Mixing cabient finishes in your kitchen is an easy way to add visual interest to the space.

Mixing Kitchen Cabinetry

by Jennifer Blair

When it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets, conventional wisdom would have you choose the same finish and style for the entire space. However, if you want to spice up the look of your kitchen, add character or maximize your space, mixing cabinetry can be an ideal way to go. The key is choosing the right combination of cabinets to create the look that you're after for your kitchen.

1. Add Strategic Color

When you’re planning your kitchen’s decor, you may be tempted to use a colorful finish for your cabinets. However, using a bold shade for all of your cabinetry may overwhelm the space, especially if it’s small. The best way to add color to your kitchen and create a balanced look is to use different finishes for your cabinets. Paint some in a striking color like blue gray or tangerine and leave the rest with a natural wood finish or in a neutral shade like white or tan. You can alternate the finish on your cabinets or use the bold-color finish in an area that you want to highlight like a center island or built-in hutch.

2. Anchor the Space

Sometimes, a large kitchen can feel too cavernous and imposing. By using different cabinets, you can maintain a wide open look for the room while still anchoring the same so it feels more inviting. The key to this type of design is choosing a light finish for your upper cabinets and a darker finish for the lower cabinets. You can use two different types of wood like a light maple for the upper and a rich cherry for the lower cabinets. However, you may also paint the cabinets in different shades. To really maintain the open feeling, paint the upper cabinets to match a light wall color like white or butter yellow. For the lower cabinets, you can go with a dark, natural wood finish or paint them in a dark color like black or chocolate brown to really help anchor the room.

3. Tie Together Room

Kitchens often feature tiled walls or mosaic backsplashes that feature a variety of colors. Using different cabinets is an easy way to tie the room’s look together based on the colors used in tiled areas. For example, if you have a large tiled area that features gray and white tile in a checkerboard pattern, try painting your upper cabinets white and lower cabinets gray. If you have a mosaic backsplash with shades of brown and blue, you can paint some of the cabinets in a pale blue and leave some with a natural cherry finish that echoes the brown tone in the backsplash.

4. Minimize Features

Mixing your kitchen cabinetry can also help minimize features in your kitchen that you find unsightly or that overwhelms the space. By matching some of your cabinets to the feature, you’ll help de-emphasize it and make it seem less out of place. For example, if you have a dark hood over your stove that sticks out, use a dark stained wood for the lower cabinets to balance out the large hood. For the rest of the room’s cabinets, go with a lighter wood or painted finish so the space doesn’t become too dark or closed in.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo Credits

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