Durable maple cabinets have relatively even coloring, a tight grain and limited small knots. This sleekness offsets well with mottled or veined granite countertops. Maple tones vary from milky to medium, depending on natural coloring, or they may be rich or chocolaty, if stained. Let them play a leading but not sole role in your granite slab choice -- you have plenty to choose from.
Granite Has It
Granite comes in a diverse range of mottled colors or color combinations, including:
- Off-whites with dark or light veins
- Dark browns with black specks
- Pale and mid-tone gray mixes
- Gold and tan blends
- Red-tinged veins through white, off-white or brown coloring
- Brown or black streaked with blue or green notes
Choosing the right slab to accompany your maple cabinets may seem about as challenging as finding a missing pebble in a gravel pit, unless you look at the elements that exist beyond the cabinetry -- namely, the flooring, wall color and even new appliances. Beyond that, envision the look you're after, from classic to modern to minimalist, conferring with your inner designer -- she's a trusty guide when allowed a say.
Contemporary or Classic Contrast
Use a mix of subtly contrasting hues, such as golden maple with off-white granite if you're after a classic look. For modern edginess, top pale maple cabinets with dark gray or black granite, offering vibrant contrast, and then flip the combination -- off-white granite on darkly stained maple -- for the island. Tie together any counter and cabinet combo with a floor or backsplash that repeats the tones.
Achieving a Minimal Outcome
To initiate a minimalist look -- or visually expand a small space -- forfeit jarring contrast, and aim for streamlined form and a monochromatic palette:
- Concealed or integrated appliances, such as a fridge finished with maple panels to match the cupboards, help the eye travel easily across the setting.
- Continue this smooth transition by blending the granite into the cabinet, flooring and wall colors.
- Go for a mix of subtly different warm shades -- earthy light browns tinged with red -- to form a space that's airy yet energized.
- Or, pair wood that's stained almost black with accents in high-gloss finishes, and granite that's as dark as coal for a moody, upscale, tone-on-tone effect.
Build a monochromatic bathroom from barely blue or green granite and flaxen or milky maple for a cool, muscle-and-mind-relaxing atmosphere.