Most people believe that dark cabinets and a small kitchen are not a great mix, and it’s understandable why this assumption is made.

Everybody knows that dark colour can dominate a space and make a room appear smaller than it actually is.

However, choose a light colour scheme and it will create an airy feel and even the illusion of space.

Right? Well, yes, generally speaking, all of this is true. However, it would be a misconception to think that dark wall cabinets can never work in a small kitchen. Dark kitchen ideas and dark cabinetry can be a genuine focal point. A sophisticated dark tone and a dark palette can be wonderfully effective. Dark kitchens are certainly on trend.

So, can you put dark in a small kitchen?

Yes. Yes, you can!

Your Cabinets And Dark Kitchen Ideas

Now that you have opted for a dark shade of kitchen unit you need to think about how this works with the rest of your kitchen.

The good news is that dark kitchen units work with a whole range of different colour schemes. The thing you want to avoid is making the room seem too dark. Natural light is very important too.

White walls or tiles are a great way to contrast with a dusky style of kitchen cabinets as it combines both light and dark to great effect. Mixing light and dark is one of the best kitchen ideas around.

Other cabinet options

Another option especially if you have a lighter shade of dark cabinetry is to use wooden work surfaces such as oak or walnut.

Have a look at the way these anthracite cabinets use lighter shades, wooden surfaces and wood flooring to great effect. Would you like some more great kitchen ideas you can use with dark tones.

Dark cabinets: small kitchen – You can make it work

The good news is, contrary to what you may have heard, dark cabinets can work in a smaller kitchen.

However, there is a caveat… and it’s an important one. When you choose dark colours, you always run the risk of overpowering a space. The key is balance.You need to find ways to balance the dark colours with other colours and other elements of your kitchen design.

Dark cabinets – How to get the balance right

There are a few straightforward design principles that will ensure that you can keep the balance right, should you be considering moving to the dark side… in your kitchen, that is.

Dark kitchen units will feel far less intrusive if they are used sparingly. For example, it can be really effective if you use dark cabinets along the lower section of the kitchen. This can make the lower section a focal point.

Have you considered a kitchen island?

Similarly, an island or dining table can be a great place to use dark colours. Bearing in mind, you have less space to play with, you might think that a kitchen island is out of the question.

However, you shouldn’t completely dismiss the idea of a kitchen island. Just as a dark tone to your colour scheme – even black cabinetry – can, it can work.

If you contrast these by placing lighter coloured units at eye level, the effect is two-fold. The eye is naturally drawn to the lighter spaces and away from the dark cabinets. The overall effect is that the space actually looks more expansive. It’s a win-win situation.

Use contrasting colours with dark cabinets

Having established that the key to success with dark wall cabinets in a small kitchen is all about balance, let’s now look at some other kitchen ideas and fantastic ways of contrasting dark with light.

Paired with dark cabinets, lighter coloured countertops work brilliantly. Not only do they offer the necessary contrast, but the countertops will also reflect the light. Another option would be to incorporate glass tiles.

This complements the light countertops and provides the perfect transition between dark and light in the kitchen.

Dark green is one colour that is particularly on trend at the moment. Darker colours, in general, have become a part of modern kitchen design. Interior designers really favour darker colours right now.

Complement dark cabinets with open shelving

Another terrific way of achieving a perfect balance in the kitchen is to combine dark units with open shelving. This is a real design statement and also creates a sense of depth to the space.

Open shelving has become more popular in recent years and is bang on trend right now. The fact that it has the effect of opening up the space is a real bonus.

Let the light in and accentuate the dark

You shouldn’t be afraid of placing dark kitchen units in a small kitchen. However, you should always be mindful that it is very much a balancing act getting it right. Of course, it never takes much to tip the scales one way or the other, so you need to make careful choices.

Thinking of contrasts is one way of doing things and another is with light. Essentially, if you are going to put dark units into a small space, you need to counteract that with plenty of light.

dark kitchen cabinets

Distract attention away from the dark

That can be in the form of light-coloured units, but physical lighting is another way to distract attention away from the dark.

This is where overhead or under-cabinet lights can come into their own. However, there are several other ways that you reflect light in the kitchen and create the illusion of extra space. For example, think of where you might be able to incorporate glass and mirrors into your kitchen design.

Dare to go dark rather than white

White is always popular as a choice for cabinetry in the kitchen. In many ways, it’s the classic look for a kitchen as it can be elegant; it reflects the lightest and makes any space feel bigger. It can be classic and traditional whilst also giving off a modern and contemporary vibe.

It’s no surprise that white is still the go-to choice for many people in the kitchen, especially in small spaces.

However, while white undoubtedly has those trusted qualities and offers versatility that is difficult to match, it can also be somewhat static.In terms of the way that light interacts with white, it lacks the subtleties that can be achieved with darker units in the kitchen.

Black cabinets and white units?

Indeed black kitchen design and black and white kitchen design have emerged as genuine trends in modern kitchen design. Black cabinets can be the perfect complement to a white wall. So, is a black kitchen a good idea?

Indeed, black cabinets are now seen as a great way to add a modern twist to a kitchen. A gloss finish is especially effective in contemporary spaces.

Darks can add to the dynamics of a space

This is because the colour of a dark unit will alter as the light in the room changes during the day. This adds a certain dynamic that isn’t possible with white. Even the darkest shade of all – black – can provide both cool and warm undertones.

Now onto the business of making a room appear larger – another key reason why many people opt for a white kitchen. Of course, white does have this effect.

But the truth is dark kitchen units can do exactly the same thing – albeit in a slightly different way. Darks don’t reflect more light. They actually reflect less. As the light is absorbed, the dark units will be less clearly marked. This gives the illusion of more space – even in a dark space.

Dramatic and dark, or bright and light?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a choice. Do you want your kitchen to be light and bright, or dark and dramatic? If you want to create some ambience, dark units are definitely the way to go.

For a small space to be both cosy and contemporary, darks create a snug feel that really can’t be beaten. If you are thoughtful and strategic in the way that you position lighting, you can add even more atmosphere to the space.

dark kitchen cabinets

Get a sophisticated look for the kitchen

Are you looking for a sophisticated look for the kitchen – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – you’d be hard-pressed to beat the moody tones that dark cabinets bring.

Contrasted with classic white walls or tiles or accentuated by cooling metallic accessories – your options are many and the results can be absolutely stunning.

Other great reasons to go dark

A kitchen design can’t just be about the aesthetics. Yes, you want the kitchen to look fantastic, however, the practicalities are important too. At the end of the day, the kitchen is a working space.

It’s a busy place and all kitchens receive their fair share of wear and tear, it’s simply inevitable in a busy family home!

Kitchen ideas that incorporate dark tones

This can make a dark kitchen a wise choice. If you feel that your kitchen is likely to have to withstand spills and knocks, you might be glad you went to the dark side.

This is for the simple fact that dark surfaces can be a lot more forgiving than lighter ones. Dark units won’t instantly show up and scuffs and marks the way light units will.

It adds to a simplistic look

These days, less is more. No longer do you see kitchen worktops cluttered with large appliances and unnecessary apparatus that can be neatly stored away in your kitchen.

Streamline the look of your kitchen

In modern times it is all about simplifying and streamlining the look of your kitchen, which a darker shade can perfectly help you achieve.

Here at Kitchen Warehouse, we have seen many darker colour schemes work wonders in many houses up and down the UK, and across the world. So why don’t you take a browse through our extensive kitchen cabinets for sale, we’re sure you will find a design that you like!

Highlight bold colours with dark tones

A lot is made of how dark units contrast brilliantly with bright whites, but darks work just as well with bold and vivid shades. Smart grey units can look absolutely stunning with accents of red or green.

Last but not least, if you want to create a look of luxury in the kitchen, it’s hard to match the effect created when you pair dark tones with metallic finishes, such as brass and copper.

Which Dark Shade Should You Choose?

So you want a darker colour scheme for the cabinets in your kitchen. Fantastic! But know you need to think about which shade will suit your home the best.

On one end of the scale, we have Jet Black Gloss Acrylic kitchen units while on the other you have models such as Dust Grey Roma Shaker units that still retain their dark colour but offer a lighter approach that can be great in smaller spaces.So before you dive into the world of dark kitchens consider what shade would best suit your design preferences.

Some people with larger kitchens can go for a jet back scheme for instance as that will not take anything away from how big their kitchen looks.

Other customers opt for a dark shade that is slightly lighter than this will still provide a richness and depth to the room without making the kitchen seem smaller than it actually is.

Grey: The perfect choice to smarten up a small kitchen

Some people might wonder whether grey, particularly darker shades, might be a bit too much for a smaller kitchen, but it can be a highly effective choice.

A darker shade of grey for the kitchen cabinets can be striking and eye-catching, which combined with a paler shade of grey helps to create a light and airy feel.

Another alternative is to take a less is more approach. Occasionally, using a grey – regardless of how smart it looks – for lower and wall units can be a step too far and a little too overpowering. However, opting for the likes of simple shelving in grey can create a laid back, casual look.

Does dark grey work?

Dark grey kitchen cabinets look great when they are viewed online, but it can be hard to visualise how they will look in situ, with the specifics of your kitchen taken into consideration.

Will they go with dark or light worktops? Should you consider a lighter floor to create a bright and airy room? There is so much to think about when choosing a modern design for your kitchen restyle.

Why wood works so well with grey

If you take a look at any pictures of kitchens that use a grey cabinet, you will notice that the vast majority of them are shown with wooden worktops. You may be wondering why this is exactly.

Well, the answer is simple – because the lighter shades of pine and walnut perfectly offset the darker nature of the cabinets. So, when you are looking for colours to work well with grey units, remember to consider lighter tones.

If you want to make your dark grey really stand out, then solid wood worktops are a great way to achieve this.

Equally glass cabinets or stainless steel appliances are other ways to accentuate black cabinetry in a modern kitchen space.

Get in touch for more on dark kitchen units

Would you like to know more about how our dark kitchen units can benefit your smaller kitchen? If so, our experts would be glad to help. Simply give us a call on and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

If you have any detailed enquiries and are wondering how we can be of assistance, be sure to fill out our contact form and one of our teams will come back with a response.