Question of the Week

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I have white painted cabinetry in my kitchen.  VERY white.  Although I’m very fond of painted cabinetry, I just feel mine is just too stark.  How do I tone down the brightness and create a warmer, cozier feel?
Martha, Dallas, Texas

I’m glad you asked this question!  I’ve gotten so many requests for information recently on this topic.  Did you see my Dream Kitchen: Fit for a Crowd in Southern Living?  People have responded really well to the look of the cabinetry featured in this article. 

Here are my tips:

1. If you aren’t a natural at decorative painting, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL!  You don’t want your kitchen cabinets to be your training ground.

2. Start with a warmer base to blast away the stark white that’s leaving you cold.  A great choice is SW6148 Wool Skein by Sherwin-Williams.


3. Overlay your painted base coat with a light glazing.  But don’t get crazy!  A little goes a long way.  I paired the Wool Skein with Provincial Wood Stain from Minwax. 

4. Enjoy!

Good luck!

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Tobi for the new Question of the Week feature?  If so, place ‘Question of the Week’ in the subject of your email and send to


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6 Responses to Question of the Week

  1. Wow you nailed it!! That cabinetry is just gorgeous….love the warm color but its still light enough to feel open and airy. Beautiful job!

  2. Kelly Stiegman says:

    I really like the cabinets in this kitchen (thanks for the paint and stain colors!), but have a question. Is the crown moulding and other trim in the kitchen a whiter white? I have held off on painting my cabinets because I wasn’t sure how to handle the trim which is white and extends into other rooms. Thanks!

  3. Since Martha lives in Dallas, I would highly recommend that she drive over to Jackson, MS and take the cabinet finishing class at The Southern Institute of Faux Finishing. Virginia Weathersby is the top professional in the US on painted finishes. I have taken three classes there and they have all been fabulous. The class will give Martha the confidence to tackle the cabinets herself because she has the knowledge skill and can do a sample board to see how it will turn out in the class. I would also suggest that Martha use Annie Sloan’s Chalk paint which feels smooth as butter. Martha would learn many techniques for cabinets as it will open up her world and she may choose another finish that she didn’t even know existed. And, best of all, she will have fun doing it.

  4. Diane Dyhan says:

    Hi Tobi,
    I have the same dilemma as Kelly Steigman. Could you please address the question about what color to paint the trim? My thought was keeping the trim painted the same white as the other trim molding in the house and a warmer white on my cabinets. Will this be a designer DO?, or a Designer DON’T. Thank you!

  5. It is amazing the difference the right shade can make. The soft white color is warm and fresh at the same time. It makes this kitchen and breakfast area featuring Suzanne Kasler’s Amsterdam Side Chairs from Hickory Chair look inviting! Love the combination of the geometric fabric on the back with the leather seat… practical and beautiful! Leave it to Tobi for another great combination.

  6. Kitchens says:

    I always prefer the darker color on the trim as it gives a warmer and cosier feel to the cabinets. As you can see from Tobi’s picture above, the room is also accessorized with darker items. For example, the table and chairs, bar stools etc.