Venturing to the Dark Side of Cabinets
The color black may not be synonymous with an upbeat room design, but designers say black cabinets can create a dramatic look in your kitchen.
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Coco Chanel pronounced the "little black dress" indispensable, so what might that particular color do for a kitchen? Black cabinets are new on the kitchen design radar. Whether you use it only on a center island or for all the cabinetry, it can make your kitchen a design standout.
"I believe every room should have at least a little splash of black somewhere. It's a great accent color as well as a great backdrop to other elements in the room; it makes them pop," says Susan Klimala of the Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn, Ill.
That splash can be solid paint — such as Pratt and Lambert's Graphite — a black stain, or a rub-through finish, which shows flashes of wood, a la the shabby chic look.
However you achieve it, black cabinetry enhances any kitchen style, be it rustic, traditional or modern, says Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Chevy Chase, Md., who is using black cabinetry in her own contemporary Asian-style kitchen. And although it's been an option in contemporary kitchens for a while — especially in European cabinetry, says Jennifer — it's now showing up in all styles. It's a flashback of sorts for more traditional designs.
"In Victorian times, they used dark woods, like walnut, cherry or mahogany, and stained them almost black," Jennifer says. Couple those with a creamy granite or marble countertop, and you've got the perfect period look.
Susan envisions a more modern take: "frameless black cabinetry with reeded glass inserts, stainless-steel appliances, art glass pendants and a mosaic glass-tile backsplash." The color black lets the cabinetry lines speak out and is a backdrop for the other elements in the room, says Susan. And, she notes, there's nothing like a black background to make metal panel inserts, such as chicken wire or mesh, stand out.
Black cabinetry can be a backdrop or a focal point like an island, a single wall or even interspersed with other colored or wood-finish cabinetry.
"Black is a great accent and grounding tool for the eye. In a traditional-style kitchen, a big black island or unfitted piece of cabinetry with a black rub-through finish would act as an elegant counterpoint to the other cabinetry within the space, perhaps distressed cherry, or even crisp white," says Susan.
Carter Oosterhouse shows how to add counter space in the kitchen.