Butter yellow is the kitchen colour of the season - this is how to make the delicious shade work

This sumptuous sunny shade is guaranteed to make every morning cheerier

(Image credit: Future/Paul Massey)

While not an obvious kitchen colour choice, this year we've seen butter yellow kitchens step into the spotlight, offering a muted interpretation of the sunny shades we know and love.

If white feels too stark for your space then this 'new neutral' shade could be the answer. The more subtle sister to yellow kitchen ideas, butter yellow is halfway between magnolia and the bright primary colour, offering a warm and inviting aesthetic.

A kitchen is the heart of the home, so choosing a shade that reflects this feeling is key to making friends and family gravitate towards the space. But a colour like butter yellow can be intimidating, which is why we spoke to experts in the kitchen industry to learn how to style it for an on trend look.

How to style butter yellow kitchens

Who wouldn't want a sunny start to their day that looks just as gorgeous at golden hour?

'When it comes to kitchens, yellow isn’t a colour most people turn to. It isn’t universally loved like blue, avant-garde like green, or as contemporary as white. However, things are about to change, as yellow looks to spring a ray of sunshine into our kitchens,' says Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra.

'Cheerful, sunny and energetic, yellow is fast emerging as one of the main colours within interiors. After a gloomy couple of years, people are wanting to inject some happiness into their home, and what better colour to choose?' Grazzie adds.

1. Choose the right undertones

Lisa Dawson yellow kitchen

(Image credit: Lisa Dawson)

Selecting the right kitchen colour scheme is a tricky task. Not only do you need to commit to a colour that will see you through many years, but you'll also need to consider the natural light in your home to make sure you're choosing the right undertones to make your kitchen look bigger and brighter.

With butter yellow, there will be a lot of variation between warm and cool undertones. 'Occasionally, yellow can look a bit muddy depending on the light, so picking the right shade is really important in making sure that it gives the desired effect,' warns interior designer, Laura Stephens.

If your kitchen is north facing then choosing a warm yellow will make it feel cosier and sunnier, whereas larger kitchens that receive a lot of natural sunlight could benefit from a cooler shade, as shown in Lisa Dawson's airy kitchen above.

2. Contrast with contemporary features

Yellow shaker kitchen with island

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Massey)

Butter yellow can lean towards a more traditional kitchen idea as the muted colour was very popular in the 1950s. It suits the classic appearance of Shaker doors particularly well too, creating a warm and homely look.

However, if you prefer a more contemporary look then it's easy to make butter yellow more on-trend with just a few tweaks. Instead of using warm wood worktops that would add to a traditional look, modern marble (or stone-effect) surfaces will create more dimension.

3. Make it a secondary colour

Yellow shaker kitchen with white tiles

(Image credit: Laura Stephens)

Yellow is an incredibly versatile shade that pairs well with several other colours, so it's a great opportunity to create a two-tone kitchen cabinet idea.

'The secret to making the colour yellow work in your kitchen is to use the right shade of yellow that resonates with you while using it in the right proportions,' advises Grazzie from Ca'Pietra.

'Butter yellow (a bright, sunshine shade) can be a great colour to use as a colour pop, rather than use liberally across your whole kitchen. Choose a complementing colour as the foundation, such as blue, and bring in butter yellow through the use of tiles.'

Perhaps this is through painting a kitchen island in a contrasting shade like teracotta or bringing in natural wood on the cabinets and worktops.

4. Pay attention to styling

yellow kitchen in barn conversion with brick wall behind

(Image credit: Morris & Co)

The secret to chic Victorian-inspired kitchens that look perfectly lived in lies solely within the styling. Don't let your kitchen just become a practical space and instead focus on decorating it just like you would any other room in your home.

Open shelving is a great way to showcase interesting pieces of crockery or cookbooks while wall-hanging storage will keep your most-used pots, pans and utensils close by and simultaneously make them a design feature. Look for vintage accessories from charity shops and antique markets too as this will create an authentic look that will make a butter yellow kitchen shine.

5. Mix with other muted shades

A yellow kitchen with a cafe curtain on the window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Super pale shades of buttery yellow work beautifully with other muted pastel shades. Whether it's pale pink (we love Farrow and Ball's Sulking Room Pink), baby blue or even limewash walls, it creates an interesting colour scheme that is still subtle and calming.

If you're going to play with pastel shades then consider adding interest through texture. Think Shaker panels, rattan lampshades, stone surfaces and of course plenty of plants.


What colour goes with yellow kitchen cabinets?

The beauty of a butter yellow kitchen is that you can either keep it pared-back with similar muted shades or contrast with a more statement hue. The world is your oyster.

'Creamy whites and butter yellow work really well together as it adds plenty of warmth to a room. However, butter-yellow also works well with earthy terracotta reds, and pale greens or pinks,' recommends interior designer, Laura Stephens.

'For example, I did buttermilk yellow cabinetry in a kitchen project recently and we contrasted the island by painting it a deep red – it worked really nicely, and it looks great with blue, too.'

Gone are the days of sticking to a neutral colour scheme in a kitchen. We love the cheerful ambience that a butter yellow kitchen provides while bridging the gap between classic and trend-led interiors.

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).