Five Mistakes People Make When Selecting Kitchen Cabinets—and How to Avoid Them

Adrienne Jordan
·4 min read
Photo credit: chuckcollier - Getty Images
Photo credit: chuckcollier - Getty Images


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As with so many elements of your home, kitchen cabinet color offers an array of options. But, since the kitchen is often the space that most blends beauty and utility—and a room where homeowners make some of their biggest investments—it's important to carefully consider your options...and to look beyond the trends. “While a white kitchen will never go out of style, there are some other colors that are moving into the kitchen space in bigger ways,” says Caroline Harmon, Trend Strategy Manager at Lowe’s. “Two-tone cabinets, where upper and lower cabinets each have their own color, are popular and add a bit more dimension to the space." Blues and greens, meanwhile, "have almost become neutrals in the kitchen space as we see people bringing the feel of the outdoors inside," she adds.

So, what does this all mean for your space? To get the rundown, we asked some experts to break down some common mistakes and misconceptions people make when choosing their cabinets—and instruct on what to do instead. Take notes before your next reno!

Don’t blindly follow trends

We all want to spend time and enjoy kitchen spaces, so that means personal style and the specific needs of your space should come above those trends you've loving on Pinterest. “I recommend taking into account three factors: the space, color trends, and personal preferences,” says Eugene Makeev, President of RTA Cabinet Supply LLC. “Cabinet color trends are important, but they change every 4-6 years, while kitchens are generally remodeled every 15 years.” In the small kitchen by Nick Olsen, above, for example, the designer went for a merlot high gloss—a choice that's certainly unconventional, but which suits the footprint of the kitchen (the paint's reflective quality makes the space feel larger) and personality of the client.


Look beyond white for an airy feel

If you’re looking to make your kitchen feel more open and airy, you have more options than the standard white. "Don’t forget to consider lighter blues and grays as well if you’re looking to brighten up a small footprint," says Harmon.

Another option? A split palette: “If you want to minimize the look of wall cabinets to give a more open feel to your kitchen space, consider white or light colors for your upper cabinets and save your statement and bolder colors for the lower cabinets," Harmon advises. "This also helps with adding color in smaller spaces.”

Related: Why This Designer Is Over White Kitchens

Consider mixing materials

Two-tone doesn't just have to refer to two paint colors: "Wood cabinets paired with a color are a fresh take on thisand work well from traditional to more contemporary looks, says Harmon (here's how to know which colors to pair with which wood tones).

Photo credit: Haris Kenjar
Photo credit: Haris Kenjar


Don’t attempt to match an existing color

Sometimes you need to replace an old or damaged cabinet or do a partial change. “Usually, it’s not recommended to match an existing color as it is never exact and there will be a difference in the color of the old compared the new,” says Jason Quint, owner of Signature Kitchens, a boutique design studio in Orlando, Florida. “It is better to do something completely different so it looks as the difference is intentional. The only time we suggest it is if you know the exact manufacturer and have them attempt to duplicate their own work.”

Related: 10 Incredible Kitchen Color Combinations

Always consider durability

Kitchen cabinet colors can change over time. “Different wood species and different quality stains react differently to sun exposure and can yellow, darken or lighten over time,” says Quint. “It is very common after years that lower cabinets in the shade become an entirely different color than upper cabinets that are continuously exposed to natural sunlight.” When selecting a kitchen cabinet color, consider the amount of sunlight your space gets—and investigate the durability, materials, and manufacturer to determine if the quality will persist over the years.

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