Decor and Design Inspiration to Bring out the Beauty of Dark Cabinets

Posted October 4, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

Do you find yourself sighing over the jaw-droppingly dark yet gorgeous cabinets in all those kitchen design magazines, but left wondering how your kitchen could pull it off? It can be tricky for first-time ‘kitchen buyers’ or remodelers to figure out what kind of decor goes well with this darker palette (without looking like a cave). Others may be in the design phase of their remodel and feeling a little intimidated by the shades. But we’re here to show you how to get the most out of these beautiful, relaxing colors without making your kitchen look smaller or uninviting. 

Dark shades are becoming more commonplace these days, and for good reason. We especially love how these dark colors invite people into the space and make them feel cozy. Customer favorites include the Palm Beach Dark Chocolate, the Santa Fe Mocha, and the Bordeaux collections. 

Bring out the beauty of dark-colored cabinets with these ideas:

Dark grey raised panel kitchen cabinets
Kensington Mist Raised Panel Cabinets make for a dramatic room.

Add Depth with Countertops

If you love countertops that have beautiful detail, then darker cabinet colors can make those features shine. We’re talking about the beautiful wood grain of butcher block, the crystalline shine of quartz, or the marbled look of granite. Those details may get washed out in other designs, whereas dark shades give them a pedestal for standing out. 

  • Customer Kitchen Inspiration: “Rodney and Diane-Myers-Kensington Mist” – This kitchen design expertly combines many darker materials without making the space feel overwhelming. It also demonstrates how countertops can have much more intricate designs, like the one in this kitchen with its eye-catching, zebra-like streaks of colors.


Cherry stained kitchen cabinets from Cabinets To Go
Red-toned cabinet colors add a touch of elegance and complexity to any kitchen.

Lighten the Room with Flooring

While cabinet color is one of the first things people notice when they walk into a kitchen, the second thing is usually the flooring. And that’s especially true with darker colored cabinets, which almost point at the floor saying, ‘look at this beautiful floor!’. 

  • Customer Kitchen Inspiration: “Tony-Sabeh-Palm Beach Dark Chocolate” – Just look at all the light! And it’s not just the window light that’s lighting up the room. This customer swapped from tile to a lightly shaded laminate with subtle wood grain textures that don’t detract from the darker cabinets. 


Brown raised panel cabinets from Cabinets To Go
The dark stain of Palm Beach Dark Chocolate cabinets make lighter decor elements pop.

Add Texture with Detailed Backsplashes

Dark cabinets tend to be very smooth and have subtle grain textures, which don’t stand out as much as lighter colored cabinets. This makes a great palette for letting other kitchen fixtures standout, like beautiful backsplashes with unique stone that extends from counter to ceiling or frames an oven hood. 

  • Customer Kitchen Inspiration: The “Lissett-Basargin-Palm Beach Dark Chocolate”. Look at how the backsplash stands out: the perfectly imperfect details of the textured, rough stone can be seen from across the room. 


dark and light modern European-style modern cabinets from Cabinets to go in a mixed kitchen from the HGTV Dream Home
Manhattan Graphite (base) cabinets and Chelsea Linen (wall) cabinets as seen in the HGTV Dream Home.

Mix and Match Dark with Light

To get a healthy medium, consider going half-and-half with dark and light cabinets. A powerful way to approach this is to use dark colors on base cabinets and light colors on wall cabinets. This look really grounds a kitchen design with a solid foundation, while also letting homeowners get the best of both worlds. 

  • Customer Kitchen Inspiration: The 2019 HGTV Dream Home created with Cabinets To Go. We love the yin-and-yang mix of the darker grey cabinets with lighter wall cabinets. This mix-and-match offers balance and intrigue, while opening up many design possibilities.   


Dark base cabinets with white countertop and subway tile white backsplash and open shelving.
Striking decor elements – especially metals, wood, and earthenware – become focal points in kitchens with dark cabinets.

Add Pops of Color with Kitchen Accessories

Showing off unusually colored cookware or kitchen tools has become a well-loved, on-trend style these days, and beautiful dark-colored cabinets can really make them pop. Think about how a brightly colored set of cookware or special pieces would look on open shelving, positioned like pieces of art made for display, rather than workhorses that get hidden away. 

  • Customer Kitchen Inspiration: The “Hagit’s Kitchen Transformation“. This kitchen design is definitely one-of-a-kind, and it perfectly demonstrates how to balance super-dark cabinets with other elements in a kitchen. Just look at the open-shelving showcasing this homeowner’s unique and visionary style.

Now that you know so much more about the potential of darkly colored cabinets, there’s no reason to be wary of them anymore. And if you still have any doubt about pulling off a dark cabinet shade, don’t forget that we have expert design consultants who know exactly how to approach bold shades in any home.