“Dated” Kitchen Cabinets Totally Transform — Without a Drop of Paint

published Dec 5, 2023
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Rust painted wall in kitchen with wooden cabinets.
Credit: Layne Dixon

The color of a kitchen’s cabinets can easily make or break the room. That’s why it’s not unusual to hear of homeowners painting their cupboard doors with striking colors or using self-adhesive contact paper to reimagine a more basic look. However, not everyone — ahem, renters — may be able to change their kitchen cabinet colors even if they do hate them. So, what then? 

Interior designer Bridgette Haulenbeek found herself in this sticky situation in her gorgeous Parisian-inspired Chicago apartment. She rents the home with her husband, Steven, who is a furniture and sculpture artist, and they’ve been excited by the challenge of adjusting the space with smaller tweaks and projects.

“Being in the interior design industry and not having free reign on my living space is a challenge for me,” Bridgette said. “But I love our home and this is the chapter of life we are in and I love what we’ve been able to do with our space.”

Credit: Layne Dixon

The kitchen was one of the rooms that proved to have the biggest design hurdle — namely, the cabinets. The cupboards are in their natural honey-colored wood state, which can sometimes look dated. Unfortunately for Bridgette, she didn’t have permission from the owners to paint over the kitchen cabinets — so she had to get crafty to make the space work for her design eye. 

Credit: Layne Dixon

How They Blended the Dated Kitchen Cabinets into the Space (Without Painting Them)

Pulling inspiration from a 2019 trip to Paris, where she noticed all of the terracotta-colored roofs and chimneys that lined the neighborhoods, Bridgette came up with a crafty, renter-friendly solution to refocus the space. “I figured if I can’t paint my kitchen cabinets, let’s celebrate and blend this orange terracotta color palette and give it a monochromatic tone-on-tone look,” she said. 

Instead of painting the cabinets directly, Bridgette painted the surrounding walls in a deep burnt orange color. Now, it’s hard to differentiate between the walls and cupboards, and instead of zeroing in on the material, your eye is embraced by the warmth of the whole space. 

Credit: Layne Dixon

The kitchen isn’t the only room with a dramatic paint color — in fact, every space in the apartment has been touched by paint (even the floors!). To see more, visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy