Colors That Bring Out the Best in Your Kitchen

Everything old in the kitchen can look new again with a splash of color.


A splash of color makes the stainless steel sink pop.

A splash of color makes the stainless steel sink pop.
By: Susan Kleinman

Pair Hot Colors With Stainless Appliances

What are the hottest colors to pair with stainless steel appliances? Find out from our designers!

Although there are many black, white and colored appliances on the market today, stainless steel is still the most popular choice, says Bob Garner, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer, President of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. This is undoubtedly one reason that deep, dark paint colors are becoming more popular for kitchens.

"Although kitchens have traditionally been painted white or pale colors, there is a major movement today toward saturated colors," says Margaret Walch, director of The Color Association of the United States. "Because stainless steel reflects a lot of light, kitchens with many metallic surfaces can take an especially bold, bright color."

There are several trendy shades that look particularly striking with stainless, says Walch, whose association forecasts color trends. "For a room with a lot of stainless steel, I'd suggest what we at the Color Association call Kabuki red — a deep, saturated red, such as the one shown above, Benjamin Moore's Exotic Red (2086-10). That would look smashing with stainless steel."

If the thought of an entirely red kitchen makes you jumpy, Walch says, consider just one red wall. "You can either paint one wall red," she says, "or do a red tile backsplash. Either way it will give you a dynamic effect."

Slightly less dynamic but equally appealing is a deep, saturated yellow, says Walch. "There's no need to stick to the pale shades of yellow most often used in kitchens," she says. "Instead, try Spanish bloom yellow, such as Benjamin Moore's Banana Yellow (2002-2), pictured above. People like their kitchens to wake them up a bit in the morning. A deep, bright color helps make the kitchen more eye-opening."



Think visual "contrast" when coordinating kitchen wall and cabinet colors

Think visual "contrast" when coordinating kitchen wall and cabinet colors

Complement Cabinets With Color-Rich Hues

With light and dark cabinets equal in popularity, it can be hard to select a shade. Experts weigh in on cabinet colors and tell how to find the best wall color to match.

When it comes to wood cabinetry, says Lowe's spokesperson Jennifer E. Wilson, both ends of the color spectrum are in demand these days, with espresso-colored finishes and white-glazed cabinetry equally popular.

Whatever shade of wood you choose, says Becky Spak, senior designer with Sherwin-Williams, it's important to recognize that wood is never "just" brown, tan or white. "You want to look really closely at the stain color," says Spak, "and determine whether it has a yellow base or a blue base. Then, look for paint colors in the same family, so that the cabinets and walls don't compete with each other."

That doesn't mean, says Spak, that the colors should blend into each other. Instead, it's quite the contrary. "It's nice to have some visual contrast," says Spak. "If your cabinets are dark, go a bit lighter for the paint, so that one is not competing with the other." With an espresso cabinet, for example, Spak likes a gray-blue like Sherwin-Williams' Moody Blue (6221), shown above. Another option for darker-colored cabinets is a medium green like the one pictured above, Sherwin-Williams' Melange Green (6710).

If you have chosen white cabinets, says Marcia Walter, ASID, an accredited member of the International Association of Color Consultants, try a grass green wall. Remember, says Becky Spak, try your paint sample in the shadow of the cabinets to see if you need to go darker or lighter in tone.



Coordinate your kitchen countertop with the wall color.

Coordinate your kitchen countertop with the wall color.

Choose Colors to Go With Quartz Counters

Out design pros give their best tips on coordinating your quartz countertop with your kitchen color.

Whether it's genuine granite or a man-made product like Silestone, the most popular countertops today have a multi-colored, rock-like look with palettes ranging from tan to blue. And while it is important to consider your counter's colors when choosing a wall color, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to (or should even try to) match the counter's dominant color exactly.

"If you try to match a natural material like wood or stone exactly," says Margaret Walch, director of The Color Association of the United States, "it always comes off as 'lesser'. Paint is an opportunity to use the stone as a jumping-off point for a multi-color design within the room."

To find paint colors that work well with your stone, suggests Paulette Diamond, ASID, vice president of the International Association of Color Consultants - North America, you can select one of the small flecks in the stone and use that for your paint color, like the photo shown above.

"Or, for a more dramatic look," she says, "select a color from the stone that you would like to emphasize. Locate that color on a color wheel and choose its opposite color, known as its complementary color, for the paint color," such as Sherwin-Williams Bunglehouse Blue (0048).



Coordinate your cork flooring with kitchen colors.

Coordinate your cork flooring with kitchen colors.

Pair the Best Colors With Cork Floors

Cork flooring is eco-friendly, contemporary and easily coordinated with other kitchen elements. Our experts tell how to design kitchen colors around cork flooring.

Today's floors are going "green" with eco-friendly cork gaining popularity, according to Jennifer E. Wilson, a spokesperson for Lowe's. And in addition to being great for the environment, cork is the perfect backdrop for almost any paint color.

"You can go real contemporary and crisp with a cork floor," says Sara Ann Busby, Certified Kitchen Designer, the 2007 president-elect of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, "or create a spa look with softer, warmer tones."

For a modern look, Busby likes a warm brick red like Benjamin Moore's Tucson Red (1300), pictured above. For a more serene feeling, she says, try a sand color with more pink to it, such as Benjamin Moore's Cinnamon 'N Spice (1215) and paint the trim in a similar color, rather than going for high contrast with white trim.

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