Creative Color Choices in the Kitchen

It's true — almost anything goes when it comes to color in the kitchen. Here's what the experts say.

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It can be overwhelming trying to choose colors for the kitchen. So many choices. So many surfaces. Here's how the four design experts keep it simple.

The easy-going approach. "The wonderful thing happening now is anything goes," says HGTV Dream Home designer Linda Woodrum. She has helped clients with almost every color of kitchen. But in her own home: "I'm just a white person."

The wood-wall rule of thumb. "If you go with wood cabinets, you need to go with light cool colors on the walls — cherry cabinets with a celadon green, for example," says Kenneth Brown. What about if you have white cabinets? "You need warmer colors on the walls, like roasted almond or warm sand," the L.A. designer says.

Start with neutrals. "If you're going to put color in the kitchen, it should go in the fabric and the surfaces (granite, tile) and not on the walls," says Colorado designer Lin Lee. Light, neutral colors keep the focus on the countertops or backsplash where it belongs, she says. "Also, to make the lighting effective, you really want to be bouncing it off light walls or light ceilings."

What's the feeling? "You have to know what feeling you want in your kitchen," says kitchen expert and author Joan Kohn. "Generally, more stimulating, warmer colors tend to be the most popular — Tuscan and earthy colors," she says.

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