice, soft green pairs beautifully with natural wood accents and earthy tones for a chill, organic aesthetic.

    6. Navy Blue

    If you want your cabinets to make more of a statement, this rich and bold color is a great choice. With white countertops and brass hardware, navy creates a classic and elegant look. With natural wood accents, it contributes to a more rustic aesthetic.

    7. Black

    Finally, if you’re feeling dramatic, consider black. Paired with white countertops and light-colored walls, black cabinets create a striking contrast. This is an ideal choice to give your kitchen a modern elegance.

    By no means are these the only colors that can make for beautiful kitchen cabinets. Remember that the right choice for you depends on the style you’re going for, the aesthetic elements already in place, the natural light levels, how low-maintenance you want your cabinets to be, and, most importantly, what color you fall in love with. To help make that happen, you’ll want to test your paint colors. And that’s where Samplize comes in. 

    Test Cabinet Paint Colors with Samplize

    We make testing paint simple with peel-and-stick samples made with real paint, delivered to you overnight. Here’s how you can use Samplize to find the perfect color for your cabinets. 

    sample of cabinet paint on cabinet door

    Step One: Choose Your Samples  

    Head here and browse 1000s of colors, all from premium paint brands. (You might want to sample cream, but which cream?) You can order bundles or handpick a stack of samples in just a few minutes. Finish your order, and we’ll get busy making sure your samples arrive at your doorstep the next day. 

    Step Two: Peel and Stick 

    Your samples will be painted with two coats of paint, so you’ll be able to see how each color really behaves in your kitchen. Start by testing one sample on an inconspicuous area of your cabinet. Make sure that spot is clean and free of debris. Once you’ve tried one, feel free to stick on various colors side by side.

    Step Three: Dream, Deliberate, Decide

    This part is all about you and your preferences. Look at the colors from various vantage points. Turn the lights on and off. Wait for sunset, light some candles—explore how each color presents in each condition. Then, if you’re not in love yet, just repeat steps one and two until you find your perfect cabinet color. 

    Ready to Get Started?

    Finding the perfect color for your kitchen cabinets is simpler with SamplizeClick here to start exploring 1000s of possibilities.

    Keep up with all things color

    Get our exclusive launches and designer collections.