A popular look for today's kitchens involves using a combination of two cabinetry colors to subtly or dramatically change the composition of color in the room.

But designers should consider the longevity of the kitchen and avoid choosing colors based on current fads or fashions. A subtle refinement of shades based on earth tones is ideal: Natural wood with chocolate, mocha with vanilla, and ginger with moss are prime examples of these color schemes.

One option is to create understated elegance by using a contrasting color for just the cabinet trim. Or a designer can choose to highlight a featured cabinet as the only color variation, and then pick up the same color in corbels and posts.

If the homeowner wants a more dramatic kitchen, designers can use base cabinetry that is a different color from the wall cabinets. Typically, designers choose a darker base color to anchor the space. In some kitchens, the best place to add an accent color is on the furniture-look island. Many designers choose a dark color here and pick up this color in trim accents throughout the room.

Color is used to define the sink area from the storage space in this elegant bath.

Color is used to define the sink area from the storage space in this elegant bath.

Credit: Merillat Industries

In a bath, color can help define the use of space. The active center portion of the piece shown in the photograph at left is a soft linen glaze, while the storage portion is an earthy ebony color. — Nick Ritota is senior design and software trainer for Merillat Industries. He is a featured speaker throughout the country on product, design, and CAD software. Send him e-mail at nritota@merillat.com.

Tips for Combining Colors

  • Avoid trendy colors that your clients may tire of or that have limited appeal.
  • Use subtle contrasts of color within the same family, such as pewter with onyx or neutrals with browns.
  • Pick an accent piece and extend that color to the trim.
  • Use darker colors on the base cabinets and lighter tints on the wall cabinetry.
  • Pull a color from a tile backsplash or countertop into the palette.