Kitchen Contest: Vote For Your Favorite with Wood Cabinets!

Top 5 Kitchens with Wood Cabinets collageCheck it out–these 5 kitchens actually have (gasp!) wood cabinets. Out of the all entries that readers submitted for my contest, I’d say 75% of them had white cabinets, so it was always kind of nice to see something different. Take a look and then vote for your favorite below (email readers will have to click over to my blog):

Click the pics and links to see the original posts about these kitchens:


 1. Laura’s Kitchen



 2. Chania’s Kitchen



3. Barbara Ann’s Kitchen



4. Karin’s Kitchen



5. Jodie’s Kitchen

After you vote for your favorite in each of the 5 categories in the weeks to come, you’ll choose the overall winner, who will get a $150 Visa card and bragging rights. You can see more of the most popular kitchens from the contest here.

Julia-simple teal signature



Did you vote for your favorite white kitchen? Right now there’s a tie for the top spot:

Top 5 White Kitchens Contest 400Vote For Your Favorite White Kitchen!

Top 5 White Kitchens Contest 400
We’ve looked at a LOT of great kitchens that your fellow readers submitted for my contest since I started featuring them last November. I tried…
Top 5 Kitchens with Painted Cabinets-collage
So far you have voted for your favorite white kitchen and your favorite kitchen with wood cabinets in my ongoing contest. Today I'm showing you…

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  1. Jonia says

    Wow, this was tough. This kitchen contest has made it very clear to me… it’s gotta be white or white and colour cabinets for our kitchen. After going back and looking at all of Karin’s pictures, there were a number of details that I really liked. B.i.g. kudos for doing that yourselves! BIG kudos!!

    • SanDee says

      Jonia, I agree wtih you completely!!! I have never bought anything but cabinets that were WHITE and if I had to move into a home with wood or wood-stained cabinetry, the first thing I would do is paint them white (unless they were a very light maple). Sadly, many new home builders have put a lot of the construction budget into dark wood toned cabinetry and trim. I love kitchens that are light and inviting…. and to me, white cabinets are an immediate sign that everything is fresh and clean. I say, get your “wood fix” with wood flooring and/or butcher block counter tops. Then, with lots of colorful accents, your white kitchen will never seem cold and sterile.

      • Jonia says

        SanDee, I know we may not be the most popular for discussing painting wood, but I l.o.v.e. painted wood. I’m absolutely with you on the colorful (or colourful in Canada :) ) accents. I also love different textures from using different materials. You’re absolutely right about the white cabinets setting the mood for refreshing and inviting 😀

  2. says

    Before I give my vote, I need to say that all of these kitchens are beautiful, and you’re right, Julia… it’s nice to see dark cabinets! :-)

    Thank you for sharing this and congratulations to all of the owners of these inspiring spaces.


    Luciane at

  3. says

    Julia, you are so kind. My own kitchen cupboards are wood, and most days I feel rather out of it in the blogosphere–as if I ought to get out my paintbrush and cover these wood surfaces pronto! This post makes me feel unique rather than weird about my non-white cupboards!

  4. FairLady says

    I don’t like any of them. If there was one with a light wood like maple, then I would choose it. But otherwise, WHITE CABINETS RULE.

      • Jcrn says

        Agree. While I prefer white cabinets, I think every one of these kitchens looks warm and inviting and personalized. And isn’t that what really matters? Having a kitchen that suits the homeowner?

        • Amy says

          I agree with Alie B. I love painted cabinets, but sometimes I will come across something that is not painted and absolutely beautiful. My family hates our white cabinets. It is all personal taste. That is what makes us all unique. :)

  5. Emma says

    I like Karin’s the best. The wood is not so dominant, and the kitchen has lots of other textures, like the light tray ceiling, the brick accent wall, and the butcher block counters. Also love the angled door frame and the light fixtures.

    Very nice!

    • Jonia says

      Karin got my vote too. The other textures is also what caught my attention as well – really enjoyed those.

    • Jennifer says

      Agree! The mixture of textures is great. But that’s not brick! I thought so too, but follow the link and read the write up about it. That’s honey marble subway tile. I love it with the wood cabinets. AND, she and her boyfriend did it all by themselves…from design to buiding the cabinetry. Amazing job!

  6. kay says

    I chose Karin’s. I like the pendants and the tile backsplash. Very pretty!

  7. says

    Are we voting on the cabinets or the entire kitchen? I like parts of each, but still prefer a lighter wood…say Hickory. If I were judging the the entire kitchen I like the one with the most windows….which really is a structural issue, not so much decor. See why I get confused? OY.

  8. Katrina says

    Yay for wood cabinets! At least with wood, you get some variations in tone and style and material….which you don’t get with white cabinetry. I like the look of both, but I am getting sick of white cabinets. They’re EVERYWHERE!

  9. stefania says

    What is very interesting for me (I am Italian) is that in the USA you see wooden (brown etc…) cabinets vs white/grey cabinets. You don’t use other colors.
    I like the white/butter/grey/cream kitchens but in Italy it is very popular to have colorful kitchen. Modern ones are not made of wood and are red, orange, green, blue, yellow, etc…
    I like the American style.

    • says

      Interesting! You’re right that we don’t see a lot of colorful cabinets in the States. My guess is because it’s been drilled into us that we have to be concerned about resale and keeping things neutral. We’re seeing more gray and black cabinets lately, but brighter colors are rare.

      We’ll be voting on the Top 5 Kitchens with (non-white) Painted Cabinets soon, so stay tuned! :)

      • stefania says

        Another difference between Italy and the USA is that we don’t buy already furnished houses. In the USA a typical house/apartment comes with kitchen, bathroom cupboards and bedroom closets.
        In Italy houses are always empty. When we move, we bring all our furniture, including kitchen and bathroom cupboards.
        We don’t have closets in our bedrooms, but wardrobes.
        So, when you move you take everything with you.
        If I were a better photographer I could show you my house that is really not a typical Italian house :-) For the furniture, I mean.
        I am really addicted to houses and home decorating even if I don’t redecorate my house often. But I read a lot! And dream, of course.

        • Alie B says

          Wow, Stefania. You must need really large moving trucks in Italy! :)

          • stefania says

            Well, our houses are way smaller than yours. Two bedrooms are the best you can find, and they are smaller than yours, too. There are bigger houses but I am talking about average, here. Most Italian families have one bedroom for the children, no matter if they are of a different sex. Children will have to sleep together in the same room.
            But you need a truck to move, yes. And most people find that moving is very stressful. I am the opposite. Did my move at Christmas and was not stressed at all. A lot of boxes, a truck and patience.

      • 65andcounting says

        I was all set to submit my yellow kitchen cabinets for the contest when some storm happened – was it Sandy (we had so many) that knocked power out for two weeks. Then I got waylaid and never sent my photos in. Next time you have a contest I’ll get the courage to submit them. I have a red marmoleum floor to boot, so no lack of color – people say its a very happy kitchen. Of course, they could just be being kind! :-)

  10. Laura says

    I’m not much of a wood cabinet person, but I’m going with Karin’s kitchen, because the cabinets are custom made and don’t have the big box store look that a lot of wood finish cabinets have. I also like some of her other finishes. I know the wall isn’t brick but marble subway tile – I’d definitely prefer brick so I’m pretending that’s what it is. :) My dream kitchen would not have wood or white cabinets, but a hoosier, assorted free-standing furniture, open shelves, etc. in colors (maybe some white) and lots of vintage touches, including those cool retro appliances, and maybe a refurbished O’Keefe & Merritt 50s stove.

  11. Neesha says

    I voted for Jodie’s! That kitchen is lovely. I would love to cook in there!

  12. Bonnie says

    I chose Laura’s but only because of the wonderful windows and lighting. I like light and bringing the outdoors in. Dark wood cabinets are very rich and pretty but I’m so tired of seeing them like a cookie cutter… least in the model homes here in California and in most of my friends kitchens. I had my old, 1980’s cabinets painted a light almond color for budget reasons and updated the counters with a solid surface material and I just love the feel of the room. I like a light/white kitchen because I think they’re timeless and economical in the long run instead of needing a big overhaul in 15-20 years, which isn’t going to happen for me. lol. Love what you have!

  13. says

    Wow, that was a tough decision, I just love the warmth, richness and homeyness only a wood kitchen can convey.

  14. says

    Honestly, I didn’t realize white kitchens were so popular/favored/in until I got “hooked” on this blog–now I see/notice them everywhere! “Wood” kitchens are still very popular where I live, even with people who have redone kitchens (unless we’re all “out of date”, lol!) I still think warm, natural wood tones can be beautiful when done right, with the right tone, glazes, door style, hardware, etc. I think both wood and white can be “overdone” or “blah” looking, and so design and layout are still key. I think the popularity of things like open-shelving, glass inserts on cabinets, “mixing up” colors (ie: dark wood islands and lighter/painted cabinetry elsewhere), and attention to architectural details lend to a non-boring/blah kitchen, be it wood or white. Also, natural light does wonders, no matter the color. Just felt like I needed to add this, as I feel like some people with lovely kitchens are being slammed. Also, looking back, some of my favorite “wood” kitchens don’t even seem to be in the running!

    • says

      It’s actually difficult to find a lot of good examples of “wood kitchens” online or in magazines these days. White is definitely the most popular choice at the moment, but I’m with you–let’s hear it for a little diversity!

      Some of your faves might still pop up in weeks to come. We’ve got several more categories to vote in, like best small kitchen and best makeover, so stay tuned! :)

    • says

      We just bought a new to us house, and it has a dark wood kitchen, renovated about 6 years ago. I love it, even though my first choice would be white/cream. There are some glass cabinets to break up the wood, too. And the granite is a lighter color, so the kitchen doesn’t feel dark. I think it’s beautiful. :-)

  15. Jane George says

    I love the Victorian details in Jodie’s kitchen. Hers is the kitchen I would most like to spend time in.

  16. says

    YAY! Love the wood – I’m so tired of the white kitchen. Probably 95% of kitchen “remodels” include painting the cabinets white. Gets boring after a while, you know? It is nice to see updated kitchens with beautiful wood cabinetry. Thanks for showing us! I also love Karin’s kitchen the best.

  17. says

    I almost can’t believe it myself, but we have wood cabinets in our new (old) kitchen…to late to enter the contest, but thought you might want to see what we did. I like wood, especially if it’s paired with some painted elements…perhaps it’s the mix that draws me in.

    • Alie B says

      I checked out your kitchen, Rie. It’s gorgeous, as is the rest of your home.

    • Jonia says

      OMGosh!!!!! L.o.v.e. l.o.v.e. l.o.v.e. your house! Seriously, I don’t think it would matter what category your house was entered in, it would get my vote. Amazing job! Have I used too many exclamation marks? 😀
      Thanks Julia for introducing me to yet another great blog!

  18. Misa says

    What’s interesting to me about these contests is that they bring out the wide variety of what readers/judges consider to be a “good” kitchen–kitchens seem to be a room where our personalities or habits are most strongly reflected! I’m voting for Laura’s because of the natural lighting, streamlined aesthetic (design looks practical too), and uncluttered island; bonus point for the absence of recessed lighting.

    Each kitchen has something that appeals to me more than the others. Overall, while the white kitchens looked fine, the layouts of the kitchens in this round seem more useable and practical. If I ever built my own kitchen, I might combine the look of Karin’s kitchen and the layout of Laura’s kitchen.

  19. Esther George says

    Hi Julia I voted for Karin’s kitchen it was a tough choice they are all great looking kitchens. I thought Gerard Butler’s kitchen featured in Architectural Digest was beautiful a bit masculine but still great looking. I wish all the ladies and their kitchens the best of luck. Regards Esther from Sydney.

  20. Billy says

    but but but they are all cherry (4 dark with raised panel cab doorz) and stainless appliances, I thought we were past this.

  21. Jcrn says

    While I am a fan of both wood as well as white cabinets I now lean on the side of white ones. If you’re remodeling a kitchen, you might even save money by using white ones.

    Here’s why: if your kitchen has average to poor lighting, painting cabinets a semi-gloss. To high gloss white can reflect more light and make a kitchen look more open at the same time.

    I speak from experience. Our kitchen had lovely wood cabinets but looked like a dark hole. Painting the cabinets white was far less expensive than adding new lights and repairing, patching, and painting the ceiling.

    I painted them myself and the results were dramatic. After 27 years, when we had the budget to remodel our kitchen, even after (finalIy) installing better lighting, I got new white cabinets.

    • Jcrn says

      Just want to be clear tat even though I prefer white cabinets, I think every one of these kitchens looks warm and inviting and personalized. And isn’t that what really matters? Having a kitchen that suits the homeowner?

  22. Carolyn says

    I’m voting for Karin’s. The cabinets are like fine crafted furniture, beautifully handmade. I’m impressed that they did everything themselves. And though it’s small, they made the best use of little space. Generally, I think cabinets need to reflect the overall style or period of the house. I have white ones with white subway tile in my 1920’s cottage, but natural hickory in my log cabin. White cabinets in the cabin would look totally out of place. If it’s a new house or a remodel of a typical builder’s style from the last 50 years, you can set your own tone. I have to admit besides white, I love the look of cabinets painted in other colors – soft grays, pale dusty blue, sage green, even black in the right space. Red can look good, too, as an accent, but I’m not a red person!

    • Carolyn says

      P.S. There’s another category for you, Julia: cabinets other than white or wood-toned finish. This could include all colors as well as a transparent color stain or lime wash.

  23. Rosemarie says

    Finally some non-white kitchens! Thanks for posting these pictures. I’m so tired of all the white in kitchens. My favorite is the dark chocolate colored cabinets, so rich and warm. I voted for Karin’s kitchen. Very nice. Jodi’s was wonderful too.

  24. stefania says

    I did not specify before that I voted for Karin because her kitchen is original and different and because they did all by themselves with a fantastic result. I think it is easy to have a beautiful kitchen if you go to an architect and can spend big money, but the challenge is to use a lower budget.

    • Kelly says

      As far as the owners doing the work themselves, Jodie and her husband did their kitchen without help according to her blog. And the others may have done their kitchens as well.

      • stefania says

        I agree but it seems that Karin and her husband built the cabinets themselves. More points for them, IMO. I did not mean to minimize other’s kitchens and work but rather to add points to Karin’s.
        All these kitchen are beautiful.

  25. 65andcounting says

    I love every one of these kitchens, not because they might be a look I’d choose but they reflect what the homeowner likes and wants in their home. And isn’t that what homeowning is all about – making the space your own? Congrats to each contestant. I voted for Laura because the cabinets and floors and counters match perfectly with the modern feel of the room.

  26. says

    I voted for Karin’s Kitchen. I really love the wood with that beautiful marble subway tile.

  27. Anne says

    This really was a really difficult choice. All of the kitchens had elements which fit beautifully into their design. Lots of detail (very personal of course because kitchens always are) and I really loved parts of each and every one of them. I have to admit my bias and was influenced by the story connected with the post. Not saying who I voted for because I loved all of their stories.

  28. says

    Thank you for featuring my kitchen. When we looked for a house in Florida, I wanted a white kitchen, however when I saw this kitchen I fell in love with it. It is solid cherry and the craftsmanship is amazing. It does however, not photograph that well. It is much nicer in person. Since the photos were taken, we had a leak and had to rebuild the cabinets. The counters were broken in the process and I changed them to Carerra marble and changed the sink and tap. I also added mexican tile around the windows. I will send you some more photos next time we are there so you can see the difference.

  29. says

    I have to say… I just love the look of Karin’s kitchen, especially with the island in the middle. Great photo :-)

  30. Constance says

    I really like Laura’s kitchen, it got my vote. Love the pendant lights and the lack of upper cabinets. Having shrunk in height my upper cabinets aren’t being used to capacity because I can’t reach anymore.

  31. Karen says

    I echo the sentiments that this was a really difficult choice. All of these kitchens are lovely and have nice design elements.

    I love warm, natural wood tones. It’s nice to see some diversity out there too, because white kitchens seem all the rage in design magazines and blogs. And while white kitchens are timeless, I chose wood. I thought long and hard about it, but decided against white as I have so much natural sunlight flooding through the windows in my south facing kitchen during winter that I thought white would not only lack warmth, but feel too harsh and glaring with all the bright light. It’s a different story during summer, but it doesn’t bother me. Honestly, I appreciate the beauty of wood, although sometimes I feel as if I’m some kind of alien going against the general consensus, especially when all I see is nothing but white kitchens always featured in design blogs and magazines.

    I worked with a designer at the big box, although I had already done most of my homework and knew what I wanted. She steered me away from white saying that it wasn’t warm, although she used it in their small bungalow kitchen.

    Agree with the person above who said, “Also, natural light does wonders, no matter the color.”