You have the entire color wheel at your disposal, so steer clear of boring or bland when thinking about painting your kitchen. Gorgeous colors come to life when you open yourself to the possibilities. Neutrals, whites, and grays are popular kitchen colors and have a multitude of gradations. Home design experts suggest that you look at popular picks, then open your mind to other colors outside of those ranges before making a decision.
- Color Family: Neutrals, such as whites, off-whites, grays; also consider blues, greens, and dark tones
- Complementary Colors: Neutrals work well with all; however, if you use paints in the teal or aqua range, complementary colors include oranges and yellows
- Pairs Well With: These colors pair well with other neutrals, include whites that bring out the hues used
- Mood: Lighter hues: bright and airy; darker hues: sleek and sophisticated
- Where to Use: Kitchen walls, islands, cabinets, and accents
Here are 15 of the top paint hues for kitchens, according to home design experts.
Clay Hill is a 100-acre farm and Federal-style home to jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke and her husband, John. Working with designer Alison Martin, Locke decided on a light patrician gray that complements the Victorian-age tiles, patterned Roman shades, and lyre-backed chairs.
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KariAnne and her husband bought a house in the country, which they christened Thistlewood Farms and designed in a country estate style. For her cooking space, she went for a shabby chic look. The explosion of cream extends throughout the kitchen, giving it warmth and a homey feeling with a dash of sophistication. The colors in the kitchen perfectly complement her pure white bone china.
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When Michael Minadeo + Partners was tasked with the job of designing a structure in Stowe, Vermont, part of that project involved this kitchen that would be an aesthetic counterpoint to the building’s natural wood. The light golden-brown of the ceiling and window trim is well balanced by the matte black of the walls and kitchen cabinets.
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As a trendsetting interior designer, Susan Greenleaf is no stranger to bold moves. For her family’s San Francisco kitchen, she enlisted the help of Geiszler Architects and Farallon Construction. She chose a deep, rich gray (Plummett by Farrow & Ball) for her go-to kitchen paint color. This moody gray plays well with the generous light that cascades through windows and large glass doors. This strong architectural gray is named after the lead used by fishermen to weigh down their lines. The paint color has a modern feel, more hard-edged and industrial than other gray hues.
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For a fantastic splash of kitchen color, design blogger Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating chose a tasty, palatable teal for cabinets and white for the rest of the area. Her new kitchen makes her heart sing.
Formerly, her heavy kelly green kitchen made her feel boxed-in like she was cooking in a cave. The lighter bluish-green color is more cheery and ties in with the rest of her house. She had the color custom-made by Benjamin Moore based on a color swatch she had (it’s very similar to Behr’s Hallowed Hush).
Before painting your cabinets, decide if you will use oil-based or water-based latex paint and primer. You can use latex over durable oil, but oil won’t adhere well over latex; latex is a safe bet if you don’t know which type the old paint is.
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Decorating blogger Beth Bryan’s new kitchen color transformed her updated kitchen from an unappealing yellow to a gorgeous light-blue (Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware). Beth reports that the blue she used transforms throughout the day. When it’s cloudy outside, the paint becomes a warm greenish-gray color. When it’s dark out, the paint is “a cool silvery gray color.” The wall color works well with whites, creams, dark and light woods, and her dark kitchen hardware finishes.
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Sherwin-Williams Cavern Clay
Kitchens with an earthy, retro ’70s vibe are increasing in popularity. Pair walnut cabinetry with beautiful terracotta walls in a paint called Cavern Clay (SW 7701) by Sherwin-Williams. The warm reddish, almost chocolaty dark neutral color works well with natural wood tones, avocado green, purplish grays, creamy white, and golden yellow.
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Magnolia Homes Cinnamon Sugar
When it comes to painting kitchens, beige tones are often overlooked. Beige walls create a feeling of warmth, which fits right in with the process of cooking. A pretty beige color to consider is Cinnamon Sugar by Magnolia Homes. Its subtle tan base has pink notes that makes a kitchen look cozy but not muddy or yellowish.
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The Spruce Best Home First Frost
An idyllic shade of white paint can be dreamy in kitchens. The Spruce Best Home First Frost (SPR-25) scores big points for being both bright and warm. Because the color has a warm undertone it is the perfect foundation for a modern kitchen with metallic accents in rose, copper, or gold tones. It also flawlessly pairs with natural wood shelving.
Choosing a white wall paint color for a kitchen can be challenging since it’s largely covered with cabinetry. That’s because there are undertones to every white, making it either a warm or cool color. The best way to choose a white for a kitchen is to sample it on every wall in large swaths so you can see how the color reacts with cabinets, appliances, and sources of light. With whites, you may see many different shades and tones throughout the day and night.
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Sherwin-Williams Let it Rain
“No color is off limits for a kitchen, but these days I prefer kitchen walls in serene tones of a pale ocean blue,” says Heidi Techner, the program director of interior design at Harcum College. “Let it Rain (SW 9152) by Sherwin-Williams combines elements of an invigorating blue with a calming gray undertone to create a relaxing and restorative energy.” She suggests using this color as a neutral. White cabinetry and pine flooring make for beautiful accents when paired with this shade in the kitchen.
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Benjamin Moore Upper West Side
White is sometimes a little too lackluster for a kitchen space. Interior designer Alec Holland says, “One of my favorites is Upper West Side (CSP-70) from Benjamin Moore. It is warm enough to create a little depth and drama without feeling dark or moody. It also looks thoroughly chic with white kitchen cabinetry.” When you want a hint of color, but aren’t looking to stray far from quiet hues, this taupe is a great darker neutral option.
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Glidden Red Delicious
“Red is a stimulating color making it ideal for a kitchen accent wall because it can stimulate the appetite, and even create an energizing environment for lively conversation,” says Harcum College’s Heidi Techner. A yummy color worth trying is Red Delicious (00YR 08/409) by Glidden. Pair this classic red, which many consider a darker neutral, with cabinetry in its complementary color of cerulean blue for a truly luxurious look. Or tone down the red with a rich gray or a delicious darker brown (think caramel candy apple).
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Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
“Gray Owl (2137-60) by Benjamin Moore works in most kitchens because it goes with a broad range of colorful cabinetry,” says Patrick Planeta, owner of Planeta Design Group. “It makes white cabinets stand out, and the paint shade is also light enough that when paired with darker cabinetry it will not make the rest of the kitchen feel oppressive or heavy.” He also appreciates the color’s ability to balance tonal differences, which makes this versatile neutral perfect for kitchens with two-toned cabinets.
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Sherwin Williams White Duck
Kylie, interior designer and decor blogger behind Kylie M. Interiors, says White Duck (SW 7010) by Sherwin-Williams is a pitch-perfect blend of beloved greige, which means that it never feels too beige or gray as the light changes throughout the day. The neutral allows white subway tile to sing and provides a clean backdrop for rustic wood accents.
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