Can You Have Dark Espresso Cabinets in a Small Kitchen?


RTA Wood Cabinets

Julie S. sums up a sentiment we’ve been hearing a lot lately: “I LOVE the look of espresso cabinets. The dark color looks so sleek and sophisticated. But my kitchen is tiny, so won’t the deep espresso tone just make it look smaller? Can this design possibly work for me??”

It’s true, dark colors can make a small room feel even more cramped and tight than it already is. However, if you too love the trending style of dark espresso cabinets but worry it could never work in your not-too-spacious kitchen, take heart: there are ways this design style can work beautifully in your kitchen too.

The key to design with espresso cabinets, particularly in smaller kitchens, is to balance the deep shade with plenty of extra light, brightness, and pops of texture throughout the rest of the kitchen.

Here are five design elements that can complement espresso cabinets – so even your small kitchen can still feel open and expansive:


1. Bright Walls and Backsplash

If you want to use a dark tone for your kitchen cabinets, which admittedly will take up much of the visual space of what’s perceivable when looking at your kitchen, then you’ll want to be sure to pair those dark cabinets with light, bright tones for your walls and backsplash.

Shades of white and off-white are often a classic combination, creating that “cream and coffee” look when paired with espresso cabinets. However, if you prefer a more colorful kitchen, then try pastels or other lighter tones.


2. Open Shelving RTA Wood Cabinets

Another way to make sure your small kitchen won’t be dominated by dark color is to opt for open shelving. Ideally, you may even want to replace some of the upper cabinets with open shelves.


If most of your dark cabinetry is in the lower half of the room, but the upper half has only few accent pieces of dark shelving, then your kitchen will still feel light and capacious at eye-level and hand-level, which is where a sense of space really matters most.


3. Natural Light & Undercabinet Lighting

In order to make your small kitchen feel bright and open, you want to have the option to be flooded with light.

A big kitchen window can provide plenty of natural light on a sunny day, but it’s also a good idea to install the kind of white light bulbs that emulate natural lighting, so you can have the effects of sunshine on demand.

Your kitchen may also benefit from extra light in unexpected spaces, such as under the cabinets. Because your small kitchen is tight on space, you want to incorporate lighting into frequently overlooked nooks and crannies where the lighting will have an effect. Undercabinet lighting can brighten up the task areas of your kitchen while making the cabinets themselves appear more luminous.


4. Textured Countertops RTA Wood Cabinets

In order to tie the dark espresso cabinets with the rest of the kitchen design, you’ll want to complement the dark tone with pops of rich texture. One of the most striking places you can incorporate this texture is in your countertops.


Concrete countertops are one way to add a textured material that will play off the dark espresso color. If you prefer marble or granite countertops, choose a stone with prominent veins or a rough jagged edge that will add a sense of depth that pairs with the deep tone of your cabinets.


5. Glass & Mirrors

Your kitchen may be small, but you can create the visual illusion that it is much bigger than it is by using glass and other mirror or reflective surfaces throughout the kitchen.

For example, you might want to create an accent wall with glass or mirror panels that will make it seem the room extends further than it does. Or you might want to choose appliances or tiles with a shiny reflective surface that will help bounce more light across the room.

Are you interested in an affordable, practical, and gorgeous set of dark espresso colored cabinets for your small kitchen? If so, you might be interested in the assembled and ready-to-assemble cabinets we offer here at RTA Wood Cabinets. You can find out more and even get a FREE kitchen design by calling our team of kitchen designers at 800-788-7575.

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