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When the owners of this 1915 home decided to remodel their kitchen, they were certain of one thing: It was not going to be white. They had the cabinetry painted a lively chartreuse inspired by the color of the hand-glazed backsplash tiles. And the cabinetry is green in more ways than one -- the boxes are made from eco-friendly wheat board.
Though wood cabinetry is often painted, some species are naturally colorful. One example is purpleheart, the dense, durable wood used to make these cabinets. A clear-coat finish brings out the purpleheart's reddish undertones, which work well with the stone countertops and stainless-steel appliances.
Feeling that natural wood-tone cabinetry would be too dark for their kitchen, especially during the minimal daylight of Midwestern winters, these homeowners chose cherry cabinets with a golden yellow painted and glazed finish. Now, no matter what the time of day -- or time of year -- stepping into this kitchen is like walking on sunshine.
Your home's setting can provide color inspiration for your kitchen cabinetry. For this home in Crested Butte, Colorado, proximity to the Rockies is reflected in a mountain-fresh blue-green. It took several tries with different combinations of paint and glaze to get just the right hue for the cabinets, which are paired with snowy-white surfaces.
Cabinetry color doesn't have to come in big doses to be effective. Often, giving just a few units a distinctive hue has more impact than coloring all of them. Here, a section of red-dyed cabinets stands out in a contemporary kitchen where the rest of the cabinetry wears a natural dark-wood finish.
It's not just the brighter hues that make cabinetry colorful. The subtle sheen of pewter inspired the striking blue-gray in this kitchen. The neutral color acts as a bridge between vintage-look metallic patinas in the room and the modern gleam of stainless-steel appliances.
Color inspiration often comes from favorite objects -- in this case, a toaster. According to the kitchen's designer, the cabinetmaker laughed when asked to match his work to the mint-green appliance. But the offbeat, energetic color was a perfect match for the homeowners and their child-centered lifestyle.
Yellow cabinetry gives even the darkest kitchen a sunnier disposition. But yellow comes in a surprising variety of shades, from pale buttermilk and zesty lemon to subdued gold. This kitchen's cabinetry is a buttery yellow, warming the cottage-style space without overwhelming it. The white ceiling and the hardwood floor help tone down the brightness.
The couple who remodeled this kitchen couldn't justify getting rid of the existing cabinets, which were only two years old. But the soft-white doors and drawers didn't fit their vision of an edgy contemporary space. So they had the cabinets sprayed with a high-gloss green-gray automobile lacquer. The industrial-look color gives the units a sleek coolness.
Picking colorful painted cabinetry doesn't mean forsaking natural wood finishes in your kitchen. In fact, some colors and woods work especially well together, with one surface reinforcing the other. For example, the deep red of this island cabinetry brings out the reddish quality of the cherrywood top.
White is a color, too, and going with more vibrant cabinetry in your kitchen doesn't mean you have to exclude it. Mixing colors lets you enjoy the best of both worlds -- and ensures a visually interesting result. In this kitchen, teal cabinetry around the refrigerator is lightened by a white upper unit that boasts reeded-glass doors.
Not sure you want your cabinets to shout color? Aim for more of a whisper. These pale-blue upper cabinets reflect a pastel approach, the result of layering a creamy-white glaze over a bright-blue one. The glass doors let dishware inside provide more of a color punch.
An energetic purple colors the cabinetry in this contemporary-style kitchen, picking up flecks of amethyst in the granite countertops. The homeowners have a passion for colorful modern art and wanted their kitchen to reflect that interest.
The most colorful cabinetry is often found in contemporary-style kitchens, but it can also be effective in energizing a more traditional setting. This rich yellow baking center is part of 1918 bungalow. A distressed-look finish adds a sense of age, as does the subway tile, which contrasts nicely with the yellow.
A favorite collection can cue the color of your kitchen cabinetry. The owner of this home had some china that matched a green hutch she saw in the kitchen designer's showroom. The designer encouraged the homeowner to use the color throughout the kitchen, including the cabinetry. The result is a fresh, warm, and inviting look.
Afraid of going too far with colorful cabinetry? Then concentrate it where it will count. In this kitchen, the island and an armoire-style pantry unit are a vivid red, but the rest of the cabinetry has a rustic pine finish. Red accents in other parts of the kitchen pick up on these big swaths of color.
Many designers consider green a new neutral. But the finish you choose for your cabinetry affects the impact of the color. This green cabinetry boasts a glossy lacquer finish that maximizes reflectivity and intensity. A duller, more matte finish would have muted the green.
High contrast between cabinet colors can create a dramatic effect. In the kitchen of this Georgian-style home, a black-and-white color scheme carries over to the cabinets, conveying 1920s sophistication. Stainless-steel appliances and utensils act as a neutral third party.
Colorful cabinetry can provide an emotional boost. The owner of this home chose a cheery color scheme that complements the green fields surrounding her home and offsets the dreariness of the long winters there. The leafy-green cabinets are a constant reminder of spring.
Color has the power to transform ordinary cabinetry into a true focal point. Here, a couple painted their island a vibrant green, quieting the color slightly with a green-gold glaze. The result is a conversation piece that reflects the homeowners' personality and makes the kitchen a fun and spirited place.