Monday, September 23, 2013

Mix and Match Your Kitchen Cabinet Styles

 by Natalie Myers

Combine contrasting materials for a kitchen all your own

Can't decide between wood or painted cabinets, or whether they should be light or dark? Pick both for an unforgettable kitchen. Mixing and matching cabinet finishes and colors is one of my favorite things to suggest for a kitchen. It's a bold move and most people are not quite ready to make that jump. But the right combination can make for a modern kitchen your guests will be telling their friends about. 

Contrasting cabinet finishes work really well when you make the decision to install mismatched cabinets. Dark wood lower cabinets and frosted glass upper cabinets play off dark/light and opaque/transparent opposites.

Here we see frosted glass upper cabinets again with lighter gray-colored wood and a natural finish wood floor. This mix has less contrast and an ethereal feel with the white countertop. It would look nice in a modern beach home.


In this bright mid-century modern kitchen, blonde wood cabinets unite effortlessly with painted teal cabinets for an equal mix of natural and colorful cabinet finishes.

If you have a traditional kitchen and fear that the mix-and-match style will be too modern and out of place, fear not. Lovely gray and white painted Shaker style cabinets look just right together, especially with the deep farmhouse sink.

Mixing woods can allow one element of the kitchen to stand out. The dark wood finish of the island grabs the visitors attention while the perimeter cabinets disappear with the walls. The activity in the kitchen will naturally gravitate towards the island.

Play with colors and contrasts or textures. In this classy modern kitchen, warm matte wood lower cabinets play against glossy white lauquer upper cabinets — a delight for the hand that touches both in the process of cooking.

The unspoken rule seems to be the lower cabinets are dark while the uppers are assigned lighter materials. What if you not only mixed cabinet finishes, but also placed the lighter finishes on the bottom and the darker on top? Or is that too crazy?


There are no hard and fast rules. The porportions don't have to equal half and half. Here, only about a third of the cabinets are white and the rest is wood. Even with the small proportion of white cabinets, the kitchen feels very light due to the white painted walls and accessories. The designer struck up a balance of white-to-wood by considering the entire room composition: wall color, light color, floor color and furniture. Remember to take a step back and do the same.

Another rule breaker: There are very few blue cabinets or trim in this mostly white space. Just a touch of vibrant blue is enough for the eye. 


Do you feel like being a little different with your kitchen cabinets after seeing this ideabook, but aren't ready to paint the cabinet faces just yet? Baby steps: experiment with painting just the inside a delightful shade of your favorite color. It will be your little secret that makes you smile every time you open the cabinet door.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330-239-3630 ~

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