When selecting your kitchen color it helps to get some important decisions clear in your mind.

How do you use your kitchen?

  • Do you just use the room to prepare food?
  • Or is it a secondary 'living room', where your family spends a lot of time?
  • Do you just do as much cooking as is necessary, or is it one of your passions?

If it's a room where you'll relax and eat, then you'll need to decide if restful colors would be better than more vibrant ones.

If you're a dedicated cook you'll want your kitchen to have all the facilities a dedicated cook needs.

Some kitchens are quite small, and have just enough functionality to prepare food. Even so, there's no reason why even small kitchens shouldn't look great.

They often need more thought put into the choice of color, but can still be attractive places to work. Because the units tend to take up most of these rooms, the main and accent colors of these units will usually dictate the look of the kitchen.

Kitchen Diner

Many of us either don't have a dedicated dining room, or we reserve the dining room for special occasions. In which case a section of the kitchen, or an adjoining area is used for everyday eating.

This has an impact on the choice of color for the kitchen, because it will flow through to the dining area.

Although the areas can be distinctly separate, it's usually a good idea to have a connecting theme to tie them together. Color is a useful way to achieve this.


kitchen color diner

This example of a kitchen diner shows how the two can be linked.

The section of the tiled floor used for the dining area is overlaid with a rug, which helps to mark out and soften the area.

Dark wood is used for the kitchen units which gives a 'furniture' effect, rather than a cold sanitary look which can result from using white units.

Plants are positioned to give a warm and homely effect, while green curtain and shade fabrics soften the windows. The chair seats are upholstered in a coordinating fabric which give a warm look and are more comfortable to sit on.

What style would you like?

Rustic or country kitchen? Lots of pieces of wood furniture? Your prized plates and dishes displayed on a dresser? Perhaps a throwback to a simpler age?

Maybe a traditional kitchen, with the units finished with a paint effect such as dragging or stippling.

Or what about a modern kitchen, with clean lines and space-age handles?

Thinking about the style will give you clues as to what colors will be appropriate.

(If you're looking for color suggestions, then go to the color schemes page. Half way down the page you'll find links to color charts.)


brown and green kitchen

Notice how the green of the walls is used in the detail on the unit doors.

The placemats also use this color, so don't forget that such things as dishes, towels and cloths can also be used to tie your kitchen colors together.


Find out what's available

Your kitchen design will depend on the kitchen units you can buy.

So before you do anything else, find out what kitchens are available in your area. It's no good setting your heart on a particular type of kitchen, only to discover no one in your area supplies it!

Find local kitchen companies get as many brochures as you can. Kitchen color designs change rapidly, and you may find a new design is just what you're looking for. Designs come and go, so you'll also want to make sure the design you've set your heart on is still available.

Here are some more photos to illustrate different ideas for kitchen color.


dark floor kitchen color

In order to keep this kitchen diner light and airy the units are fronted in white, with cream work tops and wall tiles to match.

The dark wood floor contrasts with the plain white and prevent the room from looking too clinical.


white kitchen

The stark white of this kitchen is relieved by the black contrasts in the bases of the units, the chair frames, and fitted kitchen equipment.

There is always a danger that plain white kitchens will look too clean and sterilized, and more like a hospital or institution.

Try to break up the white with little details in other colors.


lighting in kitchen

This small and compact kitchen makes use of light wood units and tiles to provide a blend of colors.

Normal wall units will often have a heavy look. By using glass doors with interior lighting, the wall units are more open and give a less enclosed feel to the kitchen.


Choice of color

Once you have decided on the sort of kitchen units you want, this will be a major factor in deciding your color scheme.

If you want your walls to be a backdrop to the kitchen units, then you could paint them a toned down version of the kitchen unit color. On the other hand, if you want a more dramatic effect, then your kitchen paint color would be a suitable contrast to the units.

Remember, you can often use dramatic kitchen colors if you want to. Usually there isn't so much wall space as other rooms, and you can color them to give contrasts and emphasis.

You can compliment strong colors on a wall by a striking cloth on a table, or the color of the table itself. Perhaps your work surfaces are a deep brown; use a similar color in a wallpaper border, chair frames or seats, or in some picture frames.


pale blue kitchen

This kitchen area uses a combination of soft colors to give a restful appearance.

Good lighting also assists in giving an impression of space.

Planning is a very important part of decorating any room. With the power of the internet you can now do your planning quite easily. And not only plan - you can also see how your ideas might look.


pale cream kitchen

If you want a light kitchen, but don't want it to look too white and clinical, then use soft shades of color.

This photo shows light cream units with off-white pale orange/brown tiles which reflect the floor color. Using this color in the details on the door fronts unifies the scheme.


If you want to use tiles on the walls between the units and the work surface, you have the opportunity to be creative with color and texture. You can have plain tiles with a motif here and there, or put sets of tiles together to create a scene.

One option to consider is to use hand painted tiles. These add a unique personal touch to the kitchen color of the room.

Make these two decisions first!

You can eliminate many mistakes by making these two decisions.

  • Decide on your kitchen units first. These will probably be the most expensive part of your kitchen. There's less choice of color here than with other elements of the room.
  • Decide on your floor. A kitchen floor will take a hammering, so get a good one. You have more choice of finish and color for your floor, so make this decision next.

Now you can go and decide on the wall, tile and work surface color and finish.



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