The drama of black kitchen countertops drives other color decisions in the room. Cabinet color is one of them. Your choice of cabinet color will change the character of the room, so determine what vibe the kitchen needs to entice you to work in it, and then find the color to inspire you. A certain decor style -- Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, rustic country -- favors some colors, or no color. Gloss or matte finish affects the light -- and the lighting subtly changes the cabinet color, so experiment before you commit.
A Light Touch
When the counters are black, you're halfway to a sophisticated color choice for the kitchen. Black and white is classic elegance -- sharp and understated. Paint cabinets shiny snow-white, upper and lower, in the same white tone as the appliances.
Go for a duller finish with country French whitewashing for timeless, traditional style. Add a rich note with cream, ivory or bone cabinets that bring a lot of light into the space without the stark contrast of bare, untinted white.
Try up-to-the-minute cloud-gray, a soft pale color that seamlessly blends a metal fridge and stove with dark counters and a variety of flooring choices.
To underplay the yards of upper and lower cabinets in the room, paint the walls the same color.
The Dark Side
It's all about the drama for you, and where better to play with theater than in the kitchen?
Invest in some good lighting -- camouflaged work spots and rows of beautiful pendants -- and paint the cabinets flat or glossy black, gunmetal or stormy gray, deep rich burgundy or blackberry. Select hardware to keep color choices simple -- match stainless appliances with pewter, or pick up the copper in lampshades with copper.
The black counters will gleam under the lights, becoming a work station focal point as the dark cabinets recede. Think of it as an infinite night sky, not a cave. And add in a kitchen island with seating, because your mysterious kitchen will draw guests in like a magnet to watch food prep and chat over a suitable libation.
Your countertops are gleaming black granite and the luxe look extends to the brushed stainless stove and fridge. Slapping some white paint on the yards of cabinets isn't going to cut it.
The cabinets take up a lot of visual space so their treatment has to balance the dominant substantial materials in the rest of the decor.
Find your color -- the vintage enamel seafoam, pumpkin, or cotton-candy pink of the stand mixer on the black counter; the Caribbean blue that recalls a sunny idyll; the cheer of the vibrant sunflowers in your summer garden. Real, definable color in the kitchen is personal and not cookie-cutter. Play with swatches; test paint samples in all light; take a hunk of your black counter material to the paint store, and unleash your inner artist on the canvas of those cabinets.