Color won’t effect durability, it’s more the materials. Also consider the neutrality, as well as how it effects the light and feel of the space. In that sense White is pretty neutral, though it may show smudges and dirt more than a darker color.
As for material choice, I’ve been going round and round on this, each with its own pros and cons! I liked natural wood like maple, as it can be refinished. But the wood look is pretty much out these days, unless you’re talking about exotic hardwoods, which don’t make sense for a rental. Painted shaker style cabinets are very popular and neutral. I’ve been using white cabs with either speckled white Cesar or gray counter tops. I also like the gray shaker cabs, but feel they may look dated in the future, so I’m sticking with white shakers.
A friend went with an ikea ultra modern look. What I didn’t like was the high gloss finish (which can scratch if abused) and the particle board construction. He pointed out that the drawers are actually mostly vinyl, which did seem durable and easy to clean, and won’t stain the drawer bottoms like wood will. The outside finish did seem pretty durable and easy to clean. He didn’t want painted shaker cabs as he thinks the paint will scratch and need to be touched up.
Which of us, and our different approach, is best for rentals will be determined in the future, as we see how our cabinets hold up! Of course, having great tenants will make the biggest difference, and no cabinets will look good with crummy and abusive tenants.
I’d be curious to read what others think about durability and cabinets choices. Keep in mind we’re overall in a pretty high end rental market in the Bay Area.
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