Am I Going to Hate My Kitchen Cabinets if I Don't Paint Them White?

We're finally embarking on a kitchen redo! I talked Ben into doing it all... but in stages. Stage One will address the ceiling and cabinets. Stage Two will demolish the fugly floors and replace them with natural oak. Stage Three involves jackhammering out the counters and backsplash and sacrificing them to the Milquetoast Beige Overlord. Then I'm thinking white quartz counters and simple carrara backsplash.

In the interest of moving Stage One of our kitchen renovation forward, we priced out midgrade Ikea cabinets and they came in at over 5K. I have to admit I was a little surprised since we did our last kitchen in the most expensive Ikea cabs for less. Luckily the current cabinets are more functional and of better quality than the last setup, so we're going to work with what we have.

Where was I? Anyway, this whole time I have been planning something dramatic in terms of color for the kitchen... something not all white. Partly this is because my floors are revoltingly beige (for now), but also because I think painted white cabinets often scream HEY I PAINTED MY UGLY DATED OAK CABINETS.

two tone kitchen
two tone kitchen

Low contrast two tone.

High contrast two tone. Both good, just different.

I'm resurrecting the two tone plan for our cabinets. I do love a white kitchen, but I think painting a darker hue on the lowers will break up the sea of cabinets, while painting the uppers light (but not blindingly so) will help to open the back wall and let it recede somewhat.

I mean, if you have fantastic cabinetry and glorious kitchen architecture that you want to highlight, then by all means paint it white.

white kitchen
white kitchen

Yes! I mean, there's really no need to gild the lily here.


And my kitchen is only slightly better than the one above. Let's review:

Yikes. And guess what? It looks worse in real life.

I was really hoping a two tone look would break up the oak acreage... but now that it's time to choose a color I'm second guessing myself.

We plan to live here for a decade, probably. When it comes time to sell, will I wish I had just painted everything white? Will I be sad that I chose some shade of gray for the lowers, because gray is sooooooooo 2010?

All of the pro color blogs are drilling the WHITE WHITE WHITE kitchen mantra into my brain.

But I just don't see all white kitchen cabinets looking good in here unless I rip everything else out and go mega snazzy on the backsplash to help distract from the cabinets, like this:

load bearing beam
load bearing beam

And that won't look dated at all in 10 years.

So what do you think?

Are white cabinets the only way to go?

Will the two tone look date quickly?

What about gray?

Tired, poor, inquiring  minds need to know.

[images via pinterest]