5 Unexpected Ways to Add Color to Your Kitchen

Even if your kitchen is functioning well enough, you might still feel the need for a little refresh. Here are five ways to add an energizing -- and possibly unexpected -- bit of color into this hardworking space, without the expense of a major overhaul.

Paint Something Besides Cabinets or Walls

It's true that a little splash of color can go a long way. Experiment with a fun shade by choosing one feature that you want to "pop." A few ideas: Paint the space under the kitchen bar area, your pantry door, or even the ceiling.

Image via: Alice Lane Home, photographed by Lindsay Salazar

Let There Be (a Bright) Light!

Paint isn't the only way to add color. Consider adding a bright red (or yellow or green) pendant light. Or, spray-paint an outdated fixture over your breakfast table in a surprising hue. This is also a great way to visually break up a kitchen with a lot of dark cabinets.

Add a Colorful Gallery Wall

Displaying artwork is often overlooked in the kitchen, but it's a perfect way to add color and personality to this busy space. Consider vintage-inspired posters, food photography or, for an extra-colorful touch, frame some of your kids' masterpieces. A pretty tea towel in a frame is also fun for a kitchen wall.

Give Your Backsplash a Boost

A colorful backsplash can be a real showstopper in an overall neutral kitchen. If you're looking for an easy DIY project, there are a lot of peel-and-stick options now available. Or, experiment with something less permanent like a removable wallpaper.

Accessorize with Pops of Color

Sometimes, refreshing your kitchen can be as easy as bringing in a few colorful accessories. Metal barstools come in all kinds of playful colors for an instant boost, or consider adding a fabric window treatment for some pattern play. Looking for instant gratification? Sometimes, just adding some bright, new dish towels or fresh flowers will do the trick.

1 Comment

  1. I love all the great makeovers, but when you rent, you can't paint. I live in an apartment where there is no window in the kitchen, so no curtains. The only thing I have seen is to add colorful kitchen towels. I would love to see some suggestions for renters!!!

    1. Hi! I’ve been in a similar situation many times. My strategy was to find a great piece of large-scale art (or a piece of colorful fabric that you adhere using, e.g. Mod Podge to a pre-stretched canvas, which can be purchased from a crafts store for ~$30) to display somewhere in view of the kitchen. I then used colors from the artwork to select a rug, dishtowels, decorative bowls/trays, candles, vases for colorful flowers, potted succulents, cutting boards, a spice rack, storage canisters, etc. I also usually removed the doors from my upper cabinets and applied contact paper or removable wallpaper to the backs to add color. Finally, I typically applied contact paper that resembles marble to the countertops and peel-and-stick tiles (e.g. those that look like stainless steel subway tiles) to the backsplash. My landlord let me swap out the cabinet hardware as long as I replaced my picks with the originals before moving out. I was also able to hang some colorful plug-in sconces and swag pendants, since doing so doesn’t cause any more damage to drywall than hanging art. I hope this helps!

    2. Some things to use to add color--removable wallpaper; a colorful garbage can; a colorful tea kettle sitting on the stove; a colorful clock on the wall. If there is room, hang an old window and add curtains to it. Depending on the type of back splash you have, you can hang painted metal tiles between the counter and the upper cabinets. You could even add a fabric skirt to a lower cabinet. Have fun!!

    3. Hello,
      I remember using fabric and starch to color almost any wall or cabinet. Choose a fabric and soak the fabric in starch, then apply to the wall or cabinet. You can take it off and wash the walls down with no problems. Consider using fabric like wallpaper or trim. If your landlord asks about it, just show him/her how easy it is to take it off without any damage. Try a small section and see how it works.

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