Generally, homeowners gravitate towards a single color when choosing their kitchen cabinetry. Nothing says a fresh start as a full set of wall-to-wall kitchen cabinets all in the same color. Yet two-tone cabinets are also a popular choice because they add visual interest, with a darker tone showing off a lighter one to its best advantage. Choosing cabinets in two different colors is a simple way to draw attention to the cabinets and add an element of sophistication that is effortless, clean, and inviting.
Darker Base Cabinets
Most commonly, when kitchen cabinets come in two tones, it’s the darker shade that’s on the bottom. The most classic combination of colors features gray on the bottom and white on the top for a subtle and smooth contrast.
The darker kitchen base cabinets provide a sense of solidity, especially since the color of the floor is generally going to blend more readily with a darker shade such as gray. This effectively divides the kitchen into a dark lower half and a lighter upper half.
With the white cabinets extending to the ceiling, the upper part of the kitchen will have a more expansive, airy feel, and this does wonders to create a feeling of openness. The countertops serve as the natural dividing line between the two, and many homeowners opt for a bright white to match the upper cabinets.
However, a two-toned countertop such as veined marble or stippled granite serves as a nice transition from the lower to the upper half.
Lighter Base Cabinets
Having lighter base cabinets creates a more layered effect, drawing the eye to the horizontal lines formed between the alternating sections of light and dark. If the floor is wooden or a darker tile, the first horizontal lines of contrast will be created between the floor and the base cabinets, with the next one being between the countertop and the upper cabinets, and the next one between the upper cabinetry and the ceiling.
Because lighter base cabinets provide a greater emphasis on horizontal geometry, the visual effect is one of a longer kitchen that is dominated by the bolder tones of the upper cabinets.
If you tend to have a lot out on the counter like small appliances such as a toaster oven, coffee pot, blender, breadbox, or kettle, this design may be preferable because it moves the visual impact of the kitchen above the countertop, giving the illusion of less clutter.
Different Color Cabinets for a Kitchen Island
While it’s common for the kitchen island cabinets to match the base and wall cabinets, there’s something very distinctive about a kitchen island with cabinets that stand out from the rest of the kitchen palette.
Particularly if you use the island for entertaining, this can serve to further set it apart from the workspace. For white wall-to-wall cabinets that are offset by the gray color of kitchen island base cabinets, consider setting up stools or chairs that are a shade of wood to introduce a warm third tone.
It’s also possible to choose a two-tone arrangement for the upper and lower cabinets and match the cabinets of the kitchen island to one of them: to the base cabinets for a neat division between upper and lower cabinets, or coordinating them with the upper cabinets to create more of a checkerboard pattern.
When deciding on two-tone kitchen cabinets, also be sure to factor in the appliances and determine whether you’ll have a dishwasher panel or refrigerator panel, and what the overall effect will be. To visualize possible color combinations, try a free kitchen design tool like the one offered by KSI Cuisine Solutions, which takes all the guesswork out of renovating your kitchen.