Making Dark Decor Work in Kitchen Design

An influential trend in kitchen design for 2014 that’s expected to have staying power well into 2015?

Dark and even black kitchens.

This certainly doesn’t mean that every area of a kitchen is black, but many top designs feature everything from dark kitchen countertops to deep cabinetry colors.

The result is a kitchen that’s elegant and modern as well as being sleek, but many homeowners worry about having a space that looks too dark and too overwhelming.

There are easy design tips homeowners can follow to balance out having black or dark elements in a kitchen for a look that’s cohesive and stylish rather than having a design concept that feels too burdensome in a space.

Look for patterned countertops: For homeowners who want the look of black countertops but want to break it up a bit, choosing a stone surface with some patterning is a great way to do that. For an ultra-modern and upscale look, opt for something like what’s found in the Natura Granite Collection, which features black granite with unique and naturally-inspired patterns including crocodile.

Juxtapose Black and White: Nothing looks fresher, cleaner and more timeless than the pairing of black and white. In a kitchen design with black cabinetry, consider a white natural stone countertop that will balance out the darkness of the space. You can also do the opposite—choose a deep, dark stone kitchen countertop to pair with white cabinetry.

Create a focal point with a dark island: Another way to employ the dark kitchen trend without having it throughout the space is by designing a black island. Use a black stone and a waterfall effect to create drama that centers on the island, while the rest of the kitchen can be more balanced with lighter wood and stone tones. It’s also possible to tie the look together by having the countertops be a continuation of the dark stone found on the island, while the cabinetry itself is lighter.

Add Depth with Varying Textures and Materials: While a kitchen with black elements can tend to appear somewhat stark in some instances, avoid this by varying the dimension and depth through the use of texture. Combine multiple materials including wood, natural stone, and other options like a glass tile backsplash to add visual interest. It’s also possible to create a sense of depth by varying the finishes used throughout a dark kitchen—for example consider combining a honed black stone countertop with a textured appearance alongside sleeker cabinetry with a glossier finish.

Create tonal differences: Black and gray can often work well together in a kitchen. Gray can often be seen as being within the same tonal scale as black, so for homeowners who don’t want the more definitive juxtaposition between black and white, consider a design scheme that relies on a primarily black and gray color palette. For example, cabinetry can be a beautiful shade of gray, while the countertops themselves are black. Similarly black can also come in weathered shades that offer a softer alternative.

Warm It Up with Lighting and Accessories: When opting for black cabinetry, kitchen countertops or other components of a kitchen, it’s important to pay particular attention to the smaller details including lighting and accessories. Choosing the right lighting and adding accessories to a kitchen can make it feel warm and inviting, rather than cold or sterile, which is often the fear homeowners have when going with a dark color palette.