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How to Choose Between Light or Dark Kitchen Cabinets

modern kitchen interior

As the most visible parts of your kitchen, the perfect cabinets can set the mood of a room and elevate the space into something truly memorable.

On the other hand, poorly chosen cabinets can make the space feel cramped and irritating or even give the whole kitchen a “cheap” feel. While style and material play a role, the color value is the most significant factor in how well your cabinets fit your desired aesthetic.

If you need some cabinet changes, reach out to the experts at Cabinet Coatings of America.

We can easily refinish your existing cabinetry or give your kitchen a total facelift. Feel free to contact us for a same-day, no-obligation quote or if you have some questions. Contact us online below or call (480) 641-9611.

Key Considerations

If you’re wondering how to choose between light or dark kitchen cabinets, you need to consider a few key things.

Design of the Kitchen

One of the first aspects of your kitchen that will influence your decision is the overall design of your kitchen. Take note of your backsplash, appliance colors, and lighting situation. The last thing you want is clashing colors or design aesthetics.

Lighter cabinets fit most kitchens because they play nicely with any color. Traditional kitchens like whites and creams, while extremely modern kitchens look great with brighter and bolder choices.

If you have countertops you’re proud of, consider choosing cabinets of the opposite value. If the countertops and cabinets are equally bright or dark, they can meld into each other visually. This works great for creating a cohesive look but also draws attention away from something that could be a beautiful accent.

Size of the Kitchen

Another factor that can help you choose between light or dark cabinets is the size of your kitchen. These darker cabinets inherently feel heavier and draw the eye, making small kitchens feel cramped and oppressive. Lighter cabinets reflect the light, creating a mood that’s airy and free, which makes the room feel bigger.

The Appeal to Future Buyers

Some people live in their forever homes, while others know they’ll move on at some point. If you’re planning on selling your house in the future, remember that future buyers often have strong opinions about cabinets. In general, people feel less strongly about light cabinets than they do about dark ones.

The Mood You’d Like To Create

Cool tones like blues often feel far more relaxing, while warm ones —reds, oranges, yellows— bring energy. The same is true for brightness. When choosing your cabinets, consider how the color and brightness will affect the mood of your kitchen.

Remember that you don’t have to stick to extremes for either light or dark cabinets. Shades of gray can fit into either value range while lessening the overall effect the brightness has on your kitchen. Both types of cabinets are available in an array of colors, so don’t feel like you have to stick to binary black or white.

The Benefits of Light Cabinets

white kitchen cabinets

Light kitchen cabinets can reflect more light and create a bright, cheerful space.

Lighter cabinets are more or less future-proof since they never go out of style and are so versatile.

Open, spacious kitchen area with light hardwood floors, bright white cabinets that have long skinny sliver handles, black countertops, stainless steel appliances, and an open window allowing sunlight to pour in.

Light kitchen cabinets can reflect more light and create a bright, cheerful space.

People who are planning to do other renovations or who might sell their homes in the next several years are better off choosing light cabinets.

Remember that brighter colors reflect more light. If your kitchen has less light, adding light-colored cabinets will illuminate the space and make it feel more open. Be careful, as a kitchen that’s too bright can come across as sterile and unnerving.

Add some pops of color and contrast throughout your kitchen to avoid bright cabinets from overwhelming the space. Even the most brilliant and boldest colors look great against white cabinets.

The Benefits of Dark Cabinets

modern dark kitchen and dinning room interior

Dark cabinets can add richness, character, and depth.

Dark cabinets do not suit every kitchen. In fact, most kitchens can’t handle darker cabinets.

However, if you plan the room correctly, dark cabinets can add richness and depth that you can never forget.

Kitchen area with light hardwood floors, dark cabinetry, black and stainless steel appliance, and a small island that is part table and part cabinet.

Dark cabinets can add richness, character, and depth.

Dark doesn’t mean black. Dark cabinets are available in a wide variety of colors, even ones that you may not think about, like orange or emerald. Dark colors also contrast very well with the grain of natural wood and can truly elevate the space.

Dark cabinets are also far more forgiving than lighter colors. A few scratches here and there or some cooking spills won’t appear on dark cabinets but would be glaringly obvious on bright ones.

In a large kitchen with plenty of light, dark cabinets can ground the space, making it feel cozy and warm. Choose accent materials and colors that match your desired aesthetic. Brass sinks and faucets pair well with dark cabinets and give off a high-class vibe, while stainless steel makes the kitchen feel modern and fresh.

Ready to give your cabinets the makeover they desperately need?

Whether you’ve been able to decide on a choice of cabinetry or not, contact us online or call (480) 641-9611. If you need help making up your mind, our experts can go over your cabinet style and color options. If your mind is already made up, we’ll give you a quote with the exact work you need on the same day with no obligation. All our finishes come with a five-year guarantee, so you can rest easy knowing our work won’t fade, crack, or peel.

Chuck Derouen

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