eclectic Kitchen by Main Line Kitchen Design

How to choose the perfect colour for your kitchen cabinets

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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It’s not uncommon to hear about a friend or a neighbour spending upwards of R30,000 on a kitchen remodel (and that’s a generous amount, considering all the possibilities in terms of counters, cabinets and appliances). So when it comes to huge amounts and a noteworthy room that gets a lot of action, like the kitchen, shouldn’t you be 100% certain about the look that you want?

Selecting colours for your kitchen cabinets and counters also requires some thinking and planning before you pick a paint can – luckily, we are here to make the planning process easier…

1. Consider the lighting

Think about a kitchen with ceiling pendants above the island and undermount lights on the bottom side of the wall cabinets. The focus will be wherever the light is directed, usually the countertop. Track lighting works in the same fashion. 

This differs from, say, a bedroom or living room where centre lighting, like a ceiling fan or wall sconces, illuminate the entire room. 

Dark countertops benefit the most from direct overhead lighting. Light-coloured countertops will look best in settings where there are no direct overhead lights. 

And when it comes to contrasting or matching cabinets, the choice depends on where you want the focus to be. The more things match, the less the eye is drawn to a specific point, which means contrasting materials are ideal if you want to pull the eye to either the countertop or the cabinets.

2. Remember your backsplash

As illuminated countertops are situated right against the backsplash, that splash material also influences your cabinets and countertops. The same rules for contrasting or matching colours work here, depending on where you want the focal point to be. 

In wide-open kitchens where the cabinets are more visible than the countertop, consider matching the cabinets to the hues of the backsplash. Where you're limited for space, the countertop has the most visibility.

3. Look at the flooring

eclectic Kitchen by Main Line Kitchen Design
Main Line Kitchen Design

Viking Appliance Award Winning Kitchen

Main Line Kitchen Design

Whether or not you match the cabinets and countertop with the floor material depends on the type of kitchen you're building and whether you want a matching colour scheme. For example, a rough grey slate with tones of brown and green throughout works well with a cabinet colour that matches the brown in the stone, while a countertop of cultured marble or granite with green marbling throughout completes the blending of colours throughout the kitchen. 

Contrasting the cabinets with the floor is a good idea if you want to set the cabinets apart, while you match the countertop material to the floor.

4. Mixing personal preference and style

If you favour one tone over another, by all means work it into your design. White cabinets are recommended if you enjoy the regular indoor spruce-up, as it provides the ideal backdrop for changing accents. 

Style is also a huge factor to consider. Traditional kitchens, for example, look best with a dark stain for some warmth. Contrast can then be created with the countertops and backsplash. 

Contemporary kitchens are generally best suited for white cabinets, as it’s simple and classic. White also keeps the room looking light and airy. Accent the white cabinets with metallic hardware and stainless steel appliances for a real trendy look. 

See these 9 kitchens for your inspiration.

What other tips do you have for picking the colours of kitchen cabinets?
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