Reader Q: Paint or Stain for a Cabinet Makeover?

A few years ago, if you were updating your existing kitchen cabinets, you’d probably default to painting them. But now that wood-toned cabinets are making a comeback, re-staining them is becoming a more popular option.

Enter: Jane’s dilemma.

Jane wrote:

Hi kaitlin, I am trying to figure out what to do with my cabinets in my kitchen. I so love to decorate but as you say…. I am “stuck” as to paint or stain them. They are solid wood and very nice. What would you do???”

Here are a few photos of her space:

My advice? Paint them. Here’s what I said.

Hi Jane-

Thanks for sending these over! After taking a look – I would be more inclined to paint them. The reason is because you have a lot of other wood tones in that living space, so:

1. Paint would be a nice contrast to some of the wood tones

2. It’ll be more difficult to find a stain color that complements the rest of the wood in the area without matching it. 

As it turns out, we were already on the same page in terms of paint color. she had thought a putty color or sage green would work well, and sage green was my first pick also.

The reason is because it’ll complement the earthy tones in her countertop, but also suit the layered, cottage-y style of her home.

Here’s what I said:

“I love the sage green idea – that was actually my first thought when I saw your space! I would say a more muted sage (almost a borderline putty color!) I like Benjamin Moore Cypress Green, or Behr Bonsai Pot perhaps. I would grab a swatch of those and then hold them up to your granite and go from there. If your granite has more warm tones, you might want something warmer and vice versa.  

A few other light sage greens I like:

F&B French Gray (more of a gray-green)
SW Clary Sage (more blue tones)

What would have done? Stain or paint?

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