Help- Light or dark countertops with white cabs in small kitchen?

marg143July 28, 2014

Hi, I've been browsing this forum for several weeks and enjoying your comments and suggestions. Hoping you might be able to give some thoughts for my remodel in progress for my very small (but precious to me!) kitchen... I need to get counter decision made in order to pick a white for the cabinet maker... very soon.

In this small kitchen with no windows/only adjacent light from SGD 12' away, white cabinets, and for now keeping the white appliances, would you go light, or dark, with the countertops, and why/what would be the resulting feel/effect/style? The cabinet layout will be very similar to previous as shown in the floor plan, including the peninsula with 10" overhang separating Kitchen from DR. Thus, counters need to blend with DR also. The colors in the photo are a bit washed out and aren't quite that light in person (wall color is BM Stone House). Other choices will flow from countertop including floor and tile, but I'm thinking of wood for floor.

If I can't get a countertop decision in time, and have to give paint color to my cabinet maker, I'm thinking of going with Decorator White (trim in my house is Super White). Thoughts on that?

Also - I'm in Minnesota - in case that makes a difference for style. I'm also not sure about granite v quartz as I could live with either functionally, and would take thoughts on the visual impact of either (assuming granite = more pattern, quartz = more consistent/or solid) in this space.

Thank you all in advance!

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Let me start by saying I'm not personally a fan of white kitchens, however, in your case my first instinct is to go with light counters and wood floor.

Anything dark is just going to make it seem like a cave.

As far as choices of white for your cabinets, I would suggest checking paint chips/samples against your appliances since you will be keeping them.

A creamy cab might read yellow next to stark white appliances.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:50AM
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Will you be adding any overhead lighting besides the existing ceiling fan? Adding additional lighting will make a world of difference.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:16AM
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I vote for light countertops and wood floors.

I also agree having some recessed lighting and under cabinet lighting will help so much in brightening the space!

Can't wait to see how it turns out!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:47AM
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Light. We had dark and they looked very nice but went with light in our re-build. It's amazing what a difference it made. The dark counters just sucked the light out of the space, the kitchen looks so much bigger and brighter with the white. Posting my reveal so you can see the difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: My reveal thread

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:30AM
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I just did mine with dark counters but I have a narrow galley with two windows and some light also coming from the dining room. I get snow and didn't want my kitchen to be too "cold" when it's all white outside and inside, if that makes sense.

I'm sure you get snow, but if you have no windows, I'd want that space to be as bright/airy as possible, so I'd go with the lighter counters. And more light fixtures. :)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:46AM
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I agree with everyone else, light countertops. Wood flooring will warm up the space.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Light. Could you investigate something like a solartube or actual skylight? Will you have a real vent (which you could use to have airflow in there instead of the ceiling fan)?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:21AM
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I vote for light and I love white kitchens! I painted my countertops dark to see if I really wanted what I thought I wanted (soapstone). After a week, I realized what I thought I wanted for 2 years was wrong for me. I ended up picking Corian Witch Hazel....and they are going to be installed today! The dark made the small area feel even smaller....and, just dark!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:28AM
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We have a small kitchen with a bit more natural light. We went with white cabinets and dark counters (jet mist granite). I love the contrast that it provides. However, this was one of those things where I could have gone either way but my husband really preferred the dark so we went with that. If we had gone with light, it would have been Caesarstone organic white. I'm hoping someone else uses that, so I can live vicariously through them!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:53AM
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Check out FoxCrane's kitchen on this thread - white cabinets with a combination of dark and light counters. Gorgeous.

Here is a link that might be useful: FoxCrane's kitchen

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:34AM
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Another vote for light countertops and a wood floor. With no windows, your space might be too dark and gloomy with a dark countertop. And there are a lot of options for light colored counters that aren't all white if you decide you want a little color in there. Actually a colored countertop might really help your space pop, if that's of interest to you. And I agree that more lights in your kitchen will be really beneficial if you can add them.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Thanks, everyone! Wow, I really appreciate the thoughts, and the example kitchens, both of which are gorgeous. I'm going to be installing undercabinet lighting. And I may install recessed lighting and/or a pendant over the peninsula, but I'm waiting on that. I'll keep looking toward light counters... some of the granites that I have found i like in photos (kashmir white for instance) aren't readily available in my area (I think that its quarry closed down anyway). I've been having a difficult time finding a light granite that I really like but going out to look again today. I don't want to go too gray as an undertone but would prefer balance of warm/cool in the mix of colors. Or just quartz... So any suggestions on that, based on your experience, also appreciated! (Organic white Ceasarstone- check, I'll look at that one!)

If I can't come up with a definite on the counter by tomorrow, I have to give a cabinet color.... given my Super White trim, and the fact that the kitchen has no light, I'm thinking something that blends with that but is not so stark white. Decorator white sound good?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:04PM
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You probably saw this reveal with Kashmir White Granite.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kashmir White Granite

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:03PM
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We just did white cabinets with light counters and dark wood floors, and obviously I love that look. But just look at a lot of pictures to see what you like. If you like dark counters I think you can make that work with a light floor. Either a natural wood or some kind of light colored tile. I would avoid doing all three surfaces in a light finish.

I echo the call for more lighting. Everyone here convinced me we needed it, and I fought the idea (didn't want to spend the money). In the end, it was probably the best money we spent.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:05PM
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If you like Kashmir white, but thought it was too gray (and it is not available much here either) you might look at River White, which is very similar but is warmer, less grey. There is another white/cream/grey granite with a similar look but I can't think of the name right now.

I went with a darker granite in a small kitchen with medium-dark floor and light greige cabinets and really like it. I would have been very happy with something like River White granite too. I do have 2 windows on a northern exposure though I wonder if the addition of good LED lights offsets the lack of windows?

Overall, if you are keeping the wall color and doing a white on a cabinet, I would get a creamy -beigy counter (not too white). I am not familiar with decorator white, is that one that reads slightly grey? I don't think that grey tones will look good with the wall paint.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:46PM
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I hope I post this thread link correctly, but perhaps something like these countertops? The OP had painted her old countertops dark to see if she liked it, then went with this beautiful light Corian instead. I love its natural look. I have Corian myself. If you have your heart set on a stone, perhaps you can find something similar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Corian countertops

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Wow, thanks, really appreciate all of your time and thoughts.

Edb2n, yes, good thought about decorator white too gray - nixed that one. But now white dove is in the running... I'm posting on that soon.

Raee, I will check on river white, and yes, I will be using LED undercabinet (at least) which will help. I am indeed looking for more creamy-beigy counters, but not so many options it seems (would love taj mahal quartzite, that's another story..).

bpathome, yes, I agree - those colors in that counter (for me, in a stone) would be ideal.

Attached is a link of a bianco romano I saw today but it's darker than I'd like - too much of the carpet/wall color repeated. Want to find one that's lighter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Capital Granite

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:45PM
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light counters. walnut floors.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 3:54AM
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Hi, I'm a bit late on this thread, but I just wanted to mention we did very similar to the other reveal referenced above with Kashmir white granite / Revere Pewter walls / hardwood floors.

I'll just add that the choice of lighting (temperature wise) is very important. We were truly satisfied only when we switched the incandescent lamps for LEDs.

Here is a link that might be useful: At last, my kitchen reveal!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:18PM
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