Planning your kitchen remodel? You have a lot of work ahead of you! Let’s help you through what is (arguably) the hardest step: picking the right cabinets and countertops for your new kitchen. Here’s our guide to finding materials that match both your vision and each other.
Decide on a style
You probably have some idea of what you want your kitchen to look like—even if you don’t know the exact materials you want. Start by narrowing things down to a style. Most kitchens fit into one of three general styles: classic, contemporary, and farmhouse.
If your kitchen vision includes stainless steel and a white subway tile backsplash against dark quartz countertops, you’re in the contemporary camp. In contrast, if you’re picturing a large ceramic sink, rustic features, and natural wood cabinets, you probably want to look more into the farmhouse style.
Style isn’t everything, but it’s a good starting point for thinking about what kind of cabinets and countertops you’ll need and what works best together.
Pick your star
The key to a great-looking kitchen is finding the right visual focal point. Where do your eyes first go when you enter the space? Here, less is more: too many visual focal points, and your kitchen may end up feeling busy, overwhelming, and even stressful. If you’re searching for the right kitchen cabinets and countertops, it’s important to decide which of the two is going to be your visual focal point—and which is going to play a supporting role.
This is really a study in contrasts. Eyeing a colorful, rich granite countertop? You should consider pairing it with a neutral-colored cabinet, such as light grey or white. A lowkey or understated cabinet color choice will help that countertop “pop” even more. This also works in reverse: if you’re thinking about adding dark cabinets with a prominent natural wood grain, you should look at a white, off-white, or light-grey granite or quartz.
Your new countertop and cabinets need to work together. Otherwise, there’s a serious risk they might end clashing in your new kitchen.
Shop for both at the same time
If you’re able to, shop at stores that carry both cabinets and countertops so that you can see both simultaneously. Most home remodeling stores have showrooms with “floor model” kitchens so you can see popular combinations together.
Short of that, make sure you get material samples to take back home and look at in your kitchen. Be sure to look at the countertop and cabinet samples together in different types of light. Both natural and artificial light influences our perception of color and hue—a charcoal cabinet paint that looked fine in the store under bright studio lights might end up being too dark for your more dimly lit kitchen.
On the hunt for design inspiration? Take a look at this new infographic! It breaks down several different kitchen styles and what types of cabinets and countertops work in each.