How to use black for kitchen cabinetry

Have you ever considered black for kitchen cabinetry? It can be a bold decision and one that I think many people would shy away from.  But a black kitchen has many benefits from a design perspective.  Read further to see whether this could be the right choice for your next kitchen renovation.

How to use black kitchen cabinetry
Image: Greige Design

Design benefits from using black for kitchen cabinetry

  • Dark colours recede and although they make a statement, in the overall design they will take second place to many other design accents.
  • Using dark colours gives you great tonal variation and is a striking design statement when used with white.  Using black for kitchen cabinetry with fresh white for benchtops and splashbacks is one of the most classic of colour combinations, which is timeless.
  • Dark tones are very restful, particularly in matt finishes as they absorb so much light.  Rather than a bright white kitchen that will bounce the light around the room, black cabinetry will absorb the light.
  • Black is timeless and doesn't go out of fashion.  Like a white kitchen, the look is elegant and classic.  Grey kitchens have become popular and I am a fan of navy kitchens. I also love soft tones of green but this is something that you really do need to love as they may go out of fashion or you may become bored with them.
  • Although perceived as a very contemporary colour for a kitchen, black can also give you a very classic kitchen too.  Remember that you don't need to use it on all the cabinetry.  It could just be an island bench.  These are often quite large and by painting the cabinets in a dark tone that recedes, the island bench appears smaller.  It really is the style and design of the kitchen that will make it contemporary or classic, not the colour.

Related: How to work with a dark colour palette


How to use black kitchen cabinetry

Choosing the style of handle

How to use black kitchen cabinetry

A more contemporary finish is achieved with handles that match the black cabinetry.  While a more distinctive style in chrome or brass will give your kitchen a completely different feel.  People don't often consider the door handles until the last minute, but they have the ability to change the style and look of a kitchen substantially.

A word of warning about using black for cabinetry.  Dark tones will always show more fingerprints than light tones.  A black kitchen therefore must have door handles.  Whatever you do, do not have black kitchen doors that are push to open as your fingerprints will show and over time the cabinetry will get quite marked.  These can be harder to clean on matt surfaces and show up amazingly when the light shines on the surface.  I haven't spoken to one person who has not regretted installing black cabinetry without handles.

A completely different look is achieved with brass hardware which I think looks amazing with dark tones.

How to use black for your kitchen cabinetry
Image: Semihandmade

Related: How to choose kitchen door handles

Two tone kitchens

I have to say that the kitchen below is an all-time favourite of mine.  I just love it.  The black island bench works beautifully with the marble benchtop and the soft grey is perfect with the timber top.  Homely and classic – this is very appealing to me.  The beauty with using black is that it is so classic that you can partner any other colour with it.  You don't need to be concerned about whether the colours go together.  Black, as with white, is the ultimate neutral but the great thing about black is that it recedes and lets the other colours take centre stage.

How to use black kitchen cabinetry
Image: UK House and Garden

Even with styling, the partnership of black and white is a classic one.  Notice how the edges are defined on the black vase and how gorgeous the greenery looks next to this dark tone.

How to use black kitchen cabinetry

Tapware and sinks

Black tapware works well in a contemporary kitchen and looks great if you also have black window frames.  However with a classic style kitchen I prefer a chrome tap or brass etc.

How to use black kitchen cabinetry


How to use black kitchen cabinetry
Image: Kresswell Interiors

There is a current trend for black sinks but I must say that I am not keen on them.  Any dark colour, but particularly black, shows water marks and I find that these sinks are just too difficult to keep looking good.

When is black not black?

This is the case more often than you would realise.  As with white, there are many different blacks and the overall look and success of your choice of black kitchen cabinetry will depend on the other elements in the room.

How to achieve a black kitchen

The above kitchen is painted in Railings from Farrow & Ball in the UK.  This is a soft black with blue undertones.  The cabinets really just look black and would only appear different if you held up a true black next to them.  The trick is not to mix up blacks – another reason I'm not keen on black sinks.  As with white on white, the effect can go wrong if you don't get the undertones right.

Consider how much light the room receives and the other black or grey elements that you may have in the space.  Often a softer off-black is far more appealing and suitable for your home.

Related: How to choose the right black

I hope you have enjoyed my post on how to choose black kitchen cabinetry.  I do really like to use black in kitchen designs and I hope that this has been inspirational for you too.  Whenever you are putting together any kind of colour scheme it pays to put together a mood board of ideas first.  I have an e-book in my FREE Resource Library which will show you how to do this, together with handy renovation checklists.  You can sign up and download everything here.

I also have an online colour consultation service if you are searching for that elusive colour.  I have more information here.

How to use black for kitchen cabinetry

I have lots of kitchen articles on the blog including:

Kitchen Styling: My 5 Top Tips

How to select a kitchen benchtop

Don't design your kitchen without this one thing

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