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First, matte charcoal appliances started replacing stainless steel ones. Then there was the resurgence of soapstone and moodier marbles as an alternative to the wildly popular (and rapidly depleting) Carrara. Sorry, white: All signs point to black kitchens being the new gold standard. And there’s no better place to embrace the trend than the cabinets. 

Going dark doesn’t have to mean compromising on that coveted bright and airy feeling. Contrary to popular belief, the color can be cozy, interesting, crisp, and warm—all at once. Plus there are tons of benefits to dark cupboards. For one thing, they make everything around them instantly cooler, including dated details like laminate floor tiles and granite countertops. Once you’ve nailed the right paint swatch, it’s simply a matter of fine-tuning the details.

Pair It With Pink 

Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Black and blush are an unlikely couple, but the latter (in this case, a romantic muted rose from Farrow & Ball called Sulking Room Pink) delivers a sense of playfulness that the former cannot. The lone upper cabinet in the corner—the kind of place you’d designate for one-off tools like a turkey baster or waffle maker—adds to the whimsy.

Disguise Drab Counters

Julia and Chris Marcum weren’t fans of their dated granite countertops, but the design duo wasn’t about to rip them out and replace them either. Their solution? Paint the cabinets and paneled backsplash a chameleon green-gray (Thunderous by Sherwin-Williams) so the surface fades into the background rather than stand out. 

Go Beyond Knobs

Intricate hardware will win you major points. Drawing on their traditional Shaker-style doors, Ohio-based renovators Catherine and Bryan Williamson opted for solid brass latches from Emtek in a French antique finish to keep the old-world vibe going. 

Fake High Ceilings

Bright white upper cabinets and black lower cupboards work wonders in a small space. The darker hue—such as the deep indigo in this Boston kitchen—acts as a grounding force, while the other draws the eye up, creating the illusion that the room is bigger than it really is. 

Warm Things Up With Rugs and Art

Black cabinets can read as cold if you skimp on the decor. A colorful runner, original artwork, and a vintage mirror are a few ways to brighten up the room once the construction is said and done.  

Create a Cohesive Layout 

When turning this galley kitchen into an open-concept floor plan, Jessica Helgerson maximized the full length of the wall by adding built-in seating. Using the same inky hue on the base makes the bench look like a natural extension of the workspace. 

Bring in Breezy Lighting 

Photo courtesy of Helsingo

A space with dark cabinets and a matching countertop and backsplash sets a dramatic mood that’s perfect for dinners with friends or your significant other.. (Psst: It’s also a great way to “hide” appliances in an eat-in kitchen.) To keep the monochrome scheme from sucking you into a black hole, be adventurous with your lighting choices—think a Noguchi lantern or similar paper pendant.

Add Texture

Photography by Ryan McDonald

If you’re not one to hold back, embrace a tone-on-tone look, like in this kitchen from Studio Sven, which features dark countertops, cabinets, and walls. A dark Venetian plaster adds texture to the space, while doors and trim (even ductwork) in the same shade give it a unified look.

Play With Varying Dark Hues

Not all black tones are the same. There are some with blue undertones, others with brown notes, and some that are simply pitch-dark. To give your space dimension, consider mixing varying hues.

Mix in Warm Woods

If you’re worried about your black kitchen appearing too cold, warm things up with wood, like birch or white oak. Together with white walls, this color combo creates a bright, tailored look. 

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