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Create Contrast With Dark and Light Cabinets

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There are few home remodeling projects that are more exciting — and intimidating — than a complete kitchen makeover. While some homeowners re-do their kitchens to replace outdated features with modern elements, others are going for increased storage space or a greater resale value with impressive kitchen additions. Whatever your reasons may be for taking the first step in a kitchen remodel, there is one decision that you’ll have to make that dictates the overall look and feel of your space—the kitchen cabinets you choose!

There are countless styles, colors, finishes, and layouts available with modern-day kitchen cabinets, and choosing between dark and light colored products is a choice that sets the stage for the rest of the design details that you need to finalize. There are benefits to both styles of cabinets, but either way, you want to consider the use of contrast in the space to prevent a monochromatic, uninspiring feel to this important room of your home.

Luckily, there are several ways that you can highlight the unique beauty of your dark or light-colored kitchen cabinets by thoughtfully considering contrasting style details — turning your outdated space into a showstopper.

Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Dark kitchen cabinets are appealing for a rich, warm, high-end look. Whether you are drawn to deep espresso cabinets or charcoal-black styles, you want to take into consideration the impact they will have on the room. Especially in tight spaces, dark-colored cabinets can make a room feel more closed-in, and highlighting these cabinets with contrasting elements adds beautiful drama and appeal to your space—while also lightening the atmosphere in any-sized room!

When upgrading your cabinets with dark-colored options, explore contrasting colors and highlights with the following design elements:

  • Countertops: The classic idea of contrast is black and white, so why not highlight your deeply colored cabinets with a bright, fresh-looking countertop? White marble or light shades of granite pair beautifully with dark kitchen cabinets and the expansive, light surface area will help to bring life and airiness to the room.
  • Backsplashes: Backsplashes are an important, functional element for protecting your walls from spills and splatters while cooking, but they can also be used as an interesting focal point in the kitchen. Light-colored backsplashes placed beneath dark cabinets break up the monotony of color and make your new kitchen stand out.
  • Floors: Choosing the right flooring for your kitchen is essential for durability, style, and easy clean-up. With floors taking up so much space in your kitchen, they are also one of the first things that people notice when they walk into the room! Pair light, natural stone or sustainable materials, such as cork or bamboo, with darker cabinets to create an open-feeling aesthetic.

Light-Colored Kitchen Cabinets

Traditional, light cabinets are particularly popular in small, gallery-style kitchens due to their ability to make the space seem larger than it actually is by reflecting light. However, just because you need light-colored cabinets to brighten up the space, doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice drama!

Pairing white or pale woodgrain cabinets with the following elements can create a beautiful contrast that adds depth and aesthetic appeal to even the smallest kitchen space:

  • Kitchen Island: Are you considering adding an island to your kitchen? If there is enough floor space in the room, kitchen islands are a highly functional element that can also add high-end style. Consider choosing an island made with dark-colored cabinets or a dark countertop that stands apart from the lightness of your wall cabinets to create a contrasting focal point.
  • Woodgrain: If you have light-colored cabinets in your kitchen, you can amplify the beauty of them subtly and create contrast at the same time by incorporating darker woodgrain throughout the space. Butcher blocks or cabinets with dark threads of grain in a light background add both texture and contrast to create a look that has depth and beauty.
  • Hardware: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your light-colored kitchen cabinets more interesting and dramatic! Instead of replacing major elements of the room, consider simply swapping out the standard hardware for dark, customized options.

Whether you’re talking about the nuances of art or the details of a kitchen remodel, the concept of contrast is bound to come up, and there are many simple, aesthetically pleasing ways to enhance the impact of both light- and dark-colored cabinets. Regardless of the size of your room, a little contrasting color goes a long way in making the heart of your family’s home a place that you enjoy spending time in.

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