Should your kitchen cabinet color match your wall color? Interior designers weigh in

When designing a kitchen, one of the most important decisions is choosing the color palette. A key question that often comes up is whether the kitchen cabinet color should match the wall color or not. This seemingly simple decision can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the space. Interior designers have varying opinions on the matter, but generally agree on some guiding principles.

Factors to consider when selecting cabinet and wall colors

Several factors come into play when deciding if your kitchen cabinets and walls should be the same color or not. Here are some things to think about:

The size of the space

  • In a small kitchen, opting for matching cabinet and wall colors can make the space appear larger and more continuous. Different colors in a small space can look busy and choppy.
  • With a spacious kitchen, there is more room to play with contrasting colors without making the space feel cluttered. Bold and contrasting cabinet and wall colors can define different zones.

The cabinet style

  • Contemporary, sleek cabinet styles suit a monochromatic look with matching walls.
  • More traditional or ornate cabinetry pairs well with contrasting wall colors to make the details pop.


  • In a kitchen with great natural light, the cabinets and walls can handle bolder, darker colors.
  • With poorer lighting, lighter wall colors paired with slightly darker cabinets can brighten up the space.

Personal style and mood

  • Matching cabinet and wall colors generally create a more monochromatic, minimalist, and seamless look.
  • Different cabinet and wall colors provide more contrast and a lively, energetic vibe.

Reasons to match kitchen cabinet and wall color

Here are some benefits of opting for uniform cabinet and wall colors:

Appears more spacious

Matching paint on the cabinets and walls can make a kitchen appear larger by blurring the lines between elements. It creates an unbroken visual flow. This approach is especially useful for smaller kitchens.

Clean and streamlined

Continuous use of color between the cabinets and walls creates a sleek, contemporary look. It’s a pared-down aesthetic perfect for modern kitchen designs.

Highlights architectural details

Using the same color on walls and cabinetry removes visual barriers so interesting architectural aspects like windows, arches and exposed beams can take center stage.

Provides a neutral backdrop

Monochromatic cabinet and wall colors act as a blank canvas that allows other elements like hardware, lighting fixtures or tile backsplashes to pop.

Easy to change later

Sticking with one main kitchen color scheme makes it easier to swap out accent pieces down the road without having to completely rethink your design.

Reasons to use different cabinet and wall colors

There are also many benefits to selecting contrasting cabinet and wall palettes:

Adds visual interest

Different colors on your cabinets and walls create more overall visual dynamics and interest than a mono look. The contrast can lend energy to the kitchen.

Defines functional zones

Varying the color between your cabinetry and walls helps define different task areas, like separating a cooking zone from entertaining space.

Makes small spaces feel bigger

Contrary to matching colors to create the illusion of size, some designers use contrasting colors in tight spaces to make them appear larger and less boxy.

Highlights beautiful cabinetry

Using a different wall color as a backdrop helps accentuate the details and craftsmanship of high-end custom cabinetry so it can really stand out.

Allows more creativity and self-expression

Combining complimentary paint colors on walls and cabinets provides more opportunity to add your unique personal style into the kitchen.

Tips for coordinating kitchen cabinet and wall colors

If you opt to use different colors on your kitchen cabinetry and walls, follow these guidelines to ensure they work together seamlessly:

  • Choose analogous hues like blues and greens that sit next to each other on the color wheel so they complement rather than clash.
  • Vary textures between the cabinets and walls, like pairing glossy cabinets with matte walls, to provide definition.
  • Tie the space together with common accents in the hardware, backsplash tile, window treatments or countertops.
  • Use the 60-30-10 rule, making the cabinet color 60% dominant, walls 30% secondary, and accents 10% for punch.
  • Ensure there is enough contrast between the colors so they are visually distinct. If colors are too similar they will compete.

Cabinet and wall color combinations to consider

Not sure where to start when selecting coordinated kitchen cabinet and wall paints? Here are some stylish designer-approved ideas:

White cabinets + blue walls

Crisp white cabinetry opened up against a rich navy or airy robin’s egg blue wall evokes a timeless nautical kitchen aesthetic.

White cabinets + green walls

Bright kelly green or sage-hued walls give white cabinets a fresh, lively feel. This combo works well in modern, cottage and transitional kitchens.

Gray cabinets + yellow walls

Warm golden or mustard-colored walls provide an uplifting contrast against popular gray painted cabinets.

Wood cabinets + terracotta walls

The organic look of wood cabinetry complements the earthiness of rust, brick red or terracotta walls for a charming rustic kitchen.

Espresso cabinets + taupe walls

Deep espresso-stained cabinets make a striking statement against neutral, soothing taupe walls for a cozy kitchen.

Black cabinets + white walls

This dramatic combo pairs moody black stained or painted cabinets with bright white walls and pops of metallic accents.

Hiring an interior designer

Kitchen cabinet and wall color selection involves carefully weighing practicalities like lighting and layout along with personal style preferences. If struggling to settle on a palette, consider hiring a kitchen designer.

Interior designers are experts at:

  • Determining appropriate color combinations based on the architecture and lighting.

-Selecting hues that achieve your desired aesthetic, whether it’s rustic charm or contemporary edge.

  • Pulling together all the elements like cabinetry, flooring and backsplashes into a holistic kitchen design.

Many designers offer initial consultations to review your kitchen and help guide your remodel while staying within budget. Investing in their specialized knowledge can ensure your cabinet and wall colors coordinate as a cohesive space.

Frequently Asked Questions about coordinating kitchen cabinet and wall colors

Should kitchen cabinets and walls be the same color?

It depends on your personal taste and kitchen architecture. Some designers recommend matching cabinet and wall colors to create an airier, more spacious look. Others suggest contrasting colors for defined cabinetry and visual interest.

What if I have different types of cabinets?

If mixing cabinet materials like wood uppers with painted lowers, consider coordinating their stains or paints. Or use wall color to tie varied cabinetry together.

How do I coordinate countertop and backsplash with cabinet/wall colors?

These elements should complement your overall palette. For example, white cabinets and green walls could pair with neutral quartz counters and green mosaic tile backsplash.

Should I paint my lower cabinets a darker color than uppers?

Yes, this can provide contrast and ground bottom cabinets since they’re viewed up close. Just ensure the tones coordinate.

What sheen should I use on kitchen cabinets?

Flat or eggshell paints work for walls while cabinetry often benefits from satin, semi-gloss or high-gloss for durability and shine.


Deciding whether to match your kitchen cabinet color and wall color comes down to spatial factors and personal preference. While some designers firmly believe in either matching or contrasting, there’s creative potential in both approaches. Just ensure proper coordination so hues complement rather than compete. An experienced kitchen designer can help blend practical considerations like lighting with your desired aesthetic. With thoughtful color selection, your kitchen cabinets and walls can feel unified or boldly dynamic.