Selecting the Right Color to Paint Your Kitchen

Conventional kitchen color planning says that earthy colors, warm neutrals, and bright colors make both the cook and the diners feel more comfortable. These colors satisfy many purposes: coordinating with cabinets; reflecting light; providing cheer; and being palatable to buyers of your house.

  • 01 of 07

    Kitchen Color "Rules"?

    Breakfast bar in modern kitchen
    Astronaut Images / Getty Images

    Good kitchen design rules often dictate that very dark colors, cold neutrals, and all other cold colors like blues, greens, purples, violets, and other colors in similar families do not promote hunger. Thus, they generally do not work as well in kitchens.

    That said, kitchen colors should ultimately follow personal tastes. Black is conventionally a poor kitchen color. But as shown here, black works well when paired with the sharply contrasting stainless steel of the island and white of the...MORE breakfast bar and pendant lights.

  • 02 of 07

    Warm Neutrals (Glidden Camel Tan)

    Kitchen Colors - Glidden Camel Tan
    Kitchen Colors - Glidden Camel Tan. © Glidden

    With enough shade or tint, any color can become a neutral; it is just a matter of which type of neutral you want. If you are nervous about getting your kitchen paint color wrong, it is hard to go wrong with mid-range neutrals.

    While neutrals are usually equated with "boring," but they do not have to be. With the addition of red, yellow, or orange, neutrals can be warmed up. With green, blue, or violet, they can be cooled down.

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    Glidden is the dark horse of the Home Depot aisles,...MORE marginalized because Behr is Home Depot's favored house brand. Glidden is cheaper than all Behr paints except for Behr PRO.

    Glidden Camel Tan steps back and lets the cabinets run the show in this bright-warm, comfortable kitchen.

  • 03 of 07

    Reds (Sherwin Williams Red Obsession)

    Interiors of the kitchen
    Glow Decor / Getty Images

    While red as a kitchen color is not for everyone, it should be considered if you want to add spark and spice.

    In a kitchen with plenty of dark colors, it can cut through the gloom. In a kitchen with fog-gray stainless steel appliances, it can provide a welcome focal point for the eyes.

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    Going red is like taking that big leap off the cliff. If you are going to do it, make sure you do it well.

    Sherwin-Williams' Red Obsession delivers a needed punch when you have lots of gray and stainless...MORE steel in your kitchen.

  • 04 of 07

    Rich Browns

    © Sherwin Williams

    Brown is considered earthy and evocative of the very place where you food comes from: the earth, the farm. For those who are neutral-averse, brown almost becomes the New Neutral: safe.

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    Brown lends itself to so many tasty pairings. This kitchen from Sherwin-Williams is expertly color-coordinated. The reddish-brown of the walls play well with the darker brown cabinets. Even the kitchen island's green fits into this family.

    If, in the past, you have been brown-averse, consider a deep...MORE brown for your kitchen.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    White-On-White

    Modern White Kitchen 525439961
    Modern White Kitchen. Because It's...Well, It's Very WHITE. Getty / Astronaut Images

    White is a class of kitchen unto itself. It is a thing, a certain kind of look.

    Designers such as Christopher Peacock became famous for promoting all-white kitchens. The design can be described this way: white cabinets, white walls, white ceiling, possibly a white counter, and in case we forgot anything, let's make it white, too.

    Kitchens designed by Peacock and his ilk have a lush, traditional style, like the country Connecticut manor of a wealthy Wall Street stockbroker, circa 1926. Leona...MORE Helmsley's $65 million Greenwich kitchen was all-white.  You get the picture.

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    If you have white thermofoil MDF cabinets, embrace the look. Go ultra modern and sophisticated with white plastic stools from Wayfair, a white-on-white clock, and white small appliances. Stainless steel cone pendant lights complete the look.

  • 06 of 07

    Toned-Down Yellows

    Unfurnished new home kitchen
    David Papazian/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

    Many homeowners and designers agree that light yellow is a winning color in the kitchen.

    It is friendly enough not to raise any eyebrows, yet distinctive enough that it will complement most types of kitchen cabinet wood species.

    Like whites, the yellows reflect maximum ambient light--a plus if you have a gloomy townhouse or row house--yet without the hospital-sterile feeling that white convey.

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    Deeper yellows that are shaded with a smidge more black, such as Ralph Lauren Home Kayak Yellow...MORE and Mesa Sunrise, help evoke the mood of a traditional, classic kitchen, yet maintain a rich tone.

  • 07 of 07

    Blues (In Moderation)

    Blue-Kitchen-525440041.jpg

    Blue barely makes the best kitchen colors list. It has traditionally been considered a "downer" color, not conducive to stimulating one's appetite. After all, how many foods can you think of that are naturally blue?

    One thing to say about blue kitchens is that they have an instant vintage appeal. In limited amounts and with just the right tone, blue can give your little kitchen a retro sweet, cottage-y appeal.

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    Used sparingly or as an accent color, blue can be made to work in a...MORE kitchen.