Espresso Kitchen Cabinets

There are many ways espresso kitchen cabinets can transform your kitchen.


The client for this complete home renovation requested a luxurious, modern feel. The high-end kitchen remodel features warm walnut floors, dark espresso cabinetry and quartz countertops. Britany tied the look together with a modern glass and metal backsplash.

By: Melissa Webster

Second only to white in terms of popularity, espresso kitchen cabinets are a beautiful, elegant deep dark brown that pairs well with classic whites and creams, cool blues and greens, and bold contemporary reds, silvers and blacks.

Kitchen Chronicles: I'm in Love With My Kitchen Makeover

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From Cramped to Cozy

Noelle and Brad Otts of Austin, Texas, go to food festivals like some people go to concerts. They have an organic vegetable garden in their backyard and raise chickens (one rooster and 11 hens).Their original kitchen — a tiny space with such limited storage that Noelle kept the plates in the garage — was just not going to cut it. Over the course of three months, they scrapped what was there to create a larger chef's kitchen with a cozy vibe.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

A Cottage for a Serious Chef

The buttery yellow cabinets, screened pantry door (from and frilly ceramic hardware (Melon handles from pile on the charm. The countertop accessories, like an old metal box, add to the vintage vibe. The commercial-grade Viking range is not just for show — Noelle and Brad use all eight burners, the griddle and the two ovens almost daily.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno


Brad and Noelle kept a consistent, colorful look throughout the space by mimicking the yellow cabinet panels on their Sub-Zero refrigerator (all from The Otts’ kids, Cash, 6, and Maddie Rose, 3, join in the cooking fun, too, so some of the design choices — panel-front appliances instead of fingerprint-y stainless steel, dark gray grout instead of dirt-prone white — minimize the maintenance without sacrificing style.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Easy Access

Collections of cookbooks and wine are perfect for open shelving. "We thought about a wine fridge, but we didn’t want to lose valuable under-counter space — plus, we realized a wine fridge would cost more than the wine we drink," says Noelle.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Real Life With Concrete Counters

Concrete was cheaper than the quote Brad and Noelle got for quartz, but "we were surprised that the counters took 10 days to install. They were laid like a foundation, then sealed," says Noelle. It was worth the wait: They're easy to maintain with soap and water, and blemishes add to their character.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Dream Kitchens Come True

"Can you believe we lived here during the reno and cooked in the laundry room?" says Noelle. Now the room cheers them up instead of bumming them out. "This kitchen makes me even more excited about cooking and hosting dinner parties for friends," says Noelle. "There's no other place I'd rather be."

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, Styling by: Jennifer Berno

Kitchen Castaway

Marsha Pecaut and Bill Blok, a ship captain, bought their San Diego condo for its gorgeous ocean view. But (bummer alert!) they couldn’t see the water from the tiny kitchen, which had only one small window that didn't face the ocean. "It had drop-down ceilings and was surrounded by walls — so depressing," says Marsha. "We wanted something light and bright," says Marsha. "We also wanted to incorporate our love of the water and boats."

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Sailing to New Heights

Internet research turned up designer Amy Meier, who helped Marsha and Bill connect the kitchen to the living room and infuse the space with subtle nautical touches. Brass ring pulls and cabinet handles from an actual boat hardware supplier ( are a bona fide nautical touch.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Light and Dark

Amy steered Marsha toward absolute black granite (meaning no flecks at all) in a casual honed finish. A few carefully chosen dark accents, like inky blue paint, black countertops and black tile grout, look striking against all that white but don't make the room feel heavy. The columns are Old Navy by Benjamin Moore.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Super Sink

Marsha and Bill made the move to San Diego from Oregon to spend more time with their twin grandchildren. An apron-front, dual-basin ceramic sink doubles as the perfect spot for bathing their grandbabies. When it's not bath time, the roomy sink makes washing piles of dishes a breeze.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Opened Up

Fact: Fewer walls means more light! Marsha and Bill took down two walls, so all that's separating the kitchen and the sunny living room are an island and two columns, which they call the kitchen's "masts." One is structural; the other is faked to conceal plumbing and electrical. Now that they're finished, Marsha says, "We love that it’s big enough for both of us to cook — and dance — in." She calls the kitchen "the epitome of fun."

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Modern Makeover

When Brooke and Blake Hortenstine bought their 1950s home in Dallas seven years ago, they agreed on one thing from the start: The cramped, dark red kitchen had to go. Immediately. "The kitchen was too closed in and disorganized," says Brooke. "Even though I grew up in a traditional house, my style is much more modern these days."

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Room to Grow

With the help of Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, the Hortenstines embarked on a renovation that sent them packing to Blake's parents' house for almost a year. The result: a sleek but warm room for their growing family (2-year-old Rollins will be a big brother this summer).

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Efficient Kitchen

The new kitchen is a model of efficient design: All the plumbing and appliances are along one wall and there's plenty of storage space. IKEA cabinetry, with its affordable price tag and customizable shelves, is a dream come true for organized bargain hunters.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Lighten Up

Dark cabinets can go dreary, but Brooke brightened hers by pairing them with honey-color granite counters and a limestone mosaic tile backsplash. Brooke chose the pendants (from for their cool design and ambient light, but for function, she installed strategically placed ceiling cans and bright under-cabinet fluorescents. "The room looks contemporary to me, but it still has a cozy, stay-awhile feel," says Brooke.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Center Island

An ultra-long island (8 feet!) means the whole family can hang out: veggie chopping on one end and bill paying on the other. The island also has deep storage drawers. The leather-topped stools are cushy and easy to wipe clean.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Thoughtful Living

When it came to designing her dream kitchen, she knew she wanted a streamlined look that was easy to navigate. The new space is just what Blake and Brooke, a self-professed "neat freak," had envisioned. Not only is the style clean and simple, "there's no place for clutter to find an accidental home around here," says Brooke.

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

With espresso on your cabinets, just about any color your heart desires will combine to give your kitchen cabinets the perfect contrast of light and dark that can range from casual fun to formal opulence. It is the classic, traditional color choice that never goes out of style and brings warmth and sensibility to your kitchen.

Espresso kitchen cabinets give you this by combining conventional grace and lived-in comfort, making the kitchen feel less like a functional workspace and more like a family hangout. Often reflecting a home's historical origin, it brings balance to competing elements to create a subtle blend of contemporary flair and traditional, classic nuance. Whether you are looking to balance out the warmth of a red kitchen island or break up the monotony of white kitchen floors, countertops and walls, espresso kitchen cabinets bring it all together perfectly for a touch of dignity that still keeps the space comfortable.

Staining is a really popular technique to achieve the look of espresso without having to gut the whole kitchen and replace all of your cabinets. Espresso is also very common with refacing options. You can get solid wood with espresso finishes in muted shades or in trendier metallic finishes. The color is so versatile it's hard to imagine a style it doesn't fit in with perfectly. Espresso is like the popular kid in school who slides into any social setting and simply belongs.

If you're more of a traditionalist with a historical bent, the antique look of distressed espresso kitchen cabinets is right up your alley. For a modern and clean look, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets in espresso are probably the ones for you. Or maybe you're right at home with the opulence of espresso kitchen cabinets complemented by deep warm reds for relaxed luxury. Throw in nickel-plated hardware and select glass fronts, and you've successfully transcended contemporary with classic charm. Whatever style speaks to your heart, there is an espresso kitchen cabinet out there to meet it. Enjoy the discovery!

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