Red House Remodeling Blog

April 28, 2017
A collage of bars and kitchen cabinets

Considering Cabinets

Walk into any kitchen and what’s the first thing you notice? (Assuming you’re not watching an episode of Hoarders …) The cabinets. Fabulous or frightening, often, the most visible and expensive element in any kitchen is the cabinetry. Whether light or dark, painted or stained, your cabinets let people know whether your kitchen is dying a slow design death or is the star of your home.

Is the Grass Greener?
During our Kitchen & Bath Remodeling seminars homeowners always want to know what’s popular in cabinet finishes. It seems to me that customers who have had stained cabinets trend toward painted cabinets, either white or off-white, while customers who have white cabinets tend to select rich wood tones. It might be the “grass is always greener” mentality or that people really like to change things up during a remodel. For others, after decades of golden oak they’ve just had it with visible wood grain. In actuality, we install fairly even numbers of stained and painted cabinets.

National Trends
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2017 trends, white and gray are the most popular colors among painted cabinets. Blue and black cabinets are gaining in popularity. (We installed a rich blue island this past year that looks amazing. After pics of that project still to come!) With transitional style leading the pack, clean lines and simple door styles dominate kitchen designs.

Two Tones
Choosing two cabinet finishes is still a popular trend and is growing. As if selecting one finish isn’t enough! It’s common for perimeter and island cabinets to have contrasting finishes. Less popular but also on trend is selecting different finishes for upper and lower cabinets. You can also choose a different finish to define a specific area.

What Comes First?
Should you select your cabinets or your countertops first? I asked our project designer, Jenna Porter, if there is a rule regarding the order of selections and she said no. According to Jenna, “Some people come to us with a specific idea about their counters, so they look at cabinets that will complement their counter preference. Others have specific ideas about what they want their cabinets to look like and we select the other materials based on the cabinet choice. The selection process is very flexible.”

Before you set out to remodel your kitchen, take time to page through some design sites or magazines. You’ll start to notice that the things you like tend to look a certain way. These pictures help us know in what direction to steer you.

Replace or Refinish
What if you don’t have the budget to replace your golden oak? You’re not alone. If your cabinets are structurally sound, consider refinishing them. Fresh stain or paint can drastically change the look of your kitchen. We recommend you hire a professional for a great looking and more durable finish. (Plus the pros will complete the project in a single calendar year and you’ll maintain your sanity.) You’ll still spend a good chunk of money, but you’ll have an updated look for significantly less than the cost of new cabinets.

So what should you choose? What’s right for your space? The professional design team at Red House Remodeling can help you choose the right finishes for your new space. Contact us today at 222-2273 or click here to request a consultation.



  1. Faylinn May 17, 2016

    For me, when I walk into a kitchen the first thing that I notice are the countertops, but I would probably notice the cabinets if they were of a unique style. I mean, if someone had contrasting two-toned cabinets, then I would definitely notice that. I have actually never seen that style in a kitchen in person before and so I am very intrigued. What contrasting finishes do you think go together for this style that I or someone else might consider using?

    • Stephanie Trannel May 27, 2016

      Contrasting finishes are very popular, usually with a contrasting island or contrasting upper and lower cabinets. You can really do any combination you like as long as there is clear contrast: two paints, white with any other finish, paint and stain. Just avoid using two stains that are similar, your kitchen may look mismatched instead of like you intentionally chose two finishes.

  2. Seth Elgin May 10, 2021

    We see just about the same number of requests when it comes to stained vs painted cabinets. I think once people decide on getting a new look with their cabinets they tend to go in a complete opposite direction they’re currently in. Homeowners are also looking for value so they tend to go with refacing instead of getting completely new cabinets where it makes sense.

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