Taking the Kitchen Dark

Image via Devol Kitchens

Going Dark

The kitchen always seems to be the first place I want to design on each project. Of course this is because designing the kitchen is really fun — but also because it sets the mood for the home. For instance, is this the kind of place where we’ll pad around barefoot on well-worn floors? Or the kind of place where we’ll have gatherings and host guests?

For our next project, I’ve been playing with the idea of going dark in the kitchen to establish a more serious and sophisticated tone. (We’ll likely use Shaker style cabinets to keep the traditional feel). While going dark can seem tricky — and perhaps a bit unorthodox — there is something so cozy about a dark kitchen offset by natural textures such as marble countertops and handmade ceramics.

Choosing the Right Tone

Once you’ve chosen you want to go dark with the kitchen cabinetry, it is imperative — hear me now! —  to take your time choosing the right color (admittedly, patience is not my virtue). Any color that is too dark and lacks depth can appear flat and lifeless, which will create a sombre mood (not ideal for a room you’re going to spend a lot of time in). Instead, look for a dark tone that has some dimension, so there will be subtle color shifts as the kitchen light changes throughout the day.

Although it requires some patience, the best way to find your ideal “dark kitchen color” is to paint a few large sample boards, and move the sample boards around the room during the day. It’s always surprising to see how the color changes with the light! (Or not, which means it’s the wrong choice). Personally, I prefer not to paint swatches on the wall because they don’t allow you to see the colors from different angles, nor eliminate any colors you think might not work. Also, I find wall swatches can be tricky because you’re always comparing one next to another.

For me, Farrow & Ball always makes the most interesting dark shades. Some of my favorites are RailingsOff-Black, and Hague Blue. Each of these colors has the necessary depth, and shift in undertones, that will ensure a warm and inviting kitchen.