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12 Creative Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Many of today’s most popular kitchens feature all-white interiors, black or white cabinets, and stainless steel appliances. Bright, airy, simple. While there’s something wonderfully refreshing about these rooms, there are times when eye-catching cabinetry can be the answer to a kitchen design dilemma.

Colorful painting options, a mixture of cabinet finishes, and interesting lighting choices are a few of the many creative kitchen cabinet possibilities. Some strategies can even be done as DIY projects! Browse the images below and see what grabs your attention. Because if it catches your eye in an article, imagine how it will shine in your kitchen!

1. Choose an unexpected color

We begin with a basic yet effective idea. Select an unexpected color for your cabinets! For example, cobalt blue is elegant yet unconventional. You can paint the cabinets yourself or order them in the hue of your choice, as shown by the vibrant glossy cabinets below. [from Urban Homes]

Blue modern kitchen cabinets

2. Feature more than one hue

What if you mixed it up? That’s right–use your cabinets as a canvas for displaying your kitchen’s color scheme. You get extra credit for choosing a combo that’s unforgettable, like the lavender, white and yellow cabinetry shown in this kitchen by Lago[from Home Interior Catalog]

A yellow and lavender kitchen

3. Display a Rainbow of Colors

Sometimes nothing beats a rainbow of options! When tastefully done, a rainbow cabinet technique is truly phenomenal. Especially when contrasted with stark white wall paint and trim. The fabulous kitchen below was featured in a previous Decoist post on colorful interior design ideas. Note how the upper cabinets are one shade lighter than the bottom cabinets. Subtle yet effective. [from Harvey Jones Kitchens]

Rainbow kitchen cabinets

4. Make use of chalkboard paint

Chalkboard paint is no longer just for the classroom. With the exception of the home office, the kitchen is clearly the room of the house that requires the most list-making to maintain. Think about it–from grocery lists to menus, the items that must be accounted for can seem overwhelming. But now you can keep track of it all on the outside of your cabinets! Functional and striking. See for yourself… [from A Beautiful Mess]

Kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint

5. Mix cabinet finishes

Just as mixing cabinet color choices can make a statement, mixing cabinet finishes can pack a powerful punch. While the white and wood-like cabinets below are both lacquer, the contrast between the stark solid and the patterned wood grain is stunningly perfect. [from Aster Cucine via Houzz]

Modern cabinets with lacquer finishes

6. Choose an unexpected cabinet shape

A unique cabinet shape is another great way to add pizzazz to your culinary space. For example, who would have thought that curved cabinets could be so interesting? And handy. After all, bumping into a curved surface is a lot less painful than running into a sharp corner on those days when you’re in a hurry! The kitchen below looks more like an art installation than an ordinary cooking space–mission accomplished! [from Euro Interior Collection via Houzz]

Curved modern kitchen cabinets

7. Go with see-through cabinets

See-through cabinets let your dishes take center stage. The translucent doors below provide some privacy without hiding the cabinet’s contents. Bonus points if you light the cabinets from the inside. Talk about a modern statement! [from M.A.P. Interiors via Houzz]

See-through kitchen cabinets

8. Make use of open shelving

Sometimes the most creative solution for cabinetry is no “cabinetry” at all! Open shelving allows you to make artful arrangements of colorful dishes, proudly displaying your collections. Why cover them up? While open shelves are ideal for spaces that aren’t too cluttered, they are probably not the best solution for kitchens that aim to hide excess equipment and cooking utensils. [photo by Kathryn Ireland via COCOCOZY]

Open shelving in a bright kitchen

9. Line the inside of your cabinets with fabric

Create a display of pattern and color by placing fabric in the inside of your cabinets, ideally against the back. Perfect for open cabinetry, fabric lining truly stands out, adding an element of surprise, as shown in the image below. Check out a full tutorial at Pretty Handy Girl.

Kitchen cabinets with a fabric interior

10. Upholster the outside of your cabinets

If you thought fabric looked amazing on the inside of your cabinets, try covering the outside of your cabinet doors with the material of your choice. Why limit upholstery to your chairs?! Adding texture and dimension to your kitchen with fabric is easier than you think, thanks to the help of tutorials like this knockout from Tres Chic Veronique via Apartment Therapy:

Upholstered kitchen cabinets

11. Combine cabinetry and open shelving

Combining cabinetry with open shelving makes room for both storage and display space! An artful choice, this solution is perfect for kitchen dwellers who don’t want everything exposed. [from Aster Cucine via Houzz]

Modern kitchen cabinets and shelving

12. Utilize creative lighting

What’s a creative way to spotlight interesting cabinets? Lighting them with flair! Don’t be afraid to illuminate sleek cabinetry with hidden strategic lighting. The lighting in the kitchen below is under the cabinets, yet it calls attention to the long lines of the room, as well as the olive green shade. And imagine what this kitchen looks like at night with nothing but the specialty lights on! [from Malcorboy]

Modern cabinets with strategic lighting

When it comes to creative kitchen cabinets, don’t be afraid to take a chance. After all, if you were considering something interesting in the first place, you are probably in search of cabinetry that can double as a conversation starter! And this isn’t possible when playing it safe. With that said, make sure you research your options. If you’re having cabinetry installed, go with a quality manufacturer. If you’re taking on a cabinet redo as a DIY project, make a plan before jumping in head first. Most importantly, enjoy the compliments you receive when the fruits of your labor are proudly on display!

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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