How to Mix n’ Match Styles in Kitchen Design

Posted June 5, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

One way to add a truly unique touch to your kitchen redesign is to mix and match styles. Think about it this way: your kitchen is an expression of you. Do you look like everyone else? Or have you carefully curated your image to be the best version of yourself? That’s why mix-and-match design is gaining speed in kitchen design.

So what do we mean by style? Kitchen styles go by many names: Modern, Contemporary, Farmhouse, French Country, Coastal, Rustic, Old World, Industrial, Colonial, Traditional — there are a ton of kitchen types to choose from. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for just one. The fun part of a kitchen remodel is the design: choosing how your kitchen comes to life. So why make it look like everyone else’s? The best way to make a kitchen truly unique and yours is to mix and match styles.

Designing a mix-and-match look is as easy as 1+1 = 2. Use these ‘formulas’ to help incorporate mix-and-match ideas without feeling like you have a “Frankensteined” kitchen:

2019 Smart Home kitchen, featuring a large chrome stove, hanging lights, and a mix of white and black cabinets with a quartz countertop.
Kitchen cabinets and countertops are the easiest way to make a statement and show off your personal style.

Mixing Countertops and Cabinets

This is usually the most common way to mix and match in kitchen design, but it’s still a powerful way to make your kitchen design feel like yours.

The easiest way to approach this formula is to mix traditional with modern.

Imagine a traditional, perfectly-imperfect butcher block countertop on a high-modern, perfectly finished modern cabinet. The natural details in wood brings nature indoors, while the clean swath of the modern cabinets keep it elegant. This perfect vs “imperfect” approach is just one way to mix and match design. Another way to think about it is like simple vs detailed. Imagine a solid color countertop with distressed cabinets. The lack of detail in the solid surface countertop balances the distressed, homey look of the cabinets. If you think about it, not having a mix-and-match approach could potentially result in a kitchen that looks washed out without additional decor.

The perks of this formula?

Changing up the countertop from the rest of the design can add a focal point that grounds a space and gives the impression of a highly designed look.

Wide plank hardwood flooring in a kitchen with white shaker cabinets.
When choosing your flooring, no detail should be overlooked – even the plank width can make a difference in the look and feel of a room.

Mixing Floors and Cabinets

Mixing floor and cabinet styles can have a huge impact on the overall look of your kitchen — they’re usually the two most noticeable features.

Plus, the possibilities are endless with this formula, and you can still maintain a unique look. Tough coastal kitchen tile that was built to survive the rigor of sand and water could look amazing with contemporary kitchen cabinets while offering added protection. Classic hardwood could take the edge off a high-modern cabinet, softening the feel and adding character. Plus, reclaimed wood (or reclaimed-looking wood) is a rising trend, as kitchen decor goes back to its Earthly roots. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the materials used for flooring, like choosing bamboo over traditional wood. Just think about what these two components can create together! Food for thought.  

The perks of this formula?

It will feel unique but still look like one cohesive design style (nothing will stand out too much).

Large open kitchen with a mix of white and black raised panel cabinets.
Mix n’ match cabinet colors for a eye-catching combination.

Mixing Cabinet Door Styles

This probably looks like a funny formula at first, but what happens if you can’t decide between light and dark cabinets? Pick both!

We see a lot of stunning kitchen designs that incorporate two shades of cabinet colors.

A popular choice is a dark color for floor cabinets and a lighter color for wall cabinets. Another trend in this formula is mixing two different colored cabinets: like an island that’s a different color than the wall cabinets. You could even get a little quirky and think about changing the color INSIDE the cabinets using paint, wallpaper, or contact paper. While that’s more of a DIY aspect of kitchen decor, we’re starting to see homeowners thinking about how to use unused spaces. This attention to detail adds a surprise and delight element to the kitchen experience. Still not sure? Just take a walk through our showroom or have an online consult and our experts can point out all the mix and match opportunities in person.

The perks of this formula?

Mixing cabinet styles, finishes, or colors can trick the eye into thinking the room is bigger or more open than it really is.

Gas stove on a laminate countertop surface.
Make your appliances a focal piece in their own right, rather than just a hidden accessory.

Mixing Appliances and Cabinets

Usually appliances are chosen on the basis of fitting into a kitchen style, but what if you selected an appliance to stand out instead? A popular trend these days is to hide appliances behind cabinetry, usually because they don’t “fit” into the kitchen design. But if you pick an appliance unlike any other, then it doesn’t have to hide.

We’re seeing appliance manufacturers start to branch out from the standard black, white, and silver finishes and into more colorful territory.

Even appliance finishes are changing: homeowners are starting to incorporate brushed metal and fingerprint-resistant finishes to reflect their personal style and account for some of the biggest gripes that homeowners have with appliances (like fingerprints!!). Stainless steel is out, and new choices like creamy pastels are coming in. It used to be that only high-end appliances came that way. Some appliance manufacturers are even turning back the clock with appliances that look like they’re from a different era but function like an appliance from today. And don’t forget the range hood above the oven: we’ve seen some homeowners hide it with reclaimed wood and others create showpieces out of them with unique touches like copper sheeting. This mix and match formula is great at mixing modern with old-fashioned, whether it’s the appliance or the cabinetry that feels old-fashioned.

The perks of this formula?

Adding appliances that delight rather than hide can make your kitchen feel more high-end and glamorous.

The best thing about mix and match is that you don’t have to stick to these formulas. Use the style names we dropped earlier to search for examples of each style, find images of examples you like, and hold those up next to each other to see what pieces can be mixed and matched. When you start to think in a mix-and-match mindset, you’ll start to see all the possibilities more.