Discover the Latest Kitchen Color Trends

Get expert advice on what's new, what's hot and what's not in kitchen colors.
By: Jennifer Haupt
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As kitchens cement their role as a home's central gathering place, they're taking on more vibrant colors. "The kitchen is absolutely a key place for color," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, one of the premier color forecasters in the country. "It's the place where people gather, so it's apt to have some mixing and matching of colors to create high energy."

Bold Is Beautiful

Since most appliances are basic black, white or silver, people are adding bursts of color on other surfaces. "Most kitchens have minimal wall space, so it's a good place to splash some bold color and make a statement without overpowering the room," says designer Jamie Drake, author of New American Glamour, whose clients include Madonna and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"We're seeing bolder colors that complement stainless steel, as well as the darker cabinet colors that are in style," explains Becky Ralich Spak, senior designer at Sherwin Williams. "Aztec clay colors — such as copper, henna and ginger — as well as gold tones, are popular options."

According to Jamie, bold colors are starting to show up in some unexpected places. For instance, you might frame a stainless-steel sink with a burnt orange or fire-engine red countertop, or inlay hot pink or chartreuse tiles around coffee-colored cabinets. "People are viewing kitchens that have too much of any one color as flat, so more color is definitely the way to go," Jamie says.

Heat Up Your Kitchen With Color

Adding color doesn't necessarily mean you're stuck with bright hues. Subtle colors are also popular for creating a soothing atmosphere in which to seek both comfort and food.

"Warm colors like apricot, yellows and reds are going to continue to be popular in kitchens because they're comforting and appetite stimulators," explains Leatrice, who has a background in psychology as well as interior design. "What makes color trends different from year to year is how you put them together in fresh, inventive ways."

New Kitchen Color Trends 01:22

Create a vibrant kitchen by using colors that are fresh, clean and bright.

For example, instead of typical country colors in the kitchen, Leatrice suggests pairing a rustic "tapenade" green with accents of "strawberry ice." The cool pink puts a new spin on traditional rustic design.

Designer Jarrett Hedborg leans toward more subdued and relaxing silver blues, gray-greens and tobacco browns found in nature. "I like to use natural background fabrics and textures, such as grass cloth and rattan, to add depth and interest," says Jarrett, who counts Jim Carey, Bette Midler and other celebrities among his clientele.

The world market is also influencing color trends. The Color Marketing Group, an international, nonprofit association of more than 1,000 color design professionals, says that as India becomes a more powerful player in the world market, people will be drawn to its soothing oranges and yellows. Reds continue to be hot, in part due to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

What's "out" in kitchen colors? According to Jarrett, stay away from colors and combinations that have a commercial feel, such as the ones you see over and over in restaurants and retail stores. "There are words we avoid because the color schemes are done to death (like) Tuscan and Terracotta. These have become color clichés," he explains.

Fresh New Hues

Pantone recently announced eight new color palettes, which mix old favorites and fresh new hues. Here are a few that Leatrice recommends for a splash of color in the kitchen:

Agrestic — This appealingly contemporized country style calls for comforting combinations, like bruschetta browns, tender greens or warm golden yellows, with an unexpected accent of a vibrant pink.

Savories — Accent your home with deliciously exuberant, youthful and whimsical hues. This palette includes tasty blends of chocolate and daiquiri green, with dollops of bright hues to embellish the mix.

Ethnic Chic — Style reaches a new level of sophistication when you pair deep purple with misty yellow and stone grays or juxtapose burnt orange against vibrant blue and dark brown

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