The kitchen is one of the most essential living spaces in every home. Whether it's a spacious room complete with a central island or a tiny kitchenette in a crowded city apartment, the kitchen is the setting for many of life's most memorable moments. Since we spend so much time cooking, eating, and just hanging out in the kitchen, it's important to make it feel like home. Fortunately, decorating with the right colors can be all it takes to transform your average kitchen into the gathering space of your dreams.
If you gravitate toward elegance and simplicity in your decorating, consider a classic all-white kitchen. It has a clean, airy feel that looks especially great with lots of natural light from windows or skylights. You can avoid a too-clinical feel by selecting materials with interesting textures like a smooth subway tile backsplash or shiny lacquered cabinets. Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful natural materials like marble, quartz, and granite that come in stunning shades of white. Add a few pops of color with bright green houseplants or decorative bowls for visual interest and to showcase your personal style.
If you are looking for a neutral color for your kitchen but want a more contemporary feel, grey is the way to go. This versatile option can feel warm or cool depending on the shade you select. It also pairs well with other neutrals, like white or black, but bright colors like lime green or red looks surprisingly great if you want to go for a bolder style.
Give your kitchen nautical panache by adding navy accents. Consider using navy as a cabinet color or as an eye-catching accent wall. Navy looks especially fresh and bright when paired with clean neutrals like white or grey or with sunny shades of yellow. A little goes a long way though, so try it out with a tablecloth, placemats, or even a simple vase to see how it works in your space.
After a trip to the farmer's market, our kitchens are already overflowing with greens. The fruit bowls may pop with bright green Granny Smith apples while dark green spinach and kale leaves populate the crisper drawers. Why not let your food inspire your kitchen decor? Bright green has an effect both invigorating and calming at once, while paler green shades have a charmingly retro feel. All shades of green pair well with browns for peaceful, nature-inspired kitchen decor.
The kitchen can be a busy place with lots of people coming and going and all the activities of cooking, eating, and cleaning. Try adding calming influences with turquoise blue decor. Soft turquoise reminds us of the ocean or a clear sky, and can look especially nice with other pastel colors or natural shades for instant cottage charm. Adding a color like turquoise blue against one wall or row of cabinets also anchors a white kitchen without overpowering it. Glass tiles are another way to use this color in a subtle yet powerful way.
Pink can be such a pick-me-up of a color, it's an ideal shade to use in a modern kitchen. But if your goal is a contemporary, sophisticated look, keep the shade you choose pastel. Compared to darker or brighter shades, a pale pink or blush-toned color is much better suited for an adult apartment or townhome. Pair it with darker colors or metallic shades for a more natural look, or throw in more pastels for a candy-colored kitchen.
Make it nearly impossible for anyone to feel sad in your kitchen by choosing yellow for your decor. This sunshine shade is a great choice to brighten up kitchens that lack natural light or that are on the smaller side. For the freshest results, go for a lemony hue and combine it with neutrals for a light and airy kitchen your family members will love to spend time in. Just a few accessories can make a big difference in this bold color, or try peel-and-stick wallpaper for a more daring accent.
Make your kitchen a cozy gathering place by using wooden decor in shades of brown. Yes, it's true that kitchens that feature lots of wood can look more traditional, but it's easy to transform it into a contemporary, cozy hideaway with the right textures and materials. Opt for choices that showcase rustic style like exposed beams and unfinished tabletops or natural materials like jute, burlap, and straw.
When it comes to neutrals, black may be the deepest, but that doesn't mean a black kitchen has to look dark and sad. Choose granite or marble countertops with interesting natural variations in their patterns, or combine with stainless steel appliances and glass fixtures for a cool industrial vibe. A matte or satin finish for black paint is more contemporary than a distressed or lacquered look.
Stainless steel appliances have been popular for a while now, but why not take it to the next level with an all-stainless kitchen? You can pretend to be a famous restaurant chef in your own home with gleaming, easy-to-clean countertops, fixtures, and sinks. Silver acts like a neutral, making it easy to pair with other neutrals or brighter colors.
Painting your kitchen light blue creates the clean look you want in a food prep area. The color also helps the room seem brighter when you head in for your morning coffee or late in the evening as you clean up the dinner mess. If light blue on its own doesn't provide the visual interest you want, consider adding a red accent wall. Painting the wall opposite the entrance to your kitchen red helps anchor the room and provides visual stimulation.
Painting your kitchen taupe provides a warm neutral for you to design around. While taupe is neutral, it comes with a range of undertones. Different shades can lean towards gray, yellow, or pink. An understated taupe can act as a background, allowing you to use other features in the kitchen as design elements. A more moody shade can add drama on its own. Consider testing out some swatches to see how they look with your natural and overhead lighting. A color with no discernible undertone on the paint chip may develop a distinctive cast when it covers a wall.
Eggplant is a great color to add a rich, luxurious look to your kitchen. It takes a little nerve to paint an entire room a dark color, but eggplant is a good choice. It provides all the drama of a dark color while having enough purple, blue, or red in the undertone to keep you from straying into cave-like territory. Don't make the mistake of thinking only large, well-lit rooms can handle darker colors. A smaller kitchen painted a rich eggplant can create a cozy, upscale look.
There is a reason many restaurants paint their walls red. It is a common belief that this and other warm colors stimulate the appetite. Even though it is a bright, vibrant color, red is very forgiving. It goes well with colors you may have in adjoining rooms, and there is a shade of red — from bold barn red to tempered burgundy — that will coordinate with your cabinets and countertops.
If you want to create a lot of impact with little work, consider using gold leaf for your ceiling or cabinets. The look may be too aggressive for your walls, but when used smartly, gold leaf can add interest and texture to the kitchen. If your kitchen is dark or has a low ceiling, gold leaf will make it appear lighter and give the impression of a higher ceiling. Using it on cabinets allows you to update their look without replacing them.