choosing different finishes or materials for your kitchen’s upper and lower cabinets is a hot look in the design world right now. Contrasting cabinets add character and feel more like pieces of furniture — perfect for today’s multifunctional eat-in kitchens. Here, you’ll find some of our favorite coordinating looks for kitchen cabinets — be it mixing wood with sleek white, or a pop of color paired with a more neutral choice.

In this Victorian house designed by Tommy Smythe of Sarah Richardson Design, the cabinets were painted in a mix of colors. Tommy carried the two-tone look onto the countertops by using both marble and honed granite. “The homeowners wanted a house that was modern, youthful and colorful but classic enough that they wouldn’t have to redo it — maybe ever,” says Tommy.

Photographer: Angus Fergusson

Source: house & home January 2012

Products: Cabinets, range hood, Bellini custom Cabinetry; cabinet hardware, The Door Store; lantern, 507 Antiques

Designer: Tommy Smythe, project manager, Jenny Dames, Sarah Richardson Design

Designers Erin Feasby and Cindy Bleeks of Feasby & Bleeks design were able to keep the existing cabinets in this kitchen, but gave them a serious update with the help of paint. “Painting always offers a big transformation for not a lot of money,” says Erin. They chose Benjamin Moore’s Cloud Cover (OC-25) for the uppers and Wrought Iron (2124-10) for the lowers.

For an exclusive tour of this kitchen, check out H&H TV.


Photographer: Valerie Wilcox

Source: house & Home: Ask A designer Kitchens & Bathrooms 2015

Products: Faucet, Brizo; rug, Ikea; basket, brass tray, Pimlico design Gallery; backsplash, Creekside Tile; pendant light, universal Lamp; hardware, Lee Valley; fabric by Kelly Wearstler, Lee Jofa

Designer: Feasby & Bleeks Design

Homeowners Kenny and Michelle Gemmill were inspired by Cape Cod cottages when decorating their new-build in downtown Vancouver. (Kenny is the lead contractor on the hit TV show love It Or list It Vancouver). The bold tone of the lower cabinets, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Starry night Blue (2067-20), is thoughtfully balanced with crisp white uppers.



Photographer: Tracey Ayton

Source: house & home July 2015

Products: Cabinets, island, hood, Van Arbor Homes; cabinet color, Starry night Blue (2067-20), Benjamin Moore

Designer: Kenny and Michelle Gemmill, Kits Construction

In this kitchen, senior design editor Sally Armstrong recommends painting ceilings, walls and upper cabinets in the same creamy white hue if you’ve chosen a dark lower cabinet color. She suggests Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White (239) for the ceilings, walls and uppers and Railings (31) for lowers.

For an exclusive tour of this kitchen, check out H&H TV.


Photographer: Jason Stickley

Source: house & home Ask A Designer: Kitchens & Baths 2015

Products: upper cabinet color, Wimborne White (239), lower cabinet color, Railings (31), Farrow & Ball

Designer: Cameron MacNeil

Famed hockey player Trevor Linden’s L-shaped kitchen has a rustic-meets-modern look with white lacquer cabinets (concealing a double fridge and freezer) and floating uppers made of oak. “It’s Whistler, so we wanted that warm, wood-cabin feel but also a clean palette and minimalist look,” says designer David Nicolay of Evoke international Design.

Photographer: Janis Nicolay

Source: house & home March 2013

Products: Counters, Caesarstone Eggshell; tea towels, Örling & Wu; Martha sturdy bowl, cutting board, provide Home; vase, 18Karat; canisters, Homewerx; pot, Designhouse; flowers, Limelight floral Design; Gaggenau appliances, trail Appliances

Designer: David Nicolay, Evoke international Design

In H&H editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma’s recently revamped kitchen, she and husband Arriz Hassam of arriz + co. chose to paint their upper cabinets in Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White (201) and keep the lowers in warm wood. “Open shelves and no uppers is a hot look right now, but we wanted a more serene space, so we installed tall upper cabinets to maximize closed storage,” says Suzanne. having ample storage allows Suzanne and Arriz to tuck their kitchen essentials out of sight, while leaving room to place a handful of special items on display.

Photographer: Angus Fergusson

Source: house & home Ask A Designer: Kitchens & Bathrooms 2015

Products: Marble backsplash, counters, Ciot; stools, 3rd Uncle Design; rugs, royal Antique Rugs; cabinet doors, Mar-Tec Woodworking; stove, Wolf, pulls by Rocky mountain Hardware, upper Canada Specialty Hardware; sink, Blanco; island fabrication, custom Mobilia, wall color, Cloud White (CC-40), Benjamin Moore; cabinet color, Shaded White (201), Farrow & Ball

Designer: Suzanne Dimma; Arriz Hassam of arriz + co.

H&H senior design editor Joel Bray transformed a console table into a chic kitchen island in this timeless two-tone kitchen. The diy island’s oak butcher block top ties in nicely with the kitchen’s warm caramel lower cabinets and floor, while the base painted in Benjamin Moore’s storm Cloud gray (2140-40) pops against the white upper cabinets and backsplash. You can find Joel’s steps for this project here.

Photographer: Stacey Brandford

Source: house & home September 2013

Products: Stool, Morba; bowls (with fruit), Hollace Cluny; tea towel, ChairTableLamp; table painting, paint It like New

Designer: kitchen Island, Joel Bray

When H&H editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma first bought her home, it was separated into three small apartments. This 108-square-foot space once served as Suzanne’s second kitchen, but she has since converted the space into one large home. To maximize storage, Suzanne ran the upper cabinets right up to the ceiling and chose a glossy white finish and white subway tiles for a sleek look, which is grounded by dark lower cabinets. “I wanted a room that seamlessly blends with the rest of the house and looks a little like a French pied à terre,” says Suzanne.


Photographer: Angus Fergusson

Source: house & home Kitchens & Bathrooms 2011

Products: Stove, vent, sink, faucet, countertop, Ikea; subway tile, The home Depot; hardware, Lee Valley; rug, Elte; apothecary light, L’Atelier.

Designer: Suzanne Dimma

Montreal-based designer Jean Stéphane Beauchamp opted for perhaps the most classic cabinet color pairing in this kitchen: black and white. The dark moody hue of the lower cabinets is balanced by the light, airy feel of the white uppers. intricate detailing gives the island’s paneling added interest, so the black finish feels far from ordinary.

For an exclusive tour of this kitchen, check out H&H TV.


Photographer: Jason Stickley

Source: H&H TV, October 2015

Designer: Jean Stéphane Beauchamp

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.