Add Color to Your Kitchen

Color can do amazing things to a kitchen, so add your favorite hue to the hardest-working room in your home.

By Debra Wittrup

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Colorful Cabinetry

    Kitchen cabinetry accounts for about 60 percent of your room's surface, so installing cabinets in your chosen shade injects a huge splash of color. Blue is a friendly, restful color that works perfectly in such a busy room. The sleek surface of these blue cabinets has a decidedly contemporary flair, but the wood flooring underfoot brings in warmth that keeps the color from overwhelming the space.

Paint Cabinet Interiors

    A contrast of two warm and zesty colors creates dynamic visual interest in these kitchen cabinets. An orange from the red end of the spectrum covers the facade of the cabinetry while the interiors are coated in an orange that sports more yellow. The lighter color makes a dramatic background to kitchenware and collectibles behind the glass-front doors.

Create a Colorful Focal Point

    For dramatic effect, you can't beat this kitchen wall tiled in vivid apple green. The freestanding wall divides the kitchen from the living room -- it draws all eyes to the small galley kitchen area and sets off the sleek stainless-steel vent hood and range. Modernist chairs, covered in coordinating green fabric, bring the color into the dining area, tying the two spaces together.

Paint an Illusion

    This Provence-style kitchen proves how much of a difference color can make. Formerly an all-white space, the room is now a warm and captivating example of French country charm. Golden yellow paint unifies a mix of cabinetry while pattern comes in the form of a pastoral gold and red toile. Arresting black cabinets were detailed to resemble a freestanding hutch, creating a focal point along the wall of cabinetry.

Use Your Collections

    Watch for pretty ceramics and collectibles at flea markets and garage sales, then display them like artwork. The mint-green jadeite glassware arrayed on open shelving helps bring out the pretty pattern of the wallpaper and brightens this charming country kitchen.

Add Character with Color

    Nothing highlights a unique piece like color. Left in its original white state, this vintage china hutch would have added a pleasant, if subtle, element to this neutral kitchen. Painted in effervescent green, however, the hutch not only becomes a focal point of the kitchen but also shows off a china collection to stellar effect.

Kitchen Color Makeover

    Before color was added to this kitchen, it was safe and serviceable but lacked charm. Just a couple of yards of geometric fabric inspired a whole new look for the space. Blue walls and graphic black and white cabinets add zing, while pretty comes in the form of fabric shades and pillows and a painted mirror frame. A mosaic tile backsplash unifies the color scheme.

Use Colorful Fabrics

    Fabrics serve multiple purposes in a kitchen. They add pattern and color at window height, on seating, and at counter height, often providing the inspiration for a color scheme and tying the room together. But they also add warmth and comfort in the form of cushions and pillows and a much-needed softness that counters the angularity and hardness of most kitchen surfaces.

Colored Kitchen Appliances

    Why not look to appliances, both large and small, to infuse your kitchen with color? Refrigerators, dishwashers, and other large appliances are monolithic kitchen elements that generally stand in the way of interesting shades. But manufacturers are adding new tints to their appliance palettes all the time. If you're not in the market for new but want an appliance update, numerous companies offer both premade and custom kits that can transform your boring or beat-up fridge with a blast of saturated color.

Colorful Tile Backsplash

    A tiled backsplash has been the mainstay of kitchen design for decades -- and rightfully so. Easy to install and easy to clean, it also provides a highly durable backdrop. The star of this kitchen is the backsplash made of seafoam-green subway tiles. While the cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances look classic and clean, the beautiful tiles add sparkle and artistry.

Make Creative Color Choices

    Consider adding visual contrast in unlikely ways. A chalkboard is often introduced into the kitchen, but it takes design confidence to make it a permanent part of your decor. This surprising choice covers the walls from countertop to ceiling, highlighting the sleek stainless-steel appliances.

Make It Simple

    When adding color to your kitchen, don't overlook the beauty of nature. A trip down your grocer's produce aisle will give you all the inspiration you need. For the price of a pound or two of apples, oranges, limes, and lemons, you can surround yourself with vivid and fragrant color. If your grocer also has a florist's stand, add fresh flowers or a flowering plant, too.

Hang Colorful Artwork

    Jazz up your kitchen with lively artwork. If a professional painting isn't in your budget, consider vintage posters for a large yet economical splash of color. For a more personal touch, hang a grouping of family photographs or frame some of your children's more colorful artistic productions for a vibrant and charming display.

Painted Cabinetry

    If colored cabinets seem too permanent a color choice for you, try painting new or existing cabinetry. It's also a more economical choice that allows you to add a personal element to your kitchen. In this country French-style space, cabinets are painted in muted tones of blue and sage to complement the natural materials such as wood and terra-cotta. Artwork enlivens the wall coated in a persimmon Venetian plaster for a truly unique custom touch.

Stick to the Walls

    If you want to experiment with an unusual color in your kitchen, limit yourself to the surfaces that can be altered easily so you can make changes later. Purple is an enigmatic color that can easily overwhelm in large doses, so in this kitchen two tones of the hue were confined to the walls. A pale gray with lilac overtones colors the walls to window height while a band of deeper lavender encircles the room at the top and accents the open shelving. A dark, heathery gray stain on the island complements the color and the light birch cabinetry. A patterned shade pulls all the tones together.

Add Color with Wallpaper

    Yellow is a classic country kitchen color, but here the sunny and cheerful hue is muted by the delicacy of the patterned fabric wallpaper. The dainty floral takes the hue throughout the room but is balanced by the walls of white cabinetry. A substantial wood island adds weight to the farmhouse vibe of the space.

Understated Kitchen Color

    If you want to add color but prefer a subtle approach, flirt with color in smaller ways. Here, a shelving niche gets attention with a soft French blue highlighting its architectural detail. The light pastel also makes a lovely background for the pretty plates on display. Complementing the niche and plates, Roman shades in delicately patterned blue and white carry the color palette throughout the kitchen.

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