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How to Pair Countertop Colors with Dark Cabinets

Jan 3, 2019 | by Erin Greer

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, many homeowners choose the color of their cabinets first—cabinet doors and exteriors do take up about 80% of the visible space in your kitchen, so that makes sense.

Dark Wood Traditional Kitchen

There’s an argument to be made for choosing your countertop first, being that it tends to be one of the most expensive items in a kitchen remodel. But, there’s honestly no right-or-wrong way to go about that.

Inspiration for Countertop & Dark Wood Cabinet Pairing

If you’ve chosen the color for your cabinets first, the next selection will likely be a coordinating countertop. There are thousands of countertop color choices, as well as hundreds of possible cabinet style and color combinations. With seemingly endless possibilities, some will find the process of selecting a combination exciting, while others may find it daunting. Not to worry! We are here to help.

Dark Wood Kitchen Cabinets

We’ve already given you helpful advice on what countertop color looks best with white cabinets, as well as gray cabinets and cherry cabinets. So, to continue with this series of helpful blogs, we're going to help you with pairing countertop colors with dark cabinet styles.

Light & Creamy Contrast

It is hard to go wrong when you pair your dark cabinets with lighter colored countertops. Whether your personal kitchen style is traditional or contemporary, contrasting your cabinets and countertops will work well with either kitchen design schemes. And, the lighter countertops will do a fabulous job of reflecting more light—helping to brighten up the room. The example below pairs dark Chocolate Pear cabinets with Butterfly Beige granite countertops, balancing the light and dark tones quite nicely.

Dark Kitchen Cabinets with Butterfly Beige Granite Countertop
Chocolate Pear cabinets with granite countertops in Butterfly Beige

Crisp, Bright Whites

When you're looking for the perfect countertop for a modern dark cabinet kitchen, your ideal choice will be a bright white design, typically solid or with minimal movement. Below is another Chocolate Pear cabinet kitchen, this time much more modern with a Prestige Plain door and Cambria Quartz Weybourne countertops.

Dark Cabinets with Quartz Kitchen Countertop
Chocolate Pear cabinets with Cambria Quartz countertops in Weybourne

This pairing is actually very versatile, it isn’t limited to modern designs. If you choose a white countertop for your traditional wood kitchen, it’s going to look great and have the same balancing quality we described for light and creamy countertops.

Download our free countertop comparison chart and compare the features of  solid surface, quartz, and granite at a glance.

Shades of Cool Gray

Gray is a popular choice for both cabinets and countertops because it’s a classic, cool color that works with a wide variety of palettes. Cabinet shades that are closer to a medium hue pair especially well with gray countertops, like the example below. This photo by Cambria Surfaces features their Park Gate design, which blends shades of gray, brown and black together resulting in a stunning surface alongside the walnut cabinetry.

Wood Kitchen Cabinets with Cambria Countertop
Walnut cabinets with Cambria Quartz countertops in Park Gate

To pull off a gray-countertop-and-dark-cabinet pairing, think classic or transitional kitchen styles for a blended look—like the dark-stained Hard Maple cabinets in this kitchen paired with a gray Corian countertop in Silt.

Dark Cabinets with a Gray Corian Countertop
Chestnut-stained maple cabinets with Corian countertops in Silt

Go for the Gold

Countertop colors with neutral base shades and golden variants look stunning when paired with darker colored cabinets. Golden shades look especially beautiful with espresso-colored cabinets. Let these colors truly shine by choosing a simple edge style for the countertops and plain styles for the cabinets and hardware. For instance, this kitchen features hard maple cabinets in espresso with a classic Shaker style and a granite countertop in one of our most popular colors, Santa Cecilia.

Dark Cabinets with Granite Countertop
Espresso-stained maple cabinets with granite countertops in Santa Cecelia

Although there are a few exceptions out there, for the most part dark cabinetry tends to pair best with neutral-toned countertops. If you stick with color palettes that are dominant in these color families, chances are you won't be disappointed with how they pair with your dark cabinetry. 

Want some kitchen design advice to help you with whatever color schemes you are partial to in the kitchen? Schedule a free in-home design consultation, and one of our kitchen consultants will bring the showroom to you. That way, you can get their best advice and a same-day quote.

For more countertop and cabinet coordination advice, check out these related articles:

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Topics: Countertops Kitchen Design Cabinets