How to Add Colour to Your Kitchen

25 April 2019
Life and the City

If monochrome kitchen designs aren't to your taste, a bright and colourful kitchen could be the perfect style for you. The most impactful way to create a vivid kitchen is through coloured kitchen cabinets!

In this guide, we'll explore how to choose a colour scheme that flatters and enhances your kitchen, as well as being in line with your personal style. We'll also look at the four main ways to add a splash of colour to your kitchen using cabinets, and how to decorate the rest of the room to complement the look!

Choosing the Best Colour Scheme for Your Kitchen

Understanding How Colour Palettes Work

The first step in developing a colour scheme is understanding how and why certain colours complement one another. Don't worry, it's not as tricky as it sounds!

The biggest secret of great design is pretty simple – a colour wheel. You might think they're only for primary school classrooms, but colour wheels are great for helping you to understand what shades sit well together.

Two basic ways to use a colour wheel to decide on a colour scheme are as follows:


Complementary Colours

A straightforward way to use a colour wheel is by choosing two colours that sit opposite one another, as these are known to complement each other. Outside of the primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and the secondary colours (purple, green and orange) there are a limitless number of complementary colours to choose between.


Analogous Colours

Three sections of the colour wheel sat together are called analogous colours. This may mean that the scheme contains various shades of one primary colour (such as dark red, medium red, and light red), or a colour that bleeds into another (such as yellow, yellow-green and green).

There are many more ways to choose a colour scheme using a colour wheel, such as triadic and split complement, which results in a diverse palette.

Another tried and true way of selecting a colour palette is by using an image from nature. A natural image, perhaps of something close up like a leaf, or a wide angle shot of a shoreline, will usually produce five or six colours that will suit one another, and that will work in one room together.


How To Work With The Space You Have

Essentially any colour scheme can be applied to any room, but you should carefully consider the size, shape and natural lighting in your kitchen before committing.

If you have a small, narrow or low-ceilinged kitchen with little natural light, any dark shades will make the room feel oppressive and unwelcoming. Therefore, you should choose a colour scheme that incorporates a light 'tint', as this introduces elements of white within the colour, making it brighter, even when there are touches of darker shades included.

Those with a large kitchen, which features lots of natural light and has a high ceiling, can experiment with darker shades, as the amount of light and space the kitchen has will ensure the room still feels airy. In fact, applying too much white to a kitchen of this size may make it feel sparse, meaning light shades should be balanced with warmer and darker tones.



Choosing A Theme

While you don't need to commit fully to a themed kitchen with this route, knowing the styles and trends you'd like to emulate will help you to determine the colours you should use.

There are endless themes to choose from, but some popular choices include farmhouse, Italian, Art Deco, Scandinavian and French. Each has colours associated with them, which can either be directly applied to your kitchen, or used as a starting point for influence.

Once you've determined the palette you'd like to emulate, the shades and tones that will work in your kitchen space, and a theme that gives you some guidance, you're ready to apply your colour scheme to the room!


Supporting Elements

The walls, floor and appliances you choose to include in your kitchen are just as important as the units and worktops, and can help to flatter your chosen scheme.

Many people choose to have white or cream walls, as these work well as a neutral backdrop to the kitchen. Other ideas include a statement wall in a colour that flatters the kitchen; a bright backsplash on the wall to add a pop of colour, or even chalkboard paint to create a quirky finish.

Flooring is a big influencing factor in determining how your colour scheme will appear. Wooden floors add warmth to the room, which is ideal for those who prefer either traditional or natural designs. Meanwhile, both gloss and matte tiles are more modern, and will help to give the room a contemporary finish. 

Appliances and accessories can be a fantastic way to add colour to an otherwise plain room. If you've chosen a primarily white kitchen, a bright red oven will create impact, and transform the room from simply white into a more modernist design.


Ways to Add Colour to Your Kitchen


Uniformly bright and bold

Anyone looking to make an unmissable statement ought to consider a uniform colour scheme.

Shades of reds, blues and greens work best for this style, and should be applied across all cabinets in the kitchen, including both floor and wall units.

For a stylish finish, choose a gloss effect on a handleless range. This ensures all focus is given to the colour, and won't risk making the kitchen feel too 'busy' or cluttered with additional shades and effects.

Other areas of the kitchen should be treated as a plain backdrop to ensure no part of the room clashes. Most colours will work well against an oak floor, with similar shades for the counter tops. Wall colours should be kept light, in shades of cream or white depending on the tone of the cabinets.

Finally, for an extra pop, choose an interesting backsplash. Red cabinets will work well with blue and green; blue works exceptionally well with shades of purple, and green cabinets will find a friend in grey and violet shades.


Two-tone colour split

This is achieved by choosing two different but flattering colours to apply to two different areas of the kitchen. This is most commonly found across floor and wall cabinets, but can also be achieved through floor-to-ceiling storage and free-standing counters.

A two-tone split is one of the easiest ways to add colour to your kitchen as, with the right shade combination, it can be applied to kitchens of any size and on both contemporary and traditional designs.

Small kitchens will benefit from choosing light colours, such as blue with white, or green with cream. Meanwhile, larger kitchens can create a dramatic effect by combining deep purples – such as aubergine – with shades like gullwing and slate.

The rest of the kitchen can be designed according to your preference, as choosing two shades won't overwhelm the room with colour. Flooring can vary from glossy tiles in shades of black or grey, to wooden tones of oak or ash. Wall colours should be relatively plain to work as a backdrop, though consider statement tiling either as a splashback or statement wall effect to add texture to the room.


Statement colour cabinets

If you're looking to use colour to create a focal point to your room, consider installing a standalone unit such as a kitchen island if you have the space. These freestanding cabinets are a beautiful addition to any kitchen, and when installed in the right colour, can totally transform the entire room.

Much like the two-tone effect, adding a localised statement colour to your kitchen is one of the easiest ways to incorporate vibrancy into your kitchen. Islands are available in a vast variety of designs, from the rustic effect of Shaker to the bold modern styling of handleless cabinets.

The shade you choose for your island entirely depends upon the overall effect you prefer. Shades of green can help to create a country effect; greys are very contemporary; reds can create a Mediterranean-inspired finish, and blues are bright and fresh.



Handleless and gloss finish islands will create a block of uninterrupted colour in the kitchen, while matte effect with handles will help to blend the unit in with the rest of the kitchen design.

As only one area of the kitchen is coloured, choose light cabinets for the rest of the room in shades of cream or white, and aim to keep the finish of the cabinets consistent with the island – so consistently gloss or consistently matte.

Flooring can be chosen in a variety of shades to flatter the island colour, whether that's glossy, dark tiles or a subdued wooden finish.


Ideas and inspiration

Adding colour to your kitchen through the cabinets is a fantastic and simple solution to create a design that's unique yet also timeless.

When done right, it's also a great way to refresh your space so that when it comes time to sell, your home will stand out in the very best way! But it's important to note that not all colour schemes will appeal to all potential buyers. 

If you're not sure how to choose a style and colour scheme that will work for you and your space, but also add value to your home, we'd be happy to help you with this! After all, personalized design advice and guidance is one of the many exclusive services we offer, whether you're ready to list now or sometime down the line! Get in touch with us to learn more.

Here we've compiled a selection of examples of kitchen colour schemes, to help the inspiration strike!