Should Bathroom & Kitchen Cabinets Match?

I thought it would be fun to share a recent email and let you all answer it:

Hi Nester,
My husband and I just put an offer on a house. It’s a fixer upper, so if our offer is accepted, we will be putting a lot of work into it.
Here’s my problem. Our downstairs bathroom will need  a new vanity. I found one I liked at Home Depot. My husband like it, but vetoed it because it didn’t look like the cabinets in the kitchen. He said that when every room is different, it looks like the owner was watching too much HGTV.

I know, he’s an idiot.

I say that’s  what makes a home look custom, what keeps it from looking like a tract home.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen pictures of the cabinets in your bathroom (either the old one or one of the rentals), but I am almost positive that they don’t look like the cabinets in your kitchen. What is your advice in this situation?

~The Lovely One

both images are from the same home featured in this month’s issue of House Beautiful photographed by Simon Watson via Two Ellie


  1. Joanne B. says

    Matchy matchy is for people who can’t think. And communists where there is no choice. Live and little and go with the flow, whatever will float your boat at the time you set sail…

  2. We’re building a home right now. Our cabinets in the kitchen are white. Our bathroom vanities are a deep espresso color. Bathrooms are not the kitchen. The kitchen is not the bathroom. Unless your bathroom is in the middle of the kitchen, there is absolutely no need for them to match. They are different rooms! (with completely different functions!)

  3. I’d say the hubby is wrong on this one. We have matching and it does feel like a tract home.

  4. The hubs had good intentions, but they don’t need to match 100%. There should be a cohesiveness, of course, but just because they aren’t exactly the same doesn’t mean they don’t “go” together.

    I have two and a half baths, and the downstairs vanity was replaced with a pedestal sink, which will coordinate with the white cabinets (once they are painted of course). The two upstairs baths will have dark, furniture-style vanities that don’t match the kitchen at all. While I think it would probably be a little more odd two have the two upstairs bath vanities not matching, it doesn’t have to match the kitchen. Great subject for a post though!

  5. My husband built our house before we were even dating so he picked out EVERYTHING! Now that we are married, I’m redoing EVERYTHING! Most guys just don’t get the decorating thing, but that’s ok, it’s just not their department. (it doesn’t make them idiots) I also think think that a house should flow.

  6. I think even the builders that are doing “stock” homes are mixing it up now. At least ours did. Our house wasn’t brand new when we purchased it and our kitchen cabs are different than our bathroom cabs. I think when they don’t match it makes it more cozy. My in-laws live in a gorgeous beach house and all their cabs are different, even in the kitchen. They opted for distressed tea-stained upper cabs and oil rubbed black lowers and center island. I say go with what you like for each room…sorry hubby :)

  7. I would rather the cabinets DIDN’T match in the kitchen and bathroom(s). I think each room should have it’s own personality. I always thought the only reason they did match in some homes was because it was easier – and cheaper – for the builder to pick one kind of cabinet for the whole house, not because it was desirable to match them from a design standpoint. When we built our home, we chose the cabinets according to the style of the room they were for. We were puzzled a few years back when some potential buyers rejected our house because the bathroom cabinets didn’t match the kitchen! So apparently this is important to some people, The Lovely One’s husband being one of them. She’d be wise to consider his opinion, since it’s his home too!

  8. Our home is very open concept and all of our cabinetry is white, as is our trim, mouldings, built-ins, etc. I think for this particular house, it gives a feeling of cohesiveness. I think by using good design aesthetic, no home has to look like track housing. I guess to me, for the home we are in at least, the cabinets are more a backdrop and not a focal point for each room. They look clean and crisp in all their whiteness and I like that. Just my little two cents. :)

  9. OK, they don’t have to match but a complement is nice. We looked at one home that was 13 years old and had been updated. New kitchen cabinets – somewhat transitional, dark stain. Upstairs bathrooms – original to house cabinets, one left alone, one painted. Downstairs powder and guest room bath – both had stand alone vanities (Costco/Home Depot, etc) and were off the charts ornate and elaborate, like Vegas penthouse. It was gross. The kitchen was great; they just really missed the mark with the bathrooms. They don’t have to match but should at least echo the style of the home. The kitchen sets the tone, in my opinion. It is the biggest stamp of the homeowner’s style, therefore, the style of the home. Similar tone is good from room to room, or similar or same style (raised panel, shaker, etc) but could be lighter/darker/different color.

    • I like this idea! So all the same cabinets, but different stains or colors? Or different cabinets, but all stained the same shade? So they’re the same but different? Love it!

  10. You know I had never even CONSIDERED having matching kitchen and bathroom cabinets until we started looking at redoing our kitch and the cabinet guy was all like “but it you want the bathroom to match you should go ahead and get the cabinets all at the same time.” Say what?? Do I eat in my bathroom? Do I …um, know you… in my kitchen? No way do I want them to match! Flow, play nicely together, be similar in style – sure maybe – but not the same thing.

  11. Well, from someone who rarely uses cabinets as cabinets, I’d say no (we took all the built-ins out of our last house and installed them in the garage). But, as others have pointed out, disparate styles and bad paint jobs can make decent okay cabs too conspicuous and that’s a disaster. It depends on the house, in most cases.

  12. I’ve never heard of such a rule and if I’ve ever seen a house where the kitchen cabinets matched the bathroom cabinets I didn’t notice. It’s the strangest thing I’ve come across and I think his idea is pretty suspect.

  13. i love when a room can stand on its own, with its own look. i definitely think there should be a cohesiveness that runs throughout the entire house, but i would prefer cabinets that aren’t the same in each room. i feel like it would get too matchy-matchy and lack creativity.

  14. Julie Huey says

    I think both of you are right. When two people at at odds, both are thinking in polar extremes. If I was building a Victorian house, Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, a post contemporary, or whatever house, I wouldn’t go to an extreme in one room and another extreme in another room. I would suggest a meeting with your husband to see what type of era you can agree on. Right now, the photo of the kitchen and the bathroom appear to come out of two different eras. A marriage is a team like any team in the corporate workplace where multiple meetings may be required to form one cohesive vision.

  15. I love the kitchen cabinets you’ve selected for this post! Matching cabinets? My opinion is no. As long as a home flows with the architectural style I think it matters not! :-))

  16. Tell him you don’t crap where you eat! Maybe that will help him see the light! HA!!

  17. I think it must be a guy thing. My husband would agree that they should “match” or look somewhat alike IF they are on the same floor. He has to have everything symmetrical and matching. Anything out of the ordinary is chaotic. I, on the other hand, thrive on chaos – to a point. In my opinion, no need to match!

  18. wow…some pretty nasty comments on this one…relax, ladies.

  19. Colleen P. says

    I have never once in my entire life been in a house where the kitchen cabinets were the same as the bathroom cabinets-even in a long term hotel stay a few years ago that had a kitchenette (waiting to close on a house), the cabinets didn’t match. Yep, it’s gotta be a guy thing. For that matter, kitchen and bathroom countertops have different functions and are usually at different heights, aren’t they? Can’t use the same cabinet in any case, without cutting it down or making it taller.

  20. I think that he is WAY off about the cabinets having to match. I think what he is really saying in his male way is that he wants all the rooms in his home to feel like they belong and are in the same house. That makes sense and fortunately you can do that and have your cabinet not match too. :-)

  21. Carrie C says

    Matching cabinets-CRAZY talk!! I just bought a home and must have looked at a gazillion before we made the purchase-and I dont think I ever saw matching cabinets. Each room should be a stand alone space that flows into the other spaces through uses of color or style. I think forcing yourself into matching cabinets is like decorating yourself into a corner. Mismatch AWAY!!

  22. Why would they match? I live in England and I’ve never heard of matching the kitchen with the bathroom, or even matching more than one bathroom with each other.

  23. I think the idea of the kitchen and the bathroom being the same is gross. There are two very different things happening in those rooms that I don’t want to be reminded of when I’m in the other. It’s the same reason that I use different “flavor” cleaning products in my kitchen and bath.

  24. I would not want our cabinets to be matchy at all! I honestly have never even thought about them being so different!

  25. I too do not think they need to match, and much prefer it that way. However, if my husband insists on having them match, and if there’s no way to convince him after showing him loads and loads of picture examples, I would respect his opinion and try to find a matching set that we both can agree on. Not worth straining my marriage over cabinet choices! (as there are enough other battles that can contribute to straining the marriage!)

  26. awesome that you husband wants to offer input and cares how the house looks and flows! i agree with most that they definitely don’t have to match. if that’s important to your husband maybe you guys can compromise either on style or color. if it’s the color that he wants to be the same then go with different style cabs to mix it up or if he wants the cabinets themselves to be the same maybe you can mix up the paint so that it flows. like paint the cabs in the bath a shade or two lighter than the kitchen, or even a different complimentary color. good luck!

  27. Unless you’re planning on using both the bathroom and the kitchen at once, I don’t think it would dawn on anyone that they were different. I say, different is good, that’s what makes a house a home.

  28. We just purchased a brand new home and the cabinets match in the kitchen and all 3 bathrooms. Sure, maybe it was convenient and cheaper for the builder, but I like the cohesiveness of this because it sort of ties the house together. I guess it’s kind of like crown molding; you don’t normally see two different kinds throughout a home. Now that we’ve lived here for a few months, I have toyed with the idea of painting the bathroom cabinets for some variety, but I love that the style will be the same, if I do decide to go that route. As with most decorating these days, there aren’t really hard fast rules on these things, so I don’t think anyone is wrong in this situation; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I always try to keep my husband’s preferences in mind when I decorate. When we disagree, we try to talk through it and come to a middle ground, or someone has to give, as in all areas of our marriages. I’m sure Lovely One and her husband will find the perfect vanity and hopefully have a stronger relationship through the process.

  29. Tina Lavender says

    I guess I am the only one that likes all the cabinetry to match. Our kitchen and bathrooms all have espresso rustic cherry cabinets, but when we built, the bathrooms were standard white. While I DO love white kitchens and bathrooms, our last home was just that and I could not keep up with the cleaning every. little. spot. Add four kids to the mix aaaaaaand, matchy matchy sounded great.

    Here a question- we went with satin brushed nickle fictues, door knobs, etc. Our staircase has wrought iron spindles. I kind of wiched we gone with the dark finishe fixures, but since we are busy buying other things for the home, that is going to have to wait. Is it tacky to have wrought iron-ish light fixtures, but satin nickles door knobs? Does anyone notice things like this other than me??

  30. I like the sink a lot, but I was wondering if the water will be prone to leaking over the things on the bottom? I’d say there should be different looks in the rooms for an edgy look

  31. I’m having a hard time getting past “I know, he’s an idiot.” Is the gal asking the question an idiot from a guy’s point of view because she disagrees with him? No, she’s not. I would venture farther to say most people would not want to be called “an idiot” in such a public place as the internet (nor in private), especially when there is link back to the wife’s/family blog. Joking or not, it’s sad.
    My advice in this situation is for the wife to decorate herself with respect and honor towards the man she chose to marry. Maybe then he would be more open to her ideas.

    • Oh Beth, I actually meant to make a little note about that very thing~I answered the email within a few days of receiving it–a few weeks or months ago and when I did I asked permission to use the email, the link and even if she wanted me to omit that one sentence with “idiot” in it.

      her response seemed to be lighthearted and I got the feeling that she knew her husband would laugh at the phrasing and she was fine for each word including the link to be included. So yes, in this instance it seemed to be not one of disrespect but of deeply knowing her husband and the fact that in the scope of life the cabinets are really a non issue, I think by the time I emailed them, they had already come to an agreement.

      I think you made a really valid point and I don’t think you were harsh in any way~you were kind and left your name and to me that is brave and noble and I think The Lovely One would agree with that. However, I also truly believe that she used the word in the most lighthearted, goofy way possible.

      Great conversation and observation!

      • Thanks Nester and Beth! The ‘he’s an idiot’ comment was sad to me too, but I’m glad to know that she was lighthearted and loving instead of the way it came across on the internet with no background. And glad they’ve come to an agreement as well!

        Also, this post made me get up and walk to the bathroom to see if the cabs matched those in the kitchen because I have never even thought about it before! They’re different colors and style, but appear to be similar builder-grade products. We are renting from people who like the paint colors they already have in the house so my opinion doesn’t really matter, but I’m a little relieved that they’re different!

        • The “I know, he’s an idiot” was mostly in response to HIS rude comment that people who mismatch every room watch too much HGTV! Our relationship is very much like the tv show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Debra calls Ray an idiot just about every episode– always in love, of course! :)

  32. Elizabeth says

    Beth, I think the writer was just joking around and being silly, as many men tend not to have such great decorating sense. No need to be so harsh on her! Plus, if it IS an issue for her husband, the two of them can work it out between themselves…without your two cents.

    And Lovely One, absolutely not! Why in the world would your husband want your kitchen and bath to be reminiscent of each other? I don’t really want to be reminded of my bathrooms (even though I like mine) while I’m in my kitchen. Ya know what I mean?

  33. Elizabeth, she asked for “advice in this situation”. That equates to asking for my “two cents.” Which I gave.
    If it is an issue for her and her dh to work out between themselves, then why is advice being sought?
    You are giving advice, too. Just because my advice doesn’t square with you doesn’t mean it’s any less valid. I am not telling you to keep your thoughts to yourself, but that’s exactly what you are telling me, even though the request for advice was open to all.
    I knew my advice would probably bring bashing, but I feel very strongly about wives and husbands showing respect to one another.
    I am sorry for expressing my thoughts in a harsh manner. Please forgive me, Lovely One. Let me try again: when I am respectful towards my husband, and try and honor his thoughts/wishes, he is more likely to do the same for me and we can come to an agreement or compromise in a situation such as this.

    • Elizabeth says

      I guess Maria is right. It may just depend on who is reading what you wrote. I personally took your comments as harsh. I really wasn’t trying to “bash” you, I just felt that your statements were unkind toward a woman who was only asking for design advice, not marital advice. What’s more, this was an email she sent to Nester, and then Nester posted it (I’m sure Nester asked for her permission, but my point is that Lovely One probably never set out for tons of people to see it). No, there was no name calling, as Maria pointed out, but I thought the tone of what you said was very judgmental. But I do think the way you rephrased your comments above is great. They get your point across (which I actually DO think is a valid one, by the way) but they do it kindly.

  34. More than the matching or not matching, I would be concerned about the harsh judgement on a husband
    for having his own opinion. I don’t mean to be hard, but I do think that what needs more attention is the attitude towards one’s spouse. I really hope & pray you will soften your heart towards him. Afterall, what really matters in life? Please don’t take this as hard or critical, I only mean it for good, out of concern.

    • You said it much better than I, Maria…you spoke what is on my heart…

      • Beth, I liked what you said. If it was put in a public forum, then it’s fair to reply to any part of the text. I would appreciate it if you were caring enough to let me know your thoughts about anything I had written. You did not call anyone names. Personally, I did not think it was harsh, but I guess it depends on who is reading it. Somewhere in the Bible it says “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” I think you were just being a friend. God bless here!

  35. i do think it’s nice when the house has a flow to it~ one room complimenting the other, but you can attain that through so many other ways than matching the cabinets. and i was just thinking.. i can’t remember the last time i was at someone’s house and came out of the bathroom going, “i can’t believe the cabinets in there don’t match the ones in the kitchen!!” not sure if i even could tell ya what the cabinets look like in my friend’s homes – but rather the look of the over-all room. :)

  36. My advice: If the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity match, it should only be by coincidence. That Alabama house featured in House Beautiful is one of my all-time favorites. I CANNOT stop studying it.

  37. We have white kitchen cabinets and beachy Kitchen ones. so I’m going with THEY DON’T HAVE TO MATCH! I don’t even think all the cabinets in one room have to match.

  38. If you find two different cabinet colors you like go for it! It’s like getting to have one scoop of chocolate ice cream and one scoop of vanilla- the best of both worlds.

  39. My husband and I bought a brand new home and the cabinets in both bathrooms match the kitchen and I HATE it!!! It is so the same everywhere we go. This is one of the things that I am saving to replace!

  40. I think your husband has a very valid point–he doesn’t want your new fixer-upper home to look like one DIY project after another! I totally get that! When I think about the house I just moved from and lived in for 12 years, I wish I would have designed and decorated each room with a sense of the whole. It literally was almost one DIY project after another and I think it would have “worked” better if I had made a master plan, then worked on each room as I went–at least there would have been a bit more cohesion. Congratulations on your new home!!! And best of luck decorating!

    • That was his thought as well… He’s doing the work himself, but he doesn’t want it to look like…. well, like I did! He wants it to look nice, and he doesn’t feel like it will if every room is different.

      But I feel it CAN look nice, even if every room is different, but since I’m no decorator, I was worried I might be alone in this thought!

  41. Matching cabinets=boring

  42. Dumb ol’ boys… that’s why God created women! Husbands should mow the lawn, plant trees and grill out… Women should pick out window treatments, bathroom vanities and buy a lot of great shoes. There, I’ve said it. I’m going to catch a lot of crap for this comment from both women and men, but I’m just glad handyhusband thinks it’s a woman’s job to read blogs ;-) shhhh xoxo

  43. man, i hope he is dead wrong because all three baths in my house have different colored cabinets…and WE did that. when we moved in everything was golden oak – everything! now the kitchen cabinets are light taupe, except for the island which is dark espresso. guest bath #1 has coffee colored cabinets, guest bath # 2 has white, and master bath has the old golden oak…and i hate that bath the most! my intent was to look at each room as separate and it all works…even the two colors in the kitchen! anything goes as long as you like it. i like what my husband always tells me…”you’re the decorator, not me”.

  44. Nope- no matchy-matchy there! What a great opportunity to find something unique like an old buffet and make it into a cabinet for a bathroom- something custom would add so much character and more than likely, the overall “feel” of the entire home will tie everything together.

    One has to appreciate that this husband wants to be involved in the decisions- surely there is a compromise that will show him respect and suit the wife, too! :)

  45. Meg Smith says

    Nester – they should definitely not match. We purchased a new small home that we love and they all match. Due to stewardship convictions, we have choosen to keep them as is (since they are brand new and in perfect condition). However, it does limit the unique styling of each room. I think the key is blend – that the home is cohesive, not matchy-matchy. PS. we may be married to the same man.

  46. I really don’t like it when it matches. I need to feel that my bathroom and my kitchen have their own ambiance and style.

  47. I am with just about every one else on this, even if I am late to the partay. I would never match. gross. And the “I know, he’s an idiot” was HIL.A.RIOUS. I totally knew she was being funny. Because it was just that. Funny. I guess I appreciate quirky humor like that. ;)

  48. I think you are right that if it all matches, it looks very much like a stock house. There is certainly something to be said for an overall flow. If you are going very cottage in your kitchen, you don’t want a ultra modern piece in your bath. But once you know what “feel” you want for your home, then you have a great deal of freedom within that to let each room speak for itself. Make sure your permanent pieces (ie- cabinets) fit into your overall goal. Then you can throw in the accent pieces to add spunk. You both might want to spend some time creating pinterest boards so you have a better idea of your overall styles and where they mesh. Good luck from a long standing DIYer!

  49. Don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but one of the reasons builders use the same cabinets in bathroom as kitchen is economies of scale. They get a better deal when buying larger numbers of the same things. So why would they mix it up when it costs more?

    More upscale builders are doing less of the matchy matchy. Looks more custom. And definitely “in” – in case he’s concerned about what’s in or resale value.

  50. I live in a nice neighborhood with larger homes. Not only do my kitchen cabs match my bathroom cabs, they also match every other kitchen and bathroom in my development. The builder (who was very lacking in both style and creativity) got a great deal from Merillat and did EVERY HOUSE IN THE DEVELOPMENT with the same cabs. In fact, whenever a house in our area goes up for sale, the realtor website shows pictures of the kitchens and baths and they could belong to any one of us because they are all the same. BLECH. Please, please, PLEASE pick some cabs that suit the personality of the room you are decorating and DON’T make them match each other.

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