5 Reasons Green Is THE 2021 Kitchen Color, According to Designers

Plus, how to choose the right shade for your space

White kitchen features marble island and walls, plus green built-in cabinetry and stools

Christopher Peacock

In the world of interiors, there’s one trend du jour that has our hearts racing. That would be the rise of the green kitchen.

We spoke to the experts to see what it is about green kitchens that make them so visually attractive, and how to pick the perfect shade of green for our own culinary spaces. 

Why Green?

As Abbas Youssefi, Director at Porcelain Superstore, told us, “For something a little different, something that will wow, green is the way to go.” 

“I personally find green to be a very naturally soothing color and a mood booster,” added Lisa Gilmore of Lisa Gilmore Design. “Studies show that it's a color of health and wellness, and [it] encourages better food choices, so to me, it's a no-brainer to put it in the kitchen!”

Behr Color Expert Erika Woelfel agrees. “Because so many hues are based on what is found in nature, green evokes a sense of tranquility and can act as a therapeutic color that brings balance and stability. [Green helps] bring the feeling of peace and renewal from the outdoors into a room that is often used for gathering and activity," she said.

  • 01 of 05

    Choose From Mint to Forest Green Shades

    lower cabinets are a mint color in this traditional kitchen

    Behr Kilz

    Woelfel noted that “the green color family offers the widest range of colors, from pale mint and earthy sage to warm olive and forest green.”

    And as Youssefi pointed out, “green might be unexpected, but it is fresh and natural and will breathe life into any space. With so many shades of green to choose from, from subtle sage and delicate pistachio to dramatic emeralds and everything in between, there is a tone for every home.”

    So, if you’re struggling to select your shade of green, Woelfel suggests “considering other materials such as flooring, cabinetry, tile and countertops that may need to coordinate with your color. The size of your kitchen plays an important role as well. For example, small spaces benefit from lighter colors to help make them feel more expansive.”

    Gilmore offered more specific advice and suggested considering the most timeless shade possible. “One thing to think about is for the color to have a bit of a base to it (gray tone, brown town, or a fresh yellowy/cream base) because it will have a little more legs in terms of not getting old or looking cartoony. In the same respect, if you are wanting a really vibrant and bold option - then a pure green will do the trick!”

  • 02 of 05

    Make a Call: Light and Airy vs Dark and Dramatic

    a white kitchen with a round arch and olive green lower cabinets

    Megan Lorenz

    "In the search to be different, we are now seeing clients moving into a lot more olive green and deep sage green colors,” said interior designer Christopher Peacock. “I think the trend will continue and the deep dark greens are the way to go." 

    Youssefi also noted that darker greens create a sense of luxury. “For a touch of luxe, look towards the dark side. Forest Green works particularly well on shaker cabinets, offering a darker take on the earthy, handcrafted style. These darker tones are also the perfect foil for classy white marble countertops and bold brass handles, so don’t be afraid to glam it up.”

    But if you’re not ready for the drama of a deep green kitchen, then Erika notes that “light and mid-tone greens create an open and airy feel.” It just all depends on the mood you’re hoping to set. “Lighter tones can make a dark kitchen feel more spacious while deeper tones are great for accent walls or making a space feel cozier.”

  • 03 of 05

    Start Small

    greenish blue tiles in a kitchen

    Porcelain Superstore

    If you’re just dipping your toe into the idea of a green kitchen, then Erika suggests starting small. “Starting with a small project, such as painting some shelving or a piece of furniture, may be the best way for some to start. A green backsplash, island, or accent wall brings more color into the room."

    But while small steps might make it less overwhelming, “full walls and cabinetry in green takes the color to the maximum and will have the most impact,” she added.

    Youssefi agreed, noting that there are plenty of small areas where green is the perfect solution. “Consider retiling your splashback. If you have a neutral kitchen already in place, add some on-trend emerald green wall tiles. The contrast will give your kitchen instant wow appeal.”

    Lisa advised bringing in small pieces to get your feet wet. “If you are a little nervous, maybe start with green barstools or a green island color to dip your toes in it!”

  • 04 of 05

    Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match

    As you add in your greens, work with what you already have. “We might use a deep dark color on the lower cabinets and then a white or very light contrasting tone on the upper cabinets," said Christopher. "These colors are accentuated by colored light fittings as well as bold countertops."

    Erika also advised focusing on the other elements of your kitchen as you plan your design. “Green not only works well for walls but has been a popular cabinet color as well [because it] easily combines with other colors, wood tones, and natural materials to make an impactful statement.”

    Youssefi noted that “In bright spaces, [you can] keep the feel fresh and clean by teaming subtle sage green or pale apple cabinets with off-white walls. Combined with wooden flooring and pale worktops, it’s a toned-down style that looks as good whether in a rustic farmhouse or a contemporary family home.”

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Try Green in Other Parts of Your Home

    bathroom cabinet features a jewel green vanity

    Lisa Gilmore / Native House Photography

    Along with kitchens, green is a great pick throughout your home. Erika noted that hues of green “can help a space feel refreshed and create a more relaxed atmosphere overall,” anywhere in your home.

    Youssefi agreed, and suggested considering your use of green throughout your home before selecting your kitchen color. “If you’re remodeling your entire living space, a muted, neutral tone that will harmonize with the rest of the home could be the way forward. Sage, for example, will convey a crisp, fresh look that is both contemporary and timeless.”

If nothing else, consider this one final word of warning from Youssefi: “Stay away from lime greens in the kitchen. While they no doubt have a youthful energy, they’ll date quickly and leave a sour taste.”