Maple cabinets can be a beautiful feature in your home. They offer a variety of styles, from traditional to modern. But what color of countertop should you use with your maple cabinets? We've looked into it, and we have some recommendations for you.
Maple can be a beautiful wood, but it is often a lighter tone lacking strong, eye-catching grain or features, impacting how it matches countertops. Some countertops match well with maple, depending on whether the cabinets are stained a dark color or kept light and natural. Good countertop colors include:
- Natural and light stained cabinets
- Slate gray
- Medium gray
- Darker stained cabinets
- Light gray
- Slate gray
- Cream or tan
There are rooms these will work better in and some things to watch out for. Keep reading as we discuss each in more detail and give tips about your selection.
Countertops For Maple Cabinets
Which countertop you pair with your maple cabinets can make or break your entire room design. Color choice can affect the style, making the room traditional, rustic, or very modern. It can make a small room seem large and a large space feel cozier.
You need to pay attention to the color of your specific cabinets when choosing. Different maple has different natural hues. Most remain fairly neutral, but some maple turns yellow as it ages, and some tend toward a reddish tint. A very yellowed maple can clash with different browns and creams, so you should compare a sample of the countertop directly to your cabinets to make sure there isn't a problem.
Another thing to pay attention to is how dark your maple cabinets are. A darker stain will match up differently than lighter or more natural cabinets do.
Natural And Light Stained Maple Cabinets
With lighter maple cabinets, a black countertop can create a good contrast and give a room a modern look. It pairs well with stainless appliances, but white appliances can look stark against it, and black appliances can make the room look dark and heavy.
In a smaller room, especially one with a dark floor, the black countertops can make the room seem very dark and small. You can mitigate this somewhat by lighting the room well.
A black countertop with light maple can be too much contrast for some people. If this concerns you, try the grays listed below, or consider granite or soapstone with heavy veining to soften the look.
This can range from almost black to a slightly lighter variation. It gives a similar feel to black, but it is a touch softer and the contrast less stark.
Slate gray countertops can have a very contemporary look in a lightly colored kitchen. But with the right design around it, slate gray can still have a more traditional feel as well. It works better with white appliances than black countertops do, but like black, it can still look heavy and dark with black appliances.
If you like the look of slate gray but worry it may be too dark or won't work well with your black appliances, look into the medium gray below.
Medium gray works well in contemporary kitchens but works well in rustic and traditional kitchens too. It is less stark than either the black or slate gray countertops, doesn't darken the room as much, and doesn't clash with any appliance colors.
While not shown with maple cabinets, the lighter wood around the countertop in this image illustrates how medium gray works with light wood.
White can make a great countertop, especially in a small kitchen. But pure white can look stark and cold when paired with light maple cabinets. Go with a flecked or veined stone, which will tamp down the starkness factor. White makes a room feel bigger and brighter, which helps if you have a room that seems too dim or too small.
One thing to watch for is how this will work if you have a room that already feels large. It could make it seem too large. If your floor is dark or you have black appliances, it could help balance this out, even in a larger room, but it is something to keep in mind.
Brown countertops work well if you are going for a more traditional or rustic look. Dark brown countertops work well with lighter cabinets and lighter floors to offset their darkness. They can make a large room feel smaller, so if your room is already small, consider the lighter browns.
Dark Stained Cabinets
White against darker cabinets can create a nice contrast. Even if your cabinets tend more toward the medium tones, it still works well as a contrasting countertop.
Pure white countertops can be harsh against the darker cabinets. Stay away from the pure white and go with white that is flecked or veined to soften the harshness.
These countertops can make a small room seem larger and more open and can brighten a dim room. Be careful if your room is already big because these countertops can make it feel too large, even with darker cabinets. If you worry your room already is too large, or if you don't want it to look too monotone, consider the light gray below.
Light gray is a very versatile countertop color. Countertops of this color will work in contemporary, traditional, and rustic designs. The lighter color helps open up space and can help offset the effect of dark stained cabinets. The counters can also make a room cozier if it feels too large or too bright.
If you use a natural gray stone, be careful of the undertones. The maple cabinets and what color of stain are used on them, can clash with the undertones of gray. Not all gray is the same, with some having warmer undertones than others. Compare your countertop directly to your cabinets before buying, if possible. But be aware that natural stone varies a lot, and the undertone of the sample you compare may not be an exact match to the countertop you wind up with.
Black can give a very bold and contemporary look to your room. Given the right stain on your cabinets, the proper choice of stone, and the right finish on the edge of the countertop, it can work equally well with a rustic or traditional design. If your cabinets are dark, watch out for how dark a black countertop can make the room seem. It would help if you very had good lighting to balance that.
The darkness of these countertops, especially when paired with darker cabinets, can make a room seem very small. They can also clash with white appliances, so you may need to be careful with your appliance selection.
The darker slate gray colors tend to be less harsh and dark as the black countertops, but darker and harsher than the light gray.
Slate gray can have the same problems black has with the lighting and making a room feel smaller, just not as extreme in either case. It can make a room slightly warmer and more welcoming than black does. Like black, it also can contrast with white appliances, so you need to watch out for that.
Tan Or Cream
Countertops in this color range are less harsh and more traditional looking than the white countertops. They still lighten a dark room and can work well with very dark cabinets.
Darker tans may clash with the tones of your maple, so be careful. If you can compare a sample to your cabinets before purchasing, it would be best. Remember, if you choose a natural stone, comparing may not work well because of variations in the final countertop you receive.
What Color Backsplash Goes With Maple Cabinets?
What color of backsplash you select to go with your maple cabinets is an important decision. Consider how it matches up with your countertop since you won't want that to clash. Within the range that works well with maple, here are a few recommendations:
- Gray stone
- Sage green
- Blue marble
Whatever your choice, a good option is to find variations in that range. If you go with a gray tile, find some that are lighter and darker and alternate them on your backsplash, for example. You can also combine some of these colors, alternating a blue and white, for example.
Should Kitchen Floor Be Darker Than Cabinets?
Your kitchen floor doesn't necessarily need to be darker than your cabinets. Many designers say that you should select flooring that contrasts with your cabinet color, especially if your cabinets have a wood look. Light floors work well to balance dark wood cabinets, and darker floors will balance out light cabinets.
Are Maple Cabinets Outdated?
Maple cabinets are not outdated. They are long-lasting, durable, versatile, and work well with nearly any kitchen design from rustic to modern. Many designers still prefer them because of how adaptable they are.
If your maple cabinets feel outdated, try changing the countertops, painting or staining the cabinets, or switching out the doors. This can give a completely different look and feel to your current cabinets.
Maple cabinets are very versatile, and there are a few colors that work especially well with them. If your cabinets are light, consider black, slate gray, medium gray, brown, or white. Your best choices are light gray, tan, white, black, or slate gray for darker stained cabinets. Whatever you choose, it is your kitchen and your choice, so trust your own opinion and make it a room you can love.
For additional inspiration, you might also enjoy: