How to Tone Down Orange Cabinets [8 Easy Ways]

Orange cabinets can bring warmth and energy to a room, but sometimes they can be too overwhelming or clash with the rest of your décor.

There are a few simple methods to tone down those bright and bold orange cabinets, giving your space a more balanced and harmonious look.

Keep reading to discover practical tips on transforming your orange cabinets into a more aesthetically pleasing focal point in your space.

8 Ways to Easily Tone Down Orange Cabinets

1. Adding White Paint

One effective way to tone down orange cabinets is by applying white paint.

White cabinets inside a kitchen

White paint can instantly brighten the space and reduce the orange hue.

Make sure to use high-quality paint designed for wood surfaces, and apply multiple coats for maximum coverage.

2. Adding Light or Dark Grey Paint

Another great option is using light or dark grey paint. This cool color can effectively neutralize the orange in your cabinets.

Worker spraying cabinet with gray paint

As with white paint, choose a paint specifically made for wood surfaces and use at least two coats for the desired effect.

3. Adding Cream Paint

Opting for cream-colored paint can bring a warm and sophisticated look to your kitchen while toning down the orange cabinets.

A painting tray with a roller paint

Make sure to loop around your cabinets evenly, and take your time to apply uniform coats of paint.

4. Adding Blinds or Curtains

Incorporating window treatments like blinds or curtains complementing color can also help to tone down the orange in your cabinets.

A gorgeous kitchen painted in white with matching blinds

These can be useful in redirecting attention away from the orange cabinets and more toward the overall design of your kitchen.

Related content: What Color Cabinets Go With Black Countertops?

5. Adding Lighting

Proper lighting can make a world of difference when it comes to changing the appearance of your orange cabinets.

A gorgeous orange kitchen with matching orange walls

Consider installing under-cabinet LED lights or pendant lighting to create subtle shifts in color and tone.

Experiment with different color temperatures and intensity levels to find the one that best tones down the orange hue.

6. Adding Accessories

Incorporating thoughtful accessories around your orange cabinets can help draw the eye away from the overpowering hue.

Modern white kitchen with accessories

Choose decorative items like vases, artwork, or dishware that complement or contrast with the orange color, effectively reducing its intensity.

7. Adding Wallpaper

If your cabinets don't extend all the way up to the ceiling, you can consider using wallpaper with a bold or subtle pattern above the cabinets.

Dozens of kitchen wallpaper rolls

Doing so can create visual interest, and depending on your chosen color scheme, it can help tone down the orange.

Make sure to select a wallpaper with a cohesive design that blends well with the rest of your kitchen's aesthetic.

8. The Best Method: Using an Aerosol Toner

With this method, you can neutralize the bold orange color of your cabinets and give your kitchen a more modern, subdued look.

Let's dive into the details of how to do this effectively.

How to Tone Down Orange Cabinets with Transparent Aerosol Toner

Follow the steps below to tone your orange cabinets with transparent aerosol toner. Follow the steps:

1. Choose Aerosol Toner with a Blue or Green Cast

You'll need a transparent aerosol toner with a blue or green cast to neutralize the orange tones.

These complementary colors will help balance out the cabinets' warm, vibrant orange hues.

2. Clean the Cabinets

Before applying the toner, ensure you are free from dust and grease.

Woman cleaning orange colored cabinets

Use a mild cleaner and a damp cloth to clean them, then dry the surfaces with a dry cloth.

3. Test the Toner

Find an inconspicuous spot on your cabinets or a scrap piece of orange wood to test the toner's effect.

Doing so will help you gauge how much toner to apply to achieve the desired result.

4. Apply the Toner

Follow the instructions on the aerosol toner label for proper application techniques.

Generally, you'll want to hold the can about 12 inches away from the surface and apply the toner in even, sweeping motions.

Multiple thin coats are often better than one thick coat to ensure a smooth, even finish.

5. Evaluate your Results

Let the toner dry as per the recommended drying time on the label.

Once dry, assess whether the orange tone has been sufficiently neutralized. If not, you can apply additional toner coats until you achieve the desired effect.

You might also like: 11 Colors That Go With Birch Wood Cabinets (With Pictures)!

Why Do Certain Cabinet Woods Turn Orange in Light?

First and foremost, the type of wood plays a major role in the color change.

Some woods, like oak and cherry, have natural warm tones that can turn orange over time. It's the tannins in the wood reacting with the environment which causes these color variations.

Gray cabinets inside a modern kitchen

As you would expect, not all wood species react like this in similar conditions. UV exposure is another common culprit behind the orange color.

Sunlight, particularly UV rays, causes oxidation and color changes in various materials – including wood.

The color shifts from that warm honey tone you originally loved to a not-so-appealing orange hue. Lastly, the type of finish applied to your cabinets can impact the color over time.

Many finishes, like oil-based or amber-toned polyurethane, can darken and turn orange as they age.

Choosing a water-based or clear polyurethane finish can help maintain the original color for longer periods.

Continue reading: Maple Cabinets Vs. Oak, Birch, Cherry, Mdf, And Hickory: Which Is Right For Your Home?

What Woods to Use to Avoid Orange Shades?

When choosing wood for your cabinets, it's important to pick one that complements your design vision.

Here are some wood types that can help you avoid the orange shades for a more harmonious aesthetic.

Purple Heartwood

Purple Heartwood is a unique wood type that features a deep purple-blue hue.

The wood not only avoids the yellow-orange undertones but also stands out for its vivid color.

Its rich, vibrant appearance makes it an excellent choice for those who want their cabinets to make a bold statement.

African Blackwood

African Blackwood is another excellent option for those wanting to avoid orange-toned cabinets.

Closeup texture of bark of an African Black Ebony tree

Known for its dark, almost black color, African Blackwood adds an element of sophistication while steering clear of undesirable hues.

Its durability and strength make it ideal for cabinets in high-traffic areas.

Greenheart Wood

Greenheart Wood is a dense, durable wood with a greenish hue that deviates from the conventional orange tones.

Greenheart timber

Its unique color offers a fresh alternative for those who want their cabinets to have a more natural, organic look.

Besides its attractive appearance, Greenheart is also resistant to decay and insect infestation, ensuring a long-lasting finish for your cabinets.

Blue Mahoe

As the name suggests, Blue Mahoe wood has a distinct blue color that is a beautiful departure from the usual orange tones in many wood types.

Its unique shade makes it an attractive option for those who want a cool, modern aesthetic in their cabinetry.


Ebony wood is known for its deep, dark color that leans more towards black than orange.

Ebony wood photographed in great detail

Using ebony for your cabinets will not only help you avoid unwanted orange shades but also add an element of luxury and elegance to your space.

With its smooth, fine grain, ebony can be polished to a high shine for a stunning visual effect.

Be sure to read: 15 Gorgeous Wood Kitchen Cabinets Color Scheme Ideas

Putting it All Together

As you may have discovered, the key to toning down orange cabinets is finding the right colors and techniques to neutralize their intensity.

With some creativity and experimentation, you can easily find the ideal solution to give your cabinets a subtle and stylish makeover.

That's it! We hope you embrace the process and enjoy the updated look of your space.

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