Warm Paint Colors for Kitchens

Get ideas on how to use warm paint colors in your kitchen.


Warm paint colors work wonders in homes and can make kitchens feel especially inviting. Bold and spicy, these shades will energize your space and are smart choices for people who like to entertain.

5 Tricks to Wake Up a Kitchen

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Before: Boring Big White Box

The list of design crimes: Barely any cabinet space, the awkward peninsula cabinets that chopped the room in half, broken oven, nasty peel-and-stick floors, and fluorescent lighting


The Winner at Work

When Meg first scoped out this kitchen emergency, she found an out-of-order cooking space in desperate need of a remodel. Turns out the Chicago family of four had plans for an overhaul, but projects in other parts of the house demanded their attention—and their budget—so their reno dreams were put on hold. But then: Meg swooped in to the rescue!


After: Much Smarter Space Planning

Meg didn’t tear out a single wall, but it sure feels like she did! By lining everything up on two facing walls, the layout is a lot less cramped. Meg’s tip: “Countertops on opposite walls shouldn’t be more than eight feet apart,” she says. “Any wider and you’ll want an island in between them.”

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Sleek Storage

For the cabinets, Meg paired rich cherry wood with modernish nickel knobs. Find the same ones at cabinetparts.com.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Invincible Countertops

The smart selection: off-white Corian that looks like marble but won’t stain.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Cushy Floors + Durable Pretty Furniture

Meg picked dark-stained cork for the floors. It’s warm and sound-absorbent. “It feels like you’re walking on gel!” she says. The dining benches can take a beating and keep on seating. Meg gave the floral fabric an iron-on vinyl coating so they can be cleaned with a Windex wipe-down after meals.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Glam Lighting

Meg created a custom fixture by hanging a cluster of mercury glass pendants at different heights over the dining table. “It makes the room shimmer,” she says. A leftover pendant was suspended above the sink.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Unexpected Stripes

Thinking outside the box, Meg flipped the funky glass tiles to run vertically along the backsplash. Little change, big impact!

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

No-Limit Mixing

Forget dining sets (so The Price is Right!). Meg prefers to mix styles and materials, so she pulled up a pair of cane-back wood chairs and upholstered benches to a painted metal table. “These are the kinds of risks that add personality to a room,” she says.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Hide-and-Seek Window Shades

Custom valances made of plywood and supercute fabric cover the blinds, which drop down for privacy.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Multi-Functional Space

It’s art. It’s a bar. It’s both! You have to love a house that says, “Help yourself to a drink.” Meg amped up the kitchen’s bar area with zigzag wallpaper and floating shelves.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Even More Seating

Metal bistro stools scoot under the extra-thick Corian counter. They come in handy for parties.

Photo By: Douglas Friedman

Not sure what counts as a warm color? Red, orange and yellow are all warm colors that are believed to raise blood pressure and body temperature—and ultimately make people feel warmer. All three of these colors can make large rooms feel cozier. Reminiscent of sunlight, sand, fire and heat, warm colors can help brighten up a room as well.

Yellow is a warm shade that will instantly wake up a drab kitchen. There are many directions you can go with this warm and sunny shade. For a cheerful vibe, try using a bright yellow paint color on your walls and pair with white cabinets and stainless steel accents. Lighter shades of yellow can create a soft glow and help brighten a space. Pair these lighter shades with gray accents for a sophisticated look or with light blues for a French country feel.

Orange is another warm shade that can instantly transform your kitchen. There are many orange options, from terracotta tones to rich pumpkin. Orange can have a calming effect on your kitchen and often shows up in Tuscan-style cooking spaces.

If you want a warm paint color with lots of personality, red is the way to go. Believed to stimulate the appetite, this spicy hue is striking and bold. It can add drama to a boring space and there are many different ways to incorporate it. For a country kitchen, choose a lighter, washed-out shade that isn't too overwhelming and pair it with white cabinets or lots of distressed wood. If you want to be more adventurous, consider cranberry red, reddish violet or even coral.

If you like warm and cozy colors, but prefer to keep your cooking space neutral, brown shades reminiscent of coffee or chocolate chips can also work well. If you do go a darker route, make sure to incorporate lots of lighter neutrals such as creamy white cabinets and countertops.

If you want to use warm paint colors in your kitchen, but you don't want them on your walls, try painting a table or chairs a cherry red or sunny yellow—or choose accessories in these colors. You won't have to commit to them forever, and you can easily swap in new items when you're ready for a change.

Still stumped on which warm paint colors would work best in your space? A good rule of thumb is to select shades that are next to each other on the color wheel and pair them with a grounding neutral. It's also helpful to balance warm tones with a cool color or two. To find complementary shades, choose ones that are opposite your favorite warm colors on the color wheel.

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