The Best Colors for a Kitchen Refresh

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Our definitive guide to giving your hardworking kitchen the makeover it deserves.

When it comes to interior home design in general, it’s hard to know where to begin. But we’re steadfast believers in giving your home a refresh from time to time, not only for the sake of staying tidy and stylish, but for the boost of creativity that comes with putting together a new design. Plus: it’s just plain fun—especially when it comes to painting!

If you’re feeling like it’s time to give your kitchen a little makeover, we’re here to provide some ideas for color scheme inspiration. Our kitchens do a lot of work—they provide us with everything we need to get up and go, and they act as a place for family and friends to gather together and do everyone’s favorite thing: eat! Maybe you’re looking to repaint your cabinets and get behind a new kitchen color scheme, or perhaps you want to show off a new set of dishware that you picked up on a recent vacation, or maybe you’re looking to renovate from top to bottom; whatever the case may be, we’ve got some timeless ideas for you that will leave your kitchen feeling good as new.

First things first: if you’re working with what you’ve already got (that is, not starting from scratch) take a good look at the existing colors—the floor, the ceiling, the walls, the counters, the cabinets, your go-to set of dishes. Keep in mind that if you’re choosing to just focus on repainting, say, the cabinets, you’ll want to choose a color that doesn’t clash with what’s already there. If you’re working with a neutral background, you can have a lot of fun and pick out a statement color that really makes the room pop. Or, if you’ve got a lot going on already, maybe opt for something more natural or muted, like greys and earth tones, that will yield a well-blended palet.

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If you’re looking to repaint your cabinets, a simple white or off-white hue can provide a total refresh. White pops in a big way, and opens space up, brightening a room significantly, and it allows surrounding colors to contrast and pop as well. Additionally, it blends very nicely with neutral colors, so no matter what you’re working with, you’ll feel like you’re walking into a new space after whitening up those cabinets. Consider a white color scheme refresh with the addition of a few gold-framed mirrors to really open things up.

A major consideration is whether you want the tone of the room to be warm versus cool, and let that guide you to an accent color. For an open, airy feel, opt for greys, blues, and white tones that make the kitchen feel spacious and liberated. If you’re wanting to take things to the next level, you can add some contrast with accent colors through dishware, hand towels, vases, and artwork. For example, a simple, off-white or white background (walls, cabinets) with navy accents (dishes, window sills) creates a sophisticated scheme that makes it easy to incorporate artwork. For a warmer feel, opt for yellows, oranges, and red hues—they don’t have to be dark or bold to warm things up! Accented with white cabinets, this can create a beautiful, cozy ambiance, especially when the room allows for a lot of natural light.

It’s also good to consider what materials you’re working with. For example, if you have exposed wooden beams in your kitchen, focusing on white walls and cabinets with black accents (like window sills and dishware) creates clean lines and openness—think the simplicity and moderness of Scandinavian design.

Of course, the contrast of black (or dark brown wood) with white or off-white hues is a timeless color scheme that yields an elegant, classically styled kitchen. If you’ve got dark cabinets, think about white walls and white accents, and if you’re working with white cabinets, consider black-and-white floor tiling, black dishware, or granite countertops.