UncategorizedThe White Kitchen Revamp

June 25, 2022by cheree

On seeing my last post, How To Get  White Right Every Time, an old University buddy from Alabama reached out for my advice on painting her kitchen cabinets, you guessed it, white!  

After sending off her plan, I thought this month’s post would be a prime opportunity to follow up on the key points as a learning example.  So, if you are in the throes of renovating or contemplating a revamp in the future, here’s  how I would approach designing a kitchen colour plan.

Fal, Cheree, and Ericka USA, Alabama, 1995

My friend Fal told me she wants a white kitchen, but her budget is limited to only painting cupboards, putting in a new tile backsplash, and possibly replacing the hardware.  I requested photos of the kitchen and all adjoining rooms to understand the colour palette and style in the rest of the house.  This is so we can create colour flow from the kitchen.

As you can see, she has no problem with storage with endless wood cupboards for India! Fal now lives in Florida, and this is a typical American wood kitchen left over from the 2000s.  Fortunately, the cabinets are in great shape, and I love the profile of the doors.

From this kitchen corner photo,  I can immediately identify what are going to be the bossy colours in the room: the black granite bench top and the beige travertine tile floors. 


I asked Fal to take close-up photos of the bench top and floor while placing a piece of white paper next to both elements, so we could correctly identify the true colour and any secondary undertones.  

Immediately I could see that it would fall into the yellow or orange beige category.  Lucky for me, I didn’t have to do any more colour digging because she said the tile floor will eventually be replace with engineered hardwood.  

My suggestion would be to go for a mid-brown wood tone because as my teacher said you can treat this colour like your favourite denim jeans – it goes with everything!

Now let’s look at the black granite bench top.   Black looks its best when its paired with clean colours and in terms of whites, blue-whites, true-whites, and off-whites but never creams.  

If Fal’s adjoining rooms were sitting in the grey or cool colour zone, I would have picked a blue-white or true-white for her cabinets.  However, the dining room and her living room are leaning towards the warmer, earthier traditional tones with the cream walls, warm floors, and decor (there is one exception the grey-violet couch).

From gathering all this colour information, it became a simple deduction.  The white that would look best with her black countertop and work with her existing colour scheme would be off-white.  

My suggestion is Cloud White by Benjamin Moore.  For all my New Zealand readers, you can purchase Benjamin Moore here in Auckland and Wellington.

Here are some examples of off-white kitchens from Pinterest.  You can tell it’s an off-white colour if you compare it to the white vase, and the white bone china dishes. 

I also suggested to Fal that she install off-white plain or bevelled subway tiles.  Since her black sparkly benchtop is the hero of the room, I think putting up another ‘look at me’ tile would be too busy for the room.  

In my opinion, a plain subway tile is timeless, classic, and, as a bonus economic too!

My other suggestions to give her kitchen a custom look would be to replace the hardware with a mixture of pulls and knobs – so pretty! 

I initially said polished nickel would look nice for the hardware, but I have just noticed her brass mirror in the dining room and lounge.   Fal could continue the same metal theme into the kitchen.

I also, wondered if her builder could box out the cupboards, so they don’t appear like they are floating in the air would make a big difference.  

However, chewing this over with my builder Paul (😊), he thinks cabinets are too low to do it effectively.  He did suggest raising the cabinets closer to the ceiling, but I’m not sure her tight budget would allow for this cost.  

Personally, if you are going to go to all this trouble, you might as well swap them out for new ones!

Anyway, I hope that Fal will send me a photo update once she finishes her white kitchen revamp.  

Please message me if you have any questions about refacing or painting your kitchen cabinets.  And if all the above information is swinging over your head, I’m offering kitchen colour packages here.  

Until next month, all the best!