Kitchens have been at the forefront of design trends and for good reason, we spend a lot of time in our Kitchens cooking, entertaining and even helping our children with their homework. The kitchen is likely the most used room in your house. Today, two-toned kitchen cabinets are the look everyone seems to be interested in because it brings style and personality into a room that often is overlooked in this area. Two-toned Kitchen Cabinets create either a focal point of the room or serve a purpose of grounding the space. All it takes is one look to see why this trend is keeping homeowners, designers and contractors intrigued in the various options for two-toned kitchen cabinets.

If you, too, have fallen in love with the two-toned kitchen look, you’re in luck. In this Blog, we will explain some of the most common ways that homeowners and designers are getting in on this trend. Read them over and decide which one works best for your space. At the end of the day, whichever one you choose is guaranteed to bring plenty of visual interest to your home.


Often times, the island is a different color than the perimeter of the Kitchen, thus becoming the centerpiece or focal point of the space. This is one of the most common ways for someone to get in on this trend of two-toned kitchen cabinets. A kitchen island is usually chosen because of its central spot in the layout. However, there’s no need to feel limited by that arrangement. Before making your decision, consider using space planning applications to see how a splash of color can draw the eye to various angles of the room. Often, the Kitchen Island is the focal point of the space, containing a sink, cooktop or eating area. Also, many times, the island is the dividing piece between a Great Room and the Kitchen Area. Choosing a different color than the perimeter of the kitchen allows the piece to take on a furniture look. In the picture above, it is just that. The Island looks like an antique buffet that separates the Kitchen from the rest of the home.

After you decide on the placement of the island, it’s time to think about color. If you decide to do this, remember the purpose of a focal point is to be eye-catching. It can stand up to a big and bold shade. The hue you choose is entirely up to you, but those who want to be extra on-trend may want to consider a shade of blue or torquoise. Sherwin Williams - SW 6496 Oceanside is a great example. This color will pop as an island when surrounded by either grey or white painted cabinets. If your style is more retro, then go with any color on the Sherwin Williams Color Through the Decades: 1950s. We like Holiday Turquoise or Classic French Gray.

Don’t forget that instead of a paint color, you can use a different color stain on the same cabinet. That is using our Dickenson Shaker-Pure White paired with our Shakespeare Shaker-Sable or Truffle.

Bold or Darker on the Bottom

The two-tone kitchen cabinet design that we particularly enjoy, albeit not used often, is to paint the top and the bottom cabinets different colors. This has recently become very popular. Many times, this is done using a Shaker Cabinet or Transitional Cabinet like our Twain Series like in this photo, where Twain Classic Grey is paired with Talipot Palm, by Sherwin Williams. This look works because it allows you to make a statement by using a bold color on your lowers and helps to ground the space. Another way to do this is to use white upper cabinets with a darker shade on the bottom to help the space look larger as the lighting will bounce off the high cabinets.

Alternatively, try the lighter shade on the bottom as seen in this photo where Twain Classic Grey uppers are paired with Twain Diamond White lowers and island cabinets. This will create a cozier feeling by bringing the ceiling down.

New Colors

It is clear to see that painted white cabinets have dominated kitchen design for the last 5 years. Many times in a Shaker Style. This was an easy choice for homeowners as it provides a timeless quality and appearance (not to mention it brightens up the space). As a neutral color, white cabinets played equally well with virtually any design color scheme (blue, gray, red, yellow and even brown!). It is likely that we will never see white painted cabinets go out of style, however, there are a few new color trends are on the horizon.

First, we have started to see a slight shift away from white, and moving toward grey. Grey shares many of the properties that people love about white, but in a slightly more subdued tone. While lighter shades of grey will never brighten up kitchen in the same way that white cabinets do, many can come close, such as our Twain Classic Grey Cabinets. As a naturally neutral color, gray will also look good alongside warm or cool accent colors. It will still provide a clean slate and timeless design. For some, grey is too cool a color. If you’re looking for warmth, but still want to jump on the grey trend, we just released our Twain cabinets in a stained grey called Stonewood. This offers the warmth of visible woodgrain with the on-trend design flexibility of grey.

Navy Blue or Dark Blue painted cabinets have made a started to make waves this year as well. This was a surprise as a few years ago they were virtually unheard of. At the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2018 (KBIS2018), True Refrigeration was even showing off Navy Blue appliances. Navy Blue cabinets are not as common as White or Grey Cabinets, they can work well with virtually any style, decor or color scheme. Especially popular have been navy-color kitchen islands when paired with white or light-gray perimeter cabinets to achieve a great looking two-toned kitchen.

Beyond Paint

If a bold or trendy paint color isn’t quite your style, don’t worry. There are other ways to get the great look of two-toned kitchen cabinets. One of them is to use two separate materials in your cabinet design. A wood finish is typically selected for part of the look, but you could, for example, mix it with laminate for a sleek, modern look or glass and aluminum to give the room an industrial feel. A modern cabinet scheme in a dark brown stain contrasts beautifully with stainless steel cabinets, either in their familiar steel shade or in shades of red or deep blue. In this kitchen our designer used antique tin ceiling tiles for the front of her Sherwin Williams - Tantalizing Teal island. This dark metal ties into the perimeter cabinet’s gunmetal knobs and pulls. If you’re planning on mixing and matching with different materials, remember that design inspiration is the key to success. Use your intended design style as a starting point and then use "Start My Design" at Lake Street Home, working with a designer to determine which materials are most commonly used together in that aesthetic. That way, you can be sure that your final product will exceed your expectations.

Don’t forget to coordinate

Just like when you pair paisley with stripes, you should make sure that you include at least one coordinating element. Remember, when you have two distinct looks in the same space, it’s necessary to include a few details that will make it clear that they belong together.

You can go about tying your cabinets together in a few ways. Often, your cabinets will have the same style or have the same color pallet. Consider combining hues from the walls into your cabinet design. While it's unlikely you want a perfect match, accenting two-toned cabinets with a hue from the same color family as the wall can be a great touch.

Consider using natural/stained wood and painted of the same cabinet style to tie two-toned kitchen cabinet space together. We would also recommend using the same hardware throughout the space to bring the look together, which is probably the easiest way to coordinate any two-toned cabinet design. If you choose to use a uniquely different color countertop or surface in your space, make sure that the two different cabinets are similar enough to tie the space together. As always, if you have questions about your design, contact the designers at Lake Street Home for help.

Design trends in the Kitchen are nothing new, but we’re excited about what’s happening right now. Many of these trends are not fads but will be part of the design world for quite a while. Use the ideas in this article as your inspiration to create a look that matches your personal tastes.

What do you think of the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend? Will you consider trying it out in your own home? Let us know your thoughts.

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