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Do two tone kitchens look good?

Do two tone kitchens look good?

Two tone kitchens have become increasingly popular in recent years. This kitchen design style typically combines two colors on the cabinets, countertops, backsplash, walls, or flooring. The two colors are often complementary hues like light and dark shades of gray, blue and white, or black and white. Two tone kitchens can create a striking and stylish look in your home. But do two tone kitchens actually look good? Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when deciding on a two tone color scheme for your kitchen remodel or redesign.

Pros of a Two Tone Kitchen

There are several benefits that make two tone kitchens an attractive choice for many homeowners:

1. Adds Visual Interest

Having two colors in your kitchen cabinets, counters, floors or backsplash can create more visual interest than using just one tone. The contrast between lighter and darker shades adds depth and dimension. This can make a kitchen appear larger and more dynamic. A two tone color scheme prevents a monotonous or boring look.

2. Classic and Timeless

While many bold color trends come and go, two tone kitchens have remained popular for decades. The combination of a lighter and darker tone has a classic, almost vintage feel that fits well with farmhouse, traditional, and contemporary kitchen styles. This timeless aesthetic means your two tone kitchen has longevity and won’t look dated after just a few years.

3. Easy to Update Over Time

Painting your kitchen cabinets or adding new backsplash tile in a different color is an easy and affordable way to give your kitchen an update down the road. The two tone look allows you to modify just one of the colors to create a new look while still keeping the original tones as an anchor.

4. Combines Style and Functionality

Going with a two tone color palette allows you to choose one color for aesthetic appeal and the other for practical reasons. For example, white or light gray cabinets look bright and airy but may show dirt. Pairing them with a dark gray island creates visual interest while also hiding day-to-day grime in the high traffic area.

5. Matches With Multiple Design Styles

From modern to traditional to rustic decor, two tone kitchens can complement various design aesthetics. The versatile color scheme fits well with other kitchen trends like open shelving, exposed brick, stainless steel appliances and marble countertops.

6. Makes a Small Kitchen Appear Larger

Strategically using lighter and darker tones in a small kitchen can create the illusion of a larger, more expansive space. Painting the wall cabinets a light color and the lower cabinets a darker shade can make the room feel bigger.

Cons of a Two Tone Kitchen

However, there are also some potential downsides to keep in mind with a two tone kitchen design:

1. Can Appear Too Busy or Mismatched

If the two colors are not coordinated well, the kitchen can end up looking too jumbled or haphazard. Trying to mix too many different cabinet colors, countertop hues, backsplashes, etc. can make the space feel chaotic rather than cohesive.

2. Requires More Planning and Design Skill

Picking two colors that work well together while also complementing the floors, appliances and other elements requires some design skill. If the colors clash instead, it can create an awkward or ugly look. Hiring a kitchen designer may be worth the investment.

3. Resale Value May Decrease

While two tone kitchens are popular right now, tastes change over time. The color scheme may deter some buyers if you go to sell your home down the road. Sticking with more neutral cabinet colors can be a safer bet for resale value.

4. Darker Colors Absorb Light

Using a darker color on lower cabinets or an island can potentially make the kitchen feel darker or smaller, especially in a room with limited natural light. This needs to be balanced out with lighter wall and ceiling colors.

5. Shows More Visible Dust and Dirt

The contrast created between two colors means any grime or fingerprints can stand out more obviously. Higher maintenance is required to keep things looking clean compared to an all-neutral space.

Best Color Combinations for Two Tone Kitchens

If you decide to move forward with a two tone kitchen, choosing the right color pairing is key. Here are some of the most popular and attractive combinations:

– White and Navy Blue

Classic and nautical, this combo pairs well with chrome hardware and looks great in both rustic and modern kitchens.

– Light Gray and Black

This sophisticated scheme has timeless elegance. It works equally well in traditional and contemporary spaces.

– Off White and Dark Gray

Slightly warmer than white and black, this pair offers a cozy yet stylish vibe and matches with many design styles.

– White and Light Wood

For a beachy feel, try white uppers with light natural wood base cabinets. Bonus points if you add some hardware in an antique brass finish.

– Light Blue and Dark Wood

The dark wood offsets the airy light blue attractively. Use navy hardware for another dimension.

– Beige and Black

For a modern farmhouse look, couple a warm beige with crisp black accents. Don’t forget the hardware in black as well.

– Sage Green and Cream

A green like sage nicely complements cream cabinets for a light and natural look in cottage kitchens.

– Yellow and Charcoal

Yellow cabinets instantly brighten up a space while charcoal trim adds bold definition. Try red accent pieces for extra pop.

– Red and White

For drama, paint base cabinets red and uppers crisp white. Finish it off with gold hardware and light countertops.

– Pink and Black

Make a feminine statement by pairing powder pink with sleek black cabinets or details. This works in modern and traditional kitchens.

Should You Do an Even or Uneven Color Split?

When planning a two tone kitchen, another choice is whether to do an even 50/50 split between the two colors or an uneven distribution. Here are the pros and cons of each approach:

Even Color Split

  • Provides good visual balance
  • Can be repetitive or monotonous
  • Works well in modern kitchens
  • Easier to match decor and accessories to

Uneven Color Split

  • Adds more interest with one color dominating
  • Harder to find the right balance
  • Better for traditional kitchen styles
  • Allows you to emphasize specific features

Many designers recommend using about a 60/40 or 70/30 split for the best aesthetic. This allows one tone to take precedence while the other adds accent. Just be sure not to pick colors that clash or fight for attention.

Two Tone Kitchen Island Ideas

The island is an ideal spot to highlight your secondary color in a two tone kitchen. Some ways to use color on your kitchen island include:

  • Painting just the island cabinets a different shade than the main cabinets
  • Using two different cabinet colors on the base cabinets and uppers of the island
  • Choosing a colorful solid surface or butcher block countertop on the island
  • Adding a patterned tile backsplash solely to the island area
  • Installing pendant lights over the island in a coordinating accent color

Since the island is often the focal point, accentuating it with your secondary tone makes a bold statement. Be sure the finish and style of the island cabinets still matches the rest of the kitchen so it does not look too disjointed.

Two Tone Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

The backsplash presents another excellent opportunity to incorporate your accent color in a two tone kitchen. Some backsplash options to consider include:

  • A colorful geometric, floral or striped backsplash pattern
  • Metallic tiles like copper or nickel that contrast with matte cabinets
  • Vintage style subway tile in light blue, mint, yellow or pink
  • Mosaic tiles arranged to create stripes of your two colors
  • Handpainted tiles with fruit, vegetable or plant motifs
  • A combination of glass and stone tiles
  • A single bold line of contrasting color tiles

Keep in mind that cool-toned backsplashes like blue and green pair best with warm wood cabinets, while warm terra cotta and yellow look great with gray and blue cabinets.

Two Tone Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Your cabinet colors will define the overall two tone aesthetic. When selecting two tones for your cabinets:

  • Stick with either all cool tones or all warm tones rather than mixing them
  • Be aware light and dark colors will emphasize contrast more than light and medium shades
  • Make sure the undertones work well together, like avoiding a yellow-based cream with a red-toned brown
  • Consider how the cabinet finishes like high-gloss or matte impact the color perception
  • Choose greener shades of gray to match blue-green color schemes
  • Pick grays with a purple or red undertone if using reddish accent colors

Also remember cabinets do not have to be 50% of each color. Having just the island or lower cabinets in your accent shade creates a subtler two tone look.

Two Tone Kitchen Countertop Ideas

To harmonize your two cabinet colors, pay close attention to countertop choices. Some options include:

  • Quartz or solid surface materials that directly match one of your cabinet colors
  • Neutral countertops like white quartz to bridge very different cabinet hues
  • Natural stone slabs with gray veining to connect with gray and white schemes
  • Marble, soapstone or concrete for cool, organic contrast against warm wood cabinets
  • butcher block or wood countertops to coordinate with warm cabinet tones

Avoid patterned or colorful countertops, which can compete too much with two dramatic cabinet colors. Simple, solid counters create the best balance.

Two Tone Kitchen Flooring Ideas

Flooring can subtly help unite your two cabinet tones as well. Recommended options include:

  • Wood planks in a light, natural finish to match light cabinet colors
  • Darker wood floors complement darker cabinet accents
  • Tile flooring matching one of the cabinet colors
  • Patterned tiles containing both color tones
  • Vinyl plank flooring looks like wood but is more budget-friendly
  • Polished concrete or stained concrete floors provide an edgy vibe
  • Brick flooring for a vintage cottage feel
  • Black and white checkerboard tile for retro diner appeal

Aim for big, simple blocks of flooring color rather than busy patterns. And be sure to tie everything together with your cabinet hardware finish. Matte black, brass, chrome or nickel hardware pulls a two tone kitchen together stylishly.

Best Paint Colors for a Two Tone Kitchen

Beyond cabinet, counter and floor hues, the overall wall color you choose can make or break a two tone kitchen. Some flattering options include:

Cabinet Colors Recommended Wall Colors
White and navy blue Soft gray, light blue, green, red or yellow
Black and white Red, gray, soft yellow, pink or mint green
Gray and white Light blue, sage green, cream or terra cotta
Gray and yellow White, light blue, navy or olive green
Red and white True white, navy, gray, black or yellow
Blue and wood tone White, cream, light peach or straw yellow

In general, wall colors in the same tone or intensity as the secondary cabinet color create balance. You can even do an accent wall behind a stove or sink using that hue. Just avoid picking wall colors that compete too much with either of the cabinet tones.

How to Decorate a Two Tone Kitchen

Once your two main kitchen colors are decided, incorporate them throughout with:

  • Barstools or dining chairs that pick up one of the tones
  • Window treatments in a coordinating print or solid hue
  • Pendant lights over islands or counters matching an accent color
  • Colored glass vases, fruit bowls or cannisters matching cabinet tones
  • Patterned rugs containing both color tones
  • Artwork like colorful prints, food graphics or abstract designs with colors from the scheme
  • Fresh flowers on the table or windowsill provide pops of color too

Aim for a clean, decluttered look so the two dramatic cabinet colors stay the focus. Simple accents repeated throughout the space reinforce the kitchen’s stylish color palette.

Two Tone Kitchen Ideas: Conclusion

When planned thoughtfully, a two tone kitchen color scheme creates a bold, elegant look full of contrast and visual interest. Combining light and dark cabinet tones, complementary paint colors and decor in both hues results in a cohesive, harmonious aesthetic. Just be sure to select your two colors wisely, keep countertops and floors neutral, and decorate to accentuate both tones. With the right approach, a two tone kitchen can be both stylish and timeless.