Before & After: A Two-Toned Paint Job Brings This Dark, Dated Kitchen Out of the 1990s

published Sep 11, 2021
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Before: Kitchen with dark cabinets and island
Credit: Mike Groner

A room’s color palette makes a huge difference in its vibe — whether it’s cozy, serene, energizing, or welcoming. And at homeowner Mike Groner’s condo, the dark brown colors in the kitchen made the space feel … blah. Not to mention, the cabinet style was squarely stuck in the 1990s and, Mike says, “most of the appliances needed to be replaced within months of moving in.”

Credit: Mike Groner

But while the appliances were petering out, the rest of the kitchen was actually in pretty sound condition. The countertops were in great shape, and the cabinets were solid, too. It was just the color that Mike didn’t love.

Credit: Mike Groner

“We knew we hated the look of the old kitchen, but also realized the configuration did not need to be changed and the cabinets’ function was still what we wanted,” Mike says. So armed with a plan and plenty of paint, he got to work giving his kitchen a cosmetic update that would keep it more in line with his tastes without having to knock out any walls.

Credit: Mike Groner

For the base cabinets and the fridge surround, Mike chose a soft sage green. “We tried so many greens before choosing and until it was done, we didn’t know if it was the right choice,” he says. But once finished, the paint proved to be a success: It helps bring a natural look to the kitchen, and helps tone down the once yellow-leaning stone counters (yep, those are the same ones!).

The upper cabinets and the island both got the crisp white treatment, and all of the cabinets now boast new black hardware that’s way more modern than the old curved nickel pulls.

Credit: Mike Groner

The paint project took several weeks of work. “Making very dark cabinets white took more coats than one could imagine,” Mike says. Using primer on all the cabinets before painting helped save both time and effort, though Mike says the next time he takes on a project like this he’d hire someone to spray paint the doors. “Using a roller and the dry time between coats was painful, and the amount of space it took up was not fun,” he says.

Credit: Mike Groner

Along with freshly painted cabinets, Mike added new wire-frame lighting above the island, as well as a new white tiled backsplash in a cool geometric design and slim floating shelves below the upper cabinets. Not including the appliances, Mike spent about $1,900 CAD (roughly $1,485 USD) on the project.

His favorite part of the project? “The money saved,” he says. “Reimagining the space without demo or new construction during COVID was a great decision.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Two-Tone Paint Job Brings This Dark Kitchen out of the 1990s