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Walnut Kitchen Cabinets Design Ideas (2024)

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Walnut kitchen cabinets are trending in cabinet design. And for good reason. But not all homeowners realize that walnut cabinetry has some pitfalls to be aware of. Learn the pros and cons of walnut kitchen cabinets, plus some current design ideas.

Walnut kitchen cabinets with large island.

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Is Walnut a Good Choice for Kitchen Cabinets?

Walnut is an absolutely stunning species of wood for kitchen cabinetry. It has beautiful wood grain, a natural medium wood tone, and excellent durability.

Walnut Kitchen Cabinets Design Ideas
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What is most striking is the natural chocolate wood tone and unique grain patterns.

However, there are both pros and cons to consider.

Is a Walnut Kitchen Expensive?

Walnut typically costs 15-30% more than maple. I’d highly recommend getting quotes from several sources and compare them to other wood species before making a final decision.

While walnut cabinets are typically more expensive than a standard maple, there are ways to combat expense.

Walnut kitchen coffee hutch with fireplace.

In our kitchen, we chose to build a walnut island with maple interior to keep costs down. This way, we get the look of walnut without the full expense.

Alternatively, we used walnut interiors for our coffee hutch. This cabinet will be open and closed often, and by guests, so we wanted the interior to match the exterior wood.

Does Walnut Cabinetry Fade?

Yes, walnut cabinetry can fade or lighten.

One of the biggest considerations when deciding if walnut kitchen cabinets are right for you is fading. This is concerning since the allure of walnut is its chocolate natural wood tone.

Walnut has a reputation for lightening in the sun. It can go from dark brown to a more honey tone over time. Natural walnut is most notorious for this.

Walnut kitchen island in an organic traditional kitchen.

To combat fading, you can install a UV film on windows and doors that allow sunlight to hit your cabinetry directly. Alternatively, you can have a UV protective coating, or stain, applied to the wood.

We chose to use natural walnut that has a glaze applied. This will help avoid a dramatic over-lightening.

Is Walnut a Strong Hardwood?

Walnut is a premium high-end hardwood. It is softer than oak, however, has excellent dimensional stability.

Walnut kitchen cabinet coffee hutch.

It is a highly sought after wood for cabinet and furniture building.

Caring for Walnut Cabinetry

As with any wood cabinet, take care with cleaning walnut kitchen cabinets.

Do not use any harsh chemicals and ensure all moisture is dried well.

I recommend simple soap and water. Wipe down with a soft cloth, followed by a thorough drying. These are my recommended products for cleaning walnut cabinets.

Our Natural Walnut Kitchen Cabinets

As you can see, we chose to use walnut in our newly remodeled kitchen.

Strategically designing it to be spread into several areas of the kitchen (island, coffee hutch and floating shelves) allowed me to make a design statement with the contrasting painted cabinets.

Walnut kitchen design ideas.

If you would like to add walnut to your design, without a full kitchen of walnut cabinetry, consider walnut accents. One way to bring walnut into a kitchen is with open shelving.

I chose to use v groove walnut paneling behind walnut open shelving. It is one of my favorite design features of the kitchen for this otherwise awkward corner.

Kitchen shelves made of walnut with large pantry.

Another design idea is to segment a portion of the cabinetry to create a furniture-style walnut hutch. While this hutch is all constructed similarly to traditional kitchen cabinetry, we added elements to make it look like a piece of furniture.

Crown moulding, arched base moulding and a top that sits directly on the counter all make this appear to be more like a piece of furniture.

Finally, if you aren’t invested in doing walnut on all of your cabinetry, try a contrasting island.

I personally love a wood stained island paired with painted perimeter cabinets. You can see two different versions of this look in my last kitchen design.

We customized our island to have curved end panels for a softer look. I love how this subtle difference creates such a custom look.

Our Kitchen Design Sources

You can view all of the details of our kitchen remodel in this post.

Large coffee hutch in a high end kitchen.

Below you will find the sources for our most commonly asked questions.

One item I saved money on was cabinet organization. Rather than customize interior cabinets, I created my own custom organization. Learn more about the after-market products I used in this video.

Walnut Cabinets with White Countertops

Next, let’s discuss a common question. What is the best option for countertops?

We chose to do our walnut kitchen cabinets with white countertops. I love the contrast of the light and dark.

Rounded kitchen island with white countertops.

If you’d like to see what dark wood and dark countertops look like together, you can compare a similar look in my last kitchen.

I love both looks. White and dark. Dark and dark. Subtle countertops. Bold countertops.

There is a time and a place for all the options.

If you are in Michigan, I highly recommend working with Lakeside Surfaces. I’ve done four projects with them since 2019 and am always impressed with their customer service and selection. Get a free quote for your project here.

If you need help deciding on countertops, make sure to browse these resources.

Get Your Free Design Guide

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope this article on the pros and cons of walnut kitchen cabinets has been helpful as you design your own kitchen.

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