Designing a kitchen involves countless decisions, including choosing the best colors for the cabinetry. Recently, the so-called “tuxedo look,” in which the upper cabinets are a different color than the finish used on the lower cabinets, has gained popularity.
The decision to mingle cabinetry colors raises other considerations, particularly if the kitchen includes a self-standing island. If you decide you like the two-color tuxedo look, here are my guidelines:
- Keep the lighter color on the upper cabinets.
- Do not mix painted finishes with wood stain finishes.
- Consider installing only pulls on both the drawer and cabinet fronts, rather than mixing knobs and pulls.
- If you have one or more solid cabinets extending from floor to ceiling, avoid the tuxedo look. Tall cabinetry, without a counter in between, will negate the look.
- Use the same countertop material throughout the kitchen, including on the kitchen island.
If you choose a single color for all of the cabinets (both upper and lower) along the kitchen’s perimeter, then it’s fine to pick a different cabinet color for the kitchen island. You can also use a different countertop material for the island than what’s used on the main kitchen countertops. Just make certain that the two different countertops coordinate color- and pattern-wise.
Popular cabinetry colors in my region currently are whites, greys (including both painted and wood stain finishes) and different hues of blue. Color preferences can differ across geographic areas. A new neutral gaining favor is greige – a combo of grey and beige.
One other kitchen design tip:
If you’re installing a countertop with a great deal of movement in its pattern, keep the backsplash simple. Pick a solid color tile, or use the same countertop material on a 4-inch high backsplash and then paint the wall above.
Remember: Once installed, kitchen countertops attract clutter, including toasters, coffee makers, utensil jars, can openers and other food prep items. Minimizing the number of different colors and patterns in that all-important room will help prevent visual overload.
Kitchens today are the new family room where everybody gathers. Don’t overcrowd the space.