DECORATING A KITCHEN WITH BLACK APPLIANCES
While stainless steel is undoubtedly the most popular appliance finish for a kitchen, black takes a close second and white…well, that’s a whole different topic.
Today we’re going to focus on black appliances and how to integrate them into your kitchen design without sticking them out like a sore thumb. So whether you’re buying new appliances or trying to update your kitchen with existing ones, these tips will get you on the right track!
DO BLACK APPLIANCES LOOK GOOD WITH WHITE CABINETS?
It’s touch-and-go. Remember, just because you WANT to do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.
Why don’t black appliances & white cabinets always work?
- Black appliances and white cabinets create a HIGH-CONTRAST palette. There’s a time and place for contrast, but this isn’t ALWAYS between appliances and cabinets.
- This high-contrast approach makes the appliances more prominent. Unless you’ve invested in a wicked-pretty and EXPENSIVE designer oven, you miiiiight not want the appliances to be your kitchen’s crowning decorative glory.
- Contrast makes a space look smaller.
Do you want your appliances to be your kitchen’s main feature?
Whether black appliances and white cabinets are BFFs comes down to two things…
1. the OTHER finishes in your kitchen (countertop/backsplash/flooring)
2. perception (your personal opinion)
Let’s start with your appliance’s surrounding finishes. Dark appliances look FAR more at home in a kitchen with another dark feature for the appliances to connect with, IN PARTICULAR, black countertops (or at least SUPER DARK ones).
Why would the above combo work? BLACK COUNTERTOPS
Because I don’t recommend this black-and-white combo very often, I don’t have many photos from my Paint Color Consulting clients to show you. I also don’t ‘borrow’ from other sites. However, I can show you kitchens that COULD handle black appliances, like the one above.
As for PERCEPTION, it comes down to what you think looks good – heck, it’s your home; you need to be happy! Many people LOVE the look of white cabinets with black appliances, revelling in the contrast and dynamic energy this palette creates. PERSONALLY, there are very few kitchens that I think look good with white cabinets and black appliances, which leads to our next topic…
HOW TO MAKE BLACK APPLIANCES & WHITE CABINETS LOOK GOOD
Right now, you might be thinking, ‘darn it, I REALLY want to paint my cabinets white, but I have black appliances!’ Here’s the BEST THING you can have in your kitchen…
BLACK COUNTERTOPS (or at least VERY, VERY dark ones)
Again, I don’t have any Colour Consulting clients who’ve done white cabinets/black appliances (we usually avoid it). Still, with its black countertops and metal finishes, this next kitchen could EASILY handle a black fridge, stove and dishwaser…
Learn more about high and low contrast via this small bathroom article
Why COULD the above kitchen handle black appliances?
- black countertop
- black light fixtures
- black furnishings
These all will give your appliances some good visual support. HOWEVER, stainless steel is still the best choice for this space.
As shown in this next photo, medium or dark-coloured countertops will give your appliances something ‘visual’ to grab onto. While it’s still a high-contrast look, it helps soften the blow.
Dark countertop? Check. Dark island? Check. Dark accents? CHECK!
WHAT IF YOU DON’T/CAN’T HAVE BLACK COUNTERTOPS?
While there are a few other ideas that can help your appliances feel more connected, the idea still makes me a lil twitchy…
- paint your island BLACK, giving your appliances something to connect with
- consider white upper cabinets and black lower cabinets, again, for visual connection – this is my fave option of the two
The 4 Best Gray & Greige Paint Colours for Kitchen Cabinets & Vanities
WHAT COLOUR/FINISH CABINET HARDWARE GOES WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
While you MIGHT think black handles and knobs are the answer, they can negatively affect the balance/level of contrast. I usually recommend polished nickel and keeping black for rare occasions.
WHAT CABINET COLOURS (OTHER THAN WHITE) GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
Now we’re getting into my wheelhouse. There’s a WIDE selection of paint colours that work with black appliances, including black, gray, blue and green. And not just these, there are also many WOOD stained cabinets that can look smashing.
Again, MOST of my clients have stainless steel appliances, hence the lack of photos. However, you’ll still see some great examples.
GRAY OR GREIGE PAINTED CABINETS WITH BLACK APPLIANCES
The AFFORDABLE laminate countertop in this next photo and the dark lower cabinet colour could EASILY accommodate a completely black stove…
The dark gray of the cabinets (Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray), dark countertop, and details in the backsplash help the black appliances feel RIGHT AT home in this next kitchen…
The above space also has dark hardware (oil-rubbed bronze). While these would create a high-contrast look on white cabinets, they’re a more classic look on these darker cabinets without adding undue stress to the balance.
In this next photo, again, you’ll see stainless steel, but black COULD work, thanks to the black countertops!
Benjamin Moore Kitty Gray
The Best Medium-Depth Greige & Taupe Paint Colours
While we don’t see any appliances in this next photo, you can see how black would look low contrast and simple against the Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze cabinets…
Notice there are other dark elements for black appliances to tie into, including dark chairs in the backdrop and black metal pendant lights.
WHAT WALL PAINT COLOURS GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
When picking a paint colour to suit black appliances, it’s LESS about your appliance and MORE about your countertop, backsplash, and flooring. That’s right, let your appliances be a MINOR part of the process, as these other finishes will be calling the shots.
Generally speaking, kitchens with black appliances often suit…
- light warm neutrals such as subtle creams and more muted, modern beiges (with warm surrounding finishes)
- subtle light depth gray, greige and taupe paint colours (with slightly cooler surrounding finishes)
WOOD CABINETS WITH BLACK APPLIANCES
Unlike white cabinets, wood cabinets allow a ‘bit’ more room for black appliances as the combo isn’t as high contrast. That is, assuming your wood stain is mid-range or darker. This means you don’t necessarily NEED black countertops, as long as you integrate black somewhere in your finishes (check this out – I could do without the black range hood, but the hardware is STUNNING)
The oak cabinets in this next kitchen look SHARP with the black microwave. And while there’s a bit of mix and match with the stainless stove (I’d rather see the appliances ALL black), the overall look is working…
In the above situation, black hardware looks GREAT as it’s not as high contrast on the wood cabinets compared to white cabinets. A great way to update the above kitchen would be to add a medium-depth taupe subway tile backsplash, pulling into the countertop colours.
PAINT ‘COLOURS’ & BLACK APPLIANCES
While there isn’t a wide range of colours that suit black cabinets – the ones that DO work look pretty bangin’. And with these colours is where you’ll find it’s EASIER to get away without black countertops, as long as you bring black in somewhere else.
And unlike white cabinets, which are fussier, paint colours give you a bit more flexibility as to the range you can look at, including:
- medium-depth or darker green-grays as well as darker, STRONGER shades of green
- some blue hues, although green is a more NATURAL fit with black appliances
Generally speaking, the DARKER you go and/or the more STRIKING you go, the better chance you have of pulling off black, even WITHOUT black countertops! However, ensure you tie in black details SOMEWHERE in your design (i.e. cabinet hardware/faucet/light fixtures).
This next kitchen can BARELY handle black appliances (and is better suited to stainless steel). The paint colour is Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog. Even if we bump down one shade darker to Dried Thyme, the palette would rest a little easier.
In the above kitchen, the black hardware would definitely help black appliances feel more at home WITHOUT needing a black countertop – again, it’s really only white to light depth cabinets that NEED a black countertop.
PAINT COLOUR IDEAS TO GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES
- Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray
- Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal
- Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart
- a wide range of medium to dark green paint colours
- a wide range of medium to dark blue paint colours; ideally those with a bit of gray mixed in
- Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black or Benjamin Moore Jet Black
- medium to dark gray paint colours – gray IS the lighter version of black!
HOW DO I BRIGHTEN A KITCHEN WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
While black can weigh a space down, there are a few ways to brighten your kitchen up…
- white or off-white cabinets – definitely
- choose a backsplash that has a glossy sheen to it, helping to reflect light
- install under-cabinet lighting and improve your general lighting as much as possible (watch those KELVINS!)
- while black countertops might seem counterintuitive, in partnership with black appliances and a white, bright backsplash, the CONTRAST between these finishes will add energy to a kitchen!
3 Steps to Picking the Best White for Kitchen Cabinets
The Best Paint Colours for Kitchen Islands, Bathroom Vanities & More
6 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Update Your Home
So there you have it, my friends; I hope you found the inspiration you were looking for!
Looking for personalized kitchen colour ideas?
Check out my Online Decorating and Color Consulting
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2017, UPDATED FOR YOU IN 2022!
Thank you for this wonderful article. You just saved me from making a mistake. Question how do you feel about painting all the lower cabinets black, gray Marble counter and white backsplash and uppers?
Hi Kim! I think it could look very striking, just keep in mind that black is a high maintenance finish as it tends to show fingerprints/dust/crumbs etc… Check out BM Kendall Charcoal or Amherst Gray for a slightly softer alternative 🙂
Happy New Years!
Great article – and just the “summary” I was looking for. We are trying to figure out how to make our white cabinets and black appliances work. There is money in the budget for countertops and backsplash, but not a full kitchen makeover. Thanks!
You’re welcome Rachel, I’m glad you found it helpful – that’s what I’m here for!
Helpful article and images, thanks! I just bought black appliances and am now thinking what cabinet colors would look good with them. My thought is to do a deeper color (teal or blue grey) for the bottoms and a lighter color (cream) for the uppers. I plan to have quartz countertops in a marble pattern (white/light grey marbling) and maybe a weathered brick backsplash. I also am open to having a tiled backsplash. My uppers may even be maple wood as I plan to have them glass paned with hammered glass. Your thoughts?
Hi Tricia! When it comes to more in-depth questions I generally refer to my E-design so I can take some time with things and look at photos. My initial thought is that teal might be too green for a more traditional quartz with the white/gray look and I might lean a bit more toward a blue/gray, purple/gray or even a blue/gray with a bit of green in it as a happy medium! I might also stick with a more clean white on the top rather than a cream as the cream will come up considerably more yellow when it’s paired with white quartz countertops.
Hope that helps!
This was so helpful! My question is, if doing something similar to the Navy Bean Lane photo that has the Kendall Charcoal cabinets could you paint the walls another shade of grey? I love the lighter color paint but it will not last in my house between the kids and dogs!
Hi Stacey! You can definitely do Kendall Charcoal cabinets and gray walls – no problem, as long as the gray isn’t TOO DARK!!!
What color appliances would you suggest for Black kitchen cabinets, with white marbled granite?
Hmmmm, it could depend on how light/dark your kitchen is (natural light). I’m inclined to say that black would be too harsh, white too high contrast with the cabinets – so I’d land on Stainless…
I have medium gray flooring that has some tan. I have black appliances. I would like to paint the walls blue gray. What would you suggest for countertops and backsplash if I keep the cabinets white? I have enjoyed reading about your designs!!
Hi Mary! When it comes to personal questions, there’s so much more for me to consider like the type of tan in your flooring, room exposure, layout, etc…So, I would recommend you check out my E-design service which is affordable and fun! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/ This way I can spend some quality time with your room, rather than just guessing.
Hi again Kylie,
I am actually asking for your suggestions for my son. I do think I will definitely use your E-design when I remodel my kitchen. In the meantime, could you give suggestions for countertops and backsplash for my son? He has painted the wall Sporty Blue by Sherwin Williams which is close to a cornflower blue. Appliances are black, cabinets are white, and flooring is gray. I know that one of your suggestions for countertops with black appliances and white cabinets is butcher block. What shade of stain would you use for the butcher block? Oak, walnut, ??? and what would be a good backsplash for that? Thank you for your help!!
Hi Kylie! What about black stainless steel with white cabs? A light or dark countertop??
Oooo, I’d be going dark!
Hi Kylie! Thanks so much for the article!
I have all black appliances, and a light/medium gray countertop. Currently my cabinets are oak and I have no backsplash. I was thinking about painting the cabinets white as I want it to feel as bright as possible, and maybe using a blue/green tile for a burst of color for the backsplash. Do you think this would look nice or still too high contrast? Any ideas?
Thanks so much!!
Hi Hannah, thank you for asking! I actually have an e-design business just for questions like yours – otherwise, I’m guessing as to what your home REALLY looks like! I do try to give as much complimentary, helpful info on my blog as possible, and if that doesn’t work, it just might be time for me to take a look! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
I have light grey cabinets along the perimeter and a dark grey island with Black stainless appliances. What would you suggest for a countertop throughout. Thanks!
Hi Alberta, thank you for the note! I actually have an e-design service to help readers with questions like these, otherwise, I’m just guessing at the type of gray you have, lighting, flooring, etc… If you’re interested, the link is here… https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/product-category/interior-paint-palettes/
I so want to paint my kitchen cabinets but can’t decide on color. I have black appliances and a medium brown countertops. It has like a fall leaf kind of look in brown tones. My cabinets presently are that dated medium oak color. Please help.
I am building and I having problems with choosing between light French gray and Zircon SW paint. The whole back of my house is N facing not a lot of windows . Only a French door in Great room, and 1 window east side in dining room. All open space kitchen dining and great room. No kitchen windows as it sits on wall of garage. I won’t have a lot of sunlight. Cabinets are off white a hint of gray, flooring is a pergo grayish with some browns and blacks, counter that divides great room and kitchen will be a white with specks if blacks n beige . So I need some color yet not too much to darken the areas. Zircon seems to be a true gray not too much undertones come out but I also love light French gray. Any thoughts ?