Colorful kitchen ideas: 10 designer ways to brighten a kitchen
The best colorful kitchen ideas look beyond form and function to create an uplifting space to cook.
When choosing kitchen color ideas you’ll want to select kitchen cabinet colors that you’ll be happy to live with for a while to come. But you might also want to consider the decorative power of each hue. Different painted kitchen ideas have particular benefits you may wish to exploit in your room design. Some can brighten and visually enlarge the room, while others make cleaning a less frequent necessity, for example.
Our curated collection of the best colorful kitchen ideas will inspire you to give your kitchen a bold new look.
Colorful kitchen ideas – 10 schemes as chosen by the experts
Your kitchen ideas are rife with color opportunities, from appliances and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets. Start by deciding how much of permanent commitment you are willing to make to room color ideas.
Finding the right kitchen color ideas that you will love for years to come has never been more important, so we’ve asked some of the best interior designers for their expertize and advice.
1. Use punchy color to create maximum prominence
Since they purchased their 1930s townhouse in central London, just over two decades ago, co-founders of Firmdale Hotels and the Kit Kemp Design Studio (opens in new tab), Kit and Tim Kemp, have undertaken one major renovation. This was prompted by a conversation between Kit and fellow designer Robert Kime.
‘He told me that he always advised making the best room in the house the kitchen – and it was like a light had been turned on,’ says Kit, who proceeded to transform their large, barrel-shaped dining room overlooking the garden into the kitchen, adding a conservatory leading off it for dining. ‘Which, of course, we now live in,’ she adds. Here, Kit Kemp has used saturated strong hues to give her traditional kitchen maximum prominence.
2. Use color to unite a kitchen
Carrying an accent color across the floor can help a large open-plan kitchen feel cohesively connected from every angle.
‘As this large spacious room has very high ceilings, it was important to create meaningful points of interest within,’ explains Blakes London’s (opens in new tab) lead designer Annie Ebenston. ‘Using warm red on the pantries that frame the fireplace lifts the whole elevation to be more than just a period fireplace.’
In isolation, the pantries could have overpowered but the custom-colored floor tiles play an anchoring role that unites them with the rest of the kitchen. ‘The matching tile color ties the room together beautifully,’ says Annie.
3. Choose unexpected color for kitchen cabinets
For a flexible approach that allows you to control the color in your kitchen to suit your mood, consider painting inside cabinets with solid doors.
‘Applying bold accent colors in unexpected places, like this dresser interior, changes the initial impression of the room and instantly adds depth to the aesthetic,’ says Melissa Klink, creative director, Harvey Jones (opens in new tab). ‘Strong colors are highly emotional but designing with them in a controlled manner ensures they liven up the overall feel of the room instead of overpowering it. Choose an uplifting shade that will put a smile on your face every time you open the doors.
4. Create a strong contrast
‘An accent color idea above eye level is a simple way to add strong contrast to a room, without overpowering. As it’s not immediately noticeable, the accent color will draw the eye up for a visual surprise,’ says George Miller, home designer, Neptune (opens in new tab). ‘This can have particularly good results in rooms with taller ceilings or grand cornicing, accentuating either feature to great effect.’
Continuing the accent color across different surfaces and planes – for instance, the cooker hood here – has a blocking effect that feels modern and can help smooth out any awkward architectural junctures.
5. Establish a primary focus
‘When planning a kitchen paint scheme, we generally choose the dominant color first, to anchor the space and provide a sense of calmness. We then look at shades that will “pop”, to make it more dynamic,’ says Natalie Forbes of Forbes Rix (opens in new tab). Here, that impact comes from Farrow & Ball’s India Yellow on a floor-to-ceiling cupboard. ‘We recommend a maximum of three colors to keep it from becoming too busy.’
6. Balance bright colors
‘Strong, bright colors can energize and illuminate a modern kitchen, creating an uplifting living space that really boosts your mood,’ says founder of King Celia Studio (opens in new tab), Jess Piddock, who designed this colorful kitchen for her own family home. Jess handmade the tiles, and has since developed the brush mark pattern, called Pool Party, for textiles and prints.
‘The emerald green is a semi-transparent film that enables the grain of the plywood to shine through while providing a protective coating that’s easy to clean,’ she adds. ‘Bright tones benefit from a grounding shade. In this case terracotta adds depth and warmth.’
7. Choose a favorite color crush
Worried your current colorful kitchen crush won’t last? ‘The beauty of a hand-painted kitchen is that in time, should fashions or your taste change, it’s simple to create a new look, especially if you restrict your bold choice to one unit, like a kitchen island or dresser,’ says Jasper Middleton, design director, Middleton Bespoke (opens in new tab).
‘When choosing bold shades it’s important to consider the architecture of the space as a whole in order to give the color room to breathe,’ he adds. ‘Here the bold pop of orange is balanced by the soaring ceiling and simple backdrop of polished concrete and blue-grey hues.’
8. Introduce color to your floor
Eye down: this year’s most dynamic kitchen trend is underfoot. ‘Energizing, interesting kitchen flooring ideas are becoming a must,’ says Alberto Villalobos, principal of New York-based design studio A. Villalobos (opens in new tab). ‘The kitchen floor is the perfect place to be more daring, and introducing strong pattern will give your cooking space incredible depth and dimension.’
The latest flooring is working extra hard thanks to ever-innovative installation techniques. Forget fluid connections; material or color switches at unexpected junctures feel more modern. For example, the alternating tile formation lends extra punch to this terrazzo floor designed by A. Villalobos. ‘The flooring adds color, excitement and texture, enlivening this kitchen,’ says Alberto.
9. Add drama with shades of red
Our love affair with dramatic dark kitchen cabinet ideas is far from over but this year things are warming up. Move over blacks, deep blues and greens, because rich red kitchen ideas are radiating their way into the heart of the home.
Pure primary reds are still a bit 1990s; instead, this trend steers us towards muddier tones with tints of nature-led orange and brown. ‘Perhaps it’s a yearning for the light and warmth of Southern climes that’s behind the current demands for reds, burgundies and terracottas,’ suggests Merlin Wright, design director at Plain English (opens in new tab). ‘Warm colors are positive and inspiring and complement other Mediterranean hues such as blues, greens and yellows. Experiment with different tones to suit the light and scale of your room.’
‘Reds and burgundies are rich, traditional shades that lend character and coziness,’ says Jasper Middleton, design director, Middleton. ‘Soften strong tones on floor-to-ceiling cabinetry with glazed sections that reveal mellow, yellow interiors.’
10. Take color to the ceiling
Maximize the impact of your painted kitchen cabinets, as demonstrated in this stunning design by Huntsmore, with exquisite decorative room ideas and bold ceiling ideas. Using the ceiling, the ‘fifth wall’, as a decorative surface can bring color and drama to a room, but it is also worth drawing attention to the finishing touches in a colorful kitchen.
Here, the simple lines of the Shaker-inspired joinery are enhanced here with elegant brass handles that accentuate the tapered-edge door detailing as well as providing tactility. The metallic theme is followed through in the normally unnoticed brackets that support the two eye-level shelves, accentuating the richness of the solid walnut and the daring green of the ceiling color, courtesy of Little Greene’s Hopper. And tying it all together beautifully is the simply styled but all-important kitchen tap, in a brushed brass that gives it a practical and visual beauty
How can I make my kitchen colorful?
There are many beautiful ways to make a kitchen colorful, however, well-chosen paint ideas are the easiest way to add statement color. Painted finishes work well for timeless schemes, and of course, can be updated at a later stage if you’re confident enough with a paintbrush.
‘Playing it safe with color on a long-term investment like a kitchen is entirely understandable,’ says Fiona Duke, director, Fiona Duke Interiors (opens in new tab).
‘But first, ask yourself: will it ever really make an impact, and will you end up wishing you’d been braver? Committing to a colorful kitchen requires time, effort, and a whole lot of tester pots. Bear in mind that you’re looking for a shade that will make your heart sing every time you’re in the kitchen. Once you’ve narrowed it down, put your chosen color on a trial door or very large sample and live with it for a few days to make sure it’s the one.’
What color is the most popular for kitchens?
Green is 2022’s most popular color for a kitchen in terms of kitchen trends, but it’s true to say that blue is just as popular for those daring enough to add color to a kitchen.
However, the most popular kitchen color in terms of what we buy is white: it’s enduringly popular because it’s so easy to redecorate around – and future house buyers you may have in mind when remodelling your home will embrace a white kitchen enthusiastically. If you would like to choose a neutral that isn’t white, gray is a very popular color for a kitchen, too.
‘It’s important to consider the level of natural or artificial light in the kitchen, as this will play an important role in determining the overall feel of the space. Darker shades, for example, are renowned for absorbing light, and the application of such colors needs to be carefully planned,’ says Hayley Robson, creative director at Day True (opens in new tab).
‘An effective way of integrating darker colors into your kitchen color ideas is to create contrast by adding darker tones on low cabinets, combined with white or gray worktops. This helps to reflect illumination off the horizontal surface, resulting in a colorful yet light interior.’