Darker hues and wood finishes are the look, but can we do better? Though “bright spaces” remain a popular choice, many designers say they sense a shift toward darker, moodier kitchens. According to a report coming out of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), dark/moody tones for kitchen designs are expected to be the top-5 options coming in 2023.
Dark, Moody Kitchens
The cause of this kitchen color shift is the expected response to people ready for something other than the bland-white design styles that have dominated the market at all price points. It’s definitely beyond its prime, but was it every really something that had longevity. We think not!
We need to incorporate color and kitchens will be at the center of it all. Let’s try and get it right, bit just through a dark tantrum after the sugar-rush of Halloween has faded even if the idea of dark and moody kitchen translates to “warm, cozy, and togetherness” for some.
The Color Trend & Countertops
Dark kitchens are trying for luxury and quiet comfort with dark, painted cabinetry, natural stone looking countertops, gold tones, clean horizontal lines, and a mix of woods.
It starts with a dark foundation like a darker forest green, dark navy, charcoal, or black. Greens and blues are already popular kitchen colors that make a rich, earthy choice when used in a darker hue. The strong color should definitely be used on base cabinets, but apply dark shades to both base and upper cabinets for a bigger impact. Walls can use a similar tone for depth and mood.
Wood, stone, and earthy colors are a must for this look. A dark kitchen can feel very intimate and calming and grounding, if it uses natural colors and natural elements. Wood (walnut and oak) and stone are key natural elements that try to complement with warmth by way of floating shelves, tables, barstools, ceilings, or other accents. Natural stone and stone-look countertops, flooring, and backsplashes are another option. Silestone quartz is the popular option because they contribute movement to a space.
Here’s What We Are Seeing
They are not half-bad but there’s no reason to go dark. You can and should do better! We just need more color and vibrance.
A better kitchen design has layers and it balances color with lighter elements. The number of light surfaces used in a kitchen will vary. If you’re committed to dark cabinets and walls, lighten it up with at least one of the other main surfaces. In most traditional kitchens, the countertops are light and airy. Since the surface is horizontal, the light countertop reflects the light to soften the mood.
In highly-styled kitchens, the glamour in the room is often in metal elements. Much like light countertops, metallics offer visual relief from dark colors. There needs to be a resting place for the eye, and the best way to do that is through accents, whether it be the hardware, a frame, light fixtures, a beautiful faucet, or just bowls that sit on a counter. Those elements don’t have to be metallic. They can be light wood accents, white apron-front sinks, and other elements that pop against the backdrop.
Varied Textures and Tones
The main thing is to not confuse the addition of color in a monochromatic style. They need to be complementary but not in the same range. We certainly want to avoid monotone. Use varying shades and textures with fresh tones is key to making it work while not looking one-note. If you have a dominant color, look for ways to vary it with things like 3D reliefs or texture o create dimension.
Minimizing the presence of appliances is a way to create warmth and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Appliances should be concealed with paneled fronts, and the range hood camouflaged with something like stone, wood, or plaster so that it blends with the rest of the kitchen. Countertop appliances should be tucked away inside cabinets or located in a pantry.
Many pros agree that the clean horizontal lines of modern or transitional styles are a great canvas. The stones and woods common in midcentury design are also perfect complements. You might find that the color balance in a moody kitchen is one way to make this look lean more contemporary or more traditional. The modern kitchen is usually paired with darker countertops while the traditional and transitional kitchen is paired with the light, marble-like tops.
Lighting is imperative for functionality in every kitchen and it is especially important in a kitchen when you add color. Hopefully you have natural light to work with, which provides the warm glow that supports the aesthetic. In addition to the natural light, incorporate a decorative mirror to expands the space and reflect the fresh color we all need to add to our kitchens and homes going into 2023.