Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Paint or Not To Paint...

painting oak kitchen cabinetsPainting wood.  The thought scares the pants off of some people. I had this discussion with a friend yesterday who is of the camp that you never paint wood.  I think she she thinks I've committed a crime by painting my oak cabinets.

I realized it was maybe time to take a step back and explain my though process on painting these babies.  My kitchen cabinets are not fine pieces of custom mill work.  They are builder grade.  They have solid wood around the edges but the center panel is particle board with a veneer over top.  They are not something that can with stand a whole lot of sanding.  They also have was appears to be a single coat of finish on them.  The doors flanking the stove and the one over my electric kettle have essentially had the finish steamed right off of them.  They are rough.  One even had the veneer starting to lift.

ugly old oak kitchen cabinet doors Ikea EKBY JÄRPEN BJÄRNUM
Ikea Ekby Jarpen Bjarnum shelf.

All the outer exposed sides of the boxes are nothing more than industrial mac tac which is a polite way of saying they are plastic.When the kitchen was original put together, the sides matched the doors.  Eleven years later, not so much.  The doors have aged and the plastic sides remained the same.  See...even the plastic bit looks super fake.

I had toyed with painting this kitchen for years.  The one thing that stopped me was those plastic sides.  I wasn't sure how successful I would be at getting paint to stick to them.  The insl-s stix primer my paint guy put me on to rocks.  It is STUCK.

I have seen many lousy paint jobs on various kitchens.  The more I googled though, the more I saw just how FANTASTIC some of the formerly ugly oak kitchens looked.  The number one painting crime that is committed by home owners it using white paint out of the can.  One of the things about successfully painting with white, is to get a tinted white.  It adds depth and richness to the colour.

This fantastic kitchen by Chris was a builder blech kitchen.  She pimped it up with moulding and paint to give it a whole lot of custom kitchen bling.

Capree's builder kitchen is also testament to just how much you can change a cheap oak kitchen.

The most exciting thing though, is your not limited to "good' builder cabinets either.  You can even overcome 1970's builder kitchens with some paint and creativity.  My in-laws have this kitchen.  Its really dark and depressing.  Its nothing more than a hunk of particle board with a plastic veneer over it and a design routered into it.  Just look what The Lettered Cottage did with this dated kitchen.

I guess lastly, the thing that finally pushed me over the edge was that I really LOVED my white kitchen in my old house.  It was always bright and fresh looking.  I never, ever walked into that kitchen feeling like I was walking into a cave like I did in this kitchen.

The wood vs white debate will rage on but for me, paint is the way to go.  I like white kitchens.  I would never, ever pick wood for cabinets if I had the choice between the two.  In my world, wood is for furniture and for floors.

Have you painted your kitchen cupboards?  I'd love to see before and after shots!

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