Kitchens & Dining Rooms

Painting Kitchen Cabinet Doors Different Color Than Frame

Written by

Rosanne Jones

Writer, Designer


Steven D. Carrico


painting kitchen cabinet doors different color than frame

If you’re seeking an effective yet subtle way to revamp your kitchen, why not consider painting kitchen cabinet doors different color than frame? Yes, you’ve heard me right—you can indeed paint a two-toned cabinet, as this can enhance the kitchen’s visual appeal and give the illusion of space.

A few noteworthy ideas of two-toned cabinets you should try are wood-and-white, wood-and-gray, white-and-green, white-and-red, or tone-sur-tone.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the design trend’s what, why, and how, offering insights into how this simple distinction can significantly impact your kitchen’s aesthetics.

Should Kitchen Cabinet Doors Be Different Colors?


It is totally okay if you want to paint your kitchen cabinets with different colored doors, as long as it suits your preferences and the shades complement each other.

Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard with your hue mixing either—your color palettes shouldn’t have more than three pigments. For a cohesive and put-together scheme, most people would go for a two-toned coordination.

Advantages of two-tone cabinet design

  1. Money-saving: Replacing your entire kitchen cabinetry can drain both your time and budget. Painting two-tone cabinets doors can be a cost-effective alternative. With this, you can easily change the appearance of your kitchen cabinets without breaking the bank!
  2. Visual appeal: This design technique can capture the eye’s attention and give the kitchen a more dynamic appearance. Moreover, colored cabinet doors can showcase your creativity and make a design statement that resonates with your personality.
  3. Enhance the sense of space: The strategic use of color in two-tone cabinet designs can have a profound effect on how spacious your kitchen feels. For instance, lighter colors reflect more light, making the kitchen seem more open and expansive.

Steps to achieve a stylish two-tone cabinet makeover

Step 1: Choose Your Focal Point

Where would you like the primary focus of your kitchen to be directed? This decision will set the tone for your entire design, given that the centerpiece should differ in color from the rest.

Step 2: Choose Complementary Colors for Your Cabinets


Next, you can change the kitchen cabinet color to one that best resonates with your taste. Complementary is key when using two-tone cabinet colors; you need to make sure one shade is subtle while the other should be bolder.

To find out more ideas, take references from online images, compare paint samples, or visit kitchen stores for design inspiration. You’d also want to ensure your color palette won’t affect resale values in the foreseeable future.

Generally speaking, most people would pick a lighter color for the upper parts and darker hues for the lower ones`.

Step 3: Consider the Lighting in Your Kitchen


Recognizing the significant influence of lighting on color perception in your kitchen is also a crucial step. Both natural and artificial light can impact how a pigment comes across, especially in households that use colored light bulbs.

To ensure contentment with your chosen color, it’s advisable to assess paint samples in your kitchen, allowing you to choose the most suitable color for a better lighting effect!

Take your exploration a step further by considering the kitchen’s layout. The positioning of cabinets, windows, and light sources can interact uniquely with colors.

Step 4: Disassemble the cabinets and paint them


In order to achieve a perfect paint job, you’d have to take the cabinets apart and inspect them for any signs of damage. If there are any, address them properly before cleaning the cabinets, then proceed to priming and painting them.

Step 5: Finishing touches


When furnishing your kitchen, consistency is the key. You can achieve this by opting for the same style of hardware across all cabinets.

Note that the tone of the hardware should align with the cabinets’ color palette as well. This attention to detail elevates your kitchen’s overall aesthetics, creating a unified and polished appearance.

Kitchen Cabinet Color Combination Ideas

Of course, it’s important to choose a set of two different colors that will bring you long-term satisfaction. However, it’s worth contemplating the artistic impact of a two-tone kitchen, as shown in the combination of ideas below.

1. Wood as a natural color


Try using timber as one of your colors for a natural two-toned kitchen. The combination of natural wood hues and clean white colors is a classic option for wood kitchen cabinets.

You have choices like dark woods and bright whites for a polished appearance. Another option is to pair light woods with gentle pastel shades like light pink or creamy yellow. Alternatively, go for darker colors like gray for a more modern look.

2. Mix-and-match with white


White is a timeless option for kitchens, and it becomes even more appealing in a two-tone setup. Bright white is especially effective when combined with earthy greens or coastal blues, creating vibrant contrasts.

Moreover, you can pair this neutral shade with painted frames in red or opt for a more subdued palette like gray-and-white or brown-and-white.

3. Tone-sur-tone


Tone-on-tone color design means using various shades of a single color to create contrast and depth. This approach is ideal if you find it challenging to mix different colors but still want to avoid a dull appearance.

For instance, you can pair dark blue with a lighter sky blue or combine buttery yellow with fiery flame red.

4. Dark at the bottom, light at the top


A common approach to two-tone cabinets is having bright upper cabinets and darker lower cabinets.

This palette works well, especially in smaller kitchens with a white ceiling, as the lighter upper cabinets create an open feeling. This straightforward combination gives a well-designed, minimalistic, and modern appearance.

5. Other color combination ideas

In addition to the popular pairings recommended, there are alternative choices to consider for your cabinet, such as:

Stained cabinet doors as a decorative pattern

  1. Gray and orange
  2. Red and black
  3. Teal and coral
  4. Charcoal gray and blush pink
  5. Navy blue and gold.

You can also consider painting cabinet doors only with the color you like, while the rest of the cabinet stays the same.


Incorporating distinct colors for kitchen cabinet doors and frames is a creative strategy that adds personality and visual interest to your space. By focusing on a focal point and considering lighting, you ensure a balanced and harmonious atmosphere.

Whether you opt for classic combinations or bolder contrasts, the key lies in achieving cohesion. Painting kitchen cabinet doors different color than frame also empowers you to craft a kitchen that seamlessly marries style and functionality, enhancing the heart of your home with a personalized touch.

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