We Painted Our Brand New Kitchen Cabinets and Here's How it Turned Out - Pretty Real

We Painted Our Brand New Kitchen Cabinets and Here's How it Turned Out

4:10 PM

painted kitchen cabinets
Slowly I've been showing 'before' pictures of the house.  First it was the playroom, then the living room, and now it's time to discuss the kitchen and our painted kitchen cabinets. (I shared our plan for the kitchen here if you want a little backstory).  Keep reading to hear the pros, cons, and tips if you're considering painting your kitchen cabinets, brand new or otherwise. But first want to see what they looked like before?

Higher end custom look
While I wouldn't call our kitchen "high end," the custom painted cabinets give it more of that look. When the build manager came back to our home, he couldn't believe how good they came out (his words, not mine). He said they looked factory finished. I agree. The finish is beautiful and I love the color. I should mention that the color is more rich in person and looks less blue in real life.  It's Sherwin Williams Austere Gray.  I'd describe it as gray with a green tint. And while I'm at it, the floors look so brown in pictures.  It drives me crazy! They are more of a grayish brown in real life.
Infuses Personality
With a production builder, your options are limited.  Nothing is completely custom.  Every home-buyer in this neighborhood chose from a handful of styles in one of a few finishes.  Believe it or not, white was not an option. I'd have been thrilled with white but considering my home is very similar to every other home in the neighborhood, custom painted cabinets was a chance to infuse our personality.  Fun fact: we first fell in love with the gray/green tone while vacationing a stunning beach home that had the same (see this instagram).
sherwin williams austere gray

Wear and tear.
There are already a few nicks in the paint.  I knew touch ups would be necessary but I'll be honest and say I didn't think it would be so soon. The nicks have happened on the lower cabinets so it's just a matter of us and the children constantly coming into contact with them. For one, Dax threw a plate. It was as if he was aiming for the cabinets. ha.  The kitchen/dining area/living room are all one big room with no separation really so the kids spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This might be a a non issue if your kitchen is a separate space.
This could go either way. If our builder offered white cabinets, the upgrade would have cost 8K.  We upgraded to the highest quality they offered + had them professionally painted and it was well under that number. I should add that the contractor I chose came highly recommended so I did not shop around.  I might have overpaid.  Just keepin it real. If you paint them yourself you probably double your time but eliminate much of the cost.
It took a group of guys 3 days to do this the right way. If we'd been living in the house at the time, we would have had to vacate. The paint fumes alone would have done us in, not to mention the kitchen was taped off and unusable.

-Pick the right color! Although you could always repaint, it's so labor intensive you probably won't want to! Make sure you love the color!  Get samples and paint them on poster board to be sure as we did.  Also google the color and see if you can see it in a kitchen to get an idea of the color on cabinets vs. walls.
-Hire a professional or research your heart out and do it right. You can't just throw some latex paint up and expect it to hold up! We've done that before.  They chipped a lot and within a fairly short time frame. With all the info out there it is possible to DIY, but I wanted it done right and opted to hire a pro. Plus I have three kids now.  Ain't nobody got time for that.
-Shop around for the best price but be aware of their process. If it's no different than painting walls, move on. Ask specific questions about how they do it, what steps they take to make sure the finish lasts, how long it will take, etc.  I interviewed one other painter and he told me straight up I'd be unhappy because they'd chip 6 months down the road. When I interviewed Juan, he confidently detailed his process and told me a bit about his experience.  The person who referred him had worked with him and told me a bit about the quality of his work as well.
-Inspect the work before the contractor leaves.  I excitedly fell in love with the cabinets immediately.  I paid the painter and that was it.  Then I noticed a big crack in the paint on the base of one of the cabinets. Luckily they came back and fixed it.
-Ask specifically who will be doing the job. The person we hired didn't do the job- his nephew did. He came recommended but I didn't know a thing about his nephew and as far as I could tell Juan (the initial painter) never stepped foot in my home. I would have preferred to know who was handling the job and that person's credentials. I'll admit we rarely hire contractors so I'm not sure what the norm is.
-Check references. I didn't do this either. But I should have.  Juan's team turned out to be fantastic but I really should've done my homework!
sherwin williams austere gray

I will be sharing photos in a bit when it's finished. Here's our to-do list:

-paint (done)
-add hardware (done- used these and these and I love them!)
-purchase a runner
-dye the grout gray (started but not even close to finished)
-purchase and hang pendant lights
-get bar stools (done- purchased these in galvanized metal)
-add decor over the cabinets- any ideas there?!
sherwin williams austere gray

Final Analysis:
SO WORTH IT.  I am in love with the color and the hardware has me like whoa.  I love my kitchen now. Can I be real?  This kitchen might not have a double oven in the wall, a custom hood over the stove or the huge island with marble counters or whatever else I saw on Pinterest that one time. ;) But I'm choosing to make this my dream kitchen.  It's beautiful, it's new, and it's mine.  It's sort of like the marriage advice: choose the one you love and love the one you choose.  I could spend all day comparing my home to others' and I totally would if God wasn't dealing with me on that little topic of comparison (more to come on that note), but instead I choose to love this home we chose and to be grateful for the blessing it is in my life. And also to remember my old kitchen. ha! I encourage you to do the same.  Whatever "it" might be- it might be your home, your kids, your marriage, your job.  Choose to be content and grateful for what you have and work on it to make it the best it can be rather than longing for the next big thing or the cool thing your friend has.  Preaching to myself people.  #endsoapbox

I'd love to hear if you've painted your kitchen cabinets or would ever consider it. And who  has advice on how to decorate that awkward space over the cabinets? Share in the comments below!

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  1. Ahhh. Much brighter. White cabinets!! Hope you don't cook curry in there.. haha... Looks really good!!

    1. thank you! The photos look white but they are actually a light gray. and girl, I use lots of spices and it ends up on the backsplash! ha!

  2. Love the change! The hardware is fabulous!

    1. Thank you! I couldn't believe how inexpensive the hardware was. Such a lucky score!

  3. That really brightens up the room!! Love it!

    As for over the cabinets, how about some plants? I have a plant above my fridge, and it really gives the place a nice fresh feeling. I have to stand on a stool to water it, but other than that, it takes care of itself.

    1. that is a great suggestion! I just have to find some I can't kill. ha. ;)

  4. Is your granite still Moonlight? We are building and the options have already been selected. Moonlight granite and espresso cabinets. But I think we can just paint them and be fine.