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Ideas for Custom-Painted Cabinets

The overall appearance of most kitchens is defined by the cabinets. Their color or wood tone, the style of the doors and hardware (if there is any), and their positioning, are all factors in guiding the eye when looking at the kitchen. Appliances, while also an important element in the kitchen’s appearance, are generally secondary to the cabinets, which cover more space and therefore more of “the view.”

When cabinets are functional and satisfactory in every way but cosmetically, painting them can be an attractive and cost-effective way to upgrade the kitchen. Benefits to this choice include the ease of working with existing elements rather than replacing them, and adding a new, custom look to the kitchen as a whole.

Custom-painted cabinets can be as simple as a single color application, or as elaborate as adding stenciling, decoupage, or hand-painted decoration to door and drawer facings. With the custom treatments added to the cabinets, matching or complementing touches on walls, above the cabinets bordering the ceiling, or above the countertops can extend the custom look and enhance the total upgrade effect.

If you plan to custom-paint your cabinets, you will have to begin by painting them in a single color anyway, whether or not you add additional decoration. You may be able to get away with painting only the faces of the cabinetry, if the interior shelving, backing, and bases are – for example – neutral laminate, or already painted in an acceptable color. If this is the case, customizing the exterior of the cabinets will require more care in keeping the new paint job away from the adjoining interiors, but it will be less expensive and less time-consuming in the long run.

Deciding whether you want to do the painting yourself or hire a contractor to do it will be an easier choice once you see what’s involved in the job. An excellent guide for getting a clear idea of the process is HGTV.com’s Painted Cabinets. You’ll learn what materials you’ll need and see a step-by-step guide for doing a professional job.

Ideas for customizing the paint job are limitless. Sources of inspiration include:

  • Interpreting a motif from a favorite painting or dish pattern
  • Selecting stencil designs from stenciling books
  • Choosing decoupage elements from wallpapers or art books
  • Or, simply choosing more than one paint color, and creating the custom look by painting borders in the secondary color

Seeing some examples of custom-painted cabinets is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Here are some, to get you started:

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