One of the best ways to bring depth, dimension, and color to a home is through color. Darker hues can work beautifully on cabinetry and trim work and balance out lighter colored or white walls. In this post, we’re sharing our favorite dark and moody paint colors for cabinets as well as for trim work and built-ins.
We love creating drama through the use of deep color on paneled walls and millwork. Cabinetry and trim are often painted in a higher sheen than walls – semi-gloss or high gloss vs. eggshell or matte for walls. The higher sheen bounces light off the darker vertical surfaces which adds depth and dimension to the space. The colors can appear lighter than they read on a paper swatch, and the undertone of the color becomes more apparent.
Our clients are sometimes nervous to go dark and moody after the all white and gray trend of the last ten plus years. We reassure them that bringing these richer tones into their home in a thoughtful way can help create the character and interest they crave.
We chose Sherwin-Williams Porpoise for the new wainscot wall and built-ins surrounding the fireplace in our Oak Tree renovation project and continued the color onto the other walls in the room. The rich tone of this bronzey neutral contrast beautifully with the crisp white trim. Porpoise brings so much warmth to this two-story room which could have felt stark or cavernous in a lighter shade.
Sherwin-Williams Grays Harbour
At our Echo Valley new construction home, we used deeper colors on cabinetry and trim throughout the house to contrast the lighter walls. In the kitchen, we selected Sherwin-Williams Grays Harbor for the perimeter cabinets. The moody blue gray grounds the space and gives the kitchen its own character within the open plan.
Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore
Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore is the epitomé of dark and moody paint colors that look fantastic on cabinetry and trim. We selected it for the built-in locks and cabinetry in our Echo Valley mudroom because we wanted a color that bordered on black but didn’t feel stark or harsh. Iron Ore is a soft charcoal with warm undertones. Although Iron Ore can appear black when paired with certain materials or in certain light, it has a touch of brown in it that keeps it from feeling cold.
Sherwin-William Greenblack is a very dark, almost black, with a true green undertone. We painted the built-ins, wainscot trim, trim work and ceiling our Glenwood office this hue in semi-gloss sheen. The result was a small space with incredible depth and dimension. We love how Greenblack pairs with natural textures and colors. Bringing contrasting light or white elements into a room painted this color creates energy and drama.
Sherwin-Williams Mountain Pass
Sherwin-Williams Mountain Pass definitely has more color in it – less gray – than some of the colors above. It’s a beautiful deep green hue with a drop of blue. In our Winterset kitchen, we selected Mountain Pass for the perimeter cabinetry in the kitchen and paired it with glossy white subway tile and white quartz tops. The rest of the open plan living space is painted with soft white trim and light neutral walls. Some homeowners might worry that a darker paint color might make their kitchen feel dreary. The cabinet color is just one factor in the equation that includes natural light as well as the other materials in the space. White cabinets would have been pretty and just fine for this kitchen, but we think this is a great example of color infusing a space with life and energy.
More Dark & Moody Paints Colors for Cabinets & Trim
If you’re searching for the perfect dark paint color, we have a few more options that we love and use for our clients. We feel strongly that people are craving more color in their lives and more character and personality in their homes after a decade of washed out interiors. While painting your cabinets isn’t the only way to bring color into your space, it can be a game changer for creating a dramatic transformation.
Sherwin-Williams Gibraltar is a medium gray with a touch of blue. It reads on the cooler side and could work well if you already have whites and grays in your home. Gibraltar would pair beautifully with Carrara marble.
Darker than Gibraltar, Benjamin Moore French Beret is an almost black with a decidedly blue undertone. We’re using both French Beret and Gibraltar in an upcoming new build to create a sense of unity in adjacent spaces.
We specified Urbane Bronze for the cabinetry in our El Dorado New Construction project (photos coming in 2023) and paired it with rich walnut shelving. The color is true to the name. It’s a warm and complex brown shade with a touch of green to keep it from going taupe.
Night Owl is a rich green gray that can shift warm or cool depending on the other materials in the space. It would look beautiful with a variety of wood tones from cooler white oak to a natural walnut. We’ve mixed it with slate look tile, white tops, and black hardware in a masculine bathroom design.
Sherwin-Williams Inkwell is a very deep rich blue that appears almost black. It reveals itself as blue more when exposed to natural light, but looks more like black in low light. We used this color on the office cabinetry, ceiling, and wainscot in our Echo Valley Project and paired it with brass hardware and white oak tops and shelves.
Midnight Oil by Benjamin Moore is another almost black with blue undertones. While Inkwell will read as blue especially when reflecting sunlight, Midnight Oil will appear charcoal to black especially in low light conditions. This color would mix well with other cool hues. Mix it with black, chrome, or nickel hardware, and cool marble or concrete tops.
We hope you enjoyed this round-up of our favorite dark and moody paint colors for cabinetry and other millwork. We know that painting a space dark can feel like a big leap of faith. Take your time to understand the intensity of the color – how much or how little gray/black it contains. Using a color with more gray than color can be a safer choice. The undertone is equally important – is it more blue, or green, or brown. Consider the feeling you want to create, the lighting in your space, and the other materials you want to use together. Last, don’t hesitate to paint large swatches to hold up in your space before you commit or request a sample from your cabinet maker.
Still feeling stuck? We’d be happy to schedule a strategy session or discuss a larger project with you.