Don’t Be Afraid of Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen. Here’s How!

I recently spent hours trying to find white paint for my kitchen cabinets that would compliment my white appliances. You wouldn’t think this would be all that difficult, but I spent hours online, time on the phone and trips back and forth to different specialty paint stores picking up color samples. I finally found the perfect custom appliance paint color. There is a God.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

A few years ago, I got up the nerve to paint my builder grade oak kitchen cabinets white (See previous post, “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets). After many hours of work, they were done, and I was elated to have bright white beautiful cabinets. Then I got a new white dishwasher, and then a new white refrigerator and all was still well.

Unfortunately, when I got a new white microwave, my e-lation turned to de-flation. Now that I had a new white appliance installed right up against two of my cabinets at eye level, the bright white microwave morphed my beautiful cabinets into a dingy shade of yellow. Sort of reminded me of dirty, stained teeth. Yuck.

I did my best to ignore it. I paint for a living so I really did my best to ignore it. (I was feeling like the plumber with leaky pipes.) Let me be clear. My cabinets didn’t turn yellow over time, nor did I choose a creamy white paint. The paint I had was white. If I would have pulled the nice, new microwave out, they would have looked white again.

I scoured the internet for paint color solutions, as I was confident that someone, somewhere surely made a paint color designed to complement white appliances. Nope. All I could find was a barrage of disappointed people who regretted their decisions to have all-white kitchens because they ended up with cabinets that looked “off” just like mine did.

I never wanted stainless steel appliances in my kitchen because in a small galley kitchen, I believe it’s best to have everything all one color. Small spaces don’t accommodate visual color interruptions well. And white appliances will never be “out” in my opinion, just as white kitchens themselves will always be classic. I think stainless steel is beautiful, but in ten years it may be the avocado of the 70’s, and my budget isn’t going to allow for all new appliances in ten years unless I win the lottery.

I went to my “go to” specialty paint store here in my city with my stove knob in tow for a color example. They do color matching for me all the time with brought-in items. They tried, but it was a no-can-do. I went to another specialty store and got my second no-can-do. I was beginning to feel like those disappointed folks on the internet.

The third time really was a charm in this story. Here’s what Don Smith Paint Company in Bloomington, Illinois did for me. They sent me home with six different base colors of different products that they sell, on the ends of paint sticks for me to take home and put up against my appliances. That is—paint right out of the cans of their various paint lines with no colorants added.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I picked the one closest to my appliance color, and a store employee/genius named Rick (aka-my new hero) added a smidgen of black and it was a fantastic match.

The paint is Coronado by Pratt and Lambert, and it’s a water-based Acrylic Rust Scat Enamel paint. We used the white base as opposed to the pastel base.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the formula on the sticker, keeping in mind that this is a quart of paint, not a gallon.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
I went from a satin that I painted my cabinets with the first time to a semi-gloss, which looks much better with the lighting that I have. Normally I’m not a fan of semi-gloss, but I really love the look of this paint. It was very quick to dry, and I can tell by the way it feels that it’s going to be durable.

I was so excited about re-painting that I forgot take a picture showing how yellow my cabinets looked after the new microwave was installed by my son, Ross and I. (Eat your heart out, Sears. You didn’t get a $150 installation fee out of me to install a $200 microwave.) But here are some after photos.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided while I was at it, I would remove my cabinet doors from the cabinets above the microwave. And although it doesn’t show in the photo, I installed paint-able wallpaper with a beautiful raised design inside of them. I may invest in some pretty baskets for storage, but that’s for another day.

The paint cost was $20 for a quart. I got by with a quart because I didn’t repaint the inside of the doors, or the back of a peninsula that isn’t pictured here, although there was another bank of cabinets not pictured that I did paint. And since they were already white, I only needed one coat.

Matching Kitchen Whites / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

If you are one of those people out there who really wants an all-white kitchen, but are scared by the prospect of trying to match whites, I say go for it, now that you know what paint to use. There’s nothing more beautiful than the classic look of a crisp, white kitchen.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.