How to Choose a Kitchen Cabinet Color You'll Love
girl selecting kitchen cabinets

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Saira Farman

Small changes can lead to a big return on investment when it comes to your kitchen. And one of the best ways to upgrade your kitchen and boost your home’s value is by updating cabinetry.

Old, outdated kitchen cabinets can bring down the entire room. But choosing new cabinets in a fresh color can instantly modernize the space.

If you’re ready to swap out your old cabinets, read on to learn how to choose kitchen cabinet color.

Identify Your Design Style

When choosing kitchen cabinets, rules and trends matter less than your personal style.

The cabinets that work well for someone else’s kitchen may not fit your preferences, and that’s okay! Identify what styles inspire you and make you feel excited to enter a space.

Maybe you enjoy a clean, white look. Or maybe you prefer a sleek and moody style. Or perhaps a cheerful, colorful kitchen is what you crave.

Look through catalogs, design magazines, and online photo galleries to help you pinpoint what types of designs and styles you gravitate towards. Then, let that inspire your cabinet colors.

Think About Size

Small changes, such as updating kitchen cabinet colors, can make a big impact when it comes to the size of the room. Some colors have the power to open up the space, while others can make a large kitchen feel cozier.

In general, light colors will help to expand the room, so if your kitchen is small, you may want to consider light-colored cabinets. If your kitchen is already spacious, there’s more flexibility. Light shades will emphasize the large size, while dark cabinets can make the space more intimate and less overwhelming.

Consider Lighting

You may like the way a color looks in a showroom, but it can look vastly different in your own home depending on the lighting.

Deep, rich colors like black, mahogany, and deep blues will require more light to avoid looking too drab and dark. Reserve these colors for kitchens that have plenty of natural light streaming in.

If your kitchen lacks sunshine, lighter cabinet colors can brighten up the space and will look great even under dimmer lighting.

Coordinate With the Rest of the Room

Your cabinets are just one component of your kitchen, along with the walls, hardware, countertops, and other details. And when choosing cabinet colors, you shouldn’t overlook how these different features will coordinate (or compete) with each other.

Whether doing an entire kitchen renovation like those by or only updating the cabinets, be sure to take a step back and think of the big picture. For different elements to work together, a little contrast is key.

For example, don’t opt for dark backsplash, dark floors, and dark cabinets. Instead, keep some details light while others are dark. This creates balance in the room.

But you may want to shy away from mixing too many colors and shades. Sticking to around two or three will create cohesion, not chaos.

Skip Kitchen Design Fads

There’s a reason why your cabinets from 10 years ago look outdated: they were likely inspired by a popular design fad.

Now, that fad is long gone, with new trends taking its place. To avoid having to update your cabinets every few years, you may want to avoid these of-the-moment styles altogether.

One way to know if a design is a fad is to see how often it pops up in catalogs and design magazines. Another hint is if the color was just released in the last year. If you view a cabinet catalog and find some colors that are listed as “brand new” or “released this year,” it’s likely inspired by a current trend.

Remember, your kitchen should match your design style and personality. But in general, white and neutral wood tones will remain timeless as other trends come and go.

Mix Different Shades

Choosing kitchen cabinet colors doesn’t mean sticking to solids only. Mixing different shades can bring depth and visual interest to the space.

Wood kitchen cabinet colors are one great way to mix different shades. Try a wood that has multiple shades in its natural texture. Or try staining wooden cabinets for a non-uniform look.

Cabinets with a glossy finish can also create the look of different shades in the surface’s reflection, even if it’s actually a solid shade.

Remember to keep other design elements in mind when adding different textures and shades. For example, if your countertops are marble, a simpler, one-shade cabinet color won’t create visual overload.

Try Something New

While it’s generally a good idea to avoid fads, that doesn’t mean you must limit yourself to boring cabinet colors.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. At worst, you can swap or paint over your cabinets if you decide the color isn’t right for you.

If you’re ready to veer away from safe and predictable options, some kitchen cabinet color ideas to try include:

  • light gray instead of white
  • deep red instead of dark brown
  • navy instead of black
  • olive instead of medium brown
  • pastel yellow instead of light brown

Think outside the box, and prioritize the room’s mood over the exact color. For a clean and fresh space, for example, light gray can be just as appealing as white, without being so predictable.

How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Color

Kitchen cabinets can quickly transform your entire kitchen, and they can even increase the value and appeal of your home.

If you’re not sure how to choose kitchen cabinet color, keep these tips in mind to help you choose the right design for you and your style.

For more ways to upgrade your space, check out our other lifestyle articles!