Deciding what color to paint your kitchen is not an easy task. As the heart of the home, we tend to spend a lot of time in this functional space (including groggy early morning departures), and so, you want to choose a color that will always be happy to welcome you.
Whichever color you choose, it’s also likely to be part of your home for years to come. As such, you want a shade that’s fashionable enough for a modern kitchen, yet has a timeless quality that will endure for years to come.
Anyone who has kept an eye on the latest color trends will know that this year has been all about colorful hues, and the vast options available make it easier than ever to build a home that reflects your unique personality and style. And yet, there are still colors that don’t go well with the ambiance of a kitchen.
Color is subjective and realistically no color is out of the question – it’s just a matter of finding the right shade to complement your space. With that in mind, we asked a few of our favorite designers and color experts for their advice on which colors might be safer to avoid when designing your perfect kitchen.
Lilith is an expert at keeping up with news and trends in the world of interior design. She regularly shares color stories with readers to help them stay up-to-date on the ever-changing trends that promise to add personality to the home, as well as those you should avoid. For this piece, she spoke to designers and color experts to find out which colors you shouldn’t use in your kitchen and why.
1. Bright red
We all know that color has the power to completely transform a space. Although bright and bold colors can look fabulous, it takes a certain degree of bravery to use them in design as they carry greater risks.
“When choosing a color to paint your kitchen, it’s the intensity and shade of a given color that will really determine the mood of the space, as well as how much color you use,” explains Chloé Batteson, interior designer at Studio Batteson (opens in a new tab) .
As Chloé points out, this is particularly the case with bright reds. Although a popular choice for colorful kitchen ideas, scarlet and ruby hues can seem overwhelming, especially under the brighter lights typically used in this room.
“These shades create drama and can make a kitchen feel overheated and tiring, so it’s best to avoid them unless you’re aiming for a kitchen to get in and out of very quickly,” Chloe says. “Try more subdued earth tones instead for a calmer atmosphere.”
Tobie Lewis of Valspar Paints (opens in a new tab), agrees. “The kitchen is a space where you need to relax and unwind while cooking, eating or hosting your friends,” he says. “For many, the color red is a bit too powerful and quite awkward for this specific space.”
If you still want to add more vibrant reds to your kitchen color palette, consider using it on smaller areas like your cabinets or cupboards, as seen in this kitchen from Blakes London. “It transforms the space by adding a pop of color to the room, without being too overbearing,” adds Tobie.
2. Bright white
White kitchen ideas are the traditional choice for this room (and the walls of the house more generally). For the most part, bright whites are the default option as they make the space look clean and fresh. However, bright whites can make your space look too clinical, besides being impractical, we all recognize those stubborn tomato sauce stains on the wall, after all.
“I wouldn’t recommend bright white because it creates a cold, clinical environment and isn’t conducive to a warm atmosphere,” says Chloe. “As an artificial color, it is the only one that does not appear in the natural world, which makes it particularly shocking.’
When it comes to giving a warm look to a white kitchen, Chloe has a few tips. She recommends looking at shades with warmer undertones like a soft pink or cream. A glossy white can also work well with a glossy finish on your cabinets, especially when contrasting with darker colors elsewhere. Try using a dark marble or granite countertop or backsplash for a timeless yet modern look.
3. Dark brown
Brown may not seem like a controversial color for the kitchen, especially in light of the recent shift towards more organic materials such as wooden kitchen cabinets. However, as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing.
The brown color trend certainly guarantees a modern look, but it is not always well executed in the kitchen. “If you want your kitchen colors to remain neutral, choosing shades of dark brown can make the space feel unwelcoming and uninviting, the last thing you want for a room that should be the soul of the room. home,” says Tobie.
In the case of browns, the key to success is tonal layering. Avoid dunking the color and stick to one shade. For example, you should avoid using dark walnut cabinets next to a dark brown wall. “However, pairing neutrals with a darker tone or two for cabinetry can make things interesting,” Tobie notes.
Try combining dark cabinetry with a dark beige on the walls, with pops of cream thrown into the mix. It can create a more comforting and warm feeling instead of being oppressive.
4. Warm Yellows
As an uplifting and cheerful color, yellow may seem ideal for the kitchen – after all, dousing a room with this color improves well-being. You might be tempted to add a warm glow with this shade so you’ll be greeted by a sunny space when you wake up for your morning coffee, even in the depths of winter. However, it’s a tone that experts encourage you to use wisely, if at all.
“We advise people to stay away from warmer colors like yellow and orange,” says designer Amy Youngblood, owner of Amy Youngblood Interiors (opens in a new tab). “These colors can easily make a kitchen look outdated and feel closed and stressful.”
To embrace sunny shades for a yellow kitchen idea, she recommends using them on the cabinets instead of the walls for a bold statement that doesn’t seem too overwhelming. You also need to consider the natural light in your room. West or south facing kitchens, especially those with verandas or skylights, can be overbearing if painted yellow.
Instead, try a cooler yellow with greenish undertones for a more relaxing space. “That’s because cooler colors create a sense of calm, and creams and whites will make the space feel brighter,” Amy explains.