Are Dark Kitchen Cabinets Back in Style? Trends & Tips for 2021

Last updated on February 5, 2024

Explore the resurgence of dark kitchen cabinets as they make a stylish comeback in modern home design trends.

Dark kitchen cabinets were once a popular trend that seemed to have faded away in recent years. However, it seems like they might be making a comeback.

If you’re considering renovating your kitchen or just want to update its look, you might be wondering if dark cabinets are still in style. In this article, we’ll explore the resurgence of dark kitchen cabinets and help you decide whether they’re the right choice for your home.

So let’s dive into the world of interior design and find out if dark kitchens are back in vogue!

What's Inside

The Rise of Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Dark blue kitchen cabinets

Dark kitchen cabinets have been around for decades, but they’ve recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. In the past, dark cabinets were often associated with traditional or formal styles.

However, today’s designers are using them to create modern and contemporary looks as well.

One reason for the rise of dark kitchen cabinets is that they add depth and drama to a space. They can make a bold statement while still being versatile enough to work with different design elements such as countertops, backsplashes or flooring.

Another factor contributing to their popularity is that darker colors tend to hide dirt and stains better than lighter ones do. This makes them an excellent choice for busy families who want low-maintenance kitchens without sacrificing style.

Many homeowners are drawn towards darker cabinetry because it creates contrast against other light-colored features in their homes such as walls or ceilings. It also provides an opportunity for creative lighting solutions like under-cabinet lights which can highlight the beauty of your new cabinetry while providing functional illumination at night.

Pros and Cons of Blue Kitchen Cabinets

While black cabinets remain a classic choice, other dark shades like navy blue, forest green, and deep gray are gaining popularity. These colors can add depth and richness to your kitchen while still maintaining a sleek modern look.

If you’re looking for something bolder or more unique, consider jewel tones like emerald green or sapphire blue. These rich hues can create an elegant atmosphere in your kitchen that is sure to impress guests.

Another trend in dark cabinetry is two-tone designs that combine both light and dark colors for a striking contrast. For example, pairing white upper cabinets with black lower ones creates an eye-catching look that adds visual interest to any space.

Pros and Cons of Dark Cabinets

Modern Blue Kitchen Cabinets

They also have their drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons to consider before you decide whether dark cabinets are right for you.


  • Timeless appeal: Dark cabinetry has been popular for centuries because it never goes out of style.
  • Hides dirt: Unlike light-colored cabinets that show every speck of dust or stain, dark ones tend to hide imperfections better.
  • Creates contrast: Pairing dark cabinetry with lighter countertops or backsplashes creates a striking contrast that adds depth and dimensionality to your kitchen design.
  • Adds warmth: If you want your kitchen space to feel cozy and inviting, then choosing darker hues can help create an intimate atmosphere.


  • Can make the room look smaller: If you have a small kitchen space with limited natural light sources already present in the room; adding too much darkness may make it appear even smaller than it is
  • Shows scratches more easily than lighter finishes
  • Requires more maintenance as fingerprints will be visible on them
  • May not suit all styles

Combining Dark and Light Cabinets

Assessing Kitchen layout

This approach can create a beautiful contrast that adds depth and interest to your space. For example, you could choose dark lower cabinets with lighter upper ones or vice versa.

Alternatively, you could have a central island in a darker shade while the rest of the cabinetry is lighter.

When it comes to choosing colors for your two-tone kitchen, there are many options available. You might opt for classic black-and-white or go for something more unexpected like navy blue with pale gray or forest green with cream.

One thing to keep in mind when combining dark and light cabinets is balance – make sure that one color doesn’t overpower the other so that they complement each other instead of competing against each other.

Classic Dark Cabinet Styles

cherry cabinets kitchen with lights

Classic styles like Shaker or raised panel cabinets in rich wood tones can add warmth and sophistication to any space. These traditional designs are versatile enough to work with a variety of decor styles, from farmhouse chic to modern minimalism.

One popular option is cherry wood cabinets with a deep espresso finish. The natural grain patterns of cherry wood create depth and texture that adds character to your kitchen design.

Another classic style is mahogany cabinetry with its reddish-brown hue that exudes luxury.

For those who prefer more ornate details, dark stained maple or oak cabinets featuring intricate carvings can provide an old-world charm that never goes out of style.

Modern Dark Kitchen Designs

Black kitchen Cabinet Styles

Dark cabinets can be paired with light countertops, backsplashes, and flooring to create a striking contrast that adds depth to the space. One popular trend in modern kitchens is using black or charcoal gray cabinets as an accent against white walls and countertops.

Another way to incorporate dark cabinetry into your modern kitchen design is by choosing materials with texture or pattern. For example, you could opt for wood-grain finishes on your cabinet doors or choose tiles with a matte finish for your backsplash.

When it comes to lighting in modern dark kitchens, it’s important to balance natural light sources like windows with artificial lighting fixtures such as pendant lights over the island or under-cabinet LED strips. This will help prevent the space from feeling too dim while still highlighting the beauty of those richly colored cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Black

The finish can make a big difference in how your cabinets look and feel. Here are some popular finishes for dark kitchen cabinets:

1. Matte Finish: A matte finish gives your dark cabinets a sleek and modern look.

2. Glossy Finish: A glossy finish adds shine and depth to your dark cabinetry, making them stand out.

3. Distressed Finish: If you want a more rustic or vintage vibe, consider distressed finishes that add character to the wood grain of the cabinet doors.

4. Stained Finish: Staining is an excellent way to enhance natural wood grains while still maintaining its rich color tone.

5.Lacquered Finishes – These provide durability as well as high gloss sheen which makes them perfect for contemporary kitchens.

When choosing between these different types of finishes, consider factors such as maintenance requirements (some may require more upkeep than others), overall style preferences (modern vs traditional), budget constraints etc.

Pairing Dark Cabinets With Countertops

Grey and gold kitchen

First, you’ll want to think about the overall style and color scheme of your kitchen. If you’re going for a classic look, granite or marble countertops in shades of white or beige can complement dark cabinetry beautifully.

For a more modern feel, consider quartz or concrete countertops in shades of gray.

Another factor to keep in mind is contrast. While matching your countertop and cabinet colors exactly can create a cohesive look, adding some contrast between the two can make each element stand out on its own.

For example, if you have black cabinets, try pairing them with light-colored quartz counters for an eye-catching effect.

Choosing the Right Shade of Dark Cabinets

kitchen matching wall color

The first thing you should think about is the overall style and color scheme of your kitchen. If you have a modern or contemporary kitchen, then darker shades like black or charcoal gray might be more appropriate.

On the other hand, if your kitchen has a traditional or rustic feel, then warmer tones like espresso brown might work better.

Another factor to consider is how much natural light your kitchen gets. If you have plenty of windows and natural light streaming in throughout the day, then darker cabinets won’t make your space feel too cramped or gloomy.

However, if your kitchen doesn’t get much sunlight at all and feels dim even during daylight hours – lighter shades may be more suitable.

Materials for Dark Cabinetry

laminate wood veneer kitchen cabinets

One popular choice is hardwood, which can be stained in a variety of shades to achieve the desired look. Oak and cherry wood are common choices for dark cabinets because they have a natural grain pattern that adds depth and texture.

Another option is laminate or veneer, which can mimic the appearance of real wood at a lower cost. These materials come in various colors and finishes that can complement any kitchen style.

For those who prefer an eco-friendly option, bamboo is becoming increasingly popular as a material for kitchen cabinets due to its sustainability and durability.

Ultimately, the choice of material will depend on your budget, personal preference, and overall design aesthetic you want to achieve with your dark cabinetry. It’s important to consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements,and environmental impact when making this decision.

Customizing Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Gray Kitchen glass Cabinets

Whether you want a classic, traditional look or something more modern and sleek, there are plenty of options available.

You can choose from a variety of materials for your cabinetry, including wood, laminate or metal. Each material has its own unique characteristics that will affect the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

Another way to customize dark cabinets is by choosing different hardware finishes such as brushed nickel or brass. This small detail can make a big impact on the overall aesthetic appeal.

If you’re feeling adventurous with customization options for dark kitchen cabinets then consider adding glass inserts into some cabinet doors which will give an open feel while still maintaining privacy in certain areas like pantry storage spaces where items may not need to be seen all at once but rather accessed when needed without having everything out in plain sight cluttering up counter space!

Dark Cabinet Hardware Choices

Kitchen Islands for sale

The right hardware can complement and enhance the beauty of dark cabinets, while the wrong choice may clash with them. When it comes to selecting hardware for your dark cabinets, there are several options available.

One popular option is brushed nickel or stainless steel handles and knobs. These finishes provide a sleek and modern look that pairs well with darker cabinetry.

Another option is matte black or oil-rubbed bronze finishes, which add depth to the design while still maintaining a contemporary feel.

For those who prefer something more traditional, antique brass or copper-colored handles offer an elegant touch that complements classic styles like Shaker or Mission cabinetry.

When choosing cabinet hardware for your dark kitchen cabinets, consider not only its style but also its functionality and durability over time. Make sure you select high-quality materials that will withstand daily use without losing their finish or breaking easily.

Dark Cabinets in Small Kitchens

Black Dark Cabinets in Small Kitchens

While it’s true that lighter colors tend to make a room feel more spacious, dark cabinets can create depth and drama in a small kitchen. The key is to balance the darkness with light-colored countertops and backsplashes.

To maximize space, consider using open shelving or glass-fronted cabinet doors instead of solid ones. This will help break up the visual weight of the dark cabinetry while also providing storage for your kitchen essentials.

Another way to make your small kitchen feel larger is by incorporating plenty of natural light. If possible, add windows or skylights that let in sunlight during the day.

You could also install under-cabinet lighting or pendant lights above an island or breakfast bar area.

When choosing materials for your countertops and backsplash, opt for lighter shades like white marble or subway tile which will reflect light around the room and give it an airy feeling despite having darker cabinetry.

Lighting for Dark Cabinets

Modern luxury kitchen with stainless steel appliances granite countertops

The right lighting can help to enhance the beauty of your cabinetry while also making sure that your kitchen remains functional and practical.

When it comes to lighting for dark cabinets, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. First, make sure that you have enough light sources in the room.

A single overhead fixture might not be sufficient if your cabinets are particularly dark or if they’re located in areas with limited natural light.

Consider adding under-cabinet lights as well as pendant lights above islands or dining tables. These will provide additional illumination where needed and create a warm ambiance throughout the space.

Another important factor is choosing bulbs with appropriate color temperature (measured on Kelvin scale). Warm white (2700K-3000K) creates cozy atmosphere but may make colors look yellowish; cool white (3500K-4100K) makes colors appear brighter but may feel too clinical; daylight/neutral white(5000k – 65000k) provides balanced brightness without distorting colors much.

Accent Colors With Dark Cabinets

Smart Appliances Kitchen

With dark cabinets, you have plenty of options for creating a stylish and cohesive look. One popular choice is to pair dark cabinets with light-colored countertops and backsplashes.

This creates an eye-catching contrast that draws attention to your cabinetry while keeping the overall look balanced.

Another option is to use bold accent colors in your decor or accessories. For example, bright red bar stools or colorful pendant lights can add pops of color that complement your dark cabinets without overwhelming them.

If you prefer a more subtle approach, consider using muted tones like gray or beige as accents throughout your kitchen design. These neutral shades work well with almost any color scheme and help create a timeless look that won’t go out of style.

Maintaining Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Cleaning Dark Grey Kitchen Cabinet Drawer

One of the biggest challenges with dark cabinets is keeping them clean and free from scratches or scuffs. To maintain their beauty, it’s important to regularly wipe down your dark cabinets with a soft cloth and mild soap solution.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive sponges that could damage the finish on your cabinetry. If you notice any scratches or dings in your cabinet doors, touch them up immediately with matching paint or stain.

Another factor to consider when maintaining dark kitchen cabinets is lighting. Adequate lighting will help prevent smudges and fingerprints from showing up on the surface of your cabinetry while also highlighting their rich color tones.

If you’re considering installing dark kitchen cabinets in your home, be prepared for some extra maintenance work compared to lighter-colored options.

Cost Considerations for Dark Cabinets

kitchen backsplash cost

Dark cabinets can be more expensive than their lighter counterparts due to the materials used and the additional labor required for staining or painting them. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider alternatives such as laminate or thermofoil finishes that mimic the look of dark wood without breaking the bank.

However, if you have your heart set on real wood cabinetry with a dark finish, there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality. One option is choosing pre-finished cabinets instead of custom ones that require onsite finishing work.

Another way is by selecting less expensive woods like birch or maple instead of pricier options like cherry or walnut.

It’s also important to factor in long-term costs when considering dark kitchen cabinets. While they may require more maintenance than lighter-colored ones (such as regular dusting and occasional touch-ups), investing in high-quality materials and finishes can help ensure their longevity over time.

Tips for Styling Dark Kitchen Cabinets

Thematic Kitchen Designs

Here are some tips for making your dark cabinets look their best:

1. Add contrast: Pairing light countertops or backsplashes with dark cabinets can create a striking contrast that adds depth and interest.

2. Use lighting: Dark kitchens can feel gloomy if not properly lit, so make sure to incorporate plenty of task lighting and ambient fixtures.

3. Incorporate texture: Adding textured elements like woven baskets or natural wood accents can help break up the darkness of the cabinetry while adding warmth and dimension.

4. Choose complementary colors: When selecting accent pieces like dishware or decor, choose colors that complement rather than clash with your cabinet color scheme.

5. Keep it simple: Too many competing design elements in a small space can overwhelm the eye; keep things simple by sticking to one focal point in your kitchen design – whether it’s an island countertop or statement light fixture – and letting everything else play a supporting role.

Design Inspiration for Dark Cabinetry

Black Kitchen Cabinets design

One popular trend is to pair dark cabinets with light countertops or backsplashes. This creates a striking contrast that can make your kitchen feel more spacious and open.

Another option is to go for an all-dark color scheme, which can create a dramatic and moody atmosphere in your kitchen. You could also consider adding metallic accents like brass or copper hardware, which will add warmth and depth to the space.

When it comes to materials, there are plenty of options available for dark cabinetry. For example, wood finishes like cherry or walnut can give your cabinets an elegant look while still maintaining their natural beauty.

Ultimately, the key is finding design inspiration that speaks to you personally so that you’ll be happy with the end result of your renovation project.

Should You Choose Dark Cabinets?

Black Kitchen Cabinet small kitchen

Now that we’ve explored the resurgence of dark kitchen cabinets and their various styles, finishes, and combinations with other elements in your kitchen design, it’s time to answer the question: should you choose dark cabinets for your home?

The answer depends on several factors. First of all, consider the size of your kitchen.

If you have a small or poorly lit space, dark cabinets might make it feel even smaller and more cramped. In this case, lighter colors would be a better choice.

Another factor to consider is your personal style preference. Do you prefer classic or modern designs? Are you drawn to bold contrasts or subtle elegance? Your answers will help guide whether darker cabinetry fits into what appeals most to you.

Finally – budget! Dark cabinetry can be more expensive than lighter options due to materials used as well as additional lighting requirements needed for proper illumination in low light conditions.

In conclusion – if done right – choosing darker colored cabinetries can add depth and sophistication while creating an inviting atmosphere in any home’s heart; however one must weigh up all aspects before making such an investment decision!


Are dark cabinets out of style 2023?

In 2023, dark cabinets will be back in style, as homeowners trend towards deeper wood stains for a cozy, traditional vibe in their kitchens.

What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color in 2023?

In 2023, the most popular kitchen cabinet color is white, with popular shades including Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, Dove White, and Sherwin Williams’ Chantilly Lace.

Are dark wood kitchen cabinets outdated?

Dark wood kitchen cabinets are not outdated, as wood has made a comeback in modern kitchen designs, featuring natural finishes that add dimension and texture to the space.

Are dark cabinets outdated?

No, dark cabinets are not outdated as antique brown kitchen cabinets remain popular while modern brown cabinets are dominating the forefront of kitchen design.

What are the emerging trends for kitchen cabinet colors in 2023?

In 2023, emerging trends for kitchen cabinet colors include dark shades such as navy blue and charcoal gray, as well as contrasting combinations like black and white, and natural wood tones.

How can dark kitchen cabinets be incorporated into modern kitchen designs?

To incorporate dark kitchen cabinets into modern kitchen designs, consider pairing them with lighter countertops, backsplashes, and flooring, which can add contrast and balance to the overall aesthetic.

What are the pros and cons of choosing dark kitchen cabinets for a home renovation project?

Pros: stylish, visually striking, hide stains and wear; Cons: space may feel smaller, potential for less natural light, show dust easily.

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