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10 Beautifully Mismatched Kitchens, in Order of Increasing Moxie

published May 3, 2016
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Matching is all well and good, until it becomes repetitive, overdone and monotonous. Then it’s good to mix things up to make things interesting, combining styles, finishes, materials and shapes that are different but harmonious. It’s easier said than done, especially with kitchen renovations, your home’s highest-risk investment. All those choices and purchases are enough to freak out even the most stalwart of designers, let alone everyday humans on a tight budget with a small margin for error. Think you have the guts?

All of these kitchens work on some level; some just take a little more bravery than other to pull off. As you move down the list, what kitchens are you comfortable with, and at what point in the list does your eye start twitching?

1. Two-tone kitchens are very “on trend” these days. Dark bottom cabinets, paired with lighter uppers make the room seem more open and a little more dynamic. Despite its current moment in the sun, this look is pretty classic and tasteful and won’t date itself in ten years time. Hence, it starts us off at #1.

Kitchen Trend: Bi-Color or Two-Tone Cabinets

(Image credit: Nuevo Estilo)

2. The Barcelona-based kitchen designed by Montse Esteva is more about mis-matched accessories that are easily changeable. The look is interesting, but also super accessible because you can just find vintage or free pieces to throw together to create a look, without having to plop money down on a full matching set. Since it’s also a popular Bohemian look, it belongs very early in our countdown.

(Image credit: The Art of Doing Stuff)

3. Looking at this kitchen from The Art of Doing Stuff, you might not notice all the different finishes happening: stainless range hood, the white sink faucet, brass cabinet hardware, and copper accessories. They really don’t change the overall look of the kitchen and your eye is probably drawn to the black and white check floor first. Still, I know this detail bothers a lot of people, which is why this kitchen is #3.

Mixing Metal Finishes In The Kitchen & Bathroom

(Image credit: Chris Perez)

4. When you have a variety of prominent wood tones it can start to look nutty. If this is the case, intersperse some white sections (with paint, furnishings, etc..) to break it up and calm down the potential crazy. Here, the kitchen Laurel & Margot’s Celebration of Craft features a lot of white on the walls and island. The fact that it’s a laid back farmhouse-style kitchen makes it not a big deal, which is why the kitchen is at #4.

(Image credit: Brick Studio)

5. This kitchen from Brick Studio in Amsterdam has a lot of different materials and time periods happening. White cabinets, old-school copper backsplash, beige oven, mint green Smeg fridge, and modern shell chairs give it a haphazard feel that stylish & unapologetic people pull off on a regular basis. But all combined, the high quality materials and earthy quality make you feel like anything more “matchy-matchy” would be in bad taste. So, despite all the differences, it stays in the middle of the pack at #5.

6. With this kitchen, seen on My Scandinavian Home, it’s all about that one plywood door that sticks out like a sore thumb. Still, the inexpensive materials and simple design make this room seem less of an investment than some kitchens, and less risky as a result. This was a hard call at #6 and might should be in the fifth spot instead.

(Image credit: Dries Otten)

7. Dries Otten designed this modern kitchen out of light plywood, a pastel and bright paint palette, and perforated pegboard. Seemingly random, but carefully coordinated choices make it an inventive and unique remodeling choice that’s not for the design-shy. All the uniformly clean lines rein it in however, and keep it from being further down the list. Here it stays at #7.

(Image credit: Purpura)

8. Patchwork cement tile has been around a long time, but this classic is also a lot of look when it covers a large area. It’s beautiful and colorful all together, but just be sure you really, really like the tile. This kitchen with Purpura tile goes for it and belongs at #8.

(Image credit: Zilverblauw)

9. This Scandinavian kitchen throws in some mixed patterns and pastel colors, found on the walls, floors, and accessories. It isn’t shy, and not everybody could live there, but the result is extremely cheerful, approachable, and humorous. Since wallpaper is a bitch to take down, this room deserves its spot at #9.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

10. Even if you love this kitchen from Skona Hem to pieces, you have to admit it would require a large leap of faith to have this in your home. The combination of shapes, vibrant saturated colors, finishes, and various materials are as convincing as they are confusing. All this to say, I completely dig it but couldn’t necessarily do it. It’s a perfect #10.

What do you all think? Are these daring designs or a disjointed, jumbled mess?