Color schemes for kitchens with dark cabinets

When it comes to your home, light, bold and natural color schemes can work in kitchens with dark cabinets to create a luxurious and rich look in your kitchen.

With so much to add, practically and aesthetically to the home, it is not difficult to see why dark kitchen cabinets have become such a popular design trend.

Dark kitchen cabinets can give the whole room a grown-up feeling and a fashionable look, while adding a certain ambience to the space.

Dark kitchen cabinets can create a lot of contrast with other elements in your kitchen, which gives your kitchen a unique design with space for you to draw focus to whichever elements you choose.

These darker cabinets also withstand scratches and bumps much better than their lighter counterparts.

Given the striking effect that dark kitchen cabinets can have in the space, it can be difficult to know which color schemes will work well for the rest of the elements within that space.

Not to fret, because there are options ranging from light and high contrast through bold and more muted natural moods, which will be sure to make the most of your dark kitchen cabinets.

The dark kitchen cabinet design trend

If we consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, design trends for kitchen cabinetry should surely reflect that in order to ensure that kitchens make both the family living in the house and visitors feel at home and comfortable in the space.

Cabinets take up a large portion of the kitchen’s floor space, and in recent years, designers have started to recognize that kitchen cabinetry can be a visual feature in the kitchen space – instead of just blending into the background.

The design of the kitchen cabinets can help to really create a look and feel in the kitchen. Dark colors from medium brown to black, were often seen as colors to be used only as accent colors within spaces like kitchens, which were traditionally white and bright.

In recent years though, it has become trendy to use these darker colors as one of the main colors in kitchens.

Homeowners are tired of cookie-cutter homes and want something truly custom and unique for the epicenter of entertainment in their homes. Dark kitchen cabinets can certainly create a unique look within a kitchen design.

When paired with the right lighting, dark kitchen cabinets can create a formal, yet rich and inviting mood in the kitchen.

Dark kitchen cabinets are also popular, because they can create such a luxurious and sophisticated look when paired correctly with the other elements in the kitchen.

The benefits of dark kitchen cabinets

Using dark kitchen cabinets in your design will certainly make for a bold and striking kitchen design.

If this bold styling choice is something that appeals to you, you will be happy to know that there are some other advantages to choosing dark colors for your kitchen cabinets.

Darker grays, blues and even black cabinets can help to create striking contrast against lighter or even white floors and countertops.

This creates a chic look, even before you add any other decorations to the room. These darker colored cabinets also make other accent colors stand out more vividly.

Besides the look and ambience that darker cabinetries create, there are also some practical benefits to turning the saturation down in your kitchen.

Spills, messes and knocks are part of the course when it comes to kitchen space, but darker colored cabinets hide scuff marks, scratches and stains which would instantly show up on lighter colored cabinets.

Changing to this dramatic darker color for the main color of your kitchen in a more open-plan space can also help to designate a part of the space for the kitchen.

Color schemes for kitchens with dark cabinets

Once you have decided that the cool and sophisticated feel of dark cabinets is the right style for your kitchen, it can be quite tricky to plan the color scheme of the rest of your kitchen around this bold choice.

There are a few different color schemes that work best with kitchens with dark cabinets, for example: lighter color schemes can help to make the space feel bigger, while brighter color schemes can help to bring even more personality into your kitchen and a natural color scheme can help to create a calming and warm atmosphere inside of your kitchen.

Light color schemes

If you are concerned about your dark cabinets making your kitchen look too dark and enclosed, going for a lighter color scheme for the rest of the kitchen could be a very good idea.

Using lighter countertops and lighter colored tiles in your backsplash, like white marble or subway tiles can create a very striking contrast to the darker cabinets.

These lighter additions will help to capture and reflect the natural light coming into your kitchen and from light fixtures in the room.

This will liven up the space and help to make the space feel bigger by bouncing this light off of the dark finishes in the room.

If you prefer to add this lighter color on the walls, rather than the countertops, there are a few paint options that will help you to make a kitchen with darker cabinets feel open and warm.

The Benjamin Moore paint in White Dove (OC-17) is an excellent off-white color with a slightly yellow undertone, which will help to brighten and warm up your kitchen.

More off-white beige or gray white colors are effective, as pure white wall paint against very dark kitchen cabinets can make the space feel cold and sterile.

Another way to bring lighter colors into your dark kitchen, can be to add lighter floor colors. Naturally lighter wood colors like oak and maple can be used to softer and warm up a kitchen with dark cabinets.

Bold color schemes

If the stark contrast of dark cabinets and light colors is not for you, but you still want to add brightness and fun to your kitchen, then bright, bold color options might be best. Dark kitchen cabinets can be the perfect backdrop to make bold colors, like greens, oranges, blues, yellows and even pinks stand out.

Adding a bold colored island into your otherwise dark kitchen, can be the perfect way to add a little flair to a space that may feel dull and dark. Painting this island or even a few walls in the kitchen with an exciting color can make the space feel like your own.

Citron is a popular color to pair with dark gray and black cabinets in order to add a bit of warmth and excitement to the space.

The Paint Color Citron (D5C757) by Dunn-Edwards Paints is a brilliant citron color that will stand out against a dark neutral cabinet, but any bright color that catches your eye should work as long as it does not clash with the other colors in your kitchen.

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Another way to add pops of bright colors to the room, includes adding colored tiles to the backsplash or floors, or adding accents of colors through stools or appliances.

Natural color schemes

If bold colors and contrasts are not for you, then using a more natural color scheme in your kitchen with dark cabinets might be a good option.

This color scheme will have a calming effect when paired with the darker colored cabinets and help to balance the dark feeling in the room.

Natural wood and wood-colored accents, like wooden beams, bamboo floors and butcher-block countertops, can help to add warmth to your dark kitchen countertops.

These soft brown and beiges can also be echoed in the paint colors used in the space, with shades like Combed Cotton by Glidden Premium Paint being the perfect complement to darker cabinets.

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Metallic finishes like brass and copper can also be very effective in catching the light in an otherwise dark kitchen.

These metallic finishes in taps and other hardware in the kitchen can also add to the luxurious and modern feeling of a kitchen with dark cabinets, to further enhance that look and feel within the space.


Dark colored kitchen cabinets can be an effective way to create an edgy look in your kitchen. This choice can make your kitchen appear more sophisticated.

These dark cabinet colors also have the added benefits of breaking up bigger spaces into designated areas and hiding dirt a bit better than light kitchen cabinets.

If you have had enough of cookie-cutter or even all white kitchens and have decided to go the deeper, darker route for your kitchen cabinet colors, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to choosing a color scheme for the walls, floors, backsplashes and even appliances and hardware within your kitchen.

However, choosing between a light, bold and natural color scheme for the rest of your kitchen should be a good starting point.

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