Trending – Dark Lower Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your kitchen cabinets white (or off-white) is the best way to brighten and update a dark, drab kitchen. But how do you feel about pairing white (or off-white) upper kitchen cabinets with dark or colorful lower kitchen cabinets?

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Black, dark gray, or shades of blue and green – you'll be seeing more of these colorful combinations.

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I've worked with several clients over the last few months planning kitchens with dark lower cabinets.  I hope to show you the results in the near future.  What do you think of this kitchen trend?  Subscribe to my emails so you don't miss my before-and-afters of design and paint colors.

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Comments

  1. This is my favorite way to go.  I've only had one client willing to go this route, but when I do my own kitchen, I can't wait to go with a deep color on the lower cabinets.

    abby

  2. I absolutely love it!! We are working with a client now where we are planning to paint turquoise lowers and cream uppers. Love, Love!!

  3. I love this idea… have done it twice in the past month.  A great way to get some deep color without it being overwhelming.  I've found that once a client is game to paint cabs, they are willing to take the leap.

  4. This is soooo beautiful…

  5. I did my lower cabinets grayw ith brass hardware and the upper white and I LOVE it!  I receive many compliments on it too.  With kids and dogs around I really enjoy not having to clean my lower cabinets as often because the dirt doesn't show as well.  :)  

  6. Hi Kristie. I'm definitely in favor of this particular trend. That larger "pop" of color does the trick. My heart goes pitter patter over the photo featuring the pale grey combo. Some shade of blue would might have virtually the same effect. As you remind us, if for whatever reason we outgrow it, easy fix..just repaint. Have an excellent Friday!

  7. Sherry Darlington says:

    I have basic builders grade oak cabinets and just bought a white (really off white) harvest table from Pottery Barn. I have an island that I want to paint turquoise but is there a good white/ off white/ cream color you can suggest for the upper cabinets? Thanks & love your work.

    • What color is your trim?  White or off-white?  You are better off choosing the same white as your existing trim for your cabinets.  Then your look will be clean and purposeful.

  8. Since some people complain that white cabinetry is hard to keep clean due to children's fingerprints, spills, pet issues, etc., this seems like an excellent way to go.  Plus, it allows for more color in a white kitchen, which can be accented with other decor and accessories.  For example, blue lower cabinets, blue in the Roman shades, blue cabinet top appliances, that sort of thing.  I am talking myself into loving this trend a lot!

  9. I'm not one to follow trends, but this is one I certainly like!

  10. We're going with dark gray cabinets (about as dark as that second photo) – but we only have one small section of upper cabinets above and to one side of our black refrigerator so we're still debating whether to make them dark gray or off-white.

    We're going with a light gray wall color (not white) and we chose a dark cabinet color to help the appliances blend in so we're leaning to the gray, but after we get the lower cabinets painted we might have too much dark going on in that corner so we'll make that decision last.

    • Good idea to reserve judgment until you get further along – the good thing is, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to change one portion of the cabinetry if you end up not liking the look you choose first.

  11. This is one trend that I love because it looks great and it's practical!  When you have small children, dark lower cabinets would definitely hide finger prints etc much better than white.

  12. I think it's gorgeous.  To my eye,  the upper cabinets give it that fresh, clean neutral look, while the lower cabinets add some fun to the room and kind of ground it.  I can't see it working as well the other way around.  It's like if you were wearing  a dark dress and black tights and then threw on white shoes.  It seems like the darker should be at the bottom.  I also think that since the lower cabinets tend to get messier, I'd appreciate a darker color down there.   It's definitely what I'd like to do in my dream kitchen remodel.

    • Eileen, you  are right in what you say about dark colors being at the bottom, as they give a sense of grounding. It's the same for Exterior Color: experts recommend a darker  shade at the bottom, for this same reason, to make the building look grounded.

      Kristie, congrats on your post! I really love this trend and maybe I'm going to apply it in my own cabinetry  :) I had some not so defined ideas that have become clear reading your post.

  13. I really love this look, but I feel it works better in a larger space. We're redoing our cabinets and I feel like our kitchen is too small for multiple colors so I'm sticking with all white. Still, I love the two-tone look.

  14. I did this in my own kitchen last fall, and it makes me smile each time I walk into the room.  Black on the bottom, off white (BM Spanish White) on the top.   Who knew I'd be on-trend!   All I wanted was to bring emphasis to the stone countertop…and it worked well.   Our kitchen is modestly sized, so I don't think a large space is needed to pull it off —- in fact I just recommended this approach to a client with a galley-style condo kitchen, confident it will look spectacular.  Like any paint project, it's a matter of chosing the right color combinations.  Black and white worked for me, but as these beautiful photos show, there's a wealth of possibilities.

  15. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Works just like jeans and a crisp white shirt. I have always loved this and done it twice now,

    pushes the upper half of the kitchen open. Classic and  beautiful.

  16. Lesley Walker says:

    Wow I did this in our former house 3 years ago (black on bottom, off white on top) …everybody thought I was crazy..looks like I wasn't! 

  17. Hmm, this is something definitely to consider when I paint my cabinets. Especially since I have a two-year-old!!

  18. I did this in a house we owned 8 years ago and was so happy with the result. I didn't go super dark on the botton (I used a darker griege), but as someone mentioned above, it grounded the space. It was a modest-sized kitchen in an older home and it looked great. Also, the house sold in 5 days when the time came, so I guess it didn't turn off potential buyers! My only question is what to do when one has full-length cabinets?

    • Where you have a full-length cabinet (like a wall stove), I think it typically look best to use the color from the bottom.  But there are sometimes instances where you can tape off the full cabinet right at counter height and “split” the upper and lower cabinets (I did that once, and it worked well).

  19. I love this idea, especially using blue on the bottom.  I have all white cabinets and they are impossible to keep clean.  I am also tired of them.  Might consider this as an option.  Would the cabinets have to have something done to them before painting?  Is this a DIY project?

  20. Oh my goodness, how beautiful! I'm crazy about these kitchens. It makes me want to take back what I wrote in my last post!

    Warmly, Michelle

  21. I think Marcy brings up a good point with the size of the kitchen. I’d hesitate to do the different color on the lower cabinets in a small kitchen, but I guess it also depends upon the other existing elements too. I wouldn’t say our kitchen is tiny but it certainly isn’t huge, but I can’t imagine doing the lower cabinets a different color – I think it would break it up too much. But that’s just my opinion on our kitchen – I love the look. That first kitchen has always been a favorite of mine – I love that blue/green on the lower cabinets.

  22. I LOVE it. My cabinets are the ugly maple….would love to paint them, but how can it be done one these prefinished, stained cabinets?

  23. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!  I have been searching for this!!  I will be painting my all white cabinets soon and I LOVE this idea!  Now just to pick the colors!!  Can't wait!!

  24. Kristie  – I love the blue green cabinets in the first picture and am trying to find a similar color.  My walls are edgecomb gray and my trim is a Swiss coffee.  Do you have any suggestions what blue is similar to that kitchen?  Thanks so much! 

  25. LOVE this! I am building and will consider the same color scheme. So, would I do white cabinets all around and then paint? Or wood cabinets on lower then paint…suggestions?

  26. Just wondering what color blue you used in the first picture? I love it, but I can’t seem to find a color close enough….

  27. Marsha Case says:

    Okay, I am going to do this…..
    First pic with teal green on bottom…what color is this?
    Our home is a 1955 ranch and this is what our home needs..I might
    even keep our original green sink!
    Color # and maker please…

  28. I would like your opinion…my husband and I have come to a crossroad.

    Overall concept: 2-tone cabinets (white and espresso), light gray walls, white subway tile backsplash, Super White Quartzite(white/gray) counters, ss appliances, white apron front sink, chrome Restoration Hardware pendants over island, espresso bamboo floors.

    1. White perimeter upper and lower cabinets (sink/window wall and range wall) and espresso island and espresso pantry wall (fridge wall)? OR

    2. White perimeter uppers, espresso perimeter lowers, espresso island, espresso pantry wall?

    My husband is concerned that espresso floors and espresso lowers are too much dark, but I think with white uppers, white backsplash, and white/gray cabinets there will be plenty of “light”.

  29. Do people ever have lighter base cabinets, and darker upper cabinets?

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