If you’re choosing colors for your kitchen, it might be hard to determine what palette is right for you. These days, kitchens are more than an area for cooking and utility. They’re communal spaces.
Many homeowners choose white or neutral colors to keep a kitchen balanced. But, you don’t need an eye for design or an understanding of color theory to select the right colors for your kitchen.
All you need is a sense of some basic things, such as use and location. Then start factoring in your kitchen’s other aspects, like lighting, cabinets, and other accessories.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s an easy-to-use kitchen painting breakdown:
Purpose in Color
The kitchen can be the most important part of your house. After all, it’s the hub for your everyday activities.
Through homecooked meals and time spent together, some believe that the kitchen is the most important room for your family. Live alone? Same thing. Your kitchen still receives a high amount of traffic through solo daily activity.
When considering colors for this space, think about its purpose. Also, consider the duality of your kitchen. Regardless of where you live, this area could double as an entertainment space or gathering area.
Specific colors can set the proper tone for use. HGTV weighed different tones against the colors that inspire actions. “Warmer colors such as red are believed to stimulate the appetite and are an excellent option for kitchens. Red is incredibly versatile and there are multiple shades that would really pop in a kitchen, either on the cabinets or the walls.”
Yellow hues are a good option if you want to open up a room and inspire hunger in your guests or family members. Yellow can lift the energy of your kitchen with it’s bright, sunny effect. HGTV adds that it also pairs well with white and gray accents.
Want a more relaxed atmosphere? Blues and greens can bring a calm, earthy feeling to your kitchen. Blue hues give it a crisp feel. Just be sure to balance the blue with white or neutral accents to avoid weighing down the space.
Like blue, green provides comfort. Green also pairs well with white and natural accents. If you opt for a butcher block countertop or island, the combination with green walls can give your kitchen an earthy atmosphere.
Neutrals and white are among the most popular colors when it comes to kitchens. These palettes can give your kitchen a refreshing feel in the morning with its clean look. It’s also easier to match with your countertops, cabinets, and appliances. Gray is also a good choice here, but as HGTV said, “It often gets categorized as being too cold . . .”
The location of your kitchen establishes the purpose and overall atmosphere. By “location,” we’re talking about connection. Is the kitchen a separate room, or is it part of an open floor plan connected to a living or dining room?
If your kitchen is open and connected with another considerable area of your home, you’ll want to think about flow. Color can help by establishing kitchen borders. This is why many homeowners often choose neutrals for their kitchen. Most want to avoid strong colors clashing with their living or dining area.
HomeTips recommends a simple remedy to an open floor plan: “Pull rooms together with a thread of color, and try not to match the shades between your living space and your kitchen perfectly.”
The amount of light in your kitchen is a significant factor when choosing colors.
Windows impact the amount of natural or artificial light in the space. Better Homes & Gardens recommends taking into account the different shades of your favorite color in the sun and shade. “Northern light is cool, for instance, and it's often best to counter it with a warm color. But as the sun moves or drifts behind clouds, colors shift and change.”
BHG touches on how the lights in your kitchen can impact its color. “Artificial lighting changes colors, too. That's why it's so important to apply samples where the colors will be used and in context with other colors and materials -- which also affect perception.”
But don’t stress over the light in your kitchen. Read on to see how you can accurately test colors in different lighting conditions.
Fixtures, Cabinets, & Accessories
Aside from light, elements already found in your kitchen like fixtures, cabinets, and accessories can guide the color selection process. Martha Stewart’s website advises homeowners use these “color cues.”
Countertops provide a great jumping-off point for color. Common countertop materials, such as wood, marble, granite, and quartzite, give a natural balance for a color to work around.
Likewise, using neutral tones on kitchen walls can open up the potential for a pop of color on your cabinets. Accentuate those neutrals with warm or cool accents. Just make sure to use a good finish on your cabinets to ensure you get the color effect you’re aiming for.
Light fixtures are another way to bring in character for neutrals, whites, grays, or even dark colors. Most light fixtures come with a brushed gold, bronze, nickel, or chrome finish. Brushed gold against a white background gives your kitchen a beautiful accent without going overboard.
Aside from fixtures, look to your kitchen accessories—for instance: your refrigerator, stove/oven range, sink, even your coffee maker. Chrome, a popular finish for most accessories, works well with cooler hues. Bronze or brushed gold is more flexible. It can warm up a space painted in darker colors, or it can add to the effect of warmer tones such as red, yellow, and burgundy.
Test Your Colors
Once you find a selection of colors--test them! Don’t fall into the one-and-done trap only to discover that you don’t like the color after you’ve finished painting.
Most paint stores offer paint samples that come in small canisters. Get samples of the colors your like and paint swatches on the wall of your kitchen.
Are you’re existing walls painted in another color? Grab a white foam-core board and paint your swatches on there. This method is a bit more effective because you can move the board around to different spots in your kitchen, gauging both natural and artificial light.
When it comes to choosing colors for your kitchen, don’t sweat the small stuff--be inspired by it. Think about the feeling you want your kitchen to inspire; it’s purpose in your everyday life. That way, you can create a space that adds to the comfort of your home.