25 Ways to Brighten and Update a White Kitchen with a Pop of Color

white green kitchen counter space with gold chairs
Photo: Annie Schlechter

Color can make a kitchen brighter, happier, and more reflective of your personal style. Try a big dose of color with painted cabinetry, or layer in small touches with fun accessories. These ideas for adding color to a kitchen will help you introduce your favorite hue to the hardest-working room in your home.

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Choose Colorful Cabinetry

white kitchen with medium blue cabinets
Anthony Masterson

Cabinetry typically accounts for about 60% of your kitchen's surfaces, so installing cabinets in your favorite shade will inject a huge pop of color. Be sure to choose a hue you'll love for many years, such as a favorite shade of blue. If you're worried about the color overwhelming the kitchen, balance cabinetry with plenty of open storage space and bright white walls.

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Install a Colorful Tile Backsplash

dark green tiled kitchen with larch-wood cabinets with cutout handles
Kim Cornelison

Colorful tile adds texture and personality to an otherwise blank kitchen wall. Tile also provides a durable backsplash that's easy to install and keep clean. Add just a few rows of tile below upper cabinets, or extend your backsplash up to the ceiling for an impactful wall treatment.

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Paint Kitchen Cabinetry

Kitchen with green cabinets and black and white geometric floors
Annie Schlecther

If buying colored cabinets is out of the question, try painting existing cabinetry to update your white kitchen with a pop of color. It's an economical choice that allows you to add a personal element to your kitchen. In this bright kitchen space, the lower cabinets are painted a minty green, a sweet color tempered by black hardware and a boldly patterned floor.

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Apply Wallpaper in the Kitchen

white green kitchen counter space with gold chairs
Annie Schlechter

You often see wallpaper in living areas and powder rooms, but this wall treatment works well in kitchens, too. Choose a colorful pattern for your kitchen walls, backsplash, or even the ceiling. To ensure your kitchen remains easy to clean, avoid fabric or highly textured wallpapers that can't be easily wiped clean.

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No-Fuss Ways to Add Kitchen Color

Follow these simple ideas for incorporating small pops of color throughout your existing kitchen palette.

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Install Colorful Light Fixtures

Kitchen with checkered floor and white cabinets
Edmund Barr Photography

A quick trick for giving a white kitchen a pop of color is replacing basic light fixtures with colorful counterparts. A new ceiling fixture can add interest to an area of the kitchen that doesn't usually get much attention. You can also hang pendants with brightly colored shades above an island to boost task lighting and personality.

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Paint the Kitchen Island

yellow kitchen island
Ed Gohlich

If you're not ready to go all-in on colorful cabinetry, try painting your kitchen island an accent color. This allows you to experiment with a smaller dose of color (and it takes much less time than painting all the cabinets and doors). Be sure to choose an island color that complements your kitchen's other colors or wood tones.

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Lay Down a Colorful Rug

remodeled shite kitchen red color space rug
Laurey Glenn

Introduce color to a neutral kitchen with a vibrant rug. Area rugs are ideal for kitchens with more open space, while runners work well between islands and perimeter countertops. Go for a material that's easy to clean and can withstand plenty of foot traffic. Be sure to use a non-skid pad to keep the rug in place, a safety must-have in a busy kitchen.

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Paint Lower Cabinets

high contrast modern kitchen with small dog
Dane Tashima

For a balanced application of color, try the two-toned look on your kitchen cabinetry. Choose one shade for the lower cabinets and leave the upper ones white or their natural wood finish. This high-contrast look allows you to try a bold paint color on cabinetry without coating the entire space.

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Add Character with Color

Dark green kitchen with white counters
Kitchen cabinets in Tarrytown Green by Benjamin Moore. Anthony Masterson

Nothing highlights a unique collection like color. Frame a treasured grouping of glassware, ironstone, or china inside a glass-front cabinet painted in a bold shade. Alternatively, store your collection on open shelves with a colorfully painted wall as a backdrop.

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Line White Cabinets with Color

red, white and blue kitchen storage
Tria Giovan

Update an all-white kitchen with a pop of color by painting the interior of glass-front or open cabinetry, creating a dramatic background for dishes and collectibles. Choose a color that will show off your kitchenware. Here, a bold shade of blue is the perfect backdrop for the red, white, and blue dishware.

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Color a Kitchen Door

bright yellow cabinet door
James R. Salomon

Turn a kitchen door into a statement feature with a fun, fresh color. Paint the door between your kitchen and pantry or mudroom with a standout color to give your space a custom look. Plus, a darker color hides dirt and grime better than standard white.

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White Kitchen with a Pop of Color Focalpoint Update

kitchen with green tile
Edmund Barr

For dramatic effect, apply a large expanse of tile to one wall. Here, a wall tiled in vivid apple green divides the kitchen from the living room. This helps draw 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 green into the dining area, tying the two spaces together.

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Use Your Collections

open kitchen storage
Alex Hayden

Easily add personality to your kitchen with colorful dishware and collectibles on display in open cabinetry. This kitchen color idea allows practical elements to provide a starting point for the room's color palette. Here, a mix of yellow, orange, and blue brightens this charming country kitchen.

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Swap in Colorful Kitchen Seating

white kitchen with yellow chairs
John Granen

Swap out basic island stools for a livelier seating option. With plenty of vibrant options on the market, you can introduce color through seats upholstered in brightly colored fabric or metal stools in a powder-coated finish. To tie the room together, pick up a few accessories in a matching hue.

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Consider Subtle Kitchen Colors

pastel blue tile kitchen
John Granen

Punchy brights and rich jewel tones are impactful, but muted colors can be just as eye-catching in a white kitchen for a pop of color. Soft pastels, used in paint colors or on a tile backsplash, maintain the elegant feel of a white kitchen while adding subtle interest. Wood tones add texture to set off these light colors and read as higher-octane neutrals.

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Choose One Kitchen Color

red kitchen walls
Tria Giovan

An infusion of a single color creates a high-energy, impactful kitchen. For example, with its fiery red wall and windows accented with patterned Roman shades, this kitchen instantly grabs your attention. The color scheme comes full circle with red knobs on the island and matching shades on the pair of chandeliers.

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Use Colorful Fabrics

white dining nook
Laura Moss

With so many hard surfaces, kitchens don't typically feature as many fabrics as living spaces or bedrooms. However, there are still a few opportunities for layering in colorful fabrics. For example, add pretty patterned pillows to your banquette, cover dining chairs in a fresh, fun pattern, or hang eye-catching wall art.

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Pick Colorful Kitchen Appliances

green kitchen with blue range and hood
James R. Salomon

Look to large and small appliances to infuse your kitchen with color. Manufacturers continually add new tints to their appliance palettes. If you're not in the market for new appliances but want an update, numerous companies offer pre-tinted and custom kits that can transform your boring or beat-up fridge with a blast of saturated color.

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Make Creative Color Choices

white kitchen with blue ceiling
Michael Partenio

Consider adding visual contrast in unlikely ways. One opportunity for color that's often overlooked is the ceiling. In this kitchen, the ceiling between coffers received a dose of gray-blue paint, infusing the space with color without overwhelming the senses or altering classic styling.

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Decorate with Natural Color

white kitchen with fruit
Brie Williams

When adding color to your kitchen, don't overlook the beauty of nature. For the price of a pound or two of apples, oranges, limes, or lemons, you can surround yourself with vivid and fragrant color. If your grocer has a florist's stand, add fresh flowers, too.

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Hang Colorful Artwork

floating shelves and white table
Kim Cornelison

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

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Add Color to Kitchen Walls

green kitchen with white cabinets
Anthony Masterson

If you want to experiment with an unusual color in your kitchen, limit yourself to surfaces that can be easily altered so you can make changes later. Painting walls, for example, is much easier than re-tiling a backsplash. A bold wash of citron green covers the back wall in this cottage kitchen, adding a fresh spin to the classic white scheme.

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Use Wallpaper on Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen cabinet with wallpaper backing
Rick Lew

Even in small doses, wallpaper packs a punch of color and pattern. Try lining the back of glass-front cabinets or open kitchen storage with wallpaper for an unexpected pop of personality. To up your color game, pull out colors from the wallpaper and use them as accents in accessories, fabrics, light fixtures, and more.

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Pick Colorful Countertops

orange and white kitchen
Ed Gohlich

For a more permanent splash of color, look to your countertops. Manufactured countertops made from quartz-surfacing or recycled materials can be produced in any color imaginable. Add a splash of color to a serving area or island with a colorful countertop.

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Dress Kitchen Windows with Color

kitchen with yellow accents
Jean Allsopp

Accessorize your kitchen windows with treatments in fun colors and patterns. Keep in mind that complex window treatments, like Roman shades, might need to be professionally cleaned. On the other hand, cafe curtains and valances can typically be tossed in the wash to eliminate cooking smells and the inevitable kitchen splatters.

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