The best colours to paint a kitchen, according to paint and kitchen experts

Make your kitchen a show-stopping hub of the house with the best colours to paint a kitchen from trending shades to classic hues

kitchen with dark blue cabinets, silver fridge freezer, pink island, black hob and skylights
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Your kitchen should be a place to socialise, entertain and cook, making it one of the most important and loved rooms in the home. Deciding the best colour to paint a kitchen will have a big impact on the feel and look of the space. 

Your kitchen ideas can feel completely different depending on your kitchen colour scheme. Paint can open up your kitchen and make it feel bigger, zone different areas, and give it a rustic spin or a contemporary twist.  

'The kitchen really is the heart of the home, it’s a central hub, a hive of activity, and a place for entertaining friends. It’s, therefore, an ideal place to make a statement with adventurous and vibrant colour choices,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene

'A great place to start is with your style of architecture, or the type of kitchen cabinets; sleek and modern, traditional or rustic, choosing a relevant historic colour will add some context and interest to a design scheme.

'When choosing colours for a kitchen, it’s important to consider the colours that already exist within the space, be that furniture, flooring or appliances, these are all elements that should be included as colours within your palette. Are there architectural features or areas of interest to draw attention to? Colour is a fantastic way to highlight a favourite feature.'

What is the best colour to paint a kitchen? 

white kitchen with white units and worktop, patterned tile splash back, brass tap, open shelving, floral wallpaper and artwork, stone floor tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The best colours to paint a kitchen depends on how big or small the room is, the amount of natural light it gets and how you plan to use the kitchen. Simply changing the paint colour of your kitchen is a budget kitchen idea that completely revamps and lifts the space. 

White kitchen ideas are a classic colour that will never become dated and will give the room a light, bigger and airy feel. According to Michael Rolland, DIY expert at The Paint Shed white is one of the most popular colours to paint your kitchen walls and cabinets. White kitchen ideas also allow you to easily switch between the Japandi, Scandi and minimalist trends. 

'White creates a feeling of calmness. When used in a kitchen, it can make the space feel clean, sophisticated, and elegant. Bring in some more energy by painting kitchen cupboards a different colour. Having pops of colour or lots of plants will make sure the space doesn’t feel sterile and cold,' says Tash Bradley, director of interior design at Lick.

kitchen with green panelled walls and cabinets, a white butler sink and green shelving with mugs


Tash Bradley, director of interior design at Lick says, 'The key factors to consider when selecting a new colour for your walls is to firstly decide on the feel and vibe you want to create. For example, is this space a wind down area after work? Is this room used the most of any other room in the house? This will allow you to narrow down the kinds of colours you could use in this space.

'If it was a busy kitchen, I would want to avoid any loud and exciting prints which could make the space feel more chaotic but if you were creating a space to relax in, you would want to add a soft green that doesn’t make the space feel less calming but makes you want to spend more time in it.'

‘Playing around with colour in the kitchen can add impact, but there are other ways to do this if you’re more indecisive,' advises Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens. 'If you’re drawn to bright tones, add accents of colour through your accessories by choosing statement crockery, soft furnishings, and artwork – opting for a brightly coloured splashback is another great option.'

'This way, if you do decide you want to mix things up again, it won’t require a total re-work of your kitchen scheme.'

What is the best colour to paint a small kitchen? 

Grey and white L-shaped kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

For a small kitchen, the aim is to get light to bounce around the space to give the illusion of a larger room. Neutral warm colours are the perfect happy kitchen colour for kitchen wall décor ideas to invite people into a welcoming kitchen. 

Using lighter colours does not need to be boring, colour can still be added by using pastel tones such as powder yellow, baby blue and pale pink. If you have lighter colours on your walls or cabinets pair them with neutral textures such as granite or marble worktops and wooden shelving for a cohesive design. 

Ruth from Benchmarx Kitchens says even if you have a small kitchen that doesn’t mean you can’t have a statement kitchen. ‘Instead, opt for a brighter neutral wall colour and pick dark cabinetry. Or, to ensure your room remains light and airy, you can opt for a dark colour on floor-standing cabinets and white or soft grey on wall-hung units.’

What is the best colour to paint a large kitchen?  

Large kitchen island clad in wooden batons with tall black units behind

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

In a larger kitchen, there is greater freedom to use more dark-coloured paint, from on the walls, to the cabinets to a kitchen island. In a larger kitchen, especially if it is a kitchen diner, paint is an important way to zone the space and create areas, for prep, cooking, eating and socialising. 

Large kitchen layouts often have the benefit of more natural light so can handle the bold and strong hues of a darker paint colour. Dark colours provide a cosy and intimate space which stops a large kitchen from feeling too cold and sparse. 

'Dark blues, browns and charcoals are great colours for kitchen cupboards because they bring a sense of depth and richness, adding drama and sophistication to the space,' explains Victoria Yardley, managing director of Victory Colours

'They also pair well with a variety of materials and textures, including natural wood, brass fixtures, and white or marble countertops, making them a versatile option for any kitchen design style. Additionally, dark hues can help conceal stains and spills better than lighter colours, making it a practical choice for busy kitchens.’ 

Forest green kitchen with glass pendant lights above breakfast bar

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In the room you will often have an island to consider, Tash Bradley from Lick recommends changing the colour of the island to that of the kitchen cabinets. 'An example of this would be Green 09 paired with Green 04 which has a blue tint to it. 

'Another popular trend at the moment is painting the cabinets green-themed and then pairing it with pink. This brings in the nurturing quality and is therefore perfect for a kitchen as it makes you warm and restful. Suggestions for this would be Lick’s Green 02 paired with Pink 02.'

What is the best colour to paint a north-facing kitchen?

Paint trends 2023 Painted neutral kitchen

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

A north-facing kitchens generally gets cooler and less natural light which can make the room feel cold and dark at times. To offset that and give the room a welcoming feel choose warmer and richer colours and shades. 

'Yellows, oranges, taupes and stoney colours will appear softer in the morning and bolder in the evening as the light fades,' says Ruth Mottershead from Little Greene.

What is the best colour to paint a south-facing kitchen?

kitchen with green cabinet, white tiles, wooden flooring

(Image credit: Davonport)

A south-facing kitchen can become filled with bright sunlight which can bleach out lighter colours making dark kitchen ideas ideal in this room. Cool shades such as blues, greens or violets work well in this room because they balance out the intensity of the sunlight. 

‘Dark walls ooze sophistication, giving richness and depth to create a real statement in any space,' says kitchen expert Ruth. 'Dark blues, greens, and greys have become staple colours to create an interior scheme that embodies the ‘moody’ trend and it’s easy to see why.'

'These tones help to blur and soften the lines between walls, often making a space feel soft and cocooning, giving the room a real air of drama and elegance. They also work brilliantly when contrasted with lighter tones, such as pale greys, whites, and pinks to create countless looks and finishes.’

kitchen with dark blue cabinets wooden worktop, wooden stools and white brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

The colours that are part of the kitchen trends for 2023 include dark greens, midnight blues and warm neutrals. Dark greens and blues work well with oak tones and marble finishes and if you’re afraid to use the colours for your whole kitchen, use accents of the colours instead. 

kitchen with wickers chairs, dining table, dark purple cabinets, wooden shelving and green walls

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Betsy Smith, colour consultant at Graphenstone backs up the above colour trends for 2023. ‘Blues mixed with reds are a key trend for this Summer. Oxide reds and clay tones blend with soft blues and cooler greens to create an immersive environment where colour is celebrated, and its power to change perceptions and alter moods takes centre stage.’

For the finishing touches that will work beautifully with these colours, consider brass handles, copper taps and gold toned-accessories for a touch of sophistication. Explore home decor discount codes to add these luxe touches without having to keep upping the budget.

Should kitchen paint be lighter or darker? 

Deciding if you should paint your kitchen lighter or darker depends on the size of the room and the amount of natural light it gets. 

‘Cool neutrals are perfect for rooms that enjoy a lot of natural light, and they are a particularly good match for dark greens and blues,' says Ruth from Benchmarx Kitchens says. 'The joy of cool hues is that they don’t overpower a room, thereby allowing other elements of your kitchen to take centre stage.'

'They also pair well with other neutrals, but it’s important to soften a cool colour palette with texture and accessories to avoid things looking too clinical. Alternatively, warm neutral paints are growing increasingly popular – particularly earthy, natural tones that evoke a sense of light and brightness.'

kitchen with coral cabinets, green dining chairs, window with patterned curtain and green plant

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Dark colours in a kitchen are a great way to make a statement and look good in larger kitchens because they won’t make the room feel small. Dark colours are great for a room such as a kitchen because it doesn’t show up any dirt or marks so are ideal for busy households. 

For a seamless and eye-catching design paint your wall and kitchen cabinet ideas in the same dark colour. A dark colour is also a great option if you have lots of natural light in your kitchen because this will make it feel cosy rather than dark and dingy. 

Imani Cottrell
Content Editor

 Imani Cottrell is Ideal Home’s Content Editor, she graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from Nottingham Trent University in 2018.

She then went on to join the Royal Television Society and worked on their digital team writing about all things TV. In 2022 she joined the Ideal Home team and is getting to express her passion for all things interior design. In her spare time she loves discovering new homeware brands and travelling to new places for design inspiration.