5 kitchen cabinet colours to avoid in 2024 - and what to choose instead, according to experts

Want a design that’s timeless while still looking modern? Steer clear of these shades and pick one of our alternative suggestions instead

Blue shaker kitchen with butlers sink
(Image credit: Future PLC / Caroline Mardon)

When it comes to choosing a colour for your kitchen, should you follow kitchen trends or simply do as you like? We put the question to designers and most agree that your kitchen should give you joy, but there are some kitchen cabinet colours to avoid if you want to follow the latest kitchen trends

'Anything goes - just remember you have to live with it,' says Decorbuddi interior designer Stephanie Bailey. 'It’s your space so you should make it personal to you.'

Of course, choosing a kitchen cabinet colour doesn’t come without its challenges – it’s a big investment after all and you want to be sure of your decision, without your colour of choice dating quickly. Whether you’re looking to create a dream design in your forever home or know you’ll sell up in a few years, getting a shade that works for you and your property is key. 

'It’s all about context – rental or owned property, how long you’re going to live there, budget, space and light – it’s a big expense so many people tend to be quite cautious with neutral choices. That said, people are getting braver with colour, or applying colour in small doses,' says Stephanie.

Outdated kitchen cabinet colours to avoid in 2024 

According to the 2024 UK Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, grey continues to be the most common kitchen cabinetry colour, but it has dropped in demand since last year from 21% to 19%. Similarly, white seems to be on the decline as a go-to with green units and unpainted medium wood seeing the biggest rise in popularity, up 3% and 2% respectively. 

When choosing your kitchen colour scheme, you might still like to go for grey or white, despite them dropping down the style barometer. Don’t fear though, it’s more about the type of shade you use and how you use it that really matters. Let us explain. These are the outdated kitchen cabinet colours to avoid in 2024 – and what you could do instead…

1. Dark blue

Blue shaker kitchen with butlers sink

(Image credit: Future)

'Dark hues are a bold choice, especially if your kitchen is more conservative in size. A lot of natural light is needed to ensure the space still feels light and airy,' says Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery

These days, the mood is turning towards paler blue kitchen ideas – think pastel blue, denim and those with an almost purple undertone. These lighter colours have a timeless appeal and can withstand changing design trends, ensuring your space remains stylish for years to come. 

'Balancing light blues with whites and off-whites creates a bright, coastal feeling in the home that feels light and airy. Frequently, this look is accompanied with wicker, bamboo, and warm wooden furniture,' says Dawn Filkins, head of creative at Smile Kitchens

Pale and mid-blues work well with marble worktops and neutral walls which will allow the units to do the talking. 

If you like to keep things moody, dark blue is still popular for Shaker kitchen ideas. 'You could go for a middle ground between denim and navy which can be paired with both light and dark accents to create entirely different looks,' says Ruth. 

'Light-veined marble work surfaces and splashbacks, along with silver finishes and dark oak furniture, results in a design that encompasses both modern and traditional. If you prefer a more contemporary finish, I’d recommend adding overstated bar handles, under-cupboard lighting and mustard accessories,' she says.  

2. Cool grey

Light grey shaker kitchen with antique-inspired runner rug.

(Image credit: Future/James French)

Grey kitchens are still in but make it warm. Try shades with clay, brown or pinkish undertones that don’t appear as cold. 

'Our best-selling colour is grey, making up over 40% of sales. It’s been our top-selling shade for two years in a row, which shows that grey is here to stay,' says Ruth.  

For a modern look, rosy-hued greys will add a very subtle dose of colour. Over the past few years, pastel and plaster pinks have been popular in furniture and accessories, but these colours are making their way into the kitchen. 'It’s a softer alternative to the warm greiges that we saw steadily replace grey in the last couple of years,' says Dawn. 'They’re often associated with creating a relaxing and tranquil environment, which is increasingly important as we spend more and more time at home.'

As a neutral base, grey works with a host of finishes, including marble and mirrored surfaces for a luxe look, or black and grey accessories for an industrial vibe. Or why not lean into the warmer greys with brass handles?

'For those wanting a hint of pink without it feeling overpowering, it can be used on just an island, or lower cabinetry, with a more neutral colour to balance things out,' says Ruth. 

3. Pine or orange oak

Armac Martin Cherished Bliss kitchen

(Image credit: Armac Martin)

Most likely now seen in dated holiday lets or a renovation project that hasn’t been touched for years, pine or orange oak kitchen cabinet doors were the go-to many moons ago. These days, this style can make a kitchen feel lost in time. 

'When you opt for orange oak cabinets, you’re often limited with the type of furniture you can integrate, as the wood ideally needs to match the cabinets to create a cohesive feel to the room,' says Ruth. 

Unpainted wooden kitchen cabinets are a big trend for 2024. By keeping the wood natural, the beauty of the colour and grain becomes the main feature of the kitchen. But to keep it modern, consider lighter tones of wood such as oak, birch ply or ash, or textured foil-wrapped doors that mimic the real deal. 

4. Pure white

cream kitchen with island and black painted bar stools

(Image credit: james French)

While white is still one of the most requested colours overall, not all white kitchen ideas are in vogue. 

'It’s all about a matt finish rather than glossy,' says Stephanie. 'If my clients want white, we often look at a soft or an off-white. Alternatively, I’ve suggested they go a bit bolder with a two-tone kitchen, perhaps with a white or off-white on the top units and then colour, such as a soft bluey-green on the lower level.'

Off-whites make for an excellent base so that a kitchen scheme can be updated through time with accessories, so it’s no surprise that white and other neutral colours are universally appealing. 

'Their neutrality means they can be styled in so many ways. They remain timeless as they form the perfect foundation to complement current trends, meaning homeowners can switch up their aesthetic while keeping their cabinetry the same,' says Ruth. 

5. Dark green

green kitchen cabinets with country styling

(Image credit: Future PLC / Caroline Mardon)

Much like dark blue, green kitchen ideas are going lighter too. Think sage tones and soft olive greens – even minty pastels. It’s all linked to our continued desire to look to the natural world for inspiration. 

'Natural lighter tones are more soothing and uplifting than their darker counterparts,' explains Stephanie. 'I love to create contrast with paler colours. Choosing a work surface with more pattern and texture will lift the look and add an edge. Combining softer shades with complementary shapes and textures works well. A fluted surface looks beautiful on sage green cabinets.'

You could combine different shades of green for a monochromatic approach with wall cabinets in a lighter tone and a darker green on base units or an island. 

'Sage green pairs perfectly with neutrals and other greens and greys, making it a great option for those looking to subtly introduce colour. Thanks to its versatility, it can be styled to embody everything from a traditional farmhouse kitchen to a stunningly contemporary, luxe space,' says Ruth. 


What are the most timeless kitchen cabinet colours?

If you want your kitchen to be timeless, take a look back to times gone by.

“Classic historical colours from dark blue and green-blue, to burgundy and Indian yellow, linked to the period of the property are timeless,” says Stephanie. 

There’s also good reason for shades like white and grey remaining in the top-selling spots – they’re plain enough to endure many trend cycles and can be easily updated with colourful accessories on a budget. 

Also think about longevity. “If you’re prone to changing your mind, I’d recommend staying clear of bold colours, especially for your cabinet doors,” says Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery. 

“Although it may seem like a fun and exciting change, you may find yourself questioning the choice further down the line. There are other ways to include colour:  you could introduce a feature wall, as this can easily be painted over should you grow bored or add splashes of colour though your accessories by choosing crockery, soft furnishings and accent details in your desired colour. This way, if you do decide you want to go back to basics, then doing so won’t involve re-designing your kitchen completely.”  

What kitchen cabinet colours are on trend for 2024?

This year, kitchen colour trends are all about soothing, warm shades that evoke a sense of nature. We’re talking warm neutrals, sage greens, sky blues and earthy clay shades. When in doubt, look outside to discover what colours are in your surroundings. 

'The beauty of earth-inspired hues is that they can be diverse, fitting the role of a neutral base colour without being one-dimensional,' says Ruth. 'The palette can be both warm and cool, depending on personal preference. It includes traditional warm colours like terracotta, but also spans across the colour wheel to include more muted tones like sage, cashmere, driftwood blue and stone grey.'

A surprising counterpart, perhaps, matt black kitchens are also on the rise. Bold, yes, but black provides a solid backdrop to add statement features such as a wow-factor veined stone worktop or metallic hardware and striking taps. 

'You can also have fun with texture by pairing matt black cabinets with textured finishes, like stone graphite, to add depth to the space. Texture helps to break up the solid colour while adding tactile interest,' suggests Ruth. 

Which colour are you waving goodbye to? And which shade will take it's place?