HGTV's Breegan Jane Says To Ditch Modern Cabinet Trends For This Classic Alternative

Choosing kitchen cabinets can be challenging, particularly when you are not sure where to start. While you may have a definite idea in mind for your kitchen's overall aesthetic direction, choosing this particular front-facing element can sometimes prove especially daunting. Classic white? Bold and dark? HGTV's Breegan Jane, host of "Dream Home," is very much in favor of a solution that is as beautiful as it is classic. Tuxedo cabinets, which melt a lighter cabinet variety on top and a darker one below, give you the best of both worlds.

This timeless style is an emerging favorite among today's designers and homeowners, both for its classic appeal and functionality. Tuxedo cabinets also fit a number of design styles, whether you are creating a stunning farmhouse kitchen or a modern, sleek one. Breegan tells her Instagram followers, "Perhaps the most common request I get from my clients is to give their spaces a refresh. They seek to find new ways to breathe life into the areas that perhaps feel a bit worn and unoriginal. One of my best pieces of advice is to ditch the trends and go classic. The tuxedo kitchen is one of the best examples of this. Characterized by rich, darker hues on the lower surfaces of the room, and bright whites on the uppers, tuxedo kitchens always feel luxe, appropriate and fresh!"⠀⠀

Benefits of two-toned cabinets

While classic white cabinets are always a favorite among homeowners, providing a neutral background and lots of brightness no matter how much natural light, they can be too sterile or cookie cutter on their own for others. Conversely, darker cabinets, be they painted or wood, can offer depth and richness, but can be entirely too dark for some spaces. This solution bestows the benefit of a darker or deeper color at the bottom while still giving you brightness and a feeling of openness. In addition, the white uppers draw the eyes to the ceiling. The visual weight at the bottom also makes the lower cabinets feel more like furniture, while the upper cabinets blend into the walls, making the kitchen feel more open. 

Aside from the visual appeal, tuxedo cabinets also work for very practical reasons. White cabinets are way more likely to show dirt, scuffs, and damage than dark cabinets, which means using them on the upper half of the room makes more sense. Meanwhile, the lowers, vulnerable to splashes, scratches, dents, and dirty fingerprints, are better able to disguise their imperfections. 

Using a tuxedo approach is similarly great if you want to introduce a dash color to an otherwise neutral kitchen, but the idea of a whole wall of cabinets in that one shade feels overwhelming or may make it harder to sell your home. It's also a great way to compromise if homeowners have different visions for the cabinets.

Making tuxedo cabinets work in your kitchen

Combinations of cabinet finishes for tuxedo cabinets are many and various, including simple painted white uppers with a darker wood on the bottom like walnut or cherry, often found in old European-style kitchens. For farmhouse or cottage spaces, try more rustic woods on the bottom and lighter shades up top, like ivory or eggshell. If you love color, opt for a deep green, charcoal, or navy on the bottom, which offer richness, depth, and a pop of color.

Matte black is fast becoming equally popular in both rustic and industrial spaces for its drama and contrast, with many homeowners combining it with lighter wood tones. If you do not want to go too high contrast, achieving more subtle light and dark shades works stunningly as well, like beige or sage on the bottom, topped by soft white. Two tones of wood can also look stunning together. If you love the idea of a gray kitchen, for a clever cabinet upgrade, why not try a deeper slate gray on the bottom with a light dove gray up top?