My Favorite Paint Colors To Update Cabinetry

Dear Lori,

I am struggling here and I would love your help.  I seem to come across a ton of dated and worn looking kitchen and bathroom cabinetry when taking on new listings.  Many times the cabinets are in good enough condition to stay, they just looks so sad and not at all what buyers want. 

Sometimes I recommend replacing vanities and sometimes I recommend painting the cabinets but, to be honest, I avoid it because I know the next question from my seller is…”what color should I paint it”.  I literally dread that because I have no idea.  Or I just say “white”.  Then they go to paint store and realize that there are a million versions of white.  Would you ever consider sharing any of your Real Estate Stylist secrets when it comes to paint colors for this situation?


Annie Whitepaint

Full disclosure:  Annie is not an actual person but a combination of several of my readers and Realtor clients who have asked this question over the years (sending each of you love!).  And, let me tell you, I once had this fear too so I totally get where you are coming from!

I was recently asked this again and I thought, why keep this information from all of you if it will be a difference maker for you when you are looking to update your cabinetry with paint or uplevel your service as a real estate professional.

The first thing to know is that you should definitely consider hiring a professional painter who specializes in painting cabinetry…unless you are a rockstar like my good friend, Colleen (you should check out her instagram feed @angryelfupcycled) who can do anything with paint and do it magically.

And, just so that you know, painting cabinets in good condition is typically less expensive than refacing.  Woot!

Secondly, you really have to focus on everything else that is going on in that space before you choose a paint color–even white.

You need to start with the fixed finishes that aren’t going anywhere: counters, floors, backsplash, tile, even toilets.

I have spent hours and lots of money to learn that little strategy above so you are very welcome, my friend!

Here is a great example of white that is all wrong for the counters in the space.  You can see that the cabinetry should be much more of a cream than the almost pure white that it is.  White is truly one of the hardest paint colors to specify but let’s see if I can help you to avoid that!

Here are some beautiful examples of things going right…

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

This is perfect for when you want a crisp, clean white.  It leans cool and works beautifully with Carrara Marble.  I would avoid this in a house that has that Tuscan, tumbled travertine tile in place.

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace works best with Carrara marble


Benjamin Moore White Dove and Gray Mist–gorgeous together!

White Dove is a gorgeous muted white for when you want just a little more warmth to your white but not a full on off-white or cream.  And Gray Mist is a slightly green undertone gray that works beautifully as a base for a granite that has gray in it but isn’t super dark.

Design: Caitlin Creer


Benjamin Moore Simply White

This is a gorgeous, subtle off white leaning toward cream but not fully there.  This is a great white to consider when you have a backsplash that has off white tones in it.


Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

This is a beautiful creamy white.  It sits on the border between white and cream so it plays nicely with darker granite with brown tones in it.  In the kitchen below, the island is Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray which is also a fabulous color for when you are trying to work with a deeper countertop or backsplash that has browns and grays in it.

Benjamim Moore Kendall Charcoal

We just worked on a project where the counters were almost black and the backsplash and floor were beige with gray veining.  We used Kendall Charcoal on the island and Swiss Coffee on the perimeter cabinets and it turned out beautifully!  My photos really don’t do it justice at all so here is a better photo of someone else’s project using Kendall Charcoal ;).  This is better for an island, vanity or just lower cabinets because it is a very strong color and could feel overwhelming in a space.


Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

This is one of my absolute favorite colors to do on vanities.  Here is a vanity that we did a couple of years ago and it just makes me happy.

Design: Rethink Home Interiors Photography: Ashlee Hall


Benjamin Moore Onyx

If you are looking for a great, pure black, this is it!



This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of our go-to colors but it is a nice start.  And remember, if you want to learn more about our Real Estate Services or Kitchen and Bath Design services, you can always reach out to us at or schedule a Get Acquainted Call here!


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