How to Make Cherry Cabinets Look Modern: A Remodeler’s Guide

how to make cherry cabinets look modernAre you curious about how to cherry cabinets look modern while refreshing your kitchen and boosting your home’s value? You’re in the right place! Transforming cherry kitchen cabinets into a modern style is not only doable, but it can also significantly improve your space. This article will delve into the best approaches for modernizing traditional cabinets, with a focus on cherry wood.

Why Modernize Cherry Cabinets?

Cherry cabinets are a classic option for kitchens; however, they may appear outdated without proper styling. Giving your cherry cabinets a modern touch can be an excellent investment for your kitchen’s appeal. Modernizing your cherry cabinets can give your kitchen a fresh and contemporary look, making it more appealing to potential buyers if you plan on selling your home. Additionally, modernizing your cabinets can also improve the functionality of your kitchen by adding new hardware or lighting.

Picking the Perfect Color Palette

A crucial step in making your kitchen cabinets look modern is choosing the right color palette. Here are a few ideas to enhance your cherry cabinets:

Neutral Colors

Opt for white, gray, or beige to achieve a clean, contemporary appearance. These shades create a sharp contrast with the rich hues of cherry wood.

Vibrant Accents

Personalize your kitchen with bold accent colors such as navy blue, emerald green, or deep purple. Use these shades on walls, backsplashes, or accessories for an eye-catching contrast.

Metallic Accents

Incorporate gold, silver, or bronze in hardware, lighting fixtures, and accessories for a touch of elegance and refinement.

Pastel Colors

Soften the look of your cherry cabinets with pastel shades like pale pink, powder blue, or mint green. These lighter colors can make your kitchen feel airy and spacious while providing a subtle contrast to the deep tones of your cabinets.

Monochromatic Palette

Choose varying shades of a single color, such as different intensities of gray or blue, to create a cohesive and modern look. This approach can help to accentuate your cherry cabinets without overwhelming the space.

Two-Tone Cabinetry

Mix and match different cabinet colors to create a contemporary two-tone effect. Pair your cherry cabinets with contrasting lighter or darker cabinets for a dynamic and visually interesting kitchen design.

Jewel Tones

Incorporate rich jewel tones like ruby red, sapphire blue, or amethyst purple to complement the depth of cherry wood. These luxurious colors can make your kitchen feel sophisticated and elegant while adding a touch of drama to the space.

Updating Cabinet Hardware

Swapping out your old hardware is a simple way to make cherry cabinets look modern. Here are some options:

  1. Bar Pulls: Sleek and minimal, bar pulls offer a contemporary look that complements cherry cabinets beautifully.
  2. Cup Pulls: These classic pulls have a modern twist, adding a touch of elegance to your cabinets.
  3. Tab Pulls: With their clean lines and discreet design, tab pulls are a great choice for a minimalist kitchen.

Adding Modern Lighting

Effective lighting is essential for a modern kitchen. Here are some ideas to brighten up your space and showcase your cherry cabinets:

  1. Pendant Lights: Suspended over your kitchen island or sink, pendant lights add a stylish focal point and provide ample task lighting.
  2. Under-Cabinet Lighting: This type of lighting not only adds ambiance but also highlights the beauty of your cherry cabinets.
  3. Recessed Lighting: Consider installing recessed lights in your ceiling for a clean, streamlined look.                         

Open Shelving and Glass-Front Cabinets

Open shelves and glass-front cabinets are popular design elements in modern kitchens. They create a sense of openness and showcase your favorite dishes, glassware, and décor items. Consider replacing a few upper cabinets with open shelves or installing glass doors to give your cherry cabinets a modern touch.

Upgrading Countertops and Backsplashes

Refreshing your countertops and backsplashes can make a big difference in your kitchen’s appearance, creating a more modern and unified space that accentuates your cherry cabinets. When choosing materials and designs, think about the following options:



Renowned for its strength and easy-care nature, quartz countertops are available in a vast array of colors and designs, resembling natural stone or presenting a more consistent look. Since quartz is non-porous, it resists stains and doesn’t need sealing, making it a practical and appealing choice for a contemporary kitchen.


Sporting an industrial vibe and customizable style, concrete countertops can lend a chic, modern touch to your kitchen. They can be molded to fit any shape and size, and you can customize their color and finish. Remember that concrete countertop might need occasional sealing to avoid stains and water damage.

Stainless Steel

Commonly found in commercial kitchens, stainless steel countertops provide a neat, modern appearance that goes well with cherry cabinets. They are sturdy, heat-resistant, and easy to clean, although they might show scratches and fingerprints.


Subway Tiles

These traditional rectangular tiles can be arranged in various patterns, like a classic offset, herringbone, or vertical stack. With many colors and finishes to choose from, subway tiles can generate a neat, ageless look that matches cherry cabinets and modern design elements.

Geometric Patterns

Add a striking and dynamic aspect to your kitchen with geometric-patterned backsplashes. Select from designs such as hexagons, chevrons, or arabesque tiles, which can be made from materials like ceramic, porcelain, or glass. These eye-catching patterns can form a focal point that boosts your kitchen’s modern appeal.

Bold Colors

Create a statement with a vividly colored backsplash that contrasts with your cherry cabinets. Choose vibrant shades like cobalt blue, emerald green, or fiery red to inject depth and vitality into your space. Additionally, consider different materials like glass, ceramic, or encaustic cement tiles for a truly distinctive appearance.

Adding Decorative Accents

Adding decorative accents is another way to modernize your cherry cabinets and add personality to your kitchen. Consider adding decors such as plants or artwork to add warmth and texture to your kitchen.


Introduce greenery to your kitchen by placing potted plants on the countertops, hanging planters from the ceiling, or using a stylish plant stand. Choose plants with interesting foliage, such as ferns, snake plants, or pothos, to add visual interest and complement the rich tones of your cherry cabinets.


Integrating fresh herbs into your kitchen decor not only adds visual interest and a pleasant aroma but also provides you with a convenient supply of ingredients for your cooking. You can grow herbs in little pots on your windowsill, countertops, or even on your wall. Here are some well-liked herbs to think about adding to your kitchen:

  1. Basil: Basil has a sweet and spicy taste, and it’s a favorite herb in Italian food. People use it in dishes like pasta, pizza, and pesto.
  2. Parsley: Parsley is a flexible herb that people use to decorate food or dishes like soups, salads, and stews. There are two common types: curly-leaf and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.
  3. Cilantro: Cilantro is used a lot in Mexican, Indian, and Thai foods. It has a unique, fresh taste that goes well with spicy dishes and salsas.
  4. Rosemary: This aromatic herb has a slightly bitter, pine-like flavor and is often used in Mediterranean cooking, particularly with dishes containing roasted meats, vegetables, and potatoes.
  5. Thyme: Thyme’s subtle, earthy flavor makes it a versatile herb that pairs well with a variety of dishes, including roasted meats, soups, and stews.

Vintage accessories

Incorporate vintage or antique accents such as a wooden breadbox, retro clock, or enamelware to add charm and character to your kitchen. These items can serve as conversation starters and provide a unique contrast to the modern elements in your space.

FAQ Section

Can I paint my cherry cabinets to make them look new?

Yes, painting your cabinets can be a cost-effective way to modernize them. Choose a light, neutral color like white or gray to create a fresh, contemporary look.

What type of flooring works best with modern cherry cabinets?

Wide-plank hardwood, luxury vinyl planks, or large-format tiles in light or neutral shades work well with modern cherry cabinets.


With the right design choices, it’s easy to make cherry cabinets look modern and transform your kitchen into a stylish, functional space. By updating your color palette, hardware, and lighting, and incorporating open shelving or glass-front cabinets, you can create a contemporary look that highlights the beauty of cherry wood. Additionally, upgrading countertops and backsplashes will further enhance your kitchen’s modern appeal.

Remember, every detail counts when it comes to modernizing your cherry cabinets. Take your time to explore various options, and don’t hesitate to consult with a remodeling expert for personalized advice. By following these tips, you’ll soon have a stunning, updated kitchen that you’ll love for years to come.

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