Painted kitchen units are a practical choice. Thanks to their durable finish, they rarely show scratches and other signs of daily wear and tear. Available in matt, satin and gloss finishes, it’s also a versatile option. It’s soft finish makes it ideally suited to traditional cabinetry, but painted units will also sit happily in a modern design.
When it comes to using colour in the kitchen, the temptation is to play it safe with neutrals – after all, a new scheme is a big investment and you want it to last for many years without looking dated. But vibrant hues will add warmth and personality to a room, especially if your kitchen is part of a larger living space, and you intend to spend a lot of time there.
A popular look is mixing three different shades to give the casual feel of an unfitted kitchen, and also to break up a long run of cabinetry. Most schemes are painted in situ by professionals, but if you’re looking for a quick update for your flat-fronted cabinetry, you can send your units away to be spray-painted.
Soft and pretty, pastel touches can work beautifully in the kitchen as an accent colour against woods of all tones and other neutrals. Think matt plaster pink, pale mint or baby blue for cabinetry, and mix and match shades across chairs, soft furnishings and accessories. Not just for retro schemes, pastels also work fabulously well with clean, contemporary lines.
Whether you choose a bold all-over shades or just a few bright highlights, bringing colour into the kitchen will raise everyone’s spirits and create a welcoming space where you’ll want to spend time and gather with family and friends.
After more kitchen inspiration? Check out our kitchen island ideas gallery
Colour up kitchen shelves and cabinetry. Vibrant hues will add warmth and personality to a room, especially if your kitchen is part of a larger living space, and you intend to spend a lot of time there.
Paint on units
Stone Blue at Farrow & Ball
Heritage blue offers a regal tone in a kitchen, and is also a warmer (yet still timeless) alternative to white, black or grey cabinetry. Navy blue commands attention, which is why it is best to let this shade
do the talking and then back it up with more calming shades. Nothing makes navy blue stand out like bright white – they are the perfect combination for modern kitchens. Sophisticated, fresh and elegant, the contrast is instantly uplifting.
Farrow & Ball
Grey is still very much the neutral of the moment. It looks smart and crisp paired with white, but can still benefit from a little extra colour with accessories. In this kitchen, coloured cabinetry doors provide a point of interest.
MC Stone Kitchens
Play with paint to create a totally unique scheme. Give your kitchen a shot of colour by painting your chairs in your favourite hues – you could even mix and match different tones for a fun and lively look. Keep colours fairly low key elsewhere in the room, with pale stone flooring and wooden cabinetry.
Painting the pantry doors in a striking yellow will provide instant gratification on a gloomy
day. Using white allows an interior to reveal itself and you can always
add colour later on. Highlight the vibrancy of the yellow with accessories in a similar colourway.
Lemon Drizzle paint
Dulux at B&Q
This huge, light filled kitchen has been anchored by an impressive
charcoal grey central island. The extra-large structure gives the
classic shaker kitchen cabinetry a defining contemporary edge with the
use of defining colour.
Lewis Alderson & Co.
This kitchen has a calm yet refreshing feel thanks to the soft green cabinets and crisp white walls. More contemporary than either jade or teal, invigorating mint is the perfect colour to give your kitchen kitchen or dining room a cool, refreshing vibe. Team it with mid-century furniture for a chic look.
Add warmth to your kitchen decorating scheme with splashes of gem colour. Solid blocks of striking colour can emphasise the freestanding design of furniture and accessories. The bar stools here have been painted in a rich blue shade to add a vibrant punch of colour to the muted tones elsewhere. This break in the colour scheme helps to highlight the eating area as a distinct space.
A large, light-filled kitchen often benefits from strong colour because it adds definition and interest and helps prevent the space looking bland. A wall of floor-to-ceiling cupboards creates a good source of storage and the teal doors introduce a solid pop of colour to the space. The cool whites of the ceiling, walls, floor and worktops are warmed by the inclusion of a natural-finish wood table and stools.
When it comes to using colour in the kitchen, the temptation is to play it safe with neutrals – after all, a new scheme is a big investment and you want it to look good for years to come. But vibrant hues will add warmth and personality to a room, especially if your kitchen is part of a larger living space and you intend to spend a lot of time there. Here, a striking plum-coloured island unit is the focal point of this traditional hand-painted kitchen.
If you prefer your kitchens pale, opt for a palette of off-whites and buffs – imagine shades of vintage paper. Mushroom cabinetry feels fresh and modern teamed with white fittings and chalk-white walls with simple open shelving rather than a run of wall cabinets. A Carrara marble worktop is classic, adding a sophisticated finish.
If you have a favourite colour, don’t be afraid to use it all over your kitchen. Here, a pale grey shade works well across all the storage and housing units because it’s paired with neutral flooring and white walls to really open up the space. The warm wood table and coloured chairs add interest in the centre of the room.
Bath Kitchen Company
Vivid hues can add a sense of drama to a kitchen and provide a strong visual impact. A feature wall painted in tangerine orange (with stools to match) creates a striking look against modern grey units in this simple, streamlined contemporary kitchen.
The island unit in this kitchen has been painted in a purple shade so that it stands out against the pale-grey background and oak flooring. The contrast in colour is subtle and not overbearing, but is enough to signal that this area of the kitchen has a distinct function (sitting and eating or working) from the rest of the space.
Paint an island unit a brilliant shade to make it the focal point of your kitchen. This hot-pink island adds energy to the space, making it the undoubted centre of attention and proving that paint isn’t just for classic styles. Flat-fronted units can also enjoy a spot of bespoke colour. Using a concentrated burst of colour on a single piece of cabinetry like this allows you to keep the rest of the room as simple and neutral as you like.
As in nature, earthy greys, browns and sand colours work together harmoniously. As this modern kitchen demonstrates, grey needn’t look cold as lots of shades have warmth to them. Grey can work in darker kitchens, too. Just pair it with pale surfaces, such as the worktop, metro tiled splashback and flooring shown here, which draw the eye, add interest and reflect light.
This country kitchen has clean lines with smart kitchen units painted in a cool shade of blue. Too much colour can make a room feel smaller so you may want to balance the strong shade with a neutral floor and walls. Here, the chic trio of low-slung pendant lights balances the black of the granite worktops, helping to anchor the colour scheme.
The classic painted kitchen is the natural choice for a period home and often these properties are blessed with large rooms and grand proportions. Here a well-thought out layout and striking combination of bold terracotta and antique cream paint finishes helps to balance the space while a bold patterned wallpaper brings the walls further in to give this room a welcoming feel.
Not just for classic styles, the painted finish has been working its way on to contemporary kitchens too in recent years, giving a softer finish than the standard lacquers. Here, modern colour blocking techniques in the form of a bright fuschia island and royal blue wall are tempered with a soft grey and white. The Linear Kitchen by Harvey Jones is supplied primed and ready to paint or painted in the colour of your choice.
While the island is the mainstay of the modern-day, open-plan kitchen, the latest trend is for islands that have a more freestanding feel, often with tall legs and open shelving. Such pieces are long-serving additions in painted kitchens – think of all those stunning larder units. Here the lightness of the furniture allows for a dramatically dark colour scheme that is really elegant.
Teddy Edwards by Kitchen Architecture
Painted kitchen cabinetry gives a lovely soft finish that is hardwearing and can take almost anything that busy family life can throw at it; a few scuffs will only add to the charm. Opt for pale shades to balance a low ceiling or to add light if your room is on the dark side.
One of the real strengths of the painted kitchen is that you’re not limited to one colour. Using two or three shades adds interest and helps the look feel relaxed and welcoming. You can be bold and go for a stand-out colour on a signature piece such as an island or a larder unit or go for subtle variation to give a soft, freestanding feel.
John Lewis of Hungerford
The painted finish and bespoke cabinetry go hand in hand, and a made to order kitchen will allow you to be truly creative with your furniture. The increasing popularity of the open plan kitchen has created a trend for kitchen pieces that look more like living room furniture. Here, tall cupboards make excellent use of space and provide a striking backdrop for the casual dining area.
Farrow & Ball
A mix of painted cabinetry and natural wood is a great way to add interest especially in a large kitchen. Both types of cabinetry will generally be handmade in solid and often the wood finish is a veneer. In this kitchen, softly-coloured units are the perfect foil for the bolder grain markings of the walnut.
For a clean and coordinated look, choose worktops and flooring to blend with the colour of your painted kitchen cabinetry. Here, shades of soft grey and white are echoed in classic marble and pale stone to create a serene and elegant feel.
Hayburn & Co
If you’re not brave enough to go the whole way, introducing small areas of colour to a crisp white palette will dillute the look. Paint freestanding pieces of furniture in an intense shade to bring colour and depth to your kitchen. Whether you choose a bold all-over shade or just a few bright highlights, bringing colour into the kitchen will raise everyone’s sprirts and create a welcoming space where you’ll want to spend time and gather with family and friends.
Create an impact by choosing from the increasingly wide selection of appliances in bright shades. Set it against a bold backdrop for a dramatic look.
Combine various shades of the same colour for a harmonious look, as shown in this New England-style scheme. Pale green has been used for the cabinets, with sage for the island, while jade blinds and an emerald splashback add depth.
Kitchen design and cabinetry
Love country style? Avoid using cool colours in a north-facing room as they can make a space feel rather chilly. Warmer shades, such as reds and yellows, are energising. Paint walls in a rich wine colour and choose painted cream units and wooden worktops to keep the look light in a contemporary country kitchen. Red is a wonderful choice for a country kitchen as it instils a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Similar kitchen cabinetry
Vivid hues can add a sense of drama to a space and provide visual impact. This kitchen has been painted in a stormy grey to create a cool industrial-chic scheme. The mood is livened up with neon bright accents, such as the yellow chair, tile splashback and patterned blind. Glossy white kitchen units give it a super-modern edge.
Choosing an accent shade for your kitchen can seem daunting, so find a starting point to guide you. This combination of white, grey and blue is influenced by the collection of blue-and-white ceramic pieces.