Kitchen colour tones

How to choose a kitchen colour scheme to create your desired kitchen mood!

Choosing a Kitchen Colour Scheme

The kitchen colour scheme you choose including the choice of paint for the walls, the colour of kitchen cabinetry, worktops and flooring are all vitally important because colour defines whether a kitchen will ‘work’ and also impacts dramatically on a kitchen’s ‘mood’ or ambience. We appreciate that not everyone has a blank canvas to start from when designing a kitchen and there are other factors that influence kitchen colour and style choice, including the following:-

  • Your home’s theme: There may a natural inclination to retain a house’s existing style, for example in a period property such as a Georgian or Victorian house you may find it is better to continue the traditional theme rather than opt for something more contemporary.
  • Kitchen light source: The amount of natural light a room receives usually influences a kitchen colour scheme, for example lighter colours are advisable for a poorly lit room as they help make the room feel larger and brighter.
  • Which way your room faces: Colour schemes can look stunning in one room but fail completely in another and this is not just down to the quantity but the quality of light and this differs depending on whether you have a north, south, east or west facing room! Light quality affects how we see the colour and so different light qualities change how it appears to us. This in turn affects the tone or mood of the room. North facing rooms generally have a limited but consistent light so how the colour’s visual appearance won’t change as the day progresses. South facing rooms generally receive lots of light so will be consistently bright. East facing rooms receive morning light but lose this as the day progresses and west facing rooms will receive light in the afternoon but not morning and so the perception of colour can change throughout the day.
  • Kitchen colour schemesColour undertones: A colour undertone is not the colour you immediately see but a subtle characteristic often only apparent when different colours are combined. If the undertones clash rather than harmonise this can cause kitchen colour schemes to fail. Colours such as purple, blue, grey and brown have cool colour tones whereas red, orange, yellow and green are warm colour tones. Should you have a south-facing kitchen which receives a lot of natural sunlight then warm or cool undertones should work but if not then warm colour tones are best as they will prevent your room from feeling dark or cold.

So choosing a kitchen colour scheme carefully is essential for ensuring it will work, as well as for setting the tone of the room.
Fortunately there are some general colour principles you can follow which help determine the effect different colours will have on a room, and these are as follows:

White Kitchens

white lacquer kitchenWhite is undoubtedly the most popular choice of colour for a kitchen. It is clean, fresh, and ideal for any room size as it reflects light, making a room feel bigger and brighter. White is associated with purity and an all-white kitchen in a crisp white tone, and with de-cluttered surfaces will create a minimalist and extremely contemporary kitchen with a fresh, pure and sophisticated feel.

However some may perceive a stark white tone to feel cold and impersonal; should this be the case then perhaps an all-white kitchen with warmer undertones would be more suitable. This is achievable using a softer white tone containing subtle pink or cream hues, for a warmer overall finish. As well as purity, white is associated with peace and serenity so the softer white is perfect for achieving such an atmosphere.

As well as this, white is extremely versatile so works well in combination with other kitchen colour schemes and textures. What’s more, white is a classically timeless colour so will not date or tire with age. For example , a black and white contrast will never date and is ideal for a very chic and sophisticated finish.

Cream Kitchens

kitchen colour schemes, cream gloss kitchenSimilar to white, cream is a very calming colour and also very versatile. It can be used to create stylish, modern kitchens but is also ideal for more traditional kitchens, generating a sanctuary-like, safe feel that is homely and comfortable. Particularly for families where the kitchen very often becomes the heart of the home, people intend it to feel homely, welcoming and a sociable place for gathering. Cream kitchens are perfect for this kind of ambience, particularly in combination with the warm wood tones of a more traditional shaker style kitchen.

Blue Kitchens

blue kitchen colour schemesBlue has cool undertones so can appear cold or uninviting yet blue is also associated with calm and tranquillity (somewhat essential for a kitchen!) so select your blue colour tone and décor with care and the latter mood is easily achievable for your kitchen. We would advise against dark blue but pale blue kitchen tones are very popular! Best for a south facing room, a pale blue kitchen colour scheme can make a room feel larger. LWK Kitchens’ love the pale blue kitchen tone in combination with either white high gloss finishes for a sleek and effortlessly cool kitchen design, or else with light grey tones should you desire a slightly more formal feel. Alternatively a pale blue kitchen works beautifully in combination with warm wood tones. This is ideal for a more traditional or shaker kitchen style, producing the same calm feel which is homely and inviting and this ambience can be enhanced with soft neutral furnishings such as curtains, tablecloth or seat cushions.

Dark Kitchen Colours (Grey and Black)

Dark colour tones such as grey, black and brown have become an increasingly popular colour choice for kitchens. However, being from the cold side of the colour wheel they need introducing with care and are best for south facing rooms that receive sunlight to prevent them from making a room feel small, enclosed and dark:-

Grey Kitchens

Dark kitchen colour schemesGrey is a colour typically associated with dreariness and depression but this is simply not the case within kitchen design. Whether light or dark, grey is frequently used to produce very beautiful modern designs and kitchen colour schemes that are far from dreary but elegant, rich and sophisticated.

Black Kitchens

Like grey, Black kitchens are highly elegant, avoiding the common association as a colour of mourning but instead producing stunning and very sumptuous kitchen designs. Black is ideal for a room with lots of lighting and contrasted with light colours to avoid appearing too dark. Black kitchens tend to have a serious tone but can be instantly enlivened with a splash of bold colour upon the walls, splashback or even through coloured LED lighting. This effect introduces a contemporary twist, perfect for larger kitchen or open plan spaces intended not just for cooking but for entertaining and socialising.

Red Kitchens

matt lacquer red kitchensJust like its association with danger, red is a kitchen colour to be approached with caution as there are a variety of red tones available but which can have very varied effects upon your kitchen’s overall appearance and atmosphere. With warm undertones a bold red colour should work within any room but particularly for smaller spaces it can appear somewhat overpowering so needs introducing with care. Bold red is frequently used for accent or feature pieces within a kitchen colour scheme but whichever your preference, the bold red is perfect for creating an energetic, fun, attractive modern kitchen that will stimulate the senses. Bold red kitchen colour schemes work well in association with grey and white tones, or else the introduction of black hints create a distinctive contrast and slightly exotic feel. Alternatively a dark red kitchen tends to produce a more formal, serious feel which is highly sophisticated, yet bordering on the dramatic. Like a fine wine, dark red kitchens are rich, full-bodied and designed to be shared so are perfect if you intend your kitchen as a sociable setting. Red kitchen colour tones can also alter the perception of a room to make the walls feel nearer than they are, making this colour perfect should you desire a more intimate feel.

Yellow kitchens

yellow shaker kitchenA yellow kitchen colour scheme is perfect for creating a bright, fresh, and energetic feel. Yellow is a colour associated with summer and happiness, ensuring a kitchen is a fully enjoyable and social place where people want to spend their time. With warm undertones this colour should work within any space, no matter what direction the room faces. However there are different shades of yellow kitchen available, each of which has a varied impact upon a room. Pale yellow colours are our preferred shade of yellow for a kitchen, with a softer tone than the bold yellow but sharing the same welcoming vitality. Pale yellow kitchens work well in rooms that are smaller and/or with limited light as they create the perception of a larger and brighter room. Pale yellow kitchens are perfect in combination with white and grey kitchen colour tones, or else with a pale wood-effect if you prefer a more traditional impression. Alternatively, bold yellow kitchens are somewhat less refined but can adopt a more formal quality within the handleless kitchen style and when interspersed with grey tones and glass accents. The overall effect is a very modern, punchy kitchen finish with a positively infectious impact.

Purple Kitchens

purple kitchen colour schemeIt may not be the first colour that springs to mind for a kitchen but with the right kitchen style and colour tone, your kitchen can exude the upmost of elegance and sophistication. If choosing a purple kitchen colour scheme we would avoid light shades of this colour but recommend a deep, dark and rich purple colour to emulate dark purple’s associations with regal opulence and grandeur, or else passion! Purple has cool colour tones so requires a well lit room, but a rich dark purple kitchen against a white décor, with grey flooring and complimented with glass accents is perfect for a lavish and inviting kitchen; it is highly sophisticated, contemporary and admirable!

Green Kitchens

green kitchenGreen is not one of the more popular kitchen colour choices, which is a shame as it can appear very elegant and also has a very calming presence, ideal for a kitchen! Should you opt for this kitchen colour scheme then typically a medium-darker shade of green such as Sage or Olive works well. Green is a cool colour tone and has similar qualities to blue in that it creates a serene ambience. However the colour Green is also associated with nature and earthiness, giving it a subtle energy. In keeping with this we like green in combination with other rich earthy colours including various grey tones. Depending on your light source and which way your room faces you may find green works better in combination with lighter colours such as white, cream, or natural wood tones for your worktop, décor and flooring.

Neutral Colour Kitchens

grey kitchen, neutral kitchen colour schemeNeutral coloured kitchens are exactly that and very versatile. Warm tones and textures will work within almost any room regardless of size, space or the quantity or quality of light it receives. Neutral colours would include a range of off-white colours as well as, cream, light grey, cashmere, or very light wood tones. Neutral colours tend to create a very comfortable feel for a room as they are safe, calm and homely so can be ideal for kitchens if this is the mood you want to create; though ‘safe’ does not mean boring and neutral colours lend themselves extremely well to bolder colour schemes or patterns should you wish to inject some colourful flair and vibrancy to your room.

So what kitchen colour scheme to choose?

LWK Kitchens’ advice would be to think carefully before deciding upon your kitchen colour scheme and choice of kitchen cabinets. Consider all factors that will influence whether or not your colours are likely to work as colours are not a ‘one-size-fits-all.’ However, colours do have different tones and undertones so if set on a particular hue but unsure of its likely success then perhaps you just need a different shade, tone, or accessories, to those you originally had in mind. If unsure of colours then definitely ask advice from your kitchen designer who can advise on what will or won’t work, ensuring your finished kitchen is as colourful as you would like, but in every case impressive and beautiful!

 

Here’s some further posts you might find helpful:

 

Follow Us: Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssyoutubeinstagram

44comments

Comments

  1. kathy carroll says

    Hi
    we’re thinking of putting in a new kitchen. we were going to go for white but maybe a bit cold and clinical. our kitchen is south facing, another option would be stone or creme, I am really undecisive. Would you be able to visit our property to discuss and perhaps plan??

    • says

      Hi Kathy, thanks for your message and I would love to help. We can provide designs and try out some different colour tones/options for you so you can see how they would look (all of our design work is free and there’s no obligation). I will email you separately so we can arrange a date and time that will suit you for a visit. Jen

  2. Jeany Ryder says

    Hi I have a beech shaker style kitchen black tiles and black work counters. How can I make the units give me a country look without changing too much

    • says

      If suitable for painting (and depending on the look you are after) you could paint the cabinetry with distressed paint, which is a paint specifically for achieving a rustic or shabby chic country look. Other ideas include open shelving, glass front doors, wrought-iron handles, a butler sink, a range cooker or a tiled splashback. All of these can enhance a country look but without having to replace your entire kitchen. Hope that helps! Jen

  3. Alison says

    Hi I have just had a white gloss kitchen with a wooden work top, can you help on what would work best on the floor I’m struggling to chose a color scheme that would work. I want it to be homely and warm any ideas??

  4. says

    Hi I have got Ivory units and a light grey worktop,looking for ideas on backsplash and would wooden flooring go?

    Kind regards
    Wendy

  5. laura says

    Hi

    I will be having sage green units in my new kitchen with wood effect laminate worktops. There will also be some chrome elements such as appliances and door knobs. Really struggling on what colour to paint the walls and the flooring i should use!! The flooring needs to be suitable for a playroom and utility area as well. If you have any ideas i would appreciate them. Thank you

    Laura

    • says

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your message & apologies for the delay in replying but I’m just back from holiday today. This sounds like a traditional style of kitchen? In which case, the neutral tones of the green and wood should make for a nice ‘warm’ kitchen feel, whilst the chrome brings a modern twist, liking it to a Transitional style. For your walls, you don’t want your colours to compete and risk losing the effect, so I would choose a crisp white tone that allows the Sage colour to stand out. The best thing to do here is buy some small paint sample pots, apply to the walls, and view at different times of the day (as the lighting changes) to establish your favourite.

      For your floor, how dark you go will depend on how much light your room receives, but I would choose a light colour tone such as a mid-light grey (though not too light/white as it’s for a heavy traffic room so would show up dirt too easily). Your preferred material depends on your budget but a material such as vinyl (eg. Amtico) is soft underfoot which is better for a playroom than alternatives such as tile. I hope this helps!

  6. Sara says

    We have just brought a dark grey gloss kitchen with a white spec worktop. I’m looking for some colour ideas for the walls which is also a dinning room. The floor is currently wooden effect tiles and it is a large l-shape room with a lot of light coming through.

    • says

      Hi Sara, thanks for your message. As you have dark kitchen cabinets I would choose a shade of white for your walls. This will work with your room’s natural lighting to create a really nice and bright kitchen space. A paint such as Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White No.239 is a really nice and warm white tone you could try. Otherwise you could bring a bit more colour to the space with hints of cream, green or yellow. It really depends on what look you wish to create. Also have a think about your kitchen’s lighting at different times of the day…you can find more advice on this and which colours suit north, south, east or west-facing kitchens here:
      https://www.lwk-home.com/kitchen-blog/how-light-affects-kitchen-colour-schemes/

      • Sara says

        Thank you. We was looking at yellow last night. Like lemon or bumble bee where the base units are and an off white/light grey for the dinning area and other walls where there isn’t any units at all. I’ve got young kids with a lot of young family members who visit and wanted to try and stay away from white if I could. Would using a bright yellow with a light grey work? I’ve also worked out we are mainly south facing with the kitchen as well.

  7. Maria says

    Hi Jen,

    Just came across this site. Love your ideas. We have pale blue kitchen units and grey flooring, what colour would be best to paint my kitchen in?? Thanks!

  8. Julie says

    Hi Jen, I have just had my kitchen renovated, it is a fairly small kitchen with not a lot of natural light. I have gloss white cabinets a white fleck stone bench with quite dark grey splash back. I am a bit disappointed as it looks quite dark in the corner. What colour can I use to lift it and paint the walls. I did paint walls using I think it was silver slipper, how’re now doesn’t look right. Any suggestions how I can now make this look right would be much appreciated. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Julie, thanks for your message. Do you mean the F&B paint ‘Slipper Satin?’ This is a grey neutral and does tend to change in appearance depending on a room’s lighting conditions, so perhaps this is why it isn’t working for you. Do you have a photo you could send me please so I can get a better impression of the room: [email protected]

  9. simon says

    Hi we are having a white gloss handleless kitchen with white sparkly quartz worktop. The floor will be a darker wood. The splashback will be the same as the worktop, but we are struggling for a colour for the walls for either side of the splashback and the walls and ceiling for the kitchen in general. Any ideas?

    • says

      Hi Simon, For the paint I would always recommend white on the ceiling, door frames and skirting. These should match and be a lighter, brighter white than the wall colour. As the kitchen is white you might want to pick a tone for the walls that’s slightly darker than the kitchen, and then match the white ceiling, skirting and frames to the white furniture…. I hope this helps!

  10. Denise henry says

    Hi I have a while gloss kitchen grey work tops grey sparkles floor and purple glass splash backs can you recommend what colour blind to go for .
    Kind regards
    Denise henry

    • says

      Hi, this depends on your personal preference; if it were me I would stick to your existing chosen colour palette and go for either white or a light grey colour. You could choose purple to complement the splashback but this will likely create quite a strong look so you need to decide if this is what you want. For example, in this kitchen the red blind brings a pop of colour which livens up the all-white kitchen look: http://www.lwk-home.com/recent-installation-photos/high-gloss-white-kitchen-island.php It is effective but quite attention-seeking so if not for you then go for something softer- Perhaps you could find something in white with subtle hints of purple. I hope this helps. Jen

  11. says

    Hi, giving my kitchen a makeover. I have beech units and adding new black gloss worktops , thinking of painting my units perhaps a mid grey colour so what colour should splashback be I was thinking black gloss tiles but afraid it might be too much ?

  12. Sue says

    Hi Jen . Kind regards Sue we have just had a new kitchen fitted in gloss white.The work tops are in a black sparkle finish .The floor is light grey. We need to paint the kitchen and I fancy the cooker wall in cerise pink or red ( nobody else thinks it’s a good idea ! ) We are either having a glass splashback behind the hob.One wall is completely plain ….that will be the table wall .I would appreciate your suggestions .I do like a funky sparkly look .!

    • says

      Hi Sue, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of cerise pink! Have you thought about choosing either this (or red) for your glass splashback which is going behind the hob? I’m unsure from your message how big a space you are considering painting but it sounds like your family/friends are concerned this may be a little overkill if you paint the wall. You want to draw attention to the right areas of your kitchen, and the splashback might make a better feature of the colour you want. Best of luck and I’d love to see a picture when you’re finished! Jen

  13. mark jones says

    hi jen just renewing are kitchen black flecked worktops beech units chrome finish on hob sink taps ect what would you recommend for tile colour for floors and colour scheme for the walls

  14. SK says

    Hi Jen
    I’m having a new kitchen fitted following an extension which includes installation of bi fiold doors across the back of my house. It will look pretty different! I’m currently thinking of a cashmere matt handleless style but would welcome any ideas for colour of worktop and glass splash back. As I do a lot of cooking (particularly with lots of spices etc), I’d probably prefer to veer away from a lighter colour worktop. Do you have any ideas of colours that would work? To maintain warmth, the floor will be wood.

    Thanks!

  15. Anne Cumberland says

    Hi Jen I have just had new units fitted in utility room. The units door are stone with a walnut block worktop and walnut laminate flooring I would like some ideas on colours to paint the walls please. I would like it feel warmer.

    Many thanks

    Anne

    • says

      Hi Anne, thank you for your comment and for your email too. You mentioned you have one window which is west facing and gets a lot of sunshine, along with a south-facing garden? …You are very lucky with this so I would suggest taking full advantage of the opportunity! …This generous lighting certainly affords the possibility of including darker colours, so I would advise a darker tone to the units on the walls- Farrow & ball have a stunning range of stone colours. I’m a big fan of ‘Plummet Grey’ which has an architectural feel to it & looks great in natural light:
      http://www.farrow-ball.com/plummett/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100272

  16. Will says

    Hi Jen,

    This is a really useful blog and thread, thanks for all your efforts in answering everyone’s questions.

    We are having a new kitchen fitted. It’s the first one we’ve been able to choose for ourselves ever, but my wife and I are both pretty rubbish with colours.

    The kitchen is north facing, in a Victorian terrace. As part of the work we are having the pantry taken down and a patio door knocked through at the back, so it will open up a lot. It will have two west facing windows in addition to the northerly garden door, but as our neighbour’s kitchen is only just over the wall, the westerly windows only get light from early evening onwards.

    Our designers have suggested gloss white cabinetry throughout to keep it light, with a black work top, but, to be honest, I am worried about feeling like I am eating in an Asda meat locker or a laboratory. (We are going to have a dining area at one end by the doors.)

    Because it’s north facing, I’m not sure how to have a light colour-scheme that’s not too monochromatic.

    A friend suggested a really bold colour for the work tops, like some kind of strong dark pink, with blue/grey slate effect tiles on the floor – for something a bit quirky, but another friend has said that if you’re going all modern and gloss white you need simple black or navy worktops.

    Any ideas? Am I worrying unnecessarily about the monochrome scheme? It just seems a bit unadventurous I guess, but then this is a kitchen, not a David Hockney exhibition.

    Any thoughts welcome, thanks.

    Will.

    • says

      Hi Will, thank you to you (and everyone else who has recently posted) for the positive feedback about our blog. And your ‘Asda meat locker’ comment certainly made me smile! I have to be honest in that I would also be cautious with regards the monochrome as white gloss with black is quite dated. But the advice for white gloss units for you room sounds on point – the gloss will definitely help reflect light and is very timeless. To go with this, we would recommend a light worktop also; this is highly contemporary and will help your light issues even further.
      If you decide on a light worktop the most durable would be a Quartz stone – a light grey or off-white tone could look stunning! …Perhaps have a look at Compac, Ceniza or Ice Zement. Silestone Blanco Norte, or Unsui are also possibilities to look into:
      http://en.compac.es/color/ceniza/
      http://en.compac.es/color/ice-zement/
      https://www.silestone.co.uk/colours/

  17. Laura Ashton says

    Hello,

    I’m looking for advice for flooring for our new kitchen, we have gone with a light grey traditional shaker styler and were looking at a white marble carrara style granite worktop but are really struggling on the floor. We’re not sure to go with tile or amtico/kardean flooring and not sure on floor colour?? we have looked at all types of different grey tiles but not sure if we should be going for a lighter colour?? or a dark wood effect? Any advice would be great!!

    Thanks
    Laura

    • says

      Hi Laura, your kitchen sounds lovely! Our clients also love the Carrara style worktops, and the amtico flooring is very popular as it’s really durable and long lasting. But we tend to see more wood-effect flooring in combination with the Shaker kitchen style as it creates a beautiful, homely look. If you decide on wood then as you have a light grey kitchen and light worktops, you can definitely compliment with a darker wood style if you prefer – the room will be able to take this. Jen

  18. ELAINE JAMES says

    Hi Jen, we have a kitchen diner with cream kitchen units black work tops and wooden floors .The walls we have painted in antique ivory.What colour accessories should i add .
    Thanks Elaine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *