/ The Editor

Ask the Editor: Colorful Cabinets

A kitchen with contrasting red and grey cabinetry.

Courtesy of xulinablu

Break up red cabinets with cabinetry in a complementary neutral shade.

How to Make Red Cabinets Work


Question: "I am presently designing a kitchen for my new home. I am tired of the "wood" look and that of white/ivory. I was thinking of doing something different and having RED cabinets built. My floor is dark hardwood.

The question I have is about color. What could work for a granite top and a backsplash? Also, would tile be the best choice for the backsplash (as opposed to glass/stainless steel)?" —Donna from Canada


Answer: Sometimes we all just want something different. You can definitely put red cabinets in the kitchen-just know that if you're going to sell sooner rather than later, red might not be to everyone's taste. In fact, you might tire of the look after a few years. Consider breaking up the red cabinets with cabinetry in a complementary neutral shade. For example, the culinablu kitchen shown here features red laminate wall cabinets and light gray island cabinetry.

You could also use the red cabinets to make the island a focal point, like the green island in this castled-themed kitchen. Another alternative would be to use red cabinets to make the cooktop or range a focal point, as with the green cabinets in this country kitchen.

Your material and color choices for the countertop and backsplash will depend partly on your design style. However, I recommend choosing lighter colors to balance out the dark shades of the cabinets and floors.

For a cozy country or Old World feel, go with warm red cabinets and gold-toned granite, possibly Kashmir Gold or one of the Juperanas. A cool red would look good with a light gray or white granite. Similar colors in quartz or solid surfacing would also work well.

In a contemporary kitchen, try a honed finish instead of a glossy finish on your granite, or choose a stainless steel or laminate countertop.

As for the backsplash, your options are limitless. You can continue your countertop material up the walls to your cabinet. A stainless steel backsplash behind the range can work in a traditional or a contemporary kitchen. For an Old World look, go with brick or stone

Glass, ceramic and stone tile backsplashes can work in nearly any style of kitchen. Tumbled marble or other stone tiles, often with metallic accents, are popular right now. So are hand-painted ceramic tiles or glass mosaic tiles, both of which are great ways either to add color or to pull together different colors used throughout the kitchen.