Two-tone kitchen cabinets are an easy modern way to make your space feel more exciting. Painting the lower cabinets in a dark color like navy, forest green, charcoal gray, or black grounds the room, while using white or another light neutral for the upper cabinets can create a light and airy feel on top. You can also vary painted and natural finishes to add warmth to a modern kitchen.
Here are some ideas to show you some of the ways that you can use two-tone cabinetry to add a double dose of style to your kitchen.
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Black + White
In this loft kitchen from Becca Interiors, blocks of white and black cabinetry run all the way up to the ceiling to maximize storage. A mix of glossy white lacquered and wood-grain black finishes adds texture to the black-and-white kitchen design. Using darker cabinets in this particular room with its lofty ceilings helps to ground the space and make it feel more livable.Continue to 2 of 35 below.
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Turquoise + Coral
This lively London space from Pluck Kitchens mixes vibrant turquoise and coral painted cabinetry to define the space. The turquoise cabinetry extends up to the ceiling and onto the kitchen peninsula. A bank of coral lower cabinetry has turquoise cut-out drawer pulls to tie the color scheme together, and beige pink Verner Panton Flowerpot pendant lights hang above the peninsula for a cohesive look.Continue to 3 of 35 below.
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Soft Gray + Glass-Front White
Cathie Hong Interiors gave this California kitchen a Scandi-style inspired refresh with a mix of painted soft gray paint on the Shaker cabinetry and kitchen island, and painted white glass-front upper cabinets to store dishware.Continue to 4 of 35 below.
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Glossy White + Chocolate Stained Wood
This modern kitchen from Sissy + Marley Interior Design mixes glossy white contemporary flat-front cabinetry with chocolate stained wood with a visible grain that adds contrast while being a smidgen softer than strict black and white.Continue to 5 of 35 below.
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Midnight Blue + Creamy White
This traditional English kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has midnight blue painted lower cabinetry that grounds the space, while free-floating glass-front upper cabinets painted in the same soft white as the rest of the space create an airy look on top.Continue to 6 of 35 below.
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Sage Green + White
This open plan kitchen from A Beautiful Mess uses cool sage green paint on the lower cabinets (Privilege Green from Sherwin-Williams) and kitchen island to help define the area, leaving the upper cabinets white to blend in with the wall paint and backsplash.Continue to 7 of 35 below.
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Bright Blue + Cherry Wood
Louis Duncan-He Designs paired painted bright blue upper cabinetry with lower cabinets in a warm stained cherry wood that echoes the bar stools and adds warmth to the spacious modern kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances.Continue to 8 of 35 below.
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Royal Blue + Blush
Pluck Kitchens paired royal blue and blush cabinetry to add personality to this otherwise neutral kitchen, adding a blush pink border along the baseboard that ties it all together.Continue to 9 of 35 below.
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Navy + White Oak
Brophy Interiors mixed navy and pale white oak cabinetry in this modern kitchen, adding drama with a stone backsplash and matching waterfall edge island and a burnt wood false ceiling.Continue to 10 of 35 below.
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White + Walnut
White Sands mixed walnut wood with flat-front white cabinetry in this modern kitchen that adds contrast with the pale gray stone finishes on the streamlined backsplash and waterfall edge kitchen island.Continue to 11 of 35 below.
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White + Neon Yellow
A swipe of neon yellow on the lower cabinets of this bright contemporary space from interior designer Ghislaine Vinas adds a vibrant jolt of color that is complemented with bright red chairs around the dining table.Continue to 12 of 35 below.
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Mustard + Pink
Pluck Kitchens mixed a row of mustard and a wall of salmon pink cabinets in this eclectic British kitchen, and added forest green wall paint to add a third color to the mix.Continue to 13 of 35 below.
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Dark Blue + Natural Wood
House 9 Interiors skipped the upper cabinetry in this spacious kitchen, painting the lower cabinetry in dark blue to add contrast with the natural wood built-in storage on the kitchen island.Continue to 14 of 35 below.
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Bubblegum Pink + Dark Green
This eccentric English kitchen from deVOL Kitchens is a confident and joyful take on pink and green that is anything but cookie cutter. Dark green lower cabinets and a backless free-floating glass front upper cabinet painted in a peppy shade of bubblegum pink are mounted on the vibrant green backsplash tile. Colored glass and copper cookware add layers to the color story.Continue to 15 of 35 below.
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Navy + White
This kitchen from Emily Henderson Design mixes navy paint on the lower cabinetry and peninsula with white upper cabinets and gold accents for a crisp coastal-inspired look.Continue to 16 of 35 below.
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Dark Stained Wood + White
Kate Marker Interiors mixed dark stained wood lowers and white upper cabinetry surrounding this tiled kitchen alcove that give the space definition, and used the same dark wood for floating shelving.Continue to 17 of 35 below.
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White + Blond Wood
A mix of blond wood and white cabinetry adds dimension to this modern neutral-toned kitchen from Brophy Interiors.Continue to 18 of 35 below.
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Pistachio + Cantaloupe
Pluck Kitchens paired pistachio green cabinetry with built-in cantaloupe-colored storage drawers on the island that adds color to the open, neutral, serene kitchen.Continue to 19 of 35 below.
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Beige + Black Beechwood
This kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox for deVOL Kitchens mixes pale beige and black English beechwood for a modern minimalist look that is full of texture and has an effortlessly chic and modern feel.
Continue to 20 of 35 below.
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Black + Pale Gray
House 9 Interiors paired pale gray lower cabinetry with black glass-front upper cabinetry that matches the paint on the kitchen island to add variation to this London kitchen.Continue to 21 of 35 below.
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White + Blue
In this remodeled traditional home kitchen from Leanne Ford Interiors, the cabinets on one side were painted white, while the upper and lower cabinets on the other side were painted blue to add contrast and definition. The same gray marble countertops and backsplash on both sides provides continuity.Continue to 22 of 35 below.
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Mint Green + Peach + Wood
This London kitchen from Pluck Kitchens includes fresh mint green and glowing peach cabinetry as well as a row of golden wood cabinets that match the range hood to add a point of relief and contrast.Continue to 23 of 35 below.
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Beige Wood + Matte Black
Michelle Berwick Design mixed matte black cabinets and matching hardware with blonde wood cabinets and a matching range hood that work seamlessly with white tile and quartz finishes throughout in this streamlined modern kitchen.Continue to 24 of 35 below.
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Black Lowers + White Uppers
A Beautiful Mess combined black lower cabinetry with white upper cabinetry for a cohesive look in this black-and-white kitchen that is brightened up with copper accents.Continue to 25 of 35 below.
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White + Gray
A row of white Shaker upper cabinets complement the all-white backsplash and quartz countertops of this California kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors, while gray flat-front lower cabinets with black pull handles adds contrast and helps to ground the airy room. A touch of brass on the modern pendant light fixture and a pair of floating wood shelves adds some warmth to the cool toned design.Continue to 26 of 35 below.
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Sage Green + Warm Wood
Leanne Ford Interiors mixed sage green cabinetry and a hanging open shelf that matches the wall paint with a vintage-style warm wood stained cabinet to add vintage vibes to the cozy kitchen.Continue to 27 of 35 below.
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Mint Green + Honey Toned Wood
This spacious kitchen designed by Eric Gilmer and Sven Simon of DasMod in conjunction with interior designer Sara Simon of Handsome Salt combines honey toned stained wood and painted mint green cabinetry for a fresh, modern look.Continue to 28 of 35 below.
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Semi-Gloss Black + Eggshell White
A Beautiful Mess used semi-gloss black paint on the bottom cabinets of this U-shaped kitchen, and soft white eggshell paint on the uppers that matches the wall paint for a clean and easy black-and-white look. Gold cabinet hardware unites the two halves, and butcher block countertops add warmth.Continue to 29 of 35 below.
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Dark Teal + Dark Wood
Studio Peake treated the built-in cabinetry in this London kitchen in a two-tone finish that ties in with the rest of the kitchen, with lower cabinetry mimicking the dark teal paint on the kitchen island, and dark stained wood that echoes the countertop on the opposite wall.Continue to 30 of 35 below.
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White + Warm Wood
Pluck Kitchens used a mix of white and wood cabinets in this bright kitchen, uniting the two finishes by using wood cut-outs on the white cabinetry that match the tone of the all-wood cabinetry above the range. Warm terracotta-toned grout on the square white kitchen backsplash tiles marries the warm and cool tones of the cabinets for a seamless look.Continue to 31 of 35 below.
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Dark Green + White
A Beautiful Mess used dark green-gray paint (Thunderbolt by Valspar) on the lower cabinets of this kitchen that stands out against the white upper cabinetry, while black cabinet and drawer pulls create continuity.Continue to 32 of 35 below.
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High Gloss White + Matte Wood
This minimalist Florida kitchen from interior designer Maite Granda is designed to blend into the open plan space and allow the wide open coastal views from the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door windows take center stage. The designer accomplished that by using a palette of white and pale wood, with cool steel accents and seamlessly built-in cabinetry, appliances, and a dropped ceiling with a built-in hood vent over the white central island.Continue to 33 of 35 below.
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White + Teal Inside
A twist on the idea of two-tone kitchen cabinetry is to paint the inside of your plain white cabinets in a mood-boosting color that will surprise you every time you open the door but allow your kitchen to retain a neutral overall look. In this kitchen from A Beautiful Mess, the inside of a kitchen cabinet painted in Sea Swell by Valspar houses bright white dishware that pops against the vibrant background.Continue to 34 of 35 below.
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White + Pale Gray
This English coach house kitchen from deVOL Kitchens mixed in a block of pale gray cabinetry that adds subtle shading to this airy black-and-white space without interrupting flow.Continue to 35 of 35 below.
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Bold Blue + Dark Brown
Cathie Hong Interiors mixed shades of brown and blue in this California kitchen that is decorated in a blend of modern farmhouse and midcentury modern styles. Brass cabinet knobs and drawer pulls add warmth and contrast with stainless steel appliances.
Are two tone cabinets going out of style?
Two-tone kitchen cabinets have been on trend in recent years, but that doesn’t mean they’re about to go out of style anytime soon. Rather than sticking to one solid block of color on upper cabinetry and another on lower cabinetry, consider alternating finishes throughout your kitchen, depending on the layout, from the kitchen island to a built-in niche such as a coffee station or home bar. Incorporate the color or finish of your cabinetry throughout the space for a cohesive look that doesn't appear gimmicky.
Should upper or lower cabinets be darker?
Generally, using a darker shade on lower cabinetry will help to ground the space while retaining a light and airy feel on top. But if you have extra-high ceilings, for example, you can use darker cabinetry on top to help make the space feel cozier. You don’t have to limit your two-tone cabinetry to uppers and lowers. Consider adding colored cabinets on one side in a U-shaped layout, to define a coffee station or a bar niche. Or alternate cabinet finishes on lowers or uppers for a more eclectic look.
What paint finish is best for two-tone kitchen cabinets?
You can use any finish that you want in a kitchen, but be sure to at least consider maintenance issues before choosing, since your cabinets are heavily used pieces of kitchen furniture that are prone to wear and tear. Many people choose semi-gloss or high-gloss paint that is specifically fabricated for high-touch surfaces like cabinets that is more durable and easier to wipe clean, unlike satin or matte finishes.