Bold and Beautiful: Unexpected Combinations in the Kitchen


There are some kitchen combinations that are tried and true. Subway tile and butcherblock. White marble and Shaker cabinets. Other mixes are a little less expected — juxtapositions of materials that, while unusual, just work.

I’m a little bit obsessed with this kitchen by Leanne Ford Interiors, and its combination of marble and wood paneling. It’s definitely unexpected — modern luxury meets retro grunge — but it works beautifully.

In this kitchen from Saveur, an antique island makes a dramatic contrast with a modern, minimal, white-and-stainless kitchen.

Stainless steel is a common material in modern kitchens, but to see it paired with rich, deep colors, as in this kitchen from Domino, is certainly unusual.

Everything about this kitchen from blah is modern and sleek — except for the island, which adds an unexpected and welcome touch of warmth.

Wood and marble make another appearance in this kitchen from The Style Files, which pairs white marble and white cabinets with a wooden island. The contrast helps to play up the wood’s beautiful grain.

There’s a lot to love about this kitchen from Elle Decoration, but my favorite part is the small slab of green marble at the end of the cabinets, which adds a bit of luxury and a touch of the unexpected. This is a great way to add a bit of stone to a kitchen if you can’t afford to do the whole countertop in a more expensive material.

The all-steel lower cabinets in this kitchen from Design and the City form a beautiful contrast with the white, Shaker-style uppers (and the painted wood floor). It’s a kind of industrial-meets-farmhouse look, incorporating the best of both styles into something entirely new.

The gold island turns this hyper-minimal kitchen from Emmas Designblogg into a rich, luxe space.

In this kitchen from Houzz, brass (and walnut) drawer fronts meet concrete countertops for the ultimate high-low mix.

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