20 Reasons Why Two-Tone Kitchen Cabinets Are Still Trendy

Dual-color cabinets add character and dimension to a kitchen design.

By Jasmine Harding | Published Apr 29, 2022 4:41 PM

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Two-tone cabinets are much more than just a passing trend. With the right colors, two-tone kitchen cabinets can be timeless. This popular design choice can bring depth and interest to the kitchen, creating some distinction between upper and lower cabinets or define different sections of the room.

The mix of cabinet colors can be subtle or bold, incorporating neutral tones or vibrant colors, as well as different materials and finishes to add dimension. Keep reading for 20 two-tone kitchen cabinet ideas to inspire your next kitchen design.

RELATED: The Best Kitchen Cabinets for Budget-Minded DIYers

1. Add a Pop of Color 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Two-tone kitchen cabinets are a great way to add an eye-catching pop of color in the kitchen. Adding color to cabinets offers a different way to play around with color blocking when compared to an accent wall. Paint contrasting sections of upper, lower, or island cabinets to add dimension. Mixed materials can add even more personality and visual interest.

2. Mix Wood and White 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

The classic combination of natural wood tones and clean white hues is a popular choice for subtle two-tone kitchen cabinets. The two neutral colors pair together beautifully in most contemporary kitchens. Choose dark woods and bright whites for a refined look, or match light wood and warmer white tones to create an airy and light feel.

3. Brighten With Cheery Pastels

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Pastel cabinets ooze character and are the perfect choice for a charming kitchen. Pairing a bright pastel with a neutral color can help balance the look for those who want a calmer color palette. A pastel blue and white color pairing has a timeless appeal that can be especially cheerful on sunny days.

4. Play With Pattern

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: ikea.com

If using two different colors feels too daring, a play on patterns is another option that captures the spirit of a two-tone effect. Perfect for minimalist modern kitchens, these cabinets from Ikea are a sleek and elegant choice. The plain lower cabinets and herringbone-patterned upper cabinets can break up a dark kitchen design and lighten up the room without introducing new colors.

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5. Blend Light and Dark 

White upper cabinets and dark lower cabinets are a popular way to set up two-tone cabinets. It’s an especially good choice for a small kitchen with two-tone kitchen cabinets and a white ceiling, since the light upper fixtures keeps the kitchen feeling open and spacious. This simple pairing is crisp and refined, offering a highly-designed look with little effort.

6. Set a Focal Point 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: homedepot.com

Color can be used to draw the eye to a focal point in a two-tone kitchen, so make a kitchen island the visual centerpiece of the room with a new color. Choosing a different color for the island can center an expansive kitchen, and these kitchen cabinet doors are a simple and elegant choice.

7. Display Natural Tones 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

When it comes to rustic kitchens, brown two-tone kitchen cabinets are a gorgeous option that take advantage of natural wooden hues to bring visual interest to the room. Different shades of wood stain (or different types of wood entirely) can add dimension to a homey kitchen—no painting required—and all without covering up the beauty of natural wood.

8. Keep It Calm and Cool

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

The kitchen can be a bustling gathering spot for guests or a quiet place to enjoy daily routines alone. Cool gray tones make a kitchen feel clean and calm. Gray and white cabinets can create a neutral backdrop for louder decor elements. Pair white and gray two-tone kitchen cabinets with patterned tile to add a design flair.

9. Place White Cabinets Below 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: ikea.com

While white upper cabinets and dark lower cabinets are a common two-tone palette, there are benefits to switching up the hues. White lower cabinets and bright uppers draw the eye up to the colorful cabinets above. This look is also more modern, and it can look ultra sleek when paired with glossy cabinet doors.

10. Choose a Soft Color Palette 

A soft color palette can make a kitchen feel classic and comfortable, whether you choose colorful or neutral colors. Finish two-tone gray and white kitchen cabinets in warmer shades to create this effect. This warmer two-tone color palette can take modern kitchens from cold to welcoming just by choosing the right tones.

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11. Go Retro

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Retro kitchens are all about playing with color, and two-tone kitchen cabinets present a perfect opportunity to do so. While bright colors are the norm, muted pinks, blues, and greens can also give that old-school effect, and pairing these colors with cream cabinets can allow the room’s colors to shine and make the look less loud. For a greater impact, incorporate a colorful or patterned backsplash into design.

12. Juxtapose Color and Texture 

To add even more depth to a kitchen, use two-tone cabinets that vary in both color and texture. This kitchen features glossy white upper cabinets and wood lower cabinets to marry sleek modernism with rustic warmth. The pairing creates a space that’s inviting and contemporary—the type of kitchen that’s pleasant to cook and entertain.

13. Incorporate Elegant Jewel Tones 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: kraftmaid.com

Jewel tone colors have a luxurious air to them. With deep green lower cabinets, this kitchen captures a feeling of opulence. Lighter upper cabinets make the room feel more open. While there’s nothing wrong with combining two dark colors, it can make the cabinets feel more imposing. These light cabinets have the opposite effect, and paired with a white tile backdrop, they open up the space and make this kitchen look even more grand.

14. Go Bold

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Want to add a bold color to your kitchen but not sure where to start? A set of striking accent cabinets might just be the answer. Bold, color-blocked cabinets can be used on the upper or lower cabinets to add contrast to the kitchen. Go with a striking color like deep red for a powerful effect.

15. Mix and Match Colors

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

While many modern two-tone kitchens opt for at least one neutral tone, those rules are easily thrown out the window for those who love color. Dual color kitchen cabinets put a unique spin on the two-tone trend. Is a whimsical kitchen more your style? Opt for two different pastel colors like mint and pink to create character in the kitchen.

16. Imbue Some Blue 

Two-tone blue and white kitchen cabinets are a popular and gorgeous choice that evoke a peaceful feeling. A rich blue hue and a bright white pairing can give your kitchen a fresh and clean look. This kitchen places the two colored cabinets with modern subway tiles and gold accents to add a bit of glam.

17. Opt for a Cozy Farmhouse Look 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: istockphoto.com

Two-tone cabinets look just as lovely in a traditional kitchen as in a modern one. These gray and cream farmhouse two-tone kitchen cabinets upgrade a classic kitchen look to make the style look more put-together and intentional. Red accents add a pop of color against the simpler gray and white backdrop.

18. Stick with One Style

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: kraftmaid.com

Mixing materials, textures, or patterns can create more dimension, while sticking with one material and style can create cohesion. The matching styles and hardware in these cabinets tie the room together. Instead of sticking with all dark wood, lightening up the upper cabinets works to make the room look larger and less crowded. All of the wood tones mix beautifully in the room to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

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19. Color a Modern Kitchen 

two-tone kitchen cabinets

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Sleek and shiny white cabinets offer an ultra-modern look, but they can feel a little plain to some. If you like the modern theme, consider adding a futuristic flair with deep purple cabinets. This playful color is eye-catching but doesn’t take away from the modern look. A purple backsplash design and accent pieces tie the kitchen together.

20. Create Instant Warmth With Dark Wood

two-tone kitchen cabinets

Photo: kraftmaid.com

Dark wood finishes can instantly warm up a space and are the perfect fit to add a cozy touch to a modern kitchen. If you don’t want wood tones throughout the entire kitchen, two-tone cabinets can bring in chunks of color. This kitchen cabinet set pairs deep wood tones with a neutral gray to add depth without being distracting.