Black absolute granite countertop with waterfall

Dark Cabinets in Small Kitchen: 4 Ways to Make It Work

One trick interior designers do to make a huge space appear smaller is to paint it with a dark color. Dark-colored walls tend to absorb light, tricking our eyes into thinking that they are smaller than they are.  

Does this mean you cannot use black cabinets in your small kitchen? Not really. There are tips and tricks to make a black or dark-colored cabinet work for your kitchen:

1. Use cabinets with open shelves

Using open shelves in your kitchen can lessen the bulk and provide depth in your design. It is also a current cabinet trend, making your kitchen look modern and sleek. 

Don’t be afraid to paint your shelves with a dark color because you’ll display things on them. Then, your small kitchen space will not look as stuffed compared to a small space with traditional closed-door cabinets. Plus, open shelves are easier to clean and maintain.

2. Add contrast

As mentioned, dark colors absorb light. You need to add color contrast to your small kitchen to make the dark cabinets look less heavy. Consider using light-colored countertops or light-colored walls. Opposite to dark colors, light colors are more reflective. They make any room appear spacey and airy. Using glass tiles also helps reflect more light in. 

Applying these tips will trick your eyes into making the room appear bigger than it is.

3. Use dark glass doors

Using dark glass doors instead of the typical dark-colored wooden doors in your kitchen cabinets also makes a big difference. Similar to the concept of an open shelf, using glass doors will allow your eyes to see through the cabinet. It is like telling your eyes that there is more space behind the glass. 

Using glass also makes your kitchen design look contemporary. There are different glass textures and finish you can explore, and some offer privacy while other designs can bring a lighter feel.

4. Add a black kitchen island

A kitchen island is one smart way of making a small space work for you. It can act as your prep table and can also be a space for eating and bonding. 

This tip is different because, here, you are encouraged to use more dark colors in your kitchen space to make it appear bigger. First, choose a black or dark-colored kitchen island and then extend it to the floor by using a dark-colored flooring. 

This eye trick will make your black island blend into the floor. In one glance, your eyes will immediately focus on the lighter colors in your kitchen. 


Never be afraid to explore with colors. While white is often the most recommended color for any space, especially small ones, other colors add the character and mood to any room.

The kitchen is said to be the heart of every home. Feel free to design and customize it in whatever ways you want to make it feel satisfying and homey. Some styles, particularly using dark colors, may seem problematic at first, but remember that there are several ways to make things work.

If you’re thinking of giving your kitchen a brand new look, reach out to us, and we’ll gladly help you. Granite Designer is the number one source of granite countertops in Auburn, WA. We offer different styles and finish depending on your kitchen countertop needs. Browse through our site to get your granite estimates online. 

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