Most new homes have matching kitchen, bathroom and laundry room cabinets mainly because making all of the cabinets the same is the most cost effective method. Each time materials, finish and paint colors are changed, it adds complexity and time to the job which also increases costs. The fact that most homes have matching cabinets throughout does not mean this is the most appealing or best method. Professional designers regularly mix both cabinet materials and colors. This is really a matter of personal taste.
Changing materials and colors can create a custom, high-end look if done right and the colors and styles compliment each other. You do need to be careful not to create a cluttered, mismatched or half finished look, especially where baseboards and crown molding meet cabinets, and in transitional areas where you can see cabinets from more than one room. The same design guidelines that are true for wall colors, furnishings, accessories and flooring are true for cabinets. You don’t need to match every piece of wood furniture in your home or make every wall the same color and you don’t need to do so for cabinets. However there should be some elements of color and style that tie everything together.
One way to add variety to a home’s cabinets while tying everything together is to use a different material, style or paint color on the kitchen island and use that same material, door style or paint color in the bathroom or other rooms. It is common for the kitchen island to be different color from the surrounding cabinets and for the kitchen to have a custom, built in hutch made by the cabinetmaker that is a different color than the rest of the kitchen cabinets.
Another option is to use the same cabinet or door style throughout the home and change the paint or stain color, or use the same wood species throughout the home and change up the door styles. We also have customers who use knotty alder material in one room and select alder material in others to add variety.
As far as door style goes, many customers create variety by using raised panel doors on lower cabinets and flat panel doors on uppers or raised panels in the kitchen and flat panel in the rest of the home.
Homeowners want their home to be a representation of their taste and personality and changing cabinet designs and colors is a great way to express personal style. Here are a few more examples of rooms with cabinets by Burrows Cabinets, that use different colors and materials in close proximity for design inspiration: