First things first: most kitchen designers recommend that you pick your granite counters before the cabinets. While there are many subtle shades of stains and paints for cabinets that can be mixed and matched with door styles, each block of granite is a unique natural creation. If you choose a cabinet first, you are going to be limited in finding granite that really pairs well with your cabinet.
Of course, if you already have existing cabinets, you have to start with what you have. In that case, when you are shopping for granite, bring along a door or drawer from your kitchen. This will help you visualize what the granite will look like in your home.
There are two main groups of pairings between granite and cabinets: contrasting and complementary.
A familiar contrasting combination is the classic white and black kitchen, but this category can also include such sets as espresso cabinets with a Giallo Ornamental Granite or light-to-medium wood cabinets with an Absolute Black Granite.
Complementary pairings don’t have to be monotone or flat. They can be crisp and bright like a white quartz counter on a white cabinet or warmer like a Hawaiian Bordeaux Granite on a maple cabinet.
Here are a few tips on picking the right cabinets for light, medium, and dark granite:
Finding the Right Cabinets for White and Tan Granite
It sounds like it would be easy to find something to match white and tan, but since most granite is not a true white, but has an off-white color and/or has other colors mixed into the pattern, you have to be a bit more strategic.
Of course, black or espresso cabinets usually form a great contrast, but if you want to have contrast with a more traditional stained cabinet, try to find those accents of color in the granite that tie into the cabinet. For example, a Typhoon Bordeaux Granite has cherry accents that will tie in well with cherry or any dark wood cabinets, particularly those with a warmer hue.
One easy way to tie in a light granite with darker accents and an off-white or cream cabinet is to choose a cabinet glazing that matches the colors in the granite. For example, if you have a granite like Giallo Ornamental Granite or Juperana Delicatus Granite, choose a chocolate or espresso glazing.
Finding the Right Cabinets for Medium-Dark Granite
Most granites you will see in this category are in the earth-tone family: Tan Brown Granite, Hawaiian Bordeaux Granite, Golden Sparkle Granite, and so on. These are particularly easy to match with cabinets because, more often than not, they have at least a few minerals that are wood-colored.
This category of stones goes particularly well with the familiar oak cabinets you see in older homes. If your existing cabinets are oak, you can either pick a complementary pairing by picking a more consistently medium-brown granite that has a gold or caramel hue or you can add contrast by picking a medium-dark granite that has large very light or dark elements mixed into the brown background. These stones also tend to match any natural-finished wood such as oak, hickory, or maple.
For a dark, sophisticated look, trying pairing a stone like Hawaiian Bordeaux Granite or Golden Sparkle Granite with black cabinets. The black cabinets will help the beautiful granite patterns to pop. To make sure the room doesn’t get to dark, add extra pendant or under-cabinet lighting.
Finding the Right Cabinets for Black and Other Dark Granites
A patterned black, solid black, or generally dark granite is a bold statement piece in your kitchen. In this category are stones like Absolute Black Granite, Titanium Granite, Cosmos Granite, and Coffee Brown Granite. When choosing a cabinet, look for a style and color that will complement your granite without competing for attention.
If you want to go the dark-on-dark direction, see what your granite looks like with cherry cabinets in a dark finish like Bordeaux or chocolate. Another popular options is an espresso finish, which gives the depth of a black cabinet without being too similar to the countertop color.
Dark granite is a great opportunity to experiment with different painted cabinets besides the common black and white. We’ve seen more and more homeowners using gray cabinets with dark granite to achieve a clean, contemporary look. You can also go a more colorful route with blue, green, or buttercup yellow cabinets. These colors all look especially good with a dark leathered granite or any soapstone.
One Last Tip
Whether you are replacing both your counters and cabinets or just choosing new counters, finding the right stone and wood finish combination can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many great choices out there! The best way to make sure you know your options is to choose high-quality granite and cabinet companies. They will be able to offer you personalized service and take the time to help you carefully consider the options that are best for your home and tastes.