Published on January 29, 2019

The all-white kitchen trend has officially overstayed its welcome. While the clean look is undeniably timeless, we’re finding ourselves drawn to bolder, more eclectic-looking spaces. Whether vibrantly hued or dark and moody, color-saturated kitchens just feel fresher—plus, they’re a bit more spill-proof than their whitewashed counterparts. Small victories. And there’s one particular style that we can’t get enough of: the European-sanctioned dark kitchen trend.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way either. Home style blogger Emily Henderson is a big proponent of the moody kitchen trend for 2019, championing the dark-on-dark (i.e., dark kitchen cabinets paired with dark kitchen counters) look. “[It’s] a risk, but for those willing to go moodier, it can pay off,” says Henderson. “I think the key is to keep the colors deep and inky, meaning there is more of a charcoal or black undertone. It’s going to look more modern.”

If the new year holds a potential kitchen renovation in the cards, consider infusing a bit of drama with this cool trend. Whether you’re going all-out or just want to try the dark-on-dark style in a little vignette of your kitchen—like in a breakfast nook or bar cart—we spoke to Henderson to get her top tips for achieving the look.

Keep it matte. “Be careful about adding stone that is too polished or tile that is too shiny (although a shiny zellige is welcome). The matte finish tones it down.”

Vary your textures. “You’ve got to keep it interesting still, so make sure that you have some contrasting textures.”

Light matters. “Make sure your space gets a good amount of light—especially if the space is small.”

Layer in natural elements. “Warm it up with some wood; even leaning cutting boards against the backsplash breaks up the darkest [colors] and creates interest.”

Pick materials carefully. “I have learned a lot about countertops this year, and for price, look, and functionality, I would say go for marble or quartz with a leathered or honed finish.”

Have fun with it. “Bring in natural wood pieces, vintage brass, and greenery to inject some life. A dark kitchen can feel very serious, so have fun adding in some personality.”

Ready to dive deep into the dark kitchen trend? Ahead, we pulled some of our favorite spaces that perfected the look—armed with Henderson’s tips and the following style inspiration, you’ll be equipped to try your hand at the design.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Ease your way into the dark trend by opting for a darker-finish wood tone in your cabinetry rather than straight-up charcoal. Michelle Dopp’s Brooklyn home is a prime example of this: The textile designer is a big proponent of mixing aesthetics, and she did this in her kitchen by blending more retro cabinets with an undeniably modern gray tile backsplash and black counters.

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Photography by Devol Kitchens

If you don’t want to completely redo your cabinets, maybe all that’s in order is a fresh coat of paint. Take a page from this British kitchen and give your wooden cabinets a new look with a dark blue-gray hue. The money you’ll save on those can go toward a more experimental countertop situation; how cool is this copper worktop? The patina lends an old-school feel to the material that feels right in line with the dark kitchen look.  

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Photography by Inga Powilleit

Eschew built-in counters altogether in favor of farmhouse-style tables. This rustic space proves that traditional isn’t always better. We’re digging the whitewashed brick as a backdrop; the varied textures and color contrast against the dark fixtures make the space all the more statement-worthy.

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Photography by Mikkel Vang

Mid-century modern pulls bring a unique twist to this moody kitchen. Match your counters to your wall-adhered cabinets to create continuity in your space and make the butcher-block counters that much more impactful.  

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Photography by Devol Kitchens

This shaker-style kitchen is simple yet sophisticated. The styling tip we’re stealing? Matching your wall paint to your dark cabinet fronts. Here, the rich blue hue emphasizes the natural wood and copper details. While not as stark as a light-dark color contrast, the juxtaposition is definitely gorgeous.

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Photography by Mikkel Vang

Paige Sargisson’s Brooklyn brownstone has a monochromatic kitchen we’re still dreaming about. It’s proof of why Henderson’s advice to make sure your space has enough light matters: Without the natural sun and clean white walls, the black-on-black counters and cabinets might make the kitchen feel too cave-like. The idea of installing custom pulls in a lighter shade, as shown here, is also a great way to break up a darker style.

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Photography by The Woodhouse Lodge

There’s not much we don’t love about this stunning kitchen. From the deep blue cabinets accented with matte black pulls to the black marble counters that extend up into a backsplash, the whole room is a lesson in pulling off dramatic design. The wooden and copper accent pieces nicely round out the kitchen and keep it from feeling one-note.

See more kitchen trends to try:
European Kitchen Design Trends to Know for 2019
Are Black Kitchens the New White Kitchens?
This “Dated” Kitchen Trend Is Back (and We’re into It)

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