Want Multicolored Cabinets? Joy Cho Has a Strategy for Picking Complementary Hues

Odd numbers are your friends during a reno.
Lydia Geisel Avatar
woman sitting on cabinets

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

“I like odd numbers,” says Oh Joy! founder and creative director Joy Cho, the cover star of our 2021 Summer issue. Her new guesthouse–slash–work studio, which Los Angeles–based firm Project M Plus and Boswell Construction helped her build from the ground up, is proof that good things come in threes. Example A: the kitchen. 

Cho opted for a multicolored scheme for her cabinets, using door fronts from Copenhagen-based company Reform’s Chelsea by Christina Meyer Bengtsson line to elevate simple IKEA frames. There are actually four color options in the collection, but she ditched the dark gray one for a playful trio of medium-toned gray, muted lavender, and untreated brass. Ahead, she reveals her trick to nailing a multihued kitchen cabinet arrangement, plus a few more fixture combos to try out. 

Pare Down Shiny Panels

With the color scheme set, Cho focused on arranging the panels in a way that made sense for the open-concept space. Her tip for incorporating any type of metal front into a room: Use it sparingly—and skip the fridge. “I decreased the sizes of the brass panels and locations because I knew fingerprints from visitors and my kids would be everywhere,” explains Cho.

Narrow In on the Color Wheel

woman measuring cabinets
Photography by Lily Glass for Oh Joy!

If you are looking to pull off something similar by painting your own cupboard fronts, stick to colors that are analogous, notes Cho. In other words, ones that are close to each other on the color wheel. “You want them to feel tied to each other in some way, either by the level of depth or opacity,” she says. 

Top It Off With a Bright Prep Surface

While Reform shows the collection paired with a black countertop on its site, Cho opted for bright, white Caesarstone for her space. Given that the huge glass windows right across the room bring in so much natural light, the choice helps bounce light around, as does the creamy white backsplash tile and terrazzo floors.  

Mix and Match on Your Own

We asked Cho for a few more standout countertop, cabinet paint, and hardware combos. Here are some ideas she’s loving right now: 

“For a fun yet chic kitchen, try a countertop with color and texture, and offset it with a sultry cabinet accented with brass pulls,” says Cho. Moody emerald and pink play nicely in all sorts of setups—even in her space (she painted the home’s central beam hunter green and put two rosy sofas in the living room). 

If sunset colors aren’t your thing, draw inspiration from the ocean with an airy blue-green cabinet color, organic hints of gold (peep the hardware), and white countertops with subtle veining. Think of it as one big jigsaw puzzle, except more fun than your typical type.

For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before-and-after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your in-box do all the hard work—for now.