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Should Kitchen Cabinets Match Trim?

Should Kitchen Cabinets Match Trim?

There’s often one big question that comes up during both new builds and remodels. Should kitchen cabinets match trim?

Take a look at the prevailing design theories when it comes to how cabinets and trim should go together.

Matching Cabinets With Trim: Is It a Do or a Don’t?

Most professional designers agree that kitchen cabinets matching trim is a good design choice. At a minimum, the relationship between cabinets and trim should at least be taken into consideration when choosing colors.

However, how closely you choose to stick to match the cabinets and trim in your home really comes down to personal preference.

That being said, there are wrong ways and right ways to do both!

Here’s what else I’ll be covering in this article:

Matching Cabinets With Trim: How Do You Do It Properly?

The easiest way to match cabinets and trim is to just continue with the same color for your cabinet surfaces and trim.

Most people who follow this school of thought also believe that any molding that is present in the kitchen should also be done in the same color as the cabinets and trim.

There are really two options for “matching” cabinets with trim without actually matching them.

  • The first is to use complementary colors.
  • The second is to use contrasting colors.

The easiest way to start is to simply look at a color wheel to see what options you have to work with based on the finish you’ve chosen for your cabinets. There are some rules when working with complementary and contrasting colors.

As a simple rule, kitchen cabinets should always match trim as much as they can.

Any contrast that you intentionally create should not necessarily be a striking contrast. It’s important to try to create a sense of unity among the different elements being tied together to avoid making the contrast appear accidental.

Using a color wheel can help you to balance cool and warm colors easily. Keep in mind that different colors create different “moods” in rooms.

For instance, warm colors like reds and yellows are considered lively, active colors that give a room a high-energy vibe. Cool colors like white and green tend to make a room feel calming and soothing.

Natural colors have a big value in a kitchen!

Tonal colors with saturation tend to work best because they “adapt” to other colors in a room.

Keeping trim as neutral as possible when deviating from the cabinet color helps to keep the focus on the cabinets instead of pulling the eye downward.

This trick can also help to marry cabinets that are a unique color with other colors in the home.

Striving for Balance

The goal isn’t necessarily to have a “uniform” color throughout the kitchen.

However, many modern kitchens do tend to focus on showing off the size of a space by limiting the number of different colors used between the cabinets, trim, molding, and floor.

The true goal is to create balance and unity among all of the different elements in a kitchen!

Considering the Rest of the House

Let’s face it – the kitchen is the standout room in a home!

There’s lots of room for making a kitchen a unique part of the home with its own sense of character and charm. However, homeowners do need to remember that a kitchen still has to flow with the rest of the home.

Many homeowners stumble when it comes to knowing how to match woods with woods to make sure a kitchen fits in a home without necessarily “disappearing” in the home.

There is a strong school of thought that the trim in a kitchen should match the trim used throughout the rest of the house. The theory is that the trim should flow with the rest of the baseboards, window frames, and door frames throughout the rest of the house.

Cohesive trim can be especially important in homes with open layouts that merge the kitchen with the living room.

Cohesiveness is often so important when updating a kitchen because it’s very easy for a new kitchen to look like it doesn’t “belong in a house” when it is the only room to be updated with new colors.

What About Cream Cabinets and White Trim?

Most people are actually asking if it’s okay to have cream cabinets and white trim when they’re asking about having cabinets and trim that doesn’t match.

Do cream cabinets and white trim go together in a kitchen?

The answer is that many homes do use white trim with cream cabinets simply because the look of carrying over the white trim to the room’s molding appears neater. Many people feel that cream trim doesn’t look as crisp against the floor.

This is another scenario where personal preference is really the determining factor.

There’s some advice to follow when the idea of pairing cream cabinets with white trim is attractive for the purpose of using the white trim to tie the kitchen in with the rest of the home. It’s possible to use cream trim with cream cabinets without making the color seem “disconnected” from the rest of the home.

Consider adding some cream accents in other spots of the home. For instance, using cream in a built-in shelf, fireplace, or pantry door can make the cream cabinetry fit more naturally into the space.

Don’t Settle on a Trim Decision Until You’ve Chosen a Floor

When adding new flooring, it’s important to put this element in the equation.

The trim should create a natural flow between the cabinets and flooring.

Using dark trim with a dark floor can overpower the layout to create a look of “floating cabinets” that isn’t necessarily appealing.

The Final Rule: Don’t Make Trim the First Thing People Notice

Ultimately, the end goal is to ensure that trim isn’t the first detail that people notice when walking into a kitchen.

Trim should be in such harmony with the cabinets that people don’t necessarily even consciously make note of it.

True harmony in a kitchen comes when all of the elements of a kitchen come together to create a “space” instead of drawing attention to individual elements.

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Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.