As confidence with colour grows, decorating with black is becoming more common throughout the modern home. With black kitchens emerging as one of the hottest kitchen colour scheme trends to date, we’ve explored all the latest black kitchen ideas to help inspire you. We’ll showcase the many different approaches to take when going to the dark side.
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‘Black kitchens have been popular over the last few years, and the trend is set to increase further in 2021,’ explains Darren Watts at Wren Kitchens. But he has this warning if you’re thinking of following the trend. ‘A black kitchen can be really sophisticated and striking, but if it’s not carried out well, it can look overbearing.’
‘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 kitchen design can work in layouts large and small, with careful planning and considered styling. Take a look at our expert black kitchen ideas to inspire.
Black kitchen ideas
1. 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 kitchen features a green tiled splashback, which helps to a splash of subtle vibrancy, enhanced by the use of natural foliage in the space.
2. Choose black for a light-filled kitchen extension
Many modern kitchen extensions 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. The light-filled room is 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.
More ideas: Kitchen extension ideas – to maximise the potential of your extended space
3. 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. Choose to have the shelves made in an accent neutral shade to define the difference. Opening up the 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 idea is especially great when working with a smaller kitchen space.
4. 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.
5. Delight in the drama
Using black to decorate and style a kitchen 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Take a two-tone approach with cabinets
Take a soft approach to using black cabinets in the kitchen, but 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 – 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.’
9. 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.’
10. Surround black cabinetry with sophisticated colour
Choose a sophisticated colour palette of greys, rich walnut browns and gilded metallics to enrich black units. A matt 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.’
11. Paint the brickwork black
Paint exposed bricks black to welcome this on-trend shade into the space. The striking colour takes the brick aesthetic into a new style direction, moving it away from the industrial look.
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.
12. 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 feature wall idea is best used for the main wall – the one behind the cooking area – to anchor the scheme to the kitchens main purpose. Using open shelving allows the wall to serve as a backdrop for crockery displays, pictures and colourful cookbooks.
13. 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, 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. A black kitchen island in the centre of the room complements a surrounding neutral kitchen very successfully.
Related: Kitchen island ideas that create a focal point for family life
14. Embrace total darkness
Go for immersive colour throughout the space by pairing a black kitchen with a dark wall colour. A rich plum shade painted on the walls is a the perfect deep tone to compliment 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.
15. Go contemporary with streamlined cabinets
A highly contemporary black kitchen idea is to work in streamlined slab cabinets in matt 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.
16. 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. This kitchen 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.
17. Say it with chalkboard black
Give your black feature wall purpose by using a 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.
18. 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 – these kitchen splashback ideas are great inspiration, 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.
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.’
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‘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.