How to Style your Kitchen: Matching your Countertops, Cabinets, and Flooring


Cabinetry, floor color, and countertops are the three major components of the color scheme in your kitchen. Keeping your color scheme simple gives you the flexibility to change your kitchen theme anytime by adding highlighting colors through smaller items and accessories. Learn how to make your kitchen match with answers to some commonly asked questions about matching your countertops, cabinets, and flooring.

How do I Select a Color Scheme?

When deciding on the colors for your kitchen, a good first step is to pick out two complementing primary colors. Working with two colors will give you more opportunities to update your kitchen over time. A third accent color can be selected that brings the entire room together while giving the room a little character.

The style of your kitchen can help you decide on a color scheme. Modern & contemporary spaces lean toward brighter whites and stronger contrasts such as black and white, while traditional and farmhouse styles have warmer, more neutral colors with softer contrasts.

For more ideas on choosing your paint color, check out our post on the top 2020 Colors of the Year!

Traditional Kitchen

How to Match Cabinets, Countertops and Backsplash

Once you have a general color scheme in mind, a great next step is selecting a countertop or backsplash as one of the primary colors. Often, the countertop can be the signature piece of the kitchen and colors for cabinets, walls, backsplash, hardware, etc. can be chosen with the countertop’s color and pattern in mind. Granite, solid surface, laminate, wood, concrete, and stainless steel are a few options and selecting which top is a combination of personal preference and a top that will fit with your overall kitchen style (modern, traditional, industrial, etc.)

Most often, the countertop is selected as the primary focal point and the backsplash is designed in either the same material (like this Cambria kitchen below) or a complimentary tone that blends with one of the primary colors chosen for the kitchen.

For more information on countertops, click here.

Does the Island Countertop Need to Match the Perimeter Counters?

The kitchen island cabinet and countertop do not need to match the perimeter cabinets and tops and in fact can be a contrasting feature of the kitchen. Coordinating the colors will maintain the cohesion of the style. In this example, the dramatic island countertop compliments the perimeter tops, while the uniform cabinet color unites the pieces together.

Below the dramatic dark island and wood countertop, along with the lighting are the stars of the show in this kitchen with the cabinet style being the unifying element.

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Should the Flooring Match the Cabinets?

Two common ways to pick out your kitchen floor include: 1. Coordinate your floor color with your countertops and cabinetry; which will act as secondary colors. These secondary colors will help separate your flooring from your cabinetry and countertops. 2. the second option is to match your countertops and cabinetry and use the flooring as a contrasting piece. One popular traditional look, for example, is a kitchen with white cabinetry and black countertops with dark wood flooring. The black and the white are the two primary colors, and the dark wood flooring acts as an accent color between the cabinets and countertops.

If stained cabinets are part of your kitchen design and you are planning a wood floor, then the stain colors should be complimentary, but do not need to match.

For more information on flooring types, click here.

Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Styles and Colors

From contemporary to traditional, there are many different styles of cabinets to choose from. Choosing the right stye of cabinetry can be difficult task based on the many variables that go into a cabinet door. Deciding your budget is the first step when picking out your cabinetry. Knowing your budget will guide you when selecting the style, the wood species, the stain or paint color, and the hardware for your cabinetry. Another concept that will guide you when selecting your cabinets, is the functionality of your cabinetry. Where will your cabinets be installed? Your kitchen cabinets, for example, will have a different functionality than the cabinets in your bathrooms or your basement.

The color of your cabinets can be chosen to compliment or contrast the countertops, or can unite the color scheme of the rest of the house, a prudent option in open concept kitchen/dining/living areas. White kitchens are quite popular and if there is not a white color to pick from in the countertop, selecting one of the standard whites will work. Need some ideas? The following are some popular white cabinet colors we see applied to kitchen cabinetry:

  • Ben Moore’s OC-17 “White Dove”
  • Sherwin’s 7005 “Pure White
  • Ben Moore’s OC-117 “Simply White”
  • Sherwin’s 7006 “Extra White”
  • Sherwin’s 7008 “Alabaster”
  • Ben Moore’s OC-25 “Cloud Cover”
  • Ben Moore’s OC-65 “Chantilly Lace”

Should your Kitchen Island Match your Cabinets?

The kitchen island does not have to match the perimeter cabinets, although there are some styles of kitchens where matching can create symmetry. Selecting the island as one of the primary or contrasting colors can create a beautiful focal point.

Should your Kitchen Trim Match your Cabinets?

The answer is – it depends! Design elements to consider:

  1. Are the window, doors & trim adjacent to kitchen cabinets that are to be painted?
  2. Is there a significant amount of stained casing around doors and windows in the kitchen that the windows would match to?
  3. Is the pantry door or passage doors in the middle of the kitchen cabinets?

In general, there is often a delineation between the area being painted and the rest of the home that becomes clear when you step back and review the space. In this kitchen, keeping the trim stained made aesthetic sense with the open design and so much stained woodwork nearby.

In this kitchen, painting the window casing to match the kitchen cabinets created a cohesive, pulled-together look.

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For more photos of these kitchens, click here.

For more information on cabinet styles click here.

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