Navy Painted Base Cabinets

March 4, 2013

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It has been an insane few days over here in the kitchen, with some major progress made.  This weekend, our kitchen got a dose of navy blue:

Behr’s Midnight Dream to be exact. I picked up 40ish different navy swatches from a variety of brands (I try not to be a brand snob when it comes to picking the actual color–but by all means, go with the best paint you can afford when it comes to mixing it!) After sorting through all of those navys (navies?) I got it down to three and let Chris pick the final swatch.  We were going for a blue-navy, not really a black-navy for two reasons.  First, our neighboring living room is an almost black with blueish-green undertones and we didn’t want the base cabinets to be close, but “oh, are they the same?”.  And second, our inspiration photo had real blue base cabinets.  So we just went for it.  Back to Chris deciding the final color.

He couldn’t tell the difference between any of the final three (Benjamin Moore’s Deep Royal, Behr’s Midnight Dream, and Ralph Lauren’s Sullivan).  They were very, very close–but Behr’s Midnight Dream was the warmest so we went with that.

When it came to how to paint already painted cabinets, I consulted the pros…on Facebook.

With Ben’s blessing we:
1. Gave the cabinets a good scrub with soap and water to remove and grime/grease.
2.  Lightly sanded our previously painted base cabinets with a sanding block and wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove the dust.
3.  Started on the backs of the doors and used an angled brush to paint the crevices of the doors and a small foam roller (it will say “great for cabinets/doors” on it) to paint the rest of surface.
4. Did another coat for good measure.
5.  Let it dry for a few hours and flipped the doors over and repeated.
We color matched the Behr color to Benjamin Moore’s Aura line and loved it so much more than the Advance I used on my last run of painting the cabinets.  Don’t get me wrong, the Advance dried like a rock–but it took weeks and weeks to dry, not to mention the 8 hour drying time between coats.  It’s easy (for me) to lose momentum with breaks like that.  Aura is extremely durable and it is ready to re-coat in an hour! It’s not cheap at about $60 a gallon, but much cheaper than buying new cabinets and the ease it went on + short drying time + durability + fewer coats makes it worth every penny.

I know it is hard to look past those gray countertops now–they’re really making our kitchen look like a Penn State or BYU stadium–or the gray walls that we can’t wait to tile, but we’re loving our navy base cabinets.  And you? Would you ever?

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What do you think?

  1. Britt says:

    How long did you wait to rehang the doors?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I found your blog looking for pics to convince my husband.

    A note on Aura vs Advance. Don’t use Aura. The End.

    Oh, you’d like to know why? In our last house I painted trim and builtins with Aura and wasn’t happy when three years down the road it was still soft. Doors would slightly stick together, things on shelves would stick a bit. It just wasn’t as hard as I was used to trim and cabinets (factory sprayed paint) being. About two months before we moved out I painted our vanity in Advance and t was a revelation. Not only were there a lot fewer brush strokes, it levelled better and dried really hard. I have a first coat of navy advance drying downstairs right now

  3. AviLynn says:

    I’ve been longing to paint a room navy! Seeing this shade made me realize I need to do it ASAP, and Little Green Notebook has a house tour showing a kitchen with it on the walls. I’m sold.

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  4. They look great!! I’ve been debating two-toned cabinets myself and yours are a beautiful example!

  5. this is amazing!! The hubs and I have been crushing on two-toned cabinets for a while and would love to do this to ours someday!

  6. Love the new color on the base cabinets! Now you’ve got me thinking about two-toned cabinets!

  7. O.M.G. I was just telling my fiance I wanted to paint our cabinets navy, but he wasn’t feeling it. Maybe this will change his mind. I freaking love it!!!

  8. Patty says:

    I love love la-HOVE the light floors all of the sudden! Must be that navy. AND… I think a Nittany Lion would look great in there.

  9. AviLynn says:

    GORG!!! I wish I could do something like this in our home!!

  10. susan m says:

    ooh, I love it!

  11. Crystal says:

    I LOVE it so much! So glad you posted about painting over previously painted cabinets since I’m in the middle of tackling our bathroom cabinet that was previously painted and wasn’t sure I was doing it right.

  12. Love your navy cabinets! I’ve been debating between turquoise and gray lowers, but we won’t be painting our cabinets until we buy/make new shaker style doors.

  13. Maria says:

    Hi Julia,

    Love the Navy it look fantabulous (yes that’s a word)!

    Quick question for you. Did you all have any visible grain showing before you painted the cabinets? I’ve been dying to paint ours and give our kitchen an upgrade but we have those boring builder oak cabinets with the grain you can see. I’m pretty sure you’ll still be able to see the grain through the paint so I just wanted to know your experience.

    Thanks and I can’t wait to see how the whole room plays out, the progress is amazing so far.

    • We did have visible gran. And still do–a little bit. Just remember the lower the sheen of paint, the less the grain will show. We went with an eggshell finish (which is more like a satin in other brands) and the grain is barely noticeable.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Was the Aura paint self leveling like Advance? I love Advance and have been painting all our trim with it. Planning to paint our cabinets and am now second guessing using Advance.

    • It is somewhat self-levening and very self priming. We don’t have any brushstrokes visible partially due to the levening and a big part due to using a foam roller for the majority of the doors.

  15. Rachael says:

    I love this!! How daring of you. :)

    xo Rachael
    home sweet harbor

  16. Beautiful! Love the navy you chose. Was the front of your bar always planked or did you guys add that recently?

  17. Anonymous says:

    It looks fantastic! I am trying to pick a navy for my bedroom. Did you think about painting the side of your peninsula navy as well?

  18. In love. In love. In love. I can’t get enough of this kitchen update. We are starting our this weekend and oooh I can’t wait. We decided {or I convinced my guy} to do the white tops and grey bottoms because of your inspiration! Can’t wait to show him your update. Can’t thank you enough.

  19. jen says:

    hmmmm….black pantry door looks strange now.

  20. Shannon says:

    It looks fantastic! The navy was a perfect choice!!

  21. Cory Laine says:

    I love the navy and white! Looks amazing. I’ve been thinking about painting our yellow doors (our walls are white) a similar color and this might just be the push I need. Been following you guys after seeing your studio on YHL. Love your blog.

  22. So so amazing. I LOVE this. Way to take a chance! especially one that has obviously already paid off!! Go you and Chris!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Love the navy!

  24. Rebecca W. says:

    I was thinking PSU when I saw the first picture! Are you going to leave the pantry door black, or would it look good in the navy blue too? Loving the two-tone cabinets.

  25. Missy G. says:

    The navy y’all chose is perfect. It looks so good! Can’t wait to see your other kitchen choices all come together.

  26. jane says:

    Your kitchen looks great! What kind of finish did you use for both the navy cabinets and for the white top cabinets? We’re getting ready to tackle this in our (knotty pine) kitchen and am debating paint finishes: satin vs. semi-gloss.

    • If you are using Benjamin Moore paint, I would step down a sheen. Their satin reads more like a semi-gloss. That being said, we went with eggshell which reads more like a satin. ;)

  27. Just yesterday I told my husband we should think about painting our base cabinet doors gray (and keep the top ones white like yours). Unfortunately they’re laminate so we don’t know if it’s feasible. I love yours though!

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