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 coated in rich shades, saturated kitchens just feel fresher—plus, they’re a bit more spillproof 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. Home style blogger Emily Henderson is a big proponent of the moody kitchen trend. “[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 your 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 style in a little vignette of your kitchen—like in a breakfast nook or bar cart—Henderson has the right 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 mediums. “You’ve got to keep it interesting, 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 daring [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 this statement-making kitchen trend? We pulled some of our favorite spaces that perfected the look. Armed with Henderson’s tips and the following style inspiration, you’ll be fully equipped to try your hand at the design.
The cabinetry in Ashley Illchuck’s bungalow may have been a splurge, but in our humble opinion, it was worth every penny. Deep green paint paired with matte black slabs really brings the drama, and even though they’re on the darker side, they don’t weigh the kitchen down because of the bright white walls and wood shelving (see: Henderson’s fourth tip).
Can’t pick a color scheme? Don’t—Lauren Svenstrup’s space makes the case for sticking to one eye-popping hue. Break up the uniformity by switching up the finish of your various surfaces; shiny quartz countertops, nonglossy cupboard fronts, and limewash-effect walls add depth to this tiny galley kitchen.
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 wood cabinets a new look with a blue-gray hue. The money you’ll save can go toward a more experimental countertop situation; how cool is this copper work top? The patina lends an old-school feel to the material that feels right in line with the saturated kitchen look.
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 dusky fixtures and make the room all the more statement-worthy.
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.
This Shaker-style kitchen is simple yet sophisticated. The tip we’re stealing? Matching the wall paint to the inky 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.
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 room 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 bolder style.
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 wood and copper accent pieces keep it from feeling one-note.