9 Bold Kitchen Tips From Designers Who Love The Drama

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Getting dramatic for a kitchen design can be an intimidating project. Nervous to take the plunge with colorful cabinetry—or anything not white? Get a confidence boost with these inspiring tips from bold kitchen pros.


kitchen with dark green cabinetry, black tile flooring and wood table and chair

Benjamin Moore Lafeyatte Green colors the cabinetry in this kitchen by Donna DuFresne.

Go Big With Accents

Donna DuFresne, Donna DuFresne Interior Design

“Tile doesn’t need to be constrained to just the backsplash. Plus, unlacquered brass accents and a statement light fixture add a splash of drama to any kitchen.”

PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE PHOTOGRAPHY

kitchen vignette with black glazed tile backsplash, white cabinetry and white marble countertops

Matthew Quinn created this showroom display with a heavy dose of black.

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Dark

Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio

“The single-most popular color that is taking market share away from white kitchens is black. Black can be used as the cabinet color, floor color, ceiling color, countertops or all of the above, but it is here and as bold as ever. Some favorites are Farrow & Ball Pitch Black and Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black.”

PHOTO: ROBERT PETERSON

kitchen vignette with dark green cabinetry, green patterned wallpaper and terrazzo countertops

Raili Clasen combined Sherwin-Williams’ Ripe Olive and Avocado in this kitchen.

Get Inspired by Terrazzo

Raili Clasen, Raili CA Design

“We love using custom terrazzo as a countertop surface in kitchens. With concrete collaborative, we can customize the colors that go into terrazzo and match them with the paint color.”

PHOTO: KARYN MILLETT

kitchen with dark blue cabinetry, light blue island and white counter stools

To give this kitchen character, Lauren Nelson contrasted an island painted Benjamin Moore Boothbay Grey with cabinetry in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue.

Embrace Nature Tones

Lauren Nelson, Lauren Nelson Design

“Committing to colorful cabinetry in the kitchen can be hard, because cabinets are such a big element. But we find that clients are loving blue and green tones, which feel close to a neutral for many people, bringing colors of nature inside.”

PHOTO: BESS FRIDAY

bar area painted glossy maroon with crystal chandelier hanging from peaked ceiling and three counter stools

Enliven Nearby Spaces Instead

Chad Dorsey, Chad Dorsey Design

“Smaller spaces such as a pantry or bar can work well with strong, saturated color as an accent to the main kitchen area. Kitchens should pull in a lot of natural light. Lighter colors bounce light and work well for active spaces like a kitchen, where visibility is important for multiple tasks.”

PHOTO: STEPHEN KARLISCH

kitchen with white ceiling, gray cabinetry, black tile flooring, gold range hood, wood stools and white pendants

In her kitchen, Laura Umansky selected Hudson Valley Lighting’s Verona Beach pendants, Harmoni cabinetry, Daltile flooring, Sherwin-Williams’ Pediment, Monogram appliances and Silestone’s Ethereal Haze from Cosentino for the backsplash and countertops.

Think Beyond Paint

Laura Umansky, Laura U Design Collective

“Go with a dramatic floor tile. In my own home, I selected a large-format porcelain tile in a smoky hue that comes alive with movement created by the delicate highlights of light whites and grays. In addition, don’t assume appliances have to be boring; instead, think of them as the crown jewel of your kitchen. I selected appliances with brass accents and a brass range hood that captivates the room.”

PHOTO: MICHAEL HUNTER

kitchen with gray wood island, dark gray flooring, rattan pendants and wicker counter stools

In this kitchen, Krista W. Alterman paired a Williams Sonoma Home chandelier and Bungalow 5 barstools with rattan pendants and a wood hood and island.

Consider Texture

Krista W. Alterman, Krista + Home

“I like to add texture and often bring in wood elements to warm up a kitchen.  I’ve done wood or shiplap on the kitchen island and it also works well on the hood. I also recently put some rattan pendants in a beach house that really worked well with the earthy, boho vibe we created for the rest of the home. We added organic bamboo barstools to complete the look.”

PHOTO: EVE GREENDALE

kitchen with white cabinetry and large range hood, green patterned roman shades, marble countertops and backsplash and tan counter stools

Jolee Fennebresque used patterned Roman shades to add interest among kitchen cabinetry painted Farrow & Ball Cornforth White.

Play Up Soft Materials

Jolee Fennebresque, Fennebresque Interiors

“A great way to add drama and break up an abundance of painted cabinets is a pair of pretty Roman shades. We also like to use a warm stain on the island that works well with the floors to bring a grounding and cohesive look.”

PHOTO: DUSTIN PECK

kitchen with large metal hood over island, light green tile backsplash and wood counter stools

For this kitchen, Peter Dunham selected Mission Tile West’s Revival Classics tile in Great Gatsby Green.

Use Tile Creatively

Peter Dunham, Peter Dunham & Associates

“One way to incorporate more color into a kitchen is through tile. I like to use it from floor to ceiling—or really wherever I can. It’s such a practical material, and it decoratively really elevates the look of a kitchen.”

PHOTO: SAM FROST

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