Kitchen Color Combinations to Inspire Your Kitchen Design – Forbes Home


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Although the all-white kitchen trend may be too classic to disappear completely, many homeowners and interior designers are opting for more colorful palettes in their kitchen renovations.

“When choosing color schemes for your kitchen, you want something welcoming, warm and timeless,” says Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, interior designer and lifestyle expert. The kitchen is the heart of your home, so it’s important to invest time and energy into creating a space you truly love, she adds.

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To help you choose a color palette, a good place to start is your countertops. Whether they are quart, marble or granite, you should use the shades of the material to determine the colors of the rest of your kitchen. From there, choose colors for your cabinets, backsplash, flooring, walls, and other important elements of the space. Think of countertops as the element that grounds the design and ensures a cohesive appearance.

This may seem a little intimidating, but don’t worry. We’ve got some winning color combinations to get you started.

1. Green and yellow

Sarah McDanielAnnie Selke / Hector Manuel Sánchez

Sara McDaniel of Simply Southern Cottage and founder of Minden Stays has enjoyed infusing color into her Airbnb properties, like the one pictured above. “Choosing the right paint color combinations was important to making something old and dilapidated look new and fresh,” she says, noting that she wanted to evoke a sense of nostalgia with the colors.

These paint colors are from the Sherwin-Williams collection: lacewing for the walls and peace yellow for the cabinets. McDaniel liked the green and yellow combo so much that she used it again in another property, this time using Peace Yellow for the walls and another green, Rye Grass, for the cabinets.

“The feedback on the green and yellow combination was exactly what I was hoping to achieve. Clients say the spaces are joyful, lively, calming and unexpected,” says McDaniel.

2. Slate gray and chocolate brown

Forge and arch dwellings / Arris Photography

Chocolate brown is a dramatic accent color that brings warmth to a kitchen. In this design from Forge & Bow Dwellings in Fort Collins, Colorado, slate gray cabinets are accented by the tiled backsplash, the rich grain of the island’s wood base and even the built-in shelves seen from the other room. The exposed ceiling beams further accentuate the earth tones.

3. Gray and white

Western Design / Venjhamin Reyes

If you like the all-white kitchen look, you can always change things up by adding pops of gray. This enormous gray kitchen island is the stunning centerpiece of this kitchen, its base complementing the veins of the stone countertop. The gray subway tile backsplash is accented by the shiny silver range hood and mosaic detailing.

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Notice how the spots of blue on the kitchen stools add color to the room, as does the carefully selected decor on the shelves, another way to add color to an otherwise neutral palette.

4. Dark Blue and Brown

Forge and arch dwellings / Arris Photography

One of the many reasons why all-white is such a go-to choice for kitchens is that it makes the space brighter. But if your kitchen is bathed in natural light, don’t hesitate to choose darker colors.

Above is a kitchen that Annie Obermann, principal designer at Forge & Bow Dwellings, designed for her own home. Glass doors flood the space with natural light, allowing the dark blue cabinets and rich grain of the countertop to work beautifully.

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“The monochrome look was meant to be peaceful,” says Obermann, who emphasizes that finding the right color tone was of utmost importance. “Even though the kitchen was saturated with a dusty blue, it reacted as a neutral in the space,” she says, noting that the understated design was “quite interesting but not overwhelming.”

5. White and black with a pop of color

Western Design / Venjhamin Reyes

Do you want the best of both worlds when designing your kitchen? Choose a predominantly white kitchen with black and gray accents in the backsplash, kitchen island and appliances. If you want to add unexpected color without the long-term commitment of these built-ins, place colorful chairs on your island or peninsula instead, like in the kitchen design above from Design West. We love the look of these blue chairs, but any color could look attractive against this neutral palette.

6. Sage Green

Laurie Mars / Arthur + Lauren

Interior designer, producer and host Laurie March is a fan of neutral colors inspired by nature, like sage green. “Naturally cool with gray undertones, pairing colorful cabinets with mid-gray soapstone creates contrast and a perfectly balanced aesthetic,” she says of the kitchen design above.

The green also pairs well with the expansive black-framed windows that “draw in the beauty beyond, creating an anchor of calm,” March says.

***Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

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