Small doses of color can go a long way in a small kitchen. Check out these popular palettes that create the perception of more space.


The best color schemes for small kitchens weave interest throughout the space without making the kitchen feel claustrophobic. Cool whites, warming earth tones, beachy pastels, and even primary colors can be used to personalize small kitchens. The color scheme shouldn't distract from cooking and cleaning tasks at hand, and whenever possible, the colors should tie the kitchen to adjacent spaces, which in turn causes small kitchens to appear larger.

When selecting small-kitchen paint colors, cabinet finishes, surfaces, and fittings, consider the mood you want to create, the amount of natural light the kitchen receives, and how you can distribute color to create a streamlined look. Try to limit small kitchen colors to just two or three principal shades (add pops of a vibrant accent color if you like a lively look) so your small kitchen design doesn't feel cluttered or too busy. Try one of these brilliant small kitchen color ideas to reenergize your cooking space.

white kitchen with dark blue and wood accents
Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography LLC

1. Navy Blue, Leather Brown, and Bright White

Having a small kitchen doesn't mean you need to stay away from dark colors, but you should plan to use saturated hues strategically. To avoid overwhelming a tight space, use deep tones such as navy blue sparingly and add contrast with plenty of bright white. This small kitchen color scheme applies dark blue across the island and select banks of cabinetry. When paired with a white subway tile backsplash and white fixtures, the look is bright and crisp. Leather barstools repeat the rich brown hue of the island's wood countertop, adding warmth and texture to the room.

white kitchen with vintage appliances
Credit: Kim Cornelison

2. Olive Green, Warm White, and Wood Finishes

Colors pulled from Mother Nature form refreshing color schemes in small kitchens. Starting with a base of warm white, then add depth with natural wood tones or earthy neutrals. Olive green makes a beautiful accent color that maintains the back-to-nature motif. The organic hues add interesting contrast without making a small kitchen feel dark.

Blue stools at bar in rustic kitchen
Credit: Richard Leo Johnson

3. White, Robin's Egg Blue, and Yellow

This bright color combination enlarges small kitchens and opens up an array of design possibilities. White walls, ceilings, and backsplashes reflect light and make the perimeter of a small kitchen recede, which causes the room to appear larger. Choose a crisp white paint color for the walls and cabinets, then layer in color through blue powder-coated barstools and displays of cheery yellow dishware. Consider painting the pantry door or a single cabinet in one of the bright colors for a standout accent.

Traditional style kitchen with stainless steel appliances
Credit: Emily Followill

4. White, Off-White, and Natural Wood Finishes

Small kitchen paint colors don't have to be bold to introduce big personality. Opt for a white-on-white palette to create the illusion of a larger space. Mix crisp white, buttery white, and gray-toned white finishes to create a seamless look. Select warm wood cabinets and floors that take the chill off white surfaces and give your small kitchen an inviting vibe.

Modern style kitchen with high gloss cabinetry
Credit: John Granen

5. Scarlet, Gray, and Stainless Steel

Red tones are a good color choice for small kitchens; the vibrant hue stimulates appetites and conversations. When combined with cool gray tones and shiny metallic surfaces, it gives small kitchens a sleek, contemporary look. Balance crimson cabinetry with polished countertops, stainless-steel fixtures, and other light-reflective elements.

slate blue cabinets in kitchen with orange accents
Credit: Adam Albright

6. Slate Blue, Copper, and Steely Gray

Mix and match metallic hues to devise a small kitchen color scheme with modern appeal. Vary the color temperatures across the palette for a more dynamic look. For example, copper and stainless steel work well together because they juxtapose warm and cool tones. Introduce rosy metallic hues by hanging copper pot racks, installing a copper farmhouse sink, or hanging copper-shaded pendant lights. Temper copper's warmth with gray countertops, slate blue cabinetry, and stainless-steel appliances.

Contemporary kitchen with two tone cabinetry
Credit: Laurie Black

7. Turquoise, Goldenrod Yellow, and Warm Wood

Brighten a small kitchen with a color palette featuring warm wood tones and happy hues. Choose a rich wood stain for lower cabinetry, then go for a modern two-tone look by painting the upper ones white. Use fun medleys of vivid ceramic tile to craft bold backsplashes. Take advantage of open shelving and banquette seating to introduce pops of turquoise and yellow to energize your small kitchen design.

kitchen with white subway tile and yellow cabinetry
Credit: James Yochum

8. Yellow, White, and Black

Yellow has long been a favorite paint color for small kitchens. Whether used on walls or cabinetry, the soul-warming hue makes a pleasing splash. It offers a cheerful greeting in the morning and sets a room aglow once lights flicker on at night. Yellow walls handily highlight white cabinets; conversely, white walls make yellow cabinets advance. Black marble or soapstone countertops provide good-looking anchors for the buoyant hues.

low-contrast gray kitchen with pops of yellow
Credit: Emily Followill

9. Charcoal Gray, Dove Gray, Silvery Gray

A monochromatic color scheme fashions a serene look that allows the eye to move freely around a small kitchen. When there is little difference between walls, countertops, and woodwork, a kitchen space reads larger than its actual dimensions. This small kitchen color idea translates to most any hue; choose paint colors and materials that correspond to the lightest, darkest, and mid-tone hue on one paint swatch. Distribute the colors so they complement each other while providing subtle contrast between surfaces and finishes.

white kitchen with black lighting fixtures
Credit: Robert Brinson

10. Mint Green, Aqua, and White

This calming color combination still packs a punch, thanks to a lively interplay between minty pastels and saturated aqua tones. Introduce the darker blue color with an area rug for a grounding effect. White surfaces keep the look bright and breezy, while small doses of black, such as matte black hardware or light fixtures, add a modern punch.

Kitchen in black, white and red in modern style
Credit: Emily Followill

11. Black, White, and Any Color

The high-contrast pairing of black and white makes a striking small kitchen color palette. White or off-white walls expand perimeters while emphasizing black-painted or stained cabinets. For a bolder look, consider checkerboard flooring or a chevron-patterned backsplash. Black and white kitchen elements serve as a neutral stage that handily showcases dishware, fixtures, and accessories of almost every color. Choose a vibrant hue like red that will show up brilliantly against black.

By Jessica Bennett and Ann Wilson

    Comments (2)

    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    May 8, 2018
    I would "Love" to have someone come to my apartment and decorate my kitchen using ANY 1 of the of of the models shown. I'll stay away until I receive a call telling me to come home and start living? (FYI: My kitchen is more than half the size of any 1 shown. Thank you.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    May 8, 2018
    It is more practical to have the microwave at waist height, instead of the lowered level microwave shown in the photo.