Cabinet Refinishing and Painting on a Budget

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Thursday, May 16, 2013

Many people think that the old cabinets might need to be replaced. Not so. There are several creative, budget-friendly options for making cabinets look great. And Sundeleaf Painting should know—we pride ourselves on our expertise with cabinets. Here are a few options for cabinet makeovers.

The “Lived-In” Look

There's been a trend over the last few years to make surfaces appear older, or “lived-in.” To get this look, a glaze, thin paint or varnish is applied to a surface, and then layered with various colors. Next, you “distress” the surface and the finish with various objects such as sandpaper, chains, bolts, etc. It's a great way to incorporate the wear and tear of your old cabinets into a new, vibrant look.

Patina, which occurs naturally over time, can be added with a tea stain or aging glaze. Pigments can also be added to varnish, making the cabinets look vintage instead of tired and worn.

The Tuscan Look

Another trend of recent years is the Tuscan Look. In it, earth tones like burnt sienna, brown, ochre, rusty red and other colors are used to create a rustic look. This look great not only in the country, but in the city. A second option for the Tuscan Look is to remove the doors. This will create an open cabinet look, in which people will be able to see the contents of the cabinets, which can be functional or simply aesthetic, or both. With this option, the cabinets will be finished with the rustic earth tones to add to the effect.

Go White

White may seem a bit pedestrian or boring for cabinets, but that's just not true. Painting cabinets white, or a variation of white, and then accenting it all with other colors on furntiture, appliances, tables, etc., can make the cabinets look amazing. Don't hesitate with white. It's fantastic.


Something most homeowners never consider is contrasting upper and lower cabinets. With this look, the upper cabinet might have a lighter color or stain, while the lower cabinets will be darker. In fact, it's best to give the upper the lighter color or stain, as it creates a makes the room appear bigger and is easier on the eye.

Another vibrant looks can be achieved if the upper and lower cabinets are contrasted. That is, one displays a darker color or stain, while the other a lighter color. It would be best to give the upper the lighter color, as it will look less odd and will also serve to create a more expansive atmosphere in the kitchen.

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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