Kitchen Color Design

Kitchen color design is creative and imaginative fun - once you figure out where to begin!

What are the best kitchen colors?

Only YOU have the right answers for your own kitchen. And on this page you'll discover lots of ways to find them and create the perfect color scheme for your kitchen.

Deciding on your new kitchen color scheme depends on how total a transformation you plan to do...will everything be new?

Are you keeping some of your current kitchen the same? Or are you just giving the walls a fresh new paint color?

Before you dive in to kitchen color design...

...ask yourself:

  1. What colors are there now - flooring, cabinets, countertop - that aren't going to be changed?
  2. How much natural light is there? How much light from other sources? (With lots of light you can get away with darker colors.)
  3. What do you do in your kitchen, besides prepare meals? Eat, entertain, work on your laptop? For more than just cooking, restful colors may work better than bright ones.
  4. How big is the kitchen? Is it open to other rooms? (Light colors make a small room seem larger.
  5. What style is it (modern, cottage, etc.) - or which do you want to create?
  6. What things are you adding to your kitchen (such as your dream granite countertop) that have color?
  7. What kind of color schemes do you have in the rest of the house? Mostly neutrals, bright colors, deeper dramatic hues, lots of white? (Carry the color theme to the kitchen OR you can go a little wild here.)
  8. Do you have to choose colors to please anyone besides yourself?
  9. How do you want your kitchen to feel? Cozy and warm? Or open and cool? Colors have temperature, so choose accordingly.
  10. What colors or color combinations do you love?

Kitchen color design uses main colors and accent colors.

Main colors are usually the cabinets, flooring, or walls - whatever takes up the most visual space. Accents are pretty much everything else.

The colors that have to work together in kitchen color design include color in your...

  • cabinets
  • flooring
  • cpuntertops
  • appliances
  • walls
  • ceiling
  • backsplash
  • furniture (kitchen table or island bar stools)
  • the small stuff - display pieces, cabinet hardware, small appliances that sit on the counter, window treatments

What's your style?

The style of your kitchen may inspire a kitchen color design scheme. Here are some typical kitchen colors for different kitchen styles:

Modern - neutrals like tan, cream, or gray

Country and farmhouse-style - yellow, red, blue, green or cream on cabinets or walls

Cottage - white cabinets with pale blue or seafoam green walls

Tuscan - deep golden yellows

Traditional - neutrals

French and English country - cream or white cabinets with yellow and blue, or pink and green

Retro or vintage - black and white, red or yellow accents

When in doubt, go with the tried and true! The most popular kitchen colors are:

  • ORANGE, with shades from pale peach to terracotta to dusky pumpkin. Orange tones tend to increase our appetites...ever notice restaurant interiors often use shades of orange?
  • YELLOW is the color of sunshine, and most of us want our kitchens to be a sunny, happy place.
  • WHITE  is a classic in popularity, since white tends to make a kitchen look fresh and clean. Creams are less stark than bright whites. And if you have small children, whoa! Think twice about an all-white scheme.

According to feng shui, yellow is a perfect kitchen color, good for digestion.

Strong yellows can be overwhelming - stick to softer hues.

Think of it like building blocks...

Start with one thing you'd like in your all-new kitchen and "build" a color scheme from there.

Or if you're changing only some of your kitchen, use the "KNOWNS" to add building blocks of "UNKNOWNS", step-by-step, one block at a time.

...here's how it works

Starting fresh, with everything new?

In an all-new kitchen, you can start your kitchen color design at either end, big things or small. For instance...

A hint of green in the new granite countertop you have your eye on might inspire you to choose warm reddish cherry cabinets and green walls (or beige walls with green accents).

Then build upon that basis to find the rest of your color scheme.

Changing some of your kitchen?

Start with the main color or colors of what's staying. Then choose colors of items you want to add to "go with" and what colors you like.

The colors in your existing kitchen - the hue of the cabinet wood, the appliance colors, flooring - are clues as to what colors will work successfully.

If you're keeping your cabinets, this is the best place to begin your kitchen color design. Cabinets and flooring are usually the two largest design elements in a kitchen. so their colors will dominate your kitchen color design.

This situation - where some things are a given - can be very confusing. I think this is much harder than coming up with an all-new kitchen color scheme.

If you find your color scheme ideas are too limited by what must stay in your kitchen, consider changing the color of the "stayables." What exactly seems to be the biggest stumbling block? Can you do anything about it? Could you, for instance, refinish your cabinets? For how-to, see How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets.

Changing just the wall color?

This subject requires a whole new page! Follow me to the magical land of Kitchen Wall Colors.


For some creative kitchen color design ideas, see how my friend Donna used Color Building Blocks to guide her in remodeling her kitchen in The Color Story of a Kitchen.


Beware of your inner critic!

You know it well, as do we all - that insidious little voice that makes us doubt ourselves at every turn, scared of what "other people" will think, paralyzed by fear of making a wrong decision.

Don't give in to the critic...I have complete faith in you. You CAN do this - and do it beautifully!

NOTE: The photos on this page were generously provided by talented designer Laura Wallace of Kitchen Designs by Laura.

Interview with a Color Expert

The Color Story of a Kitchen

Kitchen Wall Colors

Floor Colors for Kitchens

Ceiling Colors for Kitchens

Kitchen Appliance Colors

Kitchen Cabinet Colors

White Kitchens


Back to Kitchen Color Schemes

Return to Home Page from Kitchen Color Design

Thinking of remodeling?

Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.

Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.

Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.