Ideas for Primitive Look Kitchen Cabinets


Primitive decor brings a homey, country feel to your home and works well in kitchen design. Primitive is defined as rustic, rural and pastoral; furniture and cabinetry show signs of wear and may be embellished with stenciling or molding. The colors in primitive decor include gray-blue, mustard yellow, checker-flag red and grassy green, as well as earthy browns and eggshell white.


  • Add stencils to your kitchen cabinets for a primitive appeal. Paint your kitchen cabinets using off-white or an eggshell color. Gently go over the surface with fine grit sandpaper for a worn look. Select a stencil with a simple shape such as a heart, star, oak leaf, or flower. Place the stencil in the upper half of the cabinet door, just above the center. Avoid lining up the stencils exactly with each other. Slight deviances create a more relaxed appeal.

    Paint in the stencil using colors from the primitive color palette. Allow the paint to dry. Use a fine grit sandpaper and gently sand over the stencils. Wipe the doors with a dry cloth.


  • Create a primitive look by adding molding to your cabinet doors. Paint your cabinets in a color from the primitive color palette and lightly sand the surface. Obtain lengths of thin, rounded molding. Measure the doors so you can apply the molding in a rectangular shape to the doors. The molding should be placed three inches in from the edges of the door. This creates a paneled look. Use a miter box to cut the molding edges to 45 degree angles for installation.

    Paint the molding a contrasting color to your cabinets and run fine grit sandpaper over the painted surfaces, exposing small amounts of the wood molding. Apply the molding to the doors and touch up with paint as needed.


  • Changing the hardware on kitchen cabinets gives the cabinetry a new look. Remove the existing hardware and fill in the holes. Paint the cabinetry, if desired, and allow the paint to dry before sanding the surface.

    Select hardware appropriate to the primitive design. Round wood knobs work well with smaller cabinets. For cabinetry with larger doors, select handles with an antique finish in either gold or silver. An alternative to wood or metal is wrought iron. Handles and hinges made from wrought iron are complementary to Spanish or Mediterranean designs and work well in the primitive decor within these design styles.

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