Kitchen Paint Colors with Dark Cabinets

August 3 2023
Dark cabinets


Dark cabinets can create a sleek and sophisticated look in any kitchen. They're an especially great choice for those who like to have a bit more of a dramatic vibe in their homes. However, you need to be careful when working with dark cabinets, as the look can feel too heavy or overwhelming if not done right. The key to working with dark cabinets is to create balance. You want to either highlight the undertones in the cabinets by pairing them with like colors, or go with a high-contrast look of dark and light or bright. Let's take a look at some creative color combinations to really make your dark kitchen cabinets stand out.

Incorporating Color Theory and Contrast

When it comes to designing with color, understanding color theory is essential. Color theory is the study of how colors interact and how they can be combined to create visually pleasing compositions. Utilizing the color wheel, a visual representation of color relationships, can greatly assist in choosing harmonious color schemes.

colour theory wheel

So, imagine the color wheel as your trusty sidekick on this colorful adventure. It's like a compass guiding you through the land of hues. Complementary colors? They're besties sitting on opposite ends, creating a striking contrast. Analogous colors? They're the friendly neighbors on the wheel, harmonizing like a dream. Triadic colors? Think of them as the trio that brings the party – vibrant and balanced!

Utilizing Contrast:

Contrast is a powerful tool in color design. High contrast, such as pairing dark cabinets with light countertops and walls, creates a dynamic and attention-grabbing visual impact. Low contrast, on the other hand, involves selecting colors that are similar in tone, resulting in a more subtle and sophisticated atmosphere. By incorporating contrasting elements wisely, you can enhance the aesthetics of your kitchen and draw attention to key features.

Incorporating Natural Light

Consideration of natural light is pivotal in making color choices for your kitchen. The amount of natural light in a room can significantly affect how colors appear, influencing their perceived intensity and hue.

Amount of Natural Light:

  1. Abundant Natural Light: If your kitchen receives ample natural light, you have the flexibility to experiment with a wider range of colors. Lighter shades can maintain their vibrancy, while darker colors can provide depth without making the space feel cramped.

  2. Limited Natural Light: In kitchens with limited natural light, lighter colors are recommended to brighten the space. Light hues can reflect available light and create an illusion of spaciousness. Avoid very dark colors, as they might make the room feel dim and enclosed.

Styles and Color Techniques

Different interior design styles have specific color techniques that contribute to their unique atmospheres. Here are two prominent styles to consider:

Rustic Style:

Rustic style embraces earthy tones and natural textures. When working with dark cabinets in a rustic-themed kitchen, consider:

  • Earth Tones: Opt for warm earthy colors like deep browns, terracotta, and warm grays. These colors complement the wood tones of the cabinets and evoke a cozy, rustic ambiance.
  • Natural Accents: Incorporate natural materials such as stone, wood, and woven textiles. These textures reinforce the rustic aesthetic and enhance the warm color palette.

Minimal Style:

Minimal style emphasizes simplicity and functionality. To achieve a minimalistic look with dark cabinets, focus on:

  • Neutral Palette: Stick to a neutral color palette consisting of whites, blacks, grays, and muted tones. This creates a clean and uncluttered appearance.
  • Limited Color Accents: Introduce subtle pops of color sparingly to maintain the minimalist vibe. Consider a single vibrant accent color against a backdrop of neutrals.

Incorporating these elements of color theory, contrast, natural light, and specific design styles can greatly enhance your kitchen's aesthetics when working with dark cabinets. Remember that each space is unique, so feel free to experiment and find the color scheme that resonates best with your personal style and the character of your home.

Now lets take a look at some examples of use of colour with dark cabniets.


Add splash of color to dark cabinets

If you’re after a more playful, funky look, why not experiment with bold colors? A bright pop of color really stands out against dark cabinets. However, you don’t necessarily need to put your bright colors on the walls—you could try something a little different by painting a bright kitchen island or using colorful furniture to add that unexpected element. While it’s easy to get excited about using color, try to stick to one or two bright shades and keep the rest of your palette neutral to really round out the space.


white walls with brown cabinets

For really dark brown or black cabinets, accenting with bright white creates a modern vibe. It’s a cool, high contrast look is great for modern spaces. If you go with all white walls, or a white backsplash, brighten things up with small pops of color through accessories and appliances. If you want to keep the backsplash and walls on the darker side as well, you can always use white as your accent color. For example, if you have dark cabinets, a dark backsplash, and gray walls, you can bring in white accents through stools, a white kitchen table and chairs, white dishes and bright white decorative accessories. It’s a simple color palette that really stands out and makes a big visual impact.


If you have dark wood cabinets, try a color palette that brings out the warmth in the wood. We recommend that you choose lighter neutrals with warm undertones, such as creamy white, beige, taupe, warm-toned grays, linen, or a very soft blush pink. To take this a step further, you can emphasize the warm undertones in your paint color by adding accents in the same color family. For example, if you have creamy white paint on your walls, you would add in some yellow accents, or to amplify a paint color with pinkish undertones, you could add in darker pink accents.


Cool neutral colors with dark cabinets

For darker wood cabinets with cool undertones (like espresso or an almost-black shade of brown) you’ll want to stick to cooler toned neutrals. This color family includes shades of blue or lavender-toned gray, dark blue-gray, greige, or even sage green. When you choose a lighter shade that matches the undertones found in your cabinets, it will really open the space up and make it seem brighter. When it comes to accent colors, look for brighter versions of the base color you’re highlighting. For example, gray with blue undertones would do well with a range of blue accents to make things pop.

Are you ready to work on your interior painting projects or repainting your kitchen cabinets?

Still unsure which colour will work in your space? Get expert help from one of our WOW 1 DAY PAINTING specialist with a a free estimate today!

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