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How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Colors: A Simple Guide

A kitchen’s cabinets are one of the first things people notice when walking into the space. The color of your cabinets will determine how the space looks, and the perfect color can make your kitchen seem more spacious, modern, or upscale. Many ask designers, “What is the best color for kitchen cabinets?” because choosing the best color can be difficult. You can use some tricks to select a color that will work in your kitchen, but you’ll likely have to consider many factors discussed below to select the best cabinet color. Use this guide on choosing kitchen cabinet colors and talk with a designer to decide the cabinet color you want for your home. 

A kitchen and dining area

Start with the Existing Fixtures

This advice will only apply sometimes if you plan to redo your kitchen. Still, you should start by considering the kitchen appliances, flooring, backsplash, and countertops when deciding what cabinet color to choose. “What is the best color for kitchen cabinets?” should often be more accurately phrased as, “What is the best color to match my existing fixtures?” Choose a cabinet color that will contrast nicely with your countertops and flooring. You do not want to precisely match your countertops and flooring unless you create a bright white kitchen. That means you should choose something significantly lighter or darker than the rest of your kitchen to be your cabinet color. 

When comparing the colors in your kitchen, look at the accent colors in your countertops and other small details to help you decide on the most complementary color. If you are still determining which color cabinets will compliment your space best, look at showroom kitchen photos for inspiration, or consider using a color wheel to help you choose complementary colors effectively. 

Consider the Size Of Your Kitchen

While kitchen size may seem insignificant when choosing kitchen cabinet colors, it can be an essential consideration. A small kitchen looks best when equipped with light cabinets. This is because bright cabinets make the space look larger. Simply swapping a set of dark wood cabinets for bright white European frameless cabinets will open up your kitchen and make it look modern in a noticeable way. 

If you have a large kitchen, you can be more liberal with your final cabinet color choice. You can still use a bright color to emphasize a clean and open look, or you can go with something dark for a more dramatic appearance. 

Natural Light Matters

Four gray bar stools in front of a kitchen countertop

When people speak with design experts to learn the best color for kitchen cabinets, they are often surprised to learn how important the natural light a kitchen receives is. That’s because the light coming in through your home’s windows determines the feel of your space. When you have south-facing windows and regular sunny days, light-colored cabinets accentuate that sunlight to bring your kitchen to life. 

If you have north-facing kitchen windows or receive little direct sunlight, using light colors can make the space feel calmer and less homey. Consider warmer tones to create a space with less direct sunlight. If you need help determining which direction your kitchen windows face, you can use a compass app to get this information. 

Choose a Color Based on Your Kitchen’s Theme

Look at photos of traditional and modern kitchen designs online, and decide whether you want a classic or modern kitchen. When you know the kitchen theme you want, you’ll know what colors to use and which to avoid. 

You’ll want neutral cabinet shades like grays, creams, and sages for a traditional kitchen. Even a very dark color can work in a conventional kitchen, though blacks and charcoals should be chosen carefully to avoid making your space too dark. 

Two black wooden bar stools

As you transition towards a more modern kitchen, you can experiment with more vibrant colors, such as navy blue, forest green, or a more natural wood stain finish. You can use modern wood grains and bold yellows and reds for the most modern kitchens as long as they match your other kitchen fixtures. When selecting incredibly bright colors, it’s often recommended to only use them as uppers or for an island while retaining more muted tones elsewhere. 

Common Countertop Color Pairings

If you need help choosing kitchen cabinet colors, even after reviewing the advice above, you can base the final color on your kitchen countertops with good results. 


Brilliant white, deep gray, and muted blue all work well with gray countertops. You can also speak with our design specialists about cabinet colors best for your specific gray countertops. 


With black countertops, your best options are gray, muted green cream, or the boldest kitchen owners can go with black cabinets, though most only get black uppers or lowers and select a lighter color for the rest. 


White counters can be matched with white cabinets, deep blues, seafoam greens, or gray color options. 


With wood-colored counters, you can use a cream, white, olive green, or muted blue cabinet color with excellent results. 


If your home showcases brown countertops, a nice gray-blue color, a deep reddish brown, an off-white, or a deep gray can work. 

Considering Two-Tone Cabinets

Many modern kitchens come equipped with two-tone cabinets. This strategy works well in large kitchens but only when planned well. It’s best to choose two complementary colors and to use the dark color down low and the light up high. A safer way to add some contrast to your kitchen is to use a different color on your kitchen island and keep your remaining cabinets the same color. 

If you’re interested in remodeling your kitchen or designing a new kitchen from scratch, talk with our design team at B&F Cabinet Stone & Floor to create a custom kitchen, including new cabinet colors that suit your space perfectly. Contact our team today to learn about our American Shaker and European Flat cabinet styles and how they can transform your kitchen. 

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