Painting Ideas for Flat Kitchen Cabinet Doors

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Painting flat kitchen cabinet doors refreshes the look of your kitchen.
Painting flat kitchen cabinet doors refreshes the look of your kitchen. (Image: le kitchen image by sumos from Fotolia.com)

Flat kitchen cabinet doors can be plain and boring, but they provide an ideal canvas for paint techniques. There are many choices to consider when deciding how to paint your cabinet doors, from freshening them up with a new solid paint color to using them as the canvas for various designs, textures or patterns.

Lighten Up

If your flat kitchen cabinet doors are currently a dark stain or paint, consider repainting them a solid, lighter color. Choose bright white, cream or perhaps a soft pastel. This will lighten the feel of the kitchen and make it a more airy space. You could also consider choosing a bolder color. Bright red, orange, or yellow will give your kitchen a warm, spicy feel, while bright blues or greens will provide an exciting pop of color. If you would like the advantages of these bright, bold colors for your kitchen cabinet doors, but feel that these colors would overwhelm your kitchen, consider using these same colors, but in a wash instead. Create a wash by adding glaze to the paint. This will thin the paint, and allow you to incorporate the vibrant colors you love.

Add Design

Consider painting a border around the cabinet door in a contrasting or complementary color, one or two inches from the edge of the door. This will create the illusion of depth for your flat doors. You could also paint tone-on-tone or contrasting stripes to add visual interest to the cabinets. Vertical stripes will make your cabinets appear taller, a good choice for a kitchen with low ceilings. Horizontal stripes will make the cabinets seem shorter and wider, creating a cozy feel. You might consider using a stencil to create a border design for simple style, or an all-over pattern for a bolder statement. Commonly used stencils in kitchens include ivy, grape, or chili pepper designs.

Trompe L’Oeil

Trompe l’oeil, pronounced “tromp loy,” is a painting technique that is ideal for flat kitchen cabinet doors. Trompe l’oeil means "to trick or fool the eye," and uses paint to create murals or vignettes on flat surfaces that appear to have depth and dimension. You can choose a trompe l’oeil design that mimics the look of glass-front cabinet doors, or choose designs that appear to be tile mosaics or landscapes.

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