As we pointed out in last week’s post about glass cabinets, the style and texture of your kitchen cabinets can define your kitchen design. Different cabinet stains and colors can give an entirely different feel to your room, transforming your kitchen design with a few coats of paint or stain.

To take your kitchen cabinet design in a different direction, check out these three stains and the kitchen designs that they go well with.

3 Cabinet Stains for Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design: Rustic Elegance

Cabinet Stain: Cherry or darker wood

Richly colored woods such as cherry or mahogany add warmth to a rustic-style kitchen. These woods are best paired with warm, earthy colors, such as deep reds or golden yellows.

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Complete the rustic look with thoughtful details. Wrought iron cabinet pulls, gleaming copper pots, and brick accents are a great way to add small touches of rustic elegance.

Kitchen Design: Streamlined Contemporary

Cabinet Stain: Gray or Black

Dark gray or black cabinets create clean, well-defined lines in your kitchen, making the overall space appear neatly contemporary. For black or gray cabinets, you can choose between a very dark stain or a semi-gloss or gloss paint. Paint creates a smooth, uniform finish, while stain allows some of the wood’s original grain to show through.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto: Flickr, The Estate of Things

Gleaming silver and white hardware completes the contemporary look. Make sure to enliven the more minimalist design with a few well-chosen accents, such as pretty storage jars, open dish shelving, or distinctive table centerpieces.

Kitchen Design: Light and Airy

Cabinet Stain: Light Oak or Maple

While darker stains risk overwhelming a small kitchen, lighter cabinet stains immediately open up a kitchen design scheme. Light oak or maple stains are extremely versatile and can be paired with a variety of paint colors or counters.

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Make sure to anchor lighter cabinets with other darker accents, such as black appliances, darker counters, or rich paint colors.