The Dos and Don'ts of Kitchen Color Schemes

Neutral-colored kitchen with white cabinets and black countertops

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Your kitchen may be the one room in your home that is the most neutral. White or wood cabinets and simple countertops make a kitchen look clean and uncluttered. An elegant and simple kitchen can also need a pop of color. Whether you are thinking about adding a new wall color, or just some colorful accents, you'll want to know the do's and don'ts of kitchen color before you get started decorating.


  • DO recognize that even if you have the most stunning cabinetry and counters in your kitchen, it can still benefit from color. Even the slightest tint in a wall color can transform a boring space without changing the overall vibe of the room.
  • DO consider adding color with lighting fixtures. No need to choose brightly colored pendants, though art glass or Tiffany style pendants can be gorgeous. The on-trend light fixture metallics now include brushed gold, bronze, and black. Just the addition of soft gold light fixtures can be enough color to add depth to your kitchen color scheme.
  • DO check out chalkboard paint for a kitchen wall or door. Most paint brands now offer chalkboard formulas in most colors. You can get the fun and convenience of having a space to write or doodle on the wall, with a pop of color. If you're not ready to commit to a wall of chalkboard paint color, a framed DIY chalkboard in your favorite color can work just as well.
  • DO learn the basics of cool versus warm colors. Being able to recognize the color temperature of any color you're considering will help you choose the right color to coordinate with your counters and cabinetry.
  • DO watch your undertones. Understanding how paint undertones work will save you from many problems later on with colors that don't seem to work together. All colors, even neutrals, have a color undertone that can add a gray, green, or even pink, to an otherwise neutral space.
  • DO have fun with color. Add a pop of color with colorful accessories and dinnerware. A stylish way to add color is to put up a wine glass rack on the wall. Fill your glass rack with colorful stemware for a cool shot of color.


  • DON’T be afraid to add vibrant color to your kitchen. Yes, that does seem to buck the latest kitchen trend of white and gray, but not every kitchen is the same. If you love color and your kitchen would benefit from a pop of color, try a fun accent wall.
  • DON’T hesitate to use gray wall colors in your kitchen. Gray or gray-blue works beautifully for beach-style, color schemes. Warm grays or greige look gorgeous with dark cabinetry and flooring.
  • DON'T overdo gray in the kitchen. Gray kitchens are a hot trend. It's easy to get caught up in the trend by choosing gray cabinetry, flooring, and counters. The fixed features of your kitchen will be around for many years, so consider using gray wall color or accents and keep one of the less-changeable features more neutral.
  • DON’T forget that even adding colorful kitchen linens can change the look of the room inexpensively. Kitchen linens can be exchanged in and out with the seasons, and for a quick color update.
  • DON'T forget adjoining rooms in your color scheme. You can add more color by choosing an accent wall for an open dining area or family room. Tie the color scheme together by sprinkling a little of the room's colors in the nearby space.