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, reveling 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 Color 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 dishwasher…
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-colored 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 a few other ideas 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
WHAT COLOR/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; keeping black for rare occasions.
WHAT CABINET COLORS (OTHER THAN WHITE) GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
Now we’re getting into my wheelhouse. There’s a WIDE selection of paint colors that work with black appliances, including black, gray, blue, and green. And not just these, many WOOD stained cabinets 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 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, you’ll see stainless steel, but black COULD work, thanks to the black countertops!
Benjamin Moore Kitty Gray
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.
A FEW MORE CABINET PAINT COLORS TO GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES
When it comes to choosing the best color for your cabinets, the backsplash and countertop call the BIGGEST shots. However, you can often include black appliances in the palette with the following colors…
- Benjamin Moore Pashmina
- darker greige paint colors
- Sherwin Williams Dovetail or Gauntlet Gray
- Sherwin Williams Keystone Gray
- almost any white paint color (the one that suits your backsplash/countertop)
- some darker green paint colors
SAMPLING PAINT COLORS WITH PEEL & STICK
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out soon to grab paint samples – stop there! I want you to check out SAMPLZE. Samplize offers peel-and-stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER, and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a few reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1 DAY, depending on the location
- they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling
- if you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
WHAT WALL PAINT COLORS GO WITH BLACK APPLIANCES?
When picking a paint color 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 colors (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 colors.
PAINT ‘COLORS’ & BLACK APPLIANCES
While there isn’t a wide range of colors that suit black cabinets – the ones that DO work look pretty bangin’. And with these colors 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 colors 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 color 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 COLOR 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 colors
- a wide range of medium to dark blue paint colors; ideally those with a bit of gray mixed in
- Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black or Benjamin Moore Jet Black
- medium to dark gray paint colors – 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!
So there you have it, my friends; I hope you found the inspiration you were looking for!
Looking for personalized kitchen color ideas?
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ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2017, UPDATED FOR YOU IN 2022!