A Finish Comparison | Painted Cabinets or Stained?

The type of finish you used for your kitchen cabinets didn’t used to even be a question. It was paint. Always paint. Stained cabinets were dated and and normally either too yellow or too red and painted cabinets allowed you any color option your heart desired! Most importantly, paint allowed you a bright white kitchen…something everyone loved. But as always, everything comes back around and this is the case for staining. With the popularity of the SoCal look, a light, waxed white oak cabinet has become super popular and with it, the reemergence of the stained cabinet. There are so many more stain options available now so the color options are expanded…even with stain. And you can still keep the natural wood look instead of completely hiding any sort of graining like you would with paint. That being said, there are still pros and cons to both options. So aside from the style you’re wanting to achieve, consider these items before making your cabinet finish choice.

As we mentioned before, paint will completely cover the wood grain on any sort of cabinet. This can be an attractive option for those who prefer a cleaner look and wants something very tailored. More modern kitchens would definitely be the place for a painted cabinet…but also consider the rest of your home. What’s the style you’re trying to achieve and would a wood grain work well with that?


On the other hand, if you want to show off the character of your cabinets and love the fact that they are real wood, you may not want to cover them up with paint but rather highlight the natural beauty with a well suited stain.


It’s important to consider what your cabinets are made of as well. Obviously a cabinet that is not real wood cannot be stained. The stain is simply pointless since there’s no natural wood material to enhance and no graining to show. If your home has cabinet doors that are a material other than wood, paint is really your only choice.


Don’t be discouraged though. The nice thing about paint is that the color options are endless! You can literally paint your cabinets any color you want! Most stains are some version of black, brown, grey, or white. There is a variety of tones and hues within those neutral families however, there’s no getting a true blue or green cabinet which some people want.


Practicality is a big factor when it comes to kitchen cabinet finishes since the kitchen is a high traffic area. Stained cabinets, because they have more movement in the graining, actually hide more imperfections. Painted cabinets, though, typically show any sort of nick or ding. The paint color is a smooth coat so any break in that coating will be visible. For this same reason, painted cabinets are harder to touch up whereas stained cabinets are easier to fix.


Depending on where you purchase your cabinetry, it can cost more when it comes painted. Most common stain finishes are less than a painted finish, however, the newer stains don’t always fit into the “inexpensive category”.


Finally, consider what is required when you want to change your cabinet color down the road. A painted finish can usually just be primed and painted over whereas a stained finish has to be stripped and re-stained which requires a lot more work.


It’s a lot to consider! The nice thing is that you can get a lot of look with either option, you just have to make sure the practical side works well for your lifestyle!

Upcoming Kitchen Trends | Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a big deal in a kitchen...while the countertop and backsplash are the finishers, the cabinets are the foundation of the space that set the tone.  Shaker style kitchen cabinets have been the forerunner of cabinet styles for a long, long time now.  And honestly. we really don't think they're going away any time soon.  However, that doesn't mean there isn't room for other styles and trends in cabinetry to make their debut in the design world and hold some sort of position of preference! 

You all knew this was coming from Pinterest but cabinet colors are evolving even within the standard door front styles.  Instead of your typical white, espresso, grey, and medium-toned wood, colors like blue (in a variety of shades) are becoming popular too!  Some are being mixed with a neutral tone like white but in other kitchens, all of the cabinets are blue!


Two-tone cabinets are becoming very popular too---just the mix of different color uppers and lowers or an island that's a completely different color than the rest of the wall cabinets.  It all goes back to the discussion about making the kitchen (which is really a common gathering place) feel more like furniture in a family room.


Aside from blue, people are willing to take the risk and go even darker with their cabinets by using black.  This could be a matte black which goes more rustic modern or even a glossy black which is much more contemporary.  Either way, it's a huge statement and we love the impact it makes!  It can also easily be warmed up by mixing in a warm, natural wood tone.


Going back to the discussion on door front styles, a new trend called embossing will become more and more prevalent.  Embossed cabinets are slab front doors with an overlapping pattern.  Usually the pattern is the same color as the slab so it's more of a tone-on-tone look but can really add some interesting depth to cabinets.

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Instead of alternating solid fronts and glass inserts, mesh is becoming a popular cabinet front style.  It still provides coverage so what's in the cabinet doesn't have to look so pretty, but it's a way to add more texture to your cabinets and create something different.  Mesh doesn't have to be silver either, it could be a black, gold or copper mesh in a variety of weave thicknesses.  It just all depends on your style.


None of these things are earth shattering but they are just an example of the ways that kitchens are evolving.  As we've said over and over again, the kitchen is the heart of the home and the design of it should really be addressed with a lot of love and attention.

Trends on Trends | Kitchen Edition

There's always something changing in design.  It's such a fluid art form that you never know what you're going to start seeing on the trends list next.  Since kitchens are a huge place for design being that they're one of the high-traffic spaces in a home on top of being functional and important for resale,  the trends seem to be constantly evolving here.  Design used to be limited in kitchens because it was always the basics--cabinets, appliances, a countertop and backsplash...but it's not like that anymore.  So many new products and applications have been developed for kitchens.  So many exceptions and allowances have been made for what is "acceptable" in a kitchen and rules have ultimately been broken.  The decorative part of a kitchen has become huge and homeowners value a beautiful kitchen that flows with the rest of their home.  So today we're going to talk about those trends and what they currently look like.  You  will probably notice a lot more of these things once you read this article too!

It used to be that wood in a kitchen was only for the cabinets.  Now wood is all over the kitchen!  Wood look tile is being used as a backsplash application and raw wood is being used in bar kick-plates and exposed shelving!  We feel like wood is so versatile that, even though it was very connected to the rustic style, it can be used in so many other applications to just add some warmth.

Modern is great, but there's still a love for the original style---traditional.  That clean, classic style that has transcended time is just a comfort for people in kitchens.  Even if they appreciate modern, a little bit of traditional is good too.  It's sort of like wood--it can mix well with most things!  The way this style manifests itself in kitchens varies but look for it and we're pretty sure you'll find it!

One of the best ways to modernize a traditional item is by using a version of it in a larger scale.  This impact is huge in kitchens.  Larger scale lighting, hardware, and even hoods is key right now.  These items are sort of the jewelry of kitchens so people like the idea of showing them off.  Large lighting and an amazing hood also make great focal points in a kitchen!

Since we've moved away from a lot of the beiges and browns, greys, blacks, and whites have become much more popular in kitchens.  We love an all white kitchen but understand that some homeowners are scared of it.  For that reason, we're also cool with mixing.  Currently, contrast is big!  Dark counters and light cabinets or vice versa is another way to put a modern twist on the traditional style.  If this feels too cold for you, warm it up with interesting lighting and texture in your barstools or backsplash.

So what do you think?  Are you into this kitchen trends?  We think they're so fun and love how the kitchen design world is evolving!

Re-Sale Re-vamp | The Kitchen

The market is doing so much better than it was a couple of years ago.  Houses are selling for decent prices.  Home values are increasing.  It's starting to become a seller's market again.  If you're looking to selling yours, know that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.  Kitchens especially make an impact on potential buyers because they're usually at the heart of the home.  The kitchen is a congregational area--so many things happen in a kitchen that it not only needs to be functional, it needs to be pretty!  So let's talk about what yours needs to look like in order to sell it!

There are big impact things and small impact things in a kitchen so you can prioritize what you do based on how big of an impact it will make.  Obviously the big impact items typically cost more money so you may have to just choose one to do if you're on a tight budget.

Big Impact Item #1: Cabinetry

There are a couple of different aspects of cabinets--door style and color.  The door style that's most popular and versatile is shaker.  A shaker style door is basically a flat front panel with a small raised border around the edge.  It consists of clean lines and is simple so it doesn't dictate the rest of the kitchen.  If you don't have shaker style doors and have it in the budget to get them, we say do it!  However, if you don't have it in the budget, you can always move on to aspect number 2, the color of the cabinets.  A kitchen that will sell well is a kitchen that feels bright and open.  The best color you can use to make this happen is white!  Long gone are the days of dark espresso cabinets feeling expensive and appealing.  A more casual, comfortable, light airy kitchen is what people want.  So if you can't change the style of the cabinets, at least go for the color.  In our opinion, it's the number one way to change the look of your kitchen!

Big Impact #2 Countertops

When buying a house, countertops matter.  Formica or laminate are pretty much a definite no to a seller because granite is so readily available.  Of course, granite isn't the most expensive option; marble and quartz are always options too.  But the main thing is to have something that's colors are on-trend and is durable.  The most durable option would be a solid surface like quartz but there are plenty of options as far as granite goes as well.

Small Impact #1 Hardware

Hardware is like the jewelry of the kitchen.  It's a small detail that can easily be swapped out by the buyer or seller, but if you have the money to do it as the seller, the buyer will appreciate your attention to detail.  Obviously, if you're selling, you don't want to put some super expensive hardware on your cabinets.  So go with something that's basic without being boring.  A clean, stainless bar pull would be our first suggestion.  While gold is definitely trending, a brushed nickel look isn't outdated and can be relatively inexpensive.  Just like the shaker style cabinet, it can also sort of flow with any style of furnishings or lighting that new buyer brings in.  This will appeal to them because it will make the kitchen feel finished and in their head, that's one less room they'll have to make changes too!

Small Impact #2 Faucets & Fixtures

Finally, faucets and fixtures.  This could actually be a small impact item OR a large impact item depending on how many faucets and fixtures your kitchen has.  But if there are one or two, the price shouldn't get too crazy.  Again, just like the cabinet hardware, go with something functional and neutral that will blend with other styles but still feels current and quality. A nice gooseneck faucet with a spray nozzle in brushed nickel would be nice and clean.  You may think oil-rubbed bronze looks more expensive and chrome is usually cheaper, but go with a good middle-ground--brushed nickel.

Of course lighting is always important too but each kitchen varies in the kind of lighting it has.  Some kitchen are all cans while others have pendants or even a large center light.  Don't forget lighting, for sure!  But shop smart.  A light fixture can be nice without being expensive, if you know how to pick and pair!