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Wood and Black Kitchen Cabinets

My brother recently moved into a new home and the kitchen was severely lacking in a lot of things and updated style was one of those things. It’s a galley kitchen that had a terrible paint job on the cabinets… it felt very dated, brown and 1990’s. I wanted to bring it up to date and have it to feel very masculine. Since he isn’t ready for a full gut of the kitchen, we wanted to do the makeover on a budget. After going over several options for the kitchen design and knowing we had to work with what we had it was going to be lot of cosmetic work with paint for an upgraded look. I came up with a design that included wood and black kitchen cabinets to add some elegance and open the kitchen up to make it look larger and more trendy instead of the dark hole it already appeared to be with black painted cabinet fronts, veneer wrapped boxes, and a painted backsplash to resemble slate tile . With the exception of the floor that he replaced through the entire first level, this is an under $500 kitchen makeover and mostly done with paint. There’s also a fun video of the progress and painting the backsplash to look like slate with this post.

Kitchen cabinets before with old white floor tile in a galley kitchen

Looking at the original kitchen you can see it’s just a mess of brown a small kitchen that really needed updating! The cabinets and drawers were painted a weird shade of brown and the wall tile was a sea of brown and beige glass tile. It looked waaaay too busy and heavy for the small space. The white floor tile clashed and looked dirty all of the time. Since we weren’t changing the kitchen layout, we decided on keeping the countertops for now since they are neutral, and will be replacing those later and just update the cabinets and tiles. Updating that tile backsplash was a priority by painting to resemble a slate gray backsplash.

1990's kitchen brown painted cabinets with glass tile
Kitchen cabinets painted brown and brown glass tile

While white kitchens have reigned supreme for almost 10 years now, and they are slowly giving way to new and fresh looks like black cabinets and wood cabinets…and sometimes the combination of the two.

I looked around for some black kitchen cabinet ideas and found a few inspiration photos. ! few months ago I painted a vintage dresser black with some bare wood drawers and fell in love with the vibe because the waxed wood with classic black paint contrast added so much warmth. In my brother’s kitchen redesign I wanted to bring in some of that trend and make it feel fresh and make it a more modern kitchen.

Black painted dresser with natural wood drawers

After adding in new laminate light wood flooring, and painting the soffit area, it was time to tackled the upper and lower cabinets. To bring the cabinets up to date without refacing them, we decided the cabinet and drawer fronts would be painted a matte black Benjamin Moore Universal Black, and we would add more modern hardware with black sleek handles. For the cabinet boxes my brother would tackle adding veneer to the cabinet boxes to give them the wood look and seal the heck out of them for durability. Once that was done as you can see below, it made a huge difference!

Kitchen cabinet boxes wrapped in wood maple veneer to update them

Once the doors were put back one, the kitchen really started to come together. Once the doors were on and the handles were added, it was in the home stretch!

Wood cabinet boxes and black painted cabinet doors

He also prepped and primed the tile backsplash white by cleaning and starting with a good primer. He then painted a multi-surface paint and a sealer. I stopped by and by using a dry brush paint and wet paper towel I painted a treatment to look like slate tiles and sealed it again. The nice thing about being the big sister is that I could tell him what he needed to do and he would do it. lol. Actually, he did a really great job completing and DIY’ing all of the tasks. The veneer wrapped cabinets and painted backsplash looks amazing! He deserves a big pat on the back!

Kitchen tile painted to look like slate

The change in this kitchen is amazing!

Kitchen cabinets painted backsplash and tile with an updated with paint
Painted tile backsplash to look like slate

There are still a few small items on the punch list to be done. The outlet covers are going to be replaced with paintable ones for sure. The stainless steel sink faucet is new, so it can stay for now. If he ever replaces it in the future a brass or a classic black matte one would look amazing and add some sophistication to the sink area.

Kitchen cabinet makeover with wood veneer and black cabinets

I love the classic look of the black color of the cabinets and the wood contrast makes such a bold statement. It seems so fresh and modern. It’s so neutral that almost any color can be used as an accent.

Kitchen with painted black cabinet fronts and wood veneer
Updated kitchen with painted cabinets and wood veneer

I decided we needed to leave the ceiling white to lift it up and then pain the soffit to elevate and elongate the black cabinetry height It also raises the visual height of the ceiling. Here’s a side by side of the before and after so you can see how paint can make a huge difference.

I know we are both thrilled with the outcome and I am so happy he loves it and that I could share a little of my interior design skills with him. He put a lot of his own elbow grease into it, so he deserves to be proud of how it turned out!

Love kitchen transformations? See how we added wood cabinets to this remodel and check out this post for a how this kitchen renovation involved removing cabinets!

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