Would you choose light or dark granite for this kitchen? (pics)

nancyrphFebruary 2, 2010

We're in the process of choosing granite for our kitchen. Both my DH and I thought we liked the deep dark granites, but when we brought samples home, we were surprised to find that the lighter ones looked better with our oak cabinetry. The darker ones made the cabinets look outdated (which they are, but aren't going to be replaced), while the lighter enhanced them.

So, just go with the lighter, right? Problem is, we've been to a couple granite yards now, wandering row after row of slabs, and it's almost like an art museum. There are some beautiful elaborate designs, colors, etc., and I think we lose focus. We want to choose the prettiest, most dramatic one, and when we look at the lighter ones, they almost seem "anti-climatic" if you know what I mean.

We were leaning towards Santa Cecelia or New Venetian Gold for the lighter version, and possibly Peacock Green for the darker.

Here's the kitchen:

Here's Santa Cecelia with our cabinet door:

And here's Peacock Green:

Any and all help is appreciated!

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The darker might contrast better with some of the beige in the room

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Your cabs are similar to mine. I'm opting to go with Lab Green (similar to Peacock) as my floors are light gray tile. We have a sunny kitchen such as yours, but live in the Midwest with many gloomy days in the winter. If I had a wood floor I think might choose the lighter color. You don't want it too dark. However, if your days are mostly sunny it might not be an issue. I liked NVG too!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:19PM
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If it was me, I would choose the Peacock Green, but either is fine--go with what you like best.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:27PM
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This helps me make decisions like this one:

I paint the general impression onto the photo and then I look at them through squinty eyes, seeing which I like better. (Don't laugh! I actually do this all the time with decorating and sizing issues!) : )

So: take a look through squinty eyes and see which leaves a better impression on you

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:11PM
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I like the lighter with your room. I think it goes with all of the colors you have.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:19PM
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I also like the lighter color countertop for your kitchen.

One quick question for you nancyrph: Is that the GE Cafe electric range? Do you like it? Anything you don't like?



    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:31PM
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I have to admit, I did chuckle at the squinty eyes trick....but it works! I think both are beautiful, but I prefer the light because it is very bright and cheery. Secondly, in my previous kitchen I had a light perimeter granite (either Santa Cecilia or New Venetian Gold -- can't remember right now) and a darker island (Polar blue -- which is black with big blue crystal things). The Polar blue was a gorgeous piece of stone, and I was so excited. But, after living with it for a few months, I vowed never to get a black (or dark) granite again. It was harder to keep clean --- it smudged and didn't look good unless I cleaned it and then used a dry cloth and "buffed" it. My light perimeter I could just wipe down and it looked perfect. My sister in law just got a light granite and her issue is that you can't see the crumbs! You literally have to get your eyes down to counter level to see them. She keeps her house very neat so this is a problem. Me on the other hand, blending in the crumbs is a good thing because they might not always get wiped immediately. The dark vs. light might have just been an issue with my stone, but I really loved the light.....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:31PM
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Ok, I did the squinty eyes thing and I changed my vote to the lighter. :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:39PM
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I squinted and liked the lighter granite better too.

I was very interested to see your kitchen because I have the same question. Oak cabs and trying to decide on lighter vs. darker countertops here. Only difference is that I have vinyl that looks like travertine with some green in it, and it's much lighter than your wood floors. I'm thinking that I need a medium green but those are harder to find.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:58PM
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I just went through the same thinking. My walls are light yellow, medium oak floor and medium cherry cabinets with the overall effect being much like yours. I started off by thinking a dark granite would be very striking. But when I draped dark cloth over the current counters, I did not like the room darkening effect, especially at night. So I chose one of the lighter white/gold mixes.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:20PM
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But I thought it would be interesting to see oak cabs with my lighter flooring. Appliances will be black.

I've been looking at Uba Tuba or dark green quartz, but I think they might be too dark. I wish I could Photoshop and squint like you!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:20PM
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I like the light countertop.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 4:12PM
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Wow, thanks for all the input! You guys are great!

Busybme, Thanks SO much for mocking up the countertops! I love the squinty eye trick, it really helps! I can visualize it so much better that way, rather than just looking at a 4x4 inch square sample. I think I really like the lighter look.

Mythreesonsnc, I had to laugh about the crumbs. I've heard some people complain about that before, but to me, that's an added bonus!

Pbear, yes that's a GE Cafe electric range. I love the look of it, and it preforms well. We did have a problem with the metal knob breaking off on the first day (but it was fixed within the week, and no problems since...) and the temperature probe melted (but it may have been "operator error"). But even with those problems, I'd still get it again.

Riverspots, I found some old wallpaper (looks like navy blue granite, which is close enough using the "squinty eye trick") and draped it over the counters. Really gave me an idea of what it would look like. I didn't like it - made the room look very drab. Did you get your granite installed yet? Do you like it?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 5:35PM
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My cabs are very similar to yours and we chose to go with darker counters and I really like the result. Our kitchen doesn't get a lot of natural light so I was a little worried, but it turns out that I really like the contrast:

We looked at a bunch of laminate samples that were similar to your lighter granite choice, but I felt that they were too warm with the already warm oak in our kitchen. This is what we started with FWIW:

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Nancyrph, I vote for lighter one. It just matches better with your light feeling in your kitchen. Can I also ask what color you have on the walls? It looks like it has a slight yellow cast to it?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Of those 2 I like the lighter, but what about a dark brown, or a blue pearl?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:39PM
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I have similiar color cabinets and have a light granite. I really think the lighter granite is the way to go. I fell in love with emerald Pearl, similar to your dark color, but after the squint test I decided I would not be happy long term with a dark granite. If your looking for more of a Wow factor just get something that's got more movement.
This is called Sara Diamond right after it was installed. I've since changed the cabinet hardware. The stone varies like crazy.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:12PM
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The lighter one for sure! I LOVE the granite above that susanilz has....look for something with drama in that lighter color. It's out there! FWIW I think the dark green indeed looks very dated as you have pointed out.

Have you ever seen the website by Maria Killam about color? Your stained cabinets reminded me of a blog article she wrote about kitchens and wood-stained cabs. Here is one of her articles on beige--her blog is really worth a read for those who want to learn more about color. I wish she lived around here, I could use her help! :)


    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Have to disagree with that. Scout Finch's dark countertops look really nice. (TKAM is one of my favorite books/movies, BTW, Scout.)

Just do whatever looks good to you (unless you're selling the house next month). You live there. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:19PM
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I like the contrast of the dark because the floor and cabinet colors are so similar. Or else look for a granite color with a dramatic mix of light, cabinet color, and some dark areas and bring it all together.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:36AM
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busybme, I really like the squinting trick! That works better than one might imagine. :)

At this point it sounds as though you have MORE than just 2 suggestions for color.

I think both have their own aura and it depends on what kind of atmosphere you are going for. When I squint, the dark green looks calm and restful, the carmel looks lively and upbeat. Are you home during the day? Or is your kitchen mostly used at night?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 7:46AM
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Personally, I would go with the lighter color. The peacock green that you posted, with the particular color of your cabinets, reminds me very much of something you'd see in the late 90s (I feel like everyone had honey oak and dark green countertops at that time). It's translating as dated to me...

That being said, it's a lovely color for sure.

However, the lighter granite just seems to sing with your cabinet colors. I strongly prefer it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:08AM
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Hi Nancyrph

I think that your kitchen is lovely. I would like to know your wall color too. I have light counters, light floor and my oak cabinets are similar to yours. I wanted a monochromatic ( beige on beige ) but I goofed badly on the beiges. I think that I have mixed pink beige with yellow beige and green beige and I can't for the life of me pick a pleasing wall color.

Looking forward to seeing pics of the installed counter.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:21AM
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The color on the walls is SW Blonde (above the chair rail - below is SW Lemon Verbena - a sagey green that is just a little too light). It is the 5th coat of paint on the kitchen walls! I finally tried it after 4 other failed attempts, all either too green or pink. I really wanted something with a yellow undertone to it. If you search SW Blonde on this website, you'll find lots of info. I should've researched here first and saved myself a lot of painting. But then again, everything looks different with different woodwork and lighting.

Firsthouse_mp, thanks for linking that website. I really have a hard time with beiges and greens, but looking at her examples on her blog, it looks so obvious. I can tell the green-beige, pink-beige, and yellow-beige right away. Why is it so hard looking at paint chips in the paint store,then - lol!

Well, I think we're leaning towards the lighter color. We are going to our fabricator on Friday to see what they carry in stock, so maybe we'll have a decision soon. I'll definetly post pic's when we get to that point. Besides, then I'll need the dreaded BACKSPLASH help - lol!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:13PM
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I squinted (what a cool trick!) and love the light granite best. It will be a beautiful update of your kitchen. It looks fresh and "carmelly" and makes me want to start baking. I've actually just starting to see oak kitchens making a comeback; so you can be in the vanguard. See some of the gorgeous Todd Hansen (Minneapolis designer) kitchens showing up in home renovation and design magazines of late and some beautiful IKEA Tidaholm oak kitchens on GW.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:04AM
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So glad to see a kitchen in similar situation as mine! I too have the medium-colored oak cabinets (which we do not have the budget to replace), wood trim, and just replaced my 90's mauve countertop with granite. We decided on a lighter Venetian Gold granite and we absolutely love it! I think brings out the gold, brown and carmel colors of the wood. An overall warmer feel with the lighter granite. Of course my dilemma now is picking out the right backsplash. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:22PM
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To my eye the darker counter contrasts with the cabinets, and then the cabinets stand out and look dated. Something more matchy, either in tone or color - I would call scoutfinch's laminate a medium tone which is why works (and the green goes with the slightly reddish wood), and susanilz's delicious caramel ice cream stone which is very up-to-date and pulls the cabinets with it.

One thing to be careful of with lighter stones is that they can sometimes be more absorbent and require frequent sealing. Our yard would let us take as many samples as we wanted so we could bring them home, look at them in our light, and most importantly leave oil, wine, ketchup, etc on them overnight. Seeing which ones soak it up and which don't can help narrow the set of choices.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:34PM
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I like the dark...it anchors the room. The light seems to make the room look a bit "washed out". However, what's most important is how you will feel in the room. It's easy to give others advise, but do you think I can make up my own mind on which granite I want??? ..........NO!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Before busybme, I would have said the lighter. But after the squinting test, I have to say I like the darker.

Busybme, what program allows you to do that? Love it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 5:18PM
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I love the lighter granite with your cabinets and your flooring.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 7:14PM
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Lighter is much better.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 7:59PM
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Another vote for lighter!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Santa Cecilia is an excellent choice for your kitchen. We have done many granite countertops in the Charlotte area -- Santa Cecilia is a favorite here and always comes out very eye pleasing.

Another color you may want to look at is New Venetian Gold:


Here is a link that might be useful: New Venetian Gold Granite Charlotte

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:56AM
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