Kitchen Question: Black or White?

At some point I’m going to want to be able to cook somewhere other than the back yard. Possibly.

And that’s going to require doing some serious work to this room…



So, I’m thinking of keeping the linoleum. Right?

Okay, no. I’m actually thinking of buying cabinets. With the wood ceiling in the great room, and some seriously gorgeous wood floors I hope to be able to afford in the next, oh, five years, I decided wood cabinets were going to be going a little too monochromatic.

I have nothing against log-cabins, but I want more contrast in our house.

I want painted. I want distressed. I want black cabinets. Or white cabinets. Definitely black. Eh, I really like the versatility of the white. And welcome to my brain for the last four weeks.

I’ve been trying to solve this dilemma by perusing kitchen photographs at my leisure. And by “perusing at my leisure” I mean that I’ve started manically hoarding design magazines like an old lady hoards cats. It’s become a compulsion.


This inspirational image is from Hooked On Houses, and I think these cabinets are technically blue. But I can picture them black, so that’s all that matters.

Oh, and I’m in love with them.

And these. I’m not opposed to having a wood island, and in fact I have delusions of grandeur when it comes to thinking I can build the island myself.

I really love the black with the wood floors and ceilings.

But then…. then there’s this.


Ever since I first saw this “practical magic” inspired kitchen months ago, I’ve had an overwhelming urge to look these people up, bring my sleeping bag over, and live in this kitchen for the rest of my life.

You just can’t beat the cream and dark wood, with contrasting floors. And that oven that costs more than the foundation of our entire house.

Looks good with the darker wood floors.

And makes a perfect country kitchen. I do live in the country you know. Where there are mice. That make little mice-forts in my shoes. I think the mice would like this kitchen.

Something Else Entirely

So I was totally dead-set on having black or white cabinets. Until I saw this picture and then offered our first three children to have that refrigerator. That range hood. Seriously. Seriously?

I’m not cut out for building from scratch. I’ll take a nice avocado-green kitchen that needs a little paint and love any day. And way less decisions.

What’s your vote… black cabinets or white ones? Or do I blow my entire cabinet budget on that refrigerator and just store the dishes in cardboard boxes next to it for the next, oh, three decades?

31 Responses

  1. I don’t know why but I picture you as a black-kitchen kind of girl. A black kitchen with a kick-ass range hood, maybe in oil-rubbed bronze. I also love how the black cabinets look against the wood floors.

  2. White. But only because I think it makes everything else POP! We went from dark wood cabinets to (almost) painted off-white ones and the difference is amazing. Even made our tiny kitchen seem bigger.

  3. I’m thinking black cabinets with an off-white, or cream, or even white-washed, distressed, looks-like-you-found-it-in-a-barn island with a butcher block top.

    And, of course, you have to include the oven that costs more than your foundation and some version of that fridge.

  4. How about black base cabinets and white uppers?

    P.S. Nice to see a fellow Toledo native as a blogger! And even I have a friend who lives on Garrison.

    1. I agree with you Amy. I saw the white uppers and black bottoms on a tv home improvement show several weeks ago & decided then & there that’s how I want ours next time around (currently have all almond) & that black / white combination was awesome. My husband actually accepted the color combo.

  5. White. Or gray. But that’s my taste…I totally see you as a black kitchen kind of gal. Which one shows less smudgy fingerprints?

  6. I am in a similar quandary. We have existing stained wood cabinets, but are putting wood floors in and I’m starting to think it’s going to be a bit too much wood to handle. But painting cabinets is a little frightening! 🙂

    What about gray? I’ve seen that in a few places.. Then it’s like you’re not making up your mind at all! 🙂

  7. I went through what you are going through a few years ago (it must be a Gemini thing). I chose a distressed off white cabinet, and I love it! That color is so versatile. You can always add black contrast in the form of an island – and when you get tired of it you can change it… paint color, back splash and counter top are much easier to change than the cabinets… as I have done, and thinking of doing again….must be a Gemini thing. 🙂

  8. I have white cabinets and love ’em, but I’ve been really liking the look of black cabinets lately. Maybe you can mix it up a bit like some others mentioned–white cabinets and a black island or something?

  9. I’d go for the mix black and white approach. I agree with Tara that off white is very versatile and you can add in the black in the form of the island or an upper cabinet plate rack or even a floor to ceiling one piece hutch style cabinet. Endless options there. With your talent you could make some frig facade that would look like that frig door. Now that would be awesome.

  10. I’m voting black! It totally goes with the rustic feel and really pops against the wood tones. I especially love the picture you posted with the yellow border. The stone wall and light fixtures really add to that space. The one thing to be aware of is to make sure you have plenty of light (both natural and artificial) if you’re going with dark cabinets. You don’t want the space to seem dark. Plus, black will hide fingerprints and dirt much better. Everyone I know with white cabinets have to clean them often.

    And a second vote for bronze or copper range hood. I’ve seen people buy the standard hood and then DIY the surround. I have some inspiration pictures of them if you’d like.

  11. I’m torn and have been mulling over the same exact quandary. Our 4 cabinets (yup! only 4.) are currently red, like the rest of our red, yellow & green “Tuscan-inspired” nightmare of a kitchen/dining room. It’s simply dreadful.

    I was initially leaning toward white cabinets because our house is only 18′ wide and can get kinda dark in the winter. But your new kitchen is going to be so much larger and brighter than mind. I think you could really do either.

    The idea of dark lower and light uppers is intriguing. If you run across any photos like that, I’d love to see them.

    Good luck!!

  12. I vote neither, you don’t seem like a neutral person – black or white seem neutral to me. I loved your old kitchen, so much character and beautiful color. I love color! I know this is a new home but I loved what you did with your 1st home, go with what your heart tells you.


  13. You know, normally I would always go for the white/cream. But something about those black cabinets…something akin to lust. Hope that helps…and doesn’t creep you out too much.

  14. You guys are almost dead split on the black/white opinions… could I not have a clear majority?! lol. I really appreciate all of the feedback and I’m taking into account everything you say.

    I need to find pictures of a kitchen with black, white, and wood!

    You all rock!

    1. Painter coming this week..I too MUST make a choice. Going from standard 80’s oak (real wood) to either blk or white or blk with white glaze or white with blk glaze!! AARRRGGHHHHHH HELP!!!! I have beige/grey tile & gray (w/ blk & wht spots) coriane counter

  15. The last ‘black’ image has me panting with lust.

    I think the amount of light and height of the ceilings is your answer: light and bright kitchen with tall ceilings=black. Less light and bright with not so tall ceilings=white.

  16. OMG, I just found your blog, LOVE IT. I have having the same dilema, really want to paint the cabinets black (white now) and would love your opinion. Of the black,I like flat charcoal distress much better than the gloss black.

  17. MommaRhyne – Totally agree with you on the color of the black… distressed charcoal over gloss black any day. I also like the effect in the first “black” image where some of the underneath color fades through. I’d say go-for-it! After all of the comments I think black is the way I’m going.

    1. I’m leaning toward dk charcoal or satin blk with wood tones showing to home store for sample door for my painter

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