If you're planning, redoing, or repainting your kitchen and are wondering how to tackle the island and the cabinet colors, then you're not alone. This is, quite often, a matter that needs some thought.
You often see kitchens with darker islands, but you need to give what effect this has on the space a little more thought. So should your kitchen island have the same tones as the cabinets? Or should they be different? These experts have the answer to this kitchen color conundrum, and much more.
Should kitchen island be darker than cabinets?
The quick answer is no, the kitchen island doesn't need to be darker than the cabinets; nor does it need to be lighter. It all depends on the style, dimensions, and the amount of light your kitchen receives.
'I think you can play around and have fun here and do what feels best within the entirety of the room,' says interior designer Athina Bluff, founder of Topology. 'I would say it's best to have the darker kitchen cabinet color on your base cabinets and anything lighter, and typically more weightless in appearance, as an upper cabinet. '
'I think a general rule of thumb that you could adhere to when decision-making on the colors in your kitchen, is that if your kitchen is particularly cabinet heavy, i.e. full blocks of upper & lower cabinetry, then breaking up the colors between the island and the main run, is a nice thing to consider doing,' adds Athina. 'It adds an extra focal point and level of depth whilst also providing an opportunity for a more diverse color palette in the space.'
'In larger kitchens, you need to create multiple layers and points of interest to focus on so that the space feels well thought out and planned, or it can run the risk of feeling a little bland,' says Athina. 'Thus, larger spaces are great for exploring the introduction of more colors in a room via the cabinets and island.'
'It's related more to the overall feeling of the space,' agrees Erin Fearins, partner and lead interior designer at Studio SFW. 'Often, islands are treated separately, more like a freestanding piece of furniture so they can have different detailing or finish.'
Should your kitchen island match your cabinets?
While kitchen cabinets can match the island or even contrast, it's best to make the decision based on the size of the kitchen, and its pre-existing palette.
'In smaller kitchens, you don't want the room to feel cluttered or busy, so keeping everything one color can be a wise decision to create just one focal point and main color of interest,' says Athina.
'In the case of this kitchen, we already had a lot of lovely contrast in the color of the range and hood as well as in the beautiful color of the marble on the backsplash, so we opted to keep the island the same as the surrounding cabinetry for a more harmonious backdrop,' says Erin.
'The pale icy blue color of the kitchen cabinetry allowed us to have some fun with accent colors in the range, chandelier, and fabrics that we used in the room,' says Erin. 'Our client loves color and has a vibrant young family, so we wanted to give her a bright, happy, light-filled kitchen where everyone can gather and spend time together.'
What cabinet color will make the kitchen look bigger?
Largely, a grey kitchen or a white kitchen, where the cabinets are painted a lighter tone work well in making the space look bigger. Paler, softer tones reflect more light, thereby making the room feel brighter, airier, and more accommodating. Grey and white apart, you could also consider light blues, greens, or pale yellows on the cabinets.
Paint colors apart, if you want to go that extra mile to open up the kitchen, choose a semi-gloss or full gloss paint finish. These light-reflecting finishes will further add a sparkle to the room and make it seem bigger than it is. Add glass-paneled cabinetry to expand visuals. Minimize the clutter and ensure the countertops are always clean and organized.
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Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.
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