How to Achieve Trendy Two-Tone Kitchen Cabinets

How to Achieve Trendy Two-Tone Kitchen Cabinets

If you are looking to create a dramatic change to the style of your kitchen but do not want to spend a lot of money, then you should consider a fresh coat of paint. One trendy way to use paint in your kitchen is to paint your wall cabinets a different color than your base cabinets. Not only is this visually stunning, but it also has several benefits that might surprise you.

A kitchen with two-tone base cabinets

For both small and large kitchens, two-tone kitchen cabinets have benefits. In this article, we are going to take a look at these benefits, as well as how you can execute this look in your kitchen. 

The Benefits

Small Kitchen:

For those with smaller kitchens, you are likely always looking for new ways to optimize your space. The two-tone kitchen can be a way to make your ceilings feel higher, which creates the illusion of more space in your kitchen. To accomplish this you will need to paint your base cabinets a darker color than your upper cabinets. 

A modern kitchen with two-tone cabinets.

Large Kitchen: 

Especially in open-concept designs, large kitchens can have the issue of being too spread out. This can make it difficult for people to understand your design. To remedy this, you can give your kitchen cabinets a two-tone paint job. However, rather than paint the base cabinets the darker color, you will paint the wall cabinets the darker color. This will help ground your design and make it more enjoyable visually. 

Prepping Yourself and the Kitchen

If you are hiring professionals to come in and do the painting for you, then you might not have to worry as much about prep. It is still a good idea to get the area cleaned out ahead of time so that the painters don’t have to spend most of their time getting the space ready. 

If you are taking a DIY approach, then you will need to go ahead and clear out your kitchen. For this project, you will likely need to remove your cabinet doors and drawer fronts, so that you can fully paint the cabinet box. Removing the doors and drawer fronts will also help you achieve better results. Be sure to be patient and take your time, painting cabinets can be difficult. 

A small, single wall kitchen with two-tone cabinets


  • Paint and Primer Combination in Semi or High Gloss - Two Shades of Paint
  • Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
  • De-Glosser
  • Protective Rubber Gloves
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Paint Brushes
  • Painter’ Tape
  • Mini-paint Rollers
  • Cleaning Cloths
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood Filler
  • Cloth Rags
  • Labels

Steps Required To Create Two-Tone Finish Cabinets

  1. Using your screwdriver, remove all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Be sure to clearly label everything you take down so that you can reassemble your kitchen correctly at the end. 
  2. Before you start priming, you want to inspect all surfaces that are going to be painted. Any imperfections like rough spots or cracks. These should be sanded down or filled with wood filler, respectively, in order to produce a smooth finish. 
  3. Whether your doors are new and unfinished or already have paint on them, they will need to be sanded smooth before they are painted. 
  4. Use TSP (trisodium phosphate) to clean all the surfaces you plan to paint. TSP is a toxic chemical, so be sure to read any and all warmings and wear proper safety equipment. 
  5. Using a rag, apply a de-glosser to the surfaces that will be painted. 
  6. Use painter’s tape and drop clothes to cover and protect any surfaces that are not going to be painted. 
  7. Paint the surface of the cabinet doors, drawers, and cabinet frames. Use a combination of paintbrushes and mini-paint rollers to ensure that all surfaces are adequately covered in paint. Remember to use one color first and then use the other color. It is typically easier to use certain paintbrushes and rollers for each other color so you don’t have to worry about rinsing out the brushes and rollers each time. Always paint with the grain of the wood. Allow the painted surfaces to dry.
  8. For the most even and smoothest finish, you will need to use a paint sprayer. However, these can be expensive tools that might not seem worth it if you don’t have a lot of painting to do. While it will take more time, a combination of brushes and mini paint rollers can also produce a solid finish. 
  9. For the best results, we recommend two coats of paint and primer. While there are two-in-one options available, using a separate paint and primer typically produces the best results. 
  10. Once everything is fully dried, reinstall your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. 

Important Reminders

A trendy two-tone kitchen.

Time: Painting your kitchen cabinets takes time even when you are only using one color. Be sure that you budget your time properly, especially since you will likely not be able to use the kitchen efficiently during the project. 

Drying: Since you will be applying at least 4 coats between your paints and primers, you will need to factor in drying time. You will need to wait for each coat to fully dry before moving on to the next. 

Finishing Up

While it may sound like a large commitment of time, money, and energy, giving your kitchen cabinets a two-tone paint job will be worth it. Remember, take your time and be realistic about what you can do and what you will need to call help to do. 

A grey and white kitchen.

If you need assistance with placing or planning your order, give us a call at 1-844-326-6680 or an email at We look forward to helping you make your vision a reality!