Cabinets in warm brown, rich black, or deep shades of blue and green make a dramatic statement in the kitchen. Whatever your style, these creative ideas can help you pick accent colors that will keep your space bright and inviting.
Any bright color looks great with dark cabinets, as long as it's used smartly. In a country- or cottage-style home, color is a great way to contribute to your home's eclectic, collected-over-time look. Mix dark cabinetry with a colorful island or buffet, paint the windows or doorways a bold hue, or install a vintage countertop in a fun complementary color. While there are few rules in a casual home, to keep the kitchen from feeling like a box of crayons, use no more than three primary tones and be sure to use some neutrals in the room.
In modern homes, introduce your favorite hues with accent pieces rather than floor-to-ceiling color. Pick saturated versions of primary or secondary colors and add them with wallpaper, bold artwork, interesting light fixtures, a glass backsplash, and statement serving pieces and cookware. In a very traditional home, dark cabinets can look regal when paired with rich blue or red walls and yellow accents. A warning, however: Covering most of the surfaces in dark or colorful tones works best in a kitchen that has plenty of natural light to prevent the space from feeling cavernous.
Muted versions of your favorite colors are a perfect complement for dark cabinets. They introduce the lightness of color without being so intense as to overwhelm the room. Toned-down shades are particularly well-suited to traditional and country homes, where warm and cozy are the most important characteristics in every room.
Choose lighter versions of brown or gold for a rich and traditional design, use cooled-down versions of purple and red for an inviting cottage look, or pick subdued forms of blues and greens for a more modern edge. Introduce soft color by painting the walls the lightest shade, and layer in slightly darker tones in the backsplash, curtains and other linens, and countertop accents. Sticking with one color keeps the design cohesive and simplifies your choices.
Dark cabinets paired with bright white create a striking look that is especially popular in modern design. Clean-lined cabinets with oversize hardware look great partnered with concrete or granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Using black, white, or gray on every surface from the floors to the walls is a surefire way to craft an ultra-modern room. For a more relaxed contemporary feel, add a few pops of color with interesting light fixtures, upholstered barstools, or other small accent pieces.
If your taste is more traditional, your dark cabinets likely have interesting moldings, simple hardware, and maybe even beveled glass doors. Partner these classic cabinets with white walls, marble countertops, and ebony hardwood floors for a rich and opulent look. Use accent colors in traditional tones, such as soft blue or gray green, sparingly on area rugs, curtains, linens, and serving pieces.