How to create design contrast with two-tone kitchen cabinets

a kitchen with wooden cabinets and a mirror: How to create design contrast with two-tone kitchen cabinets

© Getty Images / Chiociolla
How to create design contrast with two-tone kitchen cabinets

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Whether decorated with contemporary, clean-lined tables, antique Shaker-style cabinets, or the ever-sought-after subway tile backsplash, the all-white kitchen has been so popular for so long, it’s hard to imagine it ever going out of style.

However, this doesn’t mean other kitchen design trends have been waiting patiently in the wings. It’s 2020, and the moment for two-tone kitchen cabinets has arrived.

Not only has color—from black to blue, gray, and green—come back into the kitchen in a big way, but so have wood finishes.

If you’re entertaining a kitchen renovation, consider mixing and matching color and wood finishes in your cabinetry and other elements to give your kitchen the warmth and character it may be missing.

Allison Moran, design principal at Live Well Interiors in Salem, Mass., sums up her cabinet-finish advice in one word, “Contrast.”

a kitchen with a dining room table: Mixing up black and white cabinetry and countertops makes for dynamic contrast.

© Getty Images / contrastaddict
Mixing up black and white cabinetry and countertops makes for dynamic contrast.

“When pairing any finishes, there needs to be a play of light and dark,” she notes.

Without that contrast in your kitchen cabinet colors, you can struggle with a décor vision that may blend together, and not in a good way. Moran explains, “If you paint your perimeter cabinets one color, and, say, your island another color, and there is not a distinctive difference, the eye almost bounces back and forth between the two trying to figure out if they are supposed to match.”

A successful execution of kitchen cabinet design, says Moran, “provides two distinct colors or finishes [that] allow your eye a chance for two different moments of rest and reflection.”


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