Always White Cabinets?

18 Replies

Is it the consensus that in a rehab you should always use white cabinets? If the property already has usable cabinets that aren't white is it always worth it to have them painted?

I always do this for rentals because I think it looks good and is easy to re paint if need be. If it was a flip I would do whatever is trending in your area, not necessarily always white.

On something that's going to be a rental? If I'm putting in new cabinets. I usually go with a plain, non-poly'd wood cabinet and have them poly'd (either myself or someone else). They're simple to touch up, the wood lasts a long time, if a cabinet door gets broken it's simple to match. I have used the thermafoil white cabinets but I don't find them long-term durable; the laminate starts delaminating pretty quickly. 

If I'm not taking the cabinets out at all, and they're being painted, it just depends on what goes with the house. One of our houses had a color motif that really dictated the cabinets not be white, so they ended up a light grey. 

On a flip, I would probably have new cabinets to begin with, so the color would just depend on the style of the house. 

Very market specific... and price point specific.. sleek modern dark cabinets are in these days we have been putting them in new builds in Charleston.. in our first step up in PDX market IE 450 to 500k we will put in white oil base.. with a different color for the island .. and some client will ask for dark cherry or something like that.. 

but white is a good all round look .. We have white in our home then the Grey that is in for the island and accents.

@Jackson Tate No I don't think so. TO me white cabinets look cheap. It is what I expect in a rental rehab not a flip to a homeowner.  Most of the flips I see here do not use white cabinets. 

Of course what works here may not work in your market. White may be the norm.

@Jackson Tate from my experience as a flipper, it depends on the neighborhood since that will dictate the buyer. 

If you are in more of a trendy area, you can experiment w/ colors.

If you are in a more conservative neighborhood, then stick w/ white.

But, at the end of the day, the buyer can always paint cabinets, and should not end up being a determining factor on a sale. 



Thanks all for the feedback. The house is a flip in blue collar neighborhood with homes in the 140k to 200k price range. The majority of homes being flipped in this market area have white cabinets. 

@Jay Hinrichs where are you doing new builds in Charleston? I am an appraiser in the area and wonder if I’ve done any of your homes. 

The house is a flip in blue collar neighborhood with homes in the 140k to 200k price range. The majority of homes being flipped in this market area have white cabinets.

Personally I am no fan of white, more dark red / cherry for me. Stain, not paint!

But if it's a flip I am not living there. I would go white. Paint is a lot cheaper than new cabinets, paint them.

For that price point, I would use white unless you (or someone you know) is particularly good with colors.  I don't think white looks cheap unless you use cheap cabinets.  It's a classic look that will never go out of style and goes well with any colors you match it up with.    There are a couple of distributors of the all wood cabinets around town that do the ubiquitous Shaker Style that are decent quality.   When you list it, you can advertise "all wood cabinets" and stand out from a lot of flippers who just put the particle board junk in there.

Painting them is also a viable option if they're in great shape and you have a good cabinet painter.  Change the hardware out as necessary and if you are good with colors you can make them fun.    On the rental I'm finishing up, I did the top's white, the bottoms Sherwin wms "Dovetail Grey" and painted the insides a coral color.  Counter tops are just laminate and are a darker grey base color.   I'm not so good with colors but get good advice!  :-D

@Jackson Tate white is safest bet and be sure to paint the interiors...looks so clean. White looks good with the trim and windows. But if you have existing granite or plan on putting in granite vs quartz you may want to use general finishes gel stain in the approximate original cabinet wood color. Home depot has a cabinet door display wall with available factory colors. Those are acceptible colors except the cream, gray, sage. Houzz has ideas....95% of the kitchens showcased are white but it is slowly changing. They also have a survey result in a graph that I cannot post that shows kitchen remodel choices by popularity.

Here is a before and after of cabinets I painted. This is a 1br rental, with a small kitchen. The only downside is they will get dirty quick. But painting them white saved me time and money.

kitchen color is a heavy influenced by trend.  Right now that trend is white. 

But remember that history repeats itself, so pretty soon we'll be back to that classy lime green of 1977.

Depends on the neighborhood. White shaker style cabinets are very popular....but I wouldnt put them into a house where the end buyers are going to be 60+.

@Jackson Tate White cabinet looks cheap to me in general. I have one property that has all black cabinet and black stove black microwave, black refrIgerator, black everything in kitchen and it looks very modern for my personal taste :)

White is very popular and more importantly white is acceptable to many. I sell cabinets wholesale to flippers, rental investors and contractors and most of them prefer white because it appeals to so many.

White is not required but it will probably have the biggest buyer pool in many cases.  They especially stand our as new and fresh in starter homes that have otherwise simple kitchens.  If the existing cabinets are natural oak, they may be considered outdated.