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Why We Love Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Dark cabinets can make a kitchen feel fresh and different. Here’s how to pull off the look.

gray kitchen with bright red accents
On the San Francisco season of Brother vs. Brother, dark blue-gray cabinets help show-stopping red stools really pop.

Here’s an uncontroversial opinion: The kitchen is the most important room in the home. It’s where we do some of our most loving, life-sustaining work—helping with homework assignments, family game nights. It’s a room everyone wants to get right, design-wise, and for a long time that meant all-white kitchens.

We get why! They’re clean and cohesive, and they don’t feel too risky. While that’s not a bad thing, we want our designs to create a sense of belonging for the family that lives there. This is their gathering place, so let’s make it feel like them. This is where they spend so much of their time, so it should speak to their personality.

kitchen with custom tile backsplash
The dark cabinets from this Property Brothers kitchen play a strong supporting role to the stunning custom backsplash tile pattern.

That’s why we’re fans of dark cabinets. We know: Choosing a color can be scary. What if it doesn’t work? What if it makes the room feel too dark? But done in the right way, a darker shade can add personality and warmth. It can also be quite elegant, which is a whole new feeling for some of our clients. They think they’d never be able to “afford” a kitchen that looks like that. Well, they can, and so can you!

“Kitchens are meant to feel lived in, and they take a beating. Dark cabinets can hide some of that wear and tear.”

warm blue kitchen with green accents, stone floor, and wooden ceiling slats
We went for glamour in this Forever Home kitchen: dramatic blue cabinets accented with brass pulls, and a wild backsplash pattern that grabs your attention.

The key to pulling off the trend is balance. Make sure there’s ample natural sunlight to stream in and brighten your cabinets (not to mention the amazing food you’re whipping up!). Then add lots of contrast with bright countertops and backsplashes. Upgrade your hardware—we love modern brass fixtures against a deep blue—and it won’t feel like you’re in the kitchen, you’ll know you’re in your kitchen.

Kitchen-Friendly Dark Paints

(Plus, they’re all low VOC!)

current mood paint swatch

Current Mood by Clare

Partner this deep green with metallics like brass light fixtures or copper kitchen accessories for a classy combo.

stiffkey blue paint swatch

Stiffkey Blue No. 281 by Farrow & Ball

For real drama, use this inky blue on your cabinets and kitchen walls.

after hours paint swatch

After Hours by Backdrop

Pair this soft charcoal with matte-black hardware for a modern monochromatic look.

By Drew & Jonathan Scott | Paint swatches by Stilllifephotographer/Getty; Backdrop | All other photographs courtesy of HGTV

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