Looking for a scheme with stand-out style? Then black kitchen ideas are definitely the way to go. Dark, dramatic and uber-chic, a black kitchen oozes sophistication and it’s easy to see why black is one of the top kitchen colour schemes for 2022.
But while a black kitchen might seem like a bold choice, there are lots of ways which you can work black into your colour scheme if an all-black kitchen is a step too far. Consider two-tone kitchen ideas that combine black with a paler contrast colour if you’re wary of using too much black. Or think rustic, and introduce natural surfaces like timber and stone to add calm to black kitchen cabinets. Or why not go monochrome and opt for black and white kitchen ideas if you’re after a classic look that’s always in fashion.
Black kitchen ideas
‘From chic charcoal to gallant graphite, black kitchen ideas are redefining cooking spaces thanks to its sophisticated dark tone that makes a bold statement,’ says Tori Summers, Director of Design, Product & Innovation, Howdens.
‘Easy to personalise, black kitchen designs can be achieved in layouts large and small with careful planning and considered styling. Whether it is a striking monochrome look, an engineered style, or a luxurious design that paves the way for entertaining.’
'The trend towards "black kitchens" was slow and sneaky, with black granite and marble countertops starting the trend,' explains Andy Briggs, Optiplan Kitchens’ resident interior designer. 'Then came a move towards black appliances, which are often seen as superior to the standard silver or stainless steel. Now, homeowners are seeking to add black cabinets, floors and accessories within their kitchen design.'
This bold design can work in small or large layouts, with careful planning and considered styling. These expert kitchen ideas will inspire you and show you how to use black and dark shades in the heart of your home.
1. Go for a rustic vibe
Lose the gloss and go for understated style with a classic black painted kitchen idea. Instead of high-shine cabinets, opt for a matt black finish that looks less showy and more refined. Matt finishes are less prone to finger marks too, so are a practical choice in busy kitchens.
Bring calm to a black kitchen by introducing natural elements to add warmth and subtle colour, such as a rustic timber floor, natural linen blinds and a veined marble worktop. Swap polished chrome drawer pulls and fittings for brushed brass to add a classy finishing touch.
2. Keep the look light and open
Too much black can be overpowering, especially in a small space or narrow galley kitchen idea. Instead of having cabinets floor-to-ceiling, consider getting rid of wall units and leaving walls open to give more of an airy, uncluttered look.
A long run of base units and a freestanding island will provide plenty of storage for kitchenware and crockery and with walls free of cabinets, a small kitchen will feel much lighter and brighter. If additional storage space is essential, adding a run of shelving will give display space while still keeping the open vibe.
3. Make it modern with monochrome
Introducing a hefty hit of black is a brilliant way of giving a plain white kitchen idea more oomph. While white kitchens are timeless, they can look bland without any contrast, so black makes the perfect partnership.
Black-painted brickwork adds a modern vibe against glossy white kitchen units and works well as a splash back and a backdrop for a dining area. Monochrome schemes work best when there is an equal balance of colour, so counter large areas of white with equal amounts of black for parity.
The joy of painting an exposed brick wall, rather than a freshly plastered wall is that it gives the colour depth, thanks to the texture. Just be sure to treat the brick with the correct finishing and coats to ensure a lasting finish.
4. Layer black on black
Try layering black cupboards and black walls for a sultry look that is full of sophistication. Introduce under-cabinet lighting for an eye-catching effect and to highlight surfaces for kitchen prep.
Black on black is an emerging trend that is set to be a showstopper over the coming year,’ says Tori Summers, Director of Design, Product & Innovation, Howdens. This intense shade absorbs light, creating a cosy feel in larger rooms whilst providing a versatile backdrop for vibrant pops of colour for added personality. Combine the dark tone with a matt finish to hide scuffs and stains for a kitchen that will look newer for longer.’
5. Bring pattern into the mix
Black is an elegant choice for a kitchen in a period property, with glossy black-painted cabinets and luxe white marble worktops creating classic style with a timeless appeal.
However, using black on its own can look a little one-dimensional, so adding different patterns, textures and finishes is key to its success. Make tiling a focal point feature with a combination of different patterns, from a classic herringbone-format splash back, down to decorative Victoriana-style floor tiles that grab the attention when you walk in.
6. Add black accents
Elevate a plain white kitchen by introducing black as an accent colour. Using touches of black can have a grounding effect in a pale scheme and give the eye a place to rest. It can also help tie a scheme together, with subtle touches around a room adding a unifying effect.
Painting woodwork and trims is an easy way of working black into an existing scheme. Standard white window frames, skirting boards and architrave tend to merge into the background, but painting them a matt black shade will turn them into a standout feature and break up a large expanse of empty wall.
7. Create focus by painting one wall black
Black makes a brilliant background colour and will make display items pop when set against a dark backdrop. Use a black wall behind displays of white crockery, kitchenware or plants and greenery to bring out the colour, shapes and patterns.
In large, high-ceilinged spaces, painting an end wall black is a clever way of reducing the height and making a kitchen feel cosier and less lofty. Opt for matt-black walls to create a more immersive feel.
8. Add colour in small doses
Offset the effect of a bold black kitchen by bringing in a complementary accent colour. Keep the look punchy by opting for a shade of equal intensity, rather than soft sugary shades.
Teal and black play perfectly against each other, with teal’s calming blue kitchen colour ideas helping reduce black’s intensity. Introduce touches of colour throughout the kitchen on tableware, glasses, textiles and paintwork.
9. Brighten up black with a contrast splash back
Bring warmth and colour to a mainly black kitchen, by introducing a contrast splash back in a bold, sunny tone. Revamping the splash back is an easy way of updating an existing kitchen, without involving too much upheaval.
Replace tired tiles, by re-tiling over the existing ones or opt for coloured kitchen tile paint for an easy budget option. As an alternative to tiles, consider a splashback panel in coloured glass, acrylic or laminate. Panels are a doddle to install and are easier to keep clean than a standard tiled splashback.
10. Work white into an all-black kitchen
While going wall-to-wall with black is a brave choice in a kitchen, it can look super-chic with a few key ingredients added. Large windows that let in plenty of light will prevent a black kitchen from feeling too dark and gloomy. And opting for kitchen flooring in a pale, light-reflective colour and material will also bounce incoming light around the space.
Break up the intensity of an all-black scheme by introducing white kitchenware and accessories that will pop against the black background. Try not to over-clutter shelves and surfaces, you’ll add more impact by keeping to a few select pieces. Less is definitely more.
11. Warm black cabinets with accents of spiced tones
Add warmth to black kitchen cabinets with the addition of earthy, spiced accent colours. From 'Spiced Rum' on the walls to coloured glass accessories and amber fragments running throughout the worktops, using a generous amount of warming colour helps to give depth to a black kitchen scheme.
This stunning black space features a green tiled kitchen splashback idea, which helps to add a splash of subtle vibrancy, enhanced by the use of natural foliage in the space.
12. Choose black for a light-filled kitchen extension
Many contemporary kitchen extension ideas will incorporate glass lantern roofs, skylights or folding doors framed with stylish black metal framing.
Take inspiration from this popular look to go bold with your kitchen cabinets. This otherwise white kitchen is filled with light, making it the perfect space in which black furniture and fittings will really shine.
'Charcoal is one of our most popular kitchen paint colours. It’s a shade that suits contemporary spaces as much as classic ones, big kitchens and little ones, and both bold and pared-back interiors,' says Nerine Vacher, Kitchen Designer at Neptune Fulham.
13. Break up block colour with open-plan shelving
Keep an airiness to a black kitchen colour scheme by choosing elements of open shelving throughout the design. Have the shelves made in an accent neutral shade to define the difference.
Opening up the kitchen layout allows the space to breathe, making it feel less enclosed. It's also a great way to show off your favourite ceramics and kitchen curios. This is especially great when looking for small kitchen ideas.
14. Keep it open with glass
Incorporate glass-fronted cabinets to break up the solid colour of the units. ‘Dark kitchens can make a room feel cramped and closed in if there’s limited natural light or if you're working on a small kitchen design,’ warn kitchen designers at Tom Howley.
‘One way to prevent this is to use open shelving or glass cabinets rather than wall cabinets’. Glass doors are an ideal way to show off your favourite glassware and a home bar area.
15. Delight in the drama
There are an array of black kitchen ideas to choose from, but using this shade to decorate and style a kitchen always creates a dramatic space. Embrace the drama and impact of this powerful shade by using it solidly throughout the kitchen.
From the wall cabinets and cooking appliances, to metal window frames and light fittings. Transform your cooking space with sophisticated dark tones that makes a strong style statement.
16. Balance black cabinets with white walls
Using black on only the lower half of the kitchen, i.e base units and island, helps to ensure the colour doesn't make the space feel smaller. Keep ceilings, walls and anything else above the lower units painted in white to maintain a sense of airiness.
17. Finish with brass fixtures and fittings
Burnished brass and gold kitchen fixtures are becoming increasingly popular, most likely thanks to the surge in dark colours being used to paint cabinets. Chrome in this instance just wouldn't add the same level of warmth to shades of black or indeed other popular choices of navy and forest green.
The warming qualities of these gilded metallics are perfect to add a sophisticated finish for door furniture, taps and even lighting. Keeping a running metallic finish throughout helps to keep the look matching.
18. Take a two-tone approach with cabinets
Take a soft approach to using black cabinets in the kitchen by going for a two-tone finish. In agreement is Wren's kitchen designer Darren, who says: 'One way to embrace the trend is with a two-tone kitchen idea – think black kitchen cabinets on the back wall, which you can then contrast with a softer shade such as pale grey, cream or a pastel colour.'
19. Frame black cabinets with marble for a monochrome finish
Encase black kitchen units within a marble surround to create an effortlessly chic monochrome finish.
'Thanks to the classic and timeless nature of the monochrome colour palette, there has been a rise in popularity of black kitchens over the past few years,' explains Optiplan Kitchens’ Andy Briggs.
'Whilst an all-black kitchen brings with it a distinct elegance and sophistication, it needs to be carefully handled to ensure the kitchen space remains welcoming and bright. After all, kitchens have taken on a much more ‘practical’ role over the last 12 months.'
20. Surround black cabinetry with sophisticated colour
In order to enrich black units, take inspiration from stunning grey kitchen ideas and select a sophisticated colour palette of greys, rich walnut browns and gilded metallics. A matte black finish is best in this instance to make the scheme feel effortlessly elegant.
'A great way to offset the darkness of black is with brass,' explains Andy. 'Think black cabinets and countertops, with accents of brass in cupboard door handles, taps and glamorous pendant lights. The touches of brass will ensure you still conform to the ‘black kitchen’ style, but brighten things up a bit and draw the eye to particular areas of the space.'
21. Set the scene with a painted feature wall
If you don't feel brave enough to go for black cabinets, make a style statement by painting the walls black instead. When using this dark shade in a kitchen try painting just one wall, so that it feels more like a captivating feature wall. This is a great way to add colour to an all-white kitchen, as shown above.
This feature wall idea is best used for the main wall – the one behind the cooking area – to anchor the scheme to the kitchen's main purpose. Using open shelving allows the wall to serve as a backdrop for crockery displays, pictures and colourful cookbooks.
22. Float an island of block colour
Inject a splash of the on-trend shade with the help of a kitchen island. The use of the darker colour on the central island helps to make it stand out in a white or cream kitchen idea, making it feel more purposeful within the space.
This idea is for those wanting the black kitchen look without committing to it in its entirety. This black kitchen island idea in the centre of the room complements the surrounding neutral kitchen very successfully.
23. Embrace total darkness
Go for immersive colour throughout the space by pairing a black kitchen with a dark wall colour. This painted kitchen showcases a rich plum shade on the walls as the perfect deep tone to compliment the black cabinetry. It's dark enough to maintain a sense of brooding opulence but bright enough to stand out against the black.
If using dark cabinets and a dark wall colour, there's the option to lighten things up with a brighter worktop. Wooden kitchen worktop ideas will add warmth but a composite white worktop will work wonders for creating contrast.
24. Go contemporary with streamlined cabinets
A highly modern kitchen idea is to work in streamlined slab cabinets in matte black. This high-design approach is ideal for a modern home, particularly one with an open-plan layout where you might not want the kitchen to look purely practical. Match the materials to that of the rest of your home to make it seamlessly blend in.
25. Make black work in a small kitchen
While using black in a kitchen can make a small space feel smaller, as Darren said earlier, it can also work wonders when used correctly. As this kitchen demonstrates, black needn't feel oppressive in a small space, provided there is plenty of natural light.
This compact kitchen is flooded with natural light thanks to a surround of glass walls. It plays to its strengths thanks to the high-gloss cabinets and high-shine floor tiles, both reflecting light back into the space to help enliven the scheme.
26. Say it with chalkboard black
Give your black feature wall purpose by using chalkboard paint. You can choose to paint the whole wall or simply select a section to act as a memo board to write the weekly shopping list or the to-do-list, or save it purely as a space to let the family share messages.
The purposeful black wall colour can lead the way to create a cohesive monochrome scheme, with a mix of black and white cabinetry and bold patterned accessories, like in this stylish U-shaped kitchen with gold and turquoise accents.
27. Stack colour on colour
Break up the block colour by using countertop cabinets on top of lighter worktops. Here, the black cabinetry is sat upon white marble to allow a break in the block black colour to the other side.
What colours go with a black kitchen?
Pretty much any colour goes with black. However, white is a classic pairing for a black kitchen because the monochrome look is powerful yet classic; bold but not scary. In a kitchen it's particular popular because white cabinets mixed with black feels less imposing, especially when the light and dark is balanced by using white units at higher levels.
Because it's such an absorbing colour – meaning it takes onboard the beauty of the surrounding shades – black can work with the vast majority of hues. Just think about the light quality in the room to determine which is best.
Also think about the overall feel you wish to create. If you want a stark contrast, go for brilliant white or cool grey tones. If you want to add warmth and depth, opt for burnt orange or golden honey tones.
'An option for brightening up a black kitchen would be to neutralise the tone with a non-black wall,' advises Andy Briggs. 'In stark contrast to the black, paint any available wall space in white to achieve a monochrome palette. Or for a splash of colour, use subway tiles in green or dark blue.'
How do you style a black kitchen?
Black kitchens are a bold style statement, so don't be shy with styling it out. Use rich metallics to add a glam vibe, from door handles to light fittings make every accessory count.
Use reflective surfaces or install stainless-steel appliances. These will ensure the space is filled with light. Because even in the smallest of kitchens, any light, from the overhead lighting or natural light through a window, will play a part in casting a glow thanks to reflective surfaces.
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Is a black kitchen a good idea?
Whether a black kitchen is a good idea or not is down to the room itself. 'The amount of black to incorporate in your kitchen depends on the space you have to work with. If you have a small kitchen, use black sparingly. Opting for an all-black design can make the room feel tiny and cramped,' Darren explains.
Another design element to consider, which can alter the appearance entirely, is whether to opt for a gloss or matte black finish. Darren offers his expert advice on the pros and cons for each finish. 'Gloss kitchens are ideal if you want to create a modern and contemporary look,' he says. 'They’re also great at reflecting light, which creates the illusion of extra space.'
'Matte black kitchens on the other hand, look ideal in a traditional style kitchen, and can create a rustic feel when paired with wooden worktops and accessories.'
Our black kitchen ideas prove that this 'scary' on-trend shade is a sensible choice, whether you love a sleek modern look, classic country style or something totally traditional.
Additional words by Lisa Fazzani
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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