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Paint color for outdated honey oak cabinets...

Started 1326579955.757 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1330459095.033 by BigBro6

I am painting the inside of my house. I am having a difficult time deciding on a color for the kitchen. The cabinets are a honey/golden oak color and it seems no matter what color I use it makes them stand out and I'm trying to not put the focus on them. At this time I have tried sage greens, soft yellow, and neutral colors. I can't invest money to change the color of the cabinets since we lease the house. No offence to anyone but they are very "80's" looking. My living room is gray and I love the neutral tones...any suggestions? Thanks!

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Disneyland­fan1326580363.933447 PostsRegistered 10/18/2008Southern California

If you don't want the cabinets to stand out I would paint a color that matches your cabinets. A color that contrasts will accentuate the cabinets.

momtodogs1326580824.5033835 PostsRegistered 9/20/2006

Disneylandfan is right, also in my small town you can hire a designer for 1 hour (aprox $50.00) to come to your home and give you advice. It might be worth giving it a try.

queendiva1326581489.3333485 PostsRegistered 9/22/2006

Have you thought about painting your cabinets? Instant and inexpensive update. My vote would be for a shade of white or a very light gray. Maybe ask the homeowner? You are right- the cabinets sound very, very outdated.

Cardamom1326581779.926942 PostsRegistered 6/24/2006
On 1/14/2012 Disneylandfan said:

If you don't want the cabinets to stand out I would paint a color that matches your cabinets. A color that contrasts will accentuate the cabinets.

ITA. I would go with a honey golden yellow but what I would do is add pops of color to draw your eye away from the cabinets. Pehaps red or cobalt blue platters, plates, vases, artwork etc. I had the same cabinets with a lot if space above the cabinets. I went to places like Home Goods and Marshalls and got colored glass vases and bottles in purple, orange, red and turquoise. It was really what you noticed in the kitchen. Those vases are only about $8- $15 each, they were big too. I also had colored pictures and dish towels. My paint was cream. The color stood out.

happy hous­ewife1326589445.0532603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

When we lived in Pittsburgh all the woodwork in our house was golden oak - the entire front stairway - the kitchen and all the doors and even the crown moldings. The house was built in 1983 when that was very popular.I had the walls painted ivory and we did paint out the moldings and the doors white but kept the kitchen and the entryway stair case in the oak.I painted the kitchen a soft dusty teal shade and it was very pretty against the color of the oak.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

happy hous­ewife1326589572.83732603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

Before you paint out any cabinets in the kitchen you better be sure to have the owners permission in writting. Just because they aren't your taste doesn't mean they aren't the homeowners taste.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

loveac1326591301.367495 PostsRegistered 8/23/2007

I have honey oak color cabinets in my kitchen. I didn't want to go thru the expense of replacing them, since we plan to move within 4 years. It took me literally 4 months of having 9 different paint colors on my kitchen walls before I made my choice. I chose Benjamin Moore Covington Blue (75% of that color). It's a very pretty teal blue/green shade which complements the cabinets. I've been getting lots of compliments. You might want to try getting a sample made of that color. Good luck!

LoopyLoo1326593456.972180 PostsRegistered 7/30/2011
On 1/14/2012 loveac said:

I have honey oak color cabinets in my kitchen. I didn't want to go thru the expense of replacing them, since we plan to move within 4 years. It took me literally 4 months of having 9 different paint colors on my kitchen walls before I made my choice. I chose Benjamin Moore Covington Blue (75% of that color). It's a very pretty teal blue/green shade which complements the cabinets. I've been getting lots of compliments. You might want to try getting a sample made of that color. Good luck!

OMG!! Of all the colors in the entire color universe (!) I have Covington Blue in my kitchen, too! I had to check my Benjamin Moore Historical Color Collection brochure to be sure my memory wasn't deceiving me, but yup, that's it! I have white painted cabinets and varying shades of blues--it's a soft French country look. I had at least fifty paint chips up on the walls (I'm not kidding!) in yellows, blues, cream--you name it! I saw this paint chip and thought it could either be fabulous or a bomb, so I painted up some samples--fabulous! (I used it straight.) I tell you all of this, because it's a great chameleon color--one you might not gravitate to normally, but it may just breathe new life into those tired and dated cabinets!

Last edited on 1/14/2012

Last edited on 1/14/2012

Summerfun1326599019.397187 PostsRegistered 1/22/2006

Thanks for all of the great feedback. The owner wants us to to buy the house but it needs a lot of work. It was built in 2000. All fixtures are that gold/brass color. He told us to do what we want to the house. I have tried yellow (Restoration Hardware's "Butter") and it was horrible, tried neutrals, sage and some teals. I will try Covington Blue next. This is the only room giving me a migraine! Keep any ideas coming as I would love to hear them. Since we don't own the house I don't want to go the expense of changing the color of the cabinets. Oh how I wish I had some decorating talent!

Brabls1326599302.1914740 PostsRegistered 4/27/2007

I have the same color cainets. The paint I have is the color of coffee with lots of cream.

I use apple green as accents.

twopeas1326599609.4334879 PostsRegistered 6/5/2011PNW
On 1/14/2012 Disneylandfan said:

If you don't want the cabinets to stand out I would paint a color that matches your cabinets. A color that contrasts will accentuate the cabinets.

Exactly. I had the same problem. My cabinets are probably from the 80's and a honey oak. I brought several samples of paint chips home and compared them to my cabinets and then picked a color as close as I could get to the cabinets. That was for two walls. The other two walls I did in a very soft pale blue gray color and I love it.

If you always tell the truth you will never have to try and remember what you said before .....

BaileyBop1326599933.2732585 PostsRegistered 2/20/2008
On 1/14/2012 morning lover said:

When we lived in Pittsburgh all the woodwork in our house was golden oak - the entire front stairway - the kitchen and all the doors and even the crown moldings. The house was built in 1983 when that was very popular.I had the walls painted ivory and we did paint out the moldings and the doors white but kept the kitchen and the entryway stair case in the oak.I painted the kitchen a soft dusty teal shade and it was very pretty against the color of the oak.

Dusty teal with goldn oak, that sounds to me to be absolutely gorgeous. I am going to keep that in mind.

happy hous­ewife1326600015.53732603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

I have an old friend who is a professional interior designer and she always tells me not to put both cool colors and warm colors in the same room. If you are keeping the cabinets a warm honey gold the walls should also be a warm color IMO.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

happy hous­ewife1326600177.5932603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007
On 1/14/2012 BaileyBop said:
On 1/14/2012 morning lover said:

When we lived in Pittsburgh all the woodwork in our house was golden oak - the entire front stairway - the kitchen and all the doors and even the crown moldings. The house was built in 1983 when that was very popular.I had the walls painted ivory and we did paint out the moldings and the doors white but kept the kitchen and the entryway stair case in the oak.I painted the kitchen a soft dusty teal shade and it was very pretty against the color of the oak.

Dusty teal with goldn oak, that sounds to me to be absolutely gorgeous. I am going to keep that in mind.


One day i had a zillion paint samples in the kitchen trying to decide and DH's boss walked in and picked that color without even a blink. It was very pretty.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

raven-blac­kbird1326600307.03314684 PostsRegistered 1/2/2009California

Have you thought of doing a vintage white with a glaze over it in a cocoa brown, or even a mocha brown..............it's a great look.......and Martha Stewart has a cabinet paint and glaze kits that make the whole process easy..................raven

oooohhhh.........just saw that you have gray in the other room, you can glaze with a gray and tie the two rooms together..........different but joined

Last edited on 1/14/2012

Last edited on 1/14/2012

"Polite conversation is rarely either."
Fran Lebowitz

happy hous­ewife1326600720.67332603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

Did anyone see Sara Richardson's show today on HGTV? She did a kitchen and dining room - all the colors were a soft gray and creme. Then soft yellows were incorporated into the fabrics - but sparse and soft.And the only dark color was the floor - oak hardwood stained dark walnut. The cabinets were creme around the sides and edges then grey in the middle of the door.The backsplashes were italian marble in soft greys the counters were quartz in soft grey and white.It was so cool it almost made you feel cold but yet it was also beautiful.BTW - the appliances were pale soft grey not SS.

It sort of reminded me of the frozen winter palace in the movie Dr Zhigavo.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

LoopyLoo1326605729.0572180 PostsRegistered 7/30/2011
On 1/14/2012 morning lover said:

I have an old friend who is a professional interior designer and she always tells me not to put both cool colors and warm colors in the same room. If you are keeping the cabinets a warm honey gold the walls should also be a warm color IMO.

But it's the interplay of warm and cool that gives the space interest and balance. That's what made the Sarah Richardson room appeal to you, the contrast of grays and whites, with yellows, warm wood tones, and creme. Or maybe it didn't necessarily appeal, but it sparked your interest!

ETA--I just noticed that in your other house, you painted the kitchen walls the soft, dusty teal (cool) against the golden oak cabinets (warm)--beautiful!!!

Last edited on 1/15/2012

Last edited on 1/15/2012

Smurfette1326622988.672246 PostsRegistered 5/27/2007Under the Moonlight
My house was built in 2001 and sounds like it has the same kitchen cabinets! I have been collecting photos and researching this very thing for about a year. I decided to go with black on the bottom cabinets and white/cream on the top cabinets. BTW - I also have grey living room walls!

happy hous­ewife1326637171.68732603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007
On 1/14/2012 LoopyLoo said:
On 1/14/2012 morning lover said:

I have an old friend who is a professional interior designer and she always tells me not to put both cool colors and warm colors in the same room. If you are keeping the cabinets a warm honey gold the walls should also be a warm color IMO.

But it's the interplay of warm and cool that gives the space interest and balance. That's what made the Sarah Richardson room appeal to you, the contrast of grays and whites, with yellows, warm wood tones, and creme. Or maybe it didn't necessarily appeal, but it sparked your interest!

ETA--I just noticed that in your other house, you painted the kitchen walls the soft, dusty teal (cool) against the golden oak cabinets (warm)--beautiful!!!

Last edited on 1/15/2012

You notice I said she is always telling me - that would be because I don't listen! She has done entire homes in all cool because they are summer homes and need that cool feeling during the warm months - she also -since she lives and works where it gets very cold - done entire homes in all warm colors and fabrics and they are beautiful too. It is her absolute rule.

Too bad everyone didn't see thatSarah Richardson room on HGTV - it was just striking.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

LoopyLoo1326638780.682180 PostsRegistered 7/30/2011

Good morning, morning lover! Isn't Sarah Richardson just the best?!

Hmm--I agree with your friend about choosing colors to contrast the climate--there's nothing more dreary than gray in winter in New England, or hotter than yellow in Florida in the summer! I'd bet though, that she pulls in a few contrasting accent colors. Contrast is the name of the game in design--warm and cool, light and dark, soft and hard, smooth and textured, etc!

happy hous­ewife1326639132.63332603 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

Yes, I actually enjoy Sarah Richardson even better than Candace Olsen - though if either oner wanted todecorate my house for me i would be grateful.

I don't have the gene that makes me want to decorate - I find it scary and difficult, and can't wait to get it done.However the person who bought our last house was crazy about how it was done so I must at least not be totally inept.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

LoopyLoo1326639975.7332180 PostsRegistered 7/30/2011

I enjoy both of them too, but also find I prefer Sarah Richardson's style just a bit more! But I wouldn't turn either of them away, either! It's harder and harder to find shows with great designers on HGTV these days!

Ii doesn't sound like you're inept at all!! I think everyone has their comfort zone, when it comes to interests and skills. Now, technology---that scares the living you-know-what out of me!!! If you look up computer illiterate in the dictionary, you'll see my picture!!!

twopeas1326642601.4374879 PostsRegistered 6/5/2011PNW

On the plus side, changing out your wall color is probably the least expensive decorating you do. It's a pain to repaint, but if you really hate it, wait a while and then choose another color. Also, you could buy a quart of something and paint a small area next to one of the cupboards and see if it grows on you.

If you always tell the truth you will never have to try and remember what you said before .....

clemintine1326671598.54718259 PostsRegistered 11/5/2007C.C.

What if you painted the walls an acorn color....not sure it's called that (B.Moore) so that it kind of matched the cabinets. It's a golden brown, medium tone. It might work.

Talked to my niece....she used this color...and she thinks the paint might have been called butternut.

It's OFFICIAL..........it was a SQUASH!! She doesn't have the can and has since repainted, so it was probably about 4 years ago. If you have black appliances, she said, it would be stunning.

Last edited on 1/16/2012

Last edited on 1/16/2012

Summerfun1329286320.347187 PostsRegistered 1/22/2006

Ladies, thank you so much for all of the suggestions. I decided this morning to paint my kitchen Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray. I had changed the cabined knobs to a nickle finish and it looks really nice, it actually downplays the color of the cabinets, which is what I wanted to do. It actually brightens the room, my husband and 13 year old son both commented on the brightness of the kitchen. I now have to decide on a light fixture to hang over the table as the one there is yet another 80's brass piece. Now...I can relax and hope my living room furniture arrives soon.

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