Two-tone cabinets have been popping up everywhere in kitchen design in the past year and continue to grow. This new look for kitchens is modern, elegant and a break away from the monochromatic appearance of last year’s kitchen. However, the big complaint is that we assume there’s not much variety and we think they all look the same.

Here 12 ways to do two-tone cabinets so you can find one that fits your style!

1. Cream or White Wall Cabinets / Darker or Jewel-Toned Base Cabinets

Image result for 2 tone cabinets
photo: hgtv

Of all the two-tone style of cabinets, this is the most prevalent in many kitchen design pictures and magazines. Often the combination has been white wall cabinets with navy blue base cabinets since that color is trending this season. We have seen colors from jewel tones like maroon, to black, to slate grey to espresso at the bottom. On the top, the hues are closer to white like cream and beige. Although for cabinets, popular lighter colors like these are usually given names like “antique white” and “arctic white.”

2. White Cupboards for Dishware with Other Cabinets that are a Darker Color


This variation in two-tone cabinets draws more attention to the cupboards and dishware in the kitchen. These cabinets show an alternative solution to those who want the display of open shelving but none of the hazards. Having glass panels on your cabinet doors still shows your dishwares without getting dust on them. With this kitchen, this variation makes sense since on the right-hand side, there is a column of dual ovens. Attempting to divide that column by top and bottom colors would look too forced.

3. Dark Cupboards, Natural Textured Wood Base Cabinets

Contemporary kitchen with two tone cabinets with dark acrylic and light brown veneer and quartz island
<a href=httpsdesigningideacomtwo tone kitchen cabinets target= blank rel=noreferrer noopener nofollow>photo Designing Idea<a>

This reverse trend of darker wall cabinets on the top and textured, lighter base cabinets works well here. Since the kitchen background is mostly white, the midnight blue wall cabinets serve as a nice contrast. This design decision may be influenced by the use of the white stove on the left-hand side. If we went with white or light cabinets on top and darker cabinet below, the white stove would be jarring. By using natural wood texture, which is the only strong texture in the room, this highlights the stove as well. There are other textures like marble and subway brick lining the wall cabinets that add a subtle clean aesthetic.

4. Wall Cabinets and Base Cabinets are the Same Color/Texture, Darker Base Cabinets

This kitchen design uses the backsplash to playfully continue the theme of the wall cabinets.  The seafoam green European cabinets mimicked by squares of the same as backsplash tile makes the entire kitchen look cohesive. The matching tiles in different places add an interesting depth in this contemporary look. The contrasting dark wood of the Euro-style base cabinets have a silver handle that mimics the handles of the oven.

5. Island Base Cabinets are a Different Color Completely from the Cabinets Against the Walls

Island Counters are naturally a focus in kitchen because they are usually center to the room. If you want to add interesting aspect to an otherwise muted kitchen, a different color will change the look. Here we have island base cabinets in navy blue in the same shaker style contrasting against the gray shaker cabinets. This island also looks like much needed surface space in a large kitchen where countertops would be otherwise far apart.

6. Different Color Door and Style On Wall Cabinets, but Cabinet Boxes All the Same Color

<a href=httpwwwamazadesigncom target= blank rel=noreferrer noopener nofollow>photo Amazadesign<a>

The very subtle choice to change the cabinet doors can transform the look of a kitchen without great remodeling. These brown cabinet vertical slat doors different from the slate gray shaker doors of the base cabinets. However, the angular nature of both doors still makes the entire look harmonious. The matching trim at the top of the wall cabinets and around the kitchen window reinforce and unifies the kitchen.

7. Different Color Drawers and Style on Wall Cabinets, Cabinet Boxes all the Same Color

<a href=httpswwwapplegatetrancom target= blank rel=noreferrer noopener nofollow>photo Applegatetran<a>

We are seeing a lot of retro looks in these modern cabinets and this is no exception. Like a contemporary take of the Brady Bunch kitchen, this kitchen uses lime-green to contrast with purple-brown or “wine” color. The more interesting aspect of the kitchen are the structure of the cabinets themselves. The European base cabinets are drawers but the wall cabinets have flip-up doors so the panels all match each other.

8. Different Color Cabinets, One Color Over the Range and Island, but Different Color Elsewhere

Two-tone cabinetry does not always need to mean contemporary kitchen design, even though this is where it is prevalent. This is a more traditional looking cabinet with raised-panel doors and the range column and the island in all black. All the surrounding textures pick up parts of black and brown, from the wooden floor to the terrazzo countertop. The entire kitchen is three colors including white, so while these are neutral colors, it does not read as sterile.

9. Side-by-side Two Tone Cabinets

<a href=httpwwwrendallandwrightcom target= blank rel=noreferrer noopener nofollow>photo Rendall Wright<a>

I’ve seen this bold way to do two-tone cabinets with this same picture all over interior design blogs. On the right-hand side, we see all-white European style cabinets with handleless doors. On the left-hand side, there are dark brown wood grain cabinets with silver bar handles.  In any other scenario, this would look like a mismatch, but this bold aesthetic completely works here. The entire appearance is anchored with angles everywhere, including the kitchen nook chairs, and in neutral colors.

10. Different Color Base and Matching the Doorway, Different Color Elsewhere

This regal gothic kitchen has cabinets with either dark wood and stain to highlight the raised-panel doors… or black doors. Doors with raised-panels are some of the most popular choices so they blend with exist choices in cabinets. But highlighting the cabinets above the entrance gives the appearance of a grander doorway. This illusion is pronounced even more by blackening the surrounding cabinets to emphasize the door’s height.

11. Two Tone Cabinets with the Backsplash Acting Like a Third Tone

This spectacular and luxurious looking custom cabinetry uses bold design to completely transform the space. Earlier, we showed a backsplash that was an extension of the wall cabinets. Here we have a plum backsplash between the granite wall cabinets above and the magnified wood print base cabinets below. This creates a three-tone appearance combined with the backsplash, expanding the different ways you can decorate your kitchen.

12. Two Tone Arch

Displayed at KBIS 2019 (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show), this display created an arch from light and dark cabinets. Innocraft Cabinetry created an outside border that matched the central base cabinets, leaving the light-colored cabinets to make the arch. To add to the shape, there are three lift-up cabinets with frosted glass that read nearly invisible from a distance. This is a case where the design was thought out way in advance to create an intended effect.

Shop RTA Cabinets
Free Kitchen Design
Professional Discount


author avatar
Baseball fan, self-starter, band member, vintage furniture lover and identity designer. Working at the junction of beauty and sustainability to express ideas through design. Let's chat.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.