16 Kitchen colour schemes and ideas for combinations

From pops of colour to all-over looks, there's a way to integrate new shades into the heart of your home

Colour makes all the difference in a room, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Exploring kitchen colour schemes allows you to envisage which shade, or combinations, might work in your space.

Your choice of colour palettes for kitchen ideas can completely change your perception of the space. It can make a room feel larger or smaller, warmer or colder, brighter or darker. Kitchen colour ideas also allow you to express your personality in a room in which you spend so much time.

Take into account the shape and style of your room before settling on a scheme. And, most importantly, how much natural light it gets - and what direction that light is coming from as you should for any interior DIY and decorating project.

Kitchen colour schemes

When choosing your kitchen colour schemes, you can't go wrong by following colour theory. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel and will create a strong contrast with a vibrant feel, while colours that are near each other on the wheel will give your scheme a more relaxed vibe.

1. Make a statement

kitchen platform with white marble blue cabinet with book shelves potted plants and painting

(Image credit: Future)

Colour drenching is one of the biggest paint trends in interiors right now. Use this as inspiration for your kitchen colour schemes, but keep it livable. The trick is to select a bold and bright shade and use on cabinetry and walls.

To stop from going overboard, keep your splashback in a neutral tone. This will provide you will visual breathing space and prevent you from getting quickly tired of your bold choice.

2. Go for classic looks

kitchen with white countertop fruits and wash basin with faucet kitchen crockery and microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Colour in a kitchen doesn't have to mean bright or loud all the time. You can achieve a lot by going for a muted tone. Any colour which hold a large amount of grey, like deep blues and greens, can be used as a neutral would.

With colours like this, you can have as much as you want in the space without it seeming too dramatic. For a contemporary spin, add in contrasting worksurfaces in the brightest of whites.

3. Embrace pastels

kitchen with white walls pink cabinet and microwave potted plant and microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

All to often, pastel colours are limited to bathrooms and bedrooms. Turn this on its head by taking it on as one of your kitchen colour ideas. Pink kitchen ideas work especially well with bronzes and brass, so you can add a lot of warmth with your hardware. To prevent the look from being too sickly sweet, choose a grey-tones pink. This will have a more grown-up feel.

4. Use colour cleverly

kitchen with wooden flooring white walls and rectangle wash basin with faucet with white marble countertop and wooden chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

Kitchen colour schemes can be used effectively to add interest to unexpected areas. Sections like baseboards of islands, backs of cupboards and the insides of drawers can be painted to match cabinetry. This adds cool impact without overwhelming or being too in your face.

5. Opt for monochrome scheme

kitchen with black cabinet white flooring and kitchen crockery with vegetables fruits and eggs in basket

(Image credit: Ikea)

White kitchens obviously are never going to disappear, but why not find a different way of using it? Instead of kitchen ideas with white cabinets, use white as a highlight, and have a strong black as your main colour. Cover the cabinets and main accessories in black, and add in slices of white to break it up - on the floor, on splashbacks.

Just ensure your kitchen gets enough natural light that it won't feel too dark come the evening.

6. Go for bright cabinetry

kitchen with white walls and white brick white tiles wall with green cabinet and white marble countertop and microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC)

We love bright, standout kitchen colour ideas, but it can seem like a big commitment. After all, it's hardly a space you want to be redecorating often. Get the best of both worlds by keeping walls and tiling in neutrals, as these would be the hardest and most expensive to change. Then paint your cabinetry in your favourite right.

Learn how to paint kitchen cabinets, so that if you feel like a change down the road, this won't take too much time or effort.

7. Find your dream colour combo

kitchen with white marble on wall and rectangle wash basin with faucet and book shelves with potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Mix and match two distinctly different colours in your kitchen for a unique and fun look. Colour wheels will help you find your perfect match, but a good rule of thumb is that if they have the same undertone they should work together.

Also, ensure both colours pair equally well with any hardware. You don't want one which suits chrome and another which needs a warmer metal to set it off.

8. Add pops of colour

kitchen with white cabinet white walls and white marble countertop with microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Accessories and tiling go a long way in adding colour to your kitchen. If you have two favourite brights you're considering using, this can be a really helpful way of integrating both. Select one for tiling, and use the other in your kitchen accessories and decorative elements. Go big and bold with the latter, as you can easily switch these out if you get tired of it.

9. Make impact with shelving

kitchen with walled grey tiles wooden countertop with rectangle wash basin with clay pots

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Kill two birds with one stone with open shelving. It'll make your kitchen feel more modern than closed storage, but also gives you the perfect area to add colourful elements which you can switch in and out with the seasons or as your tastes change. Consider also painting the shelves in a cool contrasting colour to the walls behind to add to your kitchen colour ideas.

10. Create a coastal colour scheme

kitchen with white brick tiles on wall kitchen crockery and white cabinet with microwave blue stool chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

For a fresh look, a coastal palette of gentle blues teamed with off-white and grey kitchen ideas is a particularly versatile choice. It's also considerably more forgiving than a brilliant white kitchen.

Build up colours in layers, perhaps opting for units in two or three shades and using tiles and paint to create a clean but warm and inviting scheme.

11. Introduce colour in unexpected places

kitchen with white brick tiles wall rectangle wash basin with white marble countertop and kitchen crockery clock with fruits

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Don't limit pattern to walls and go bold with flooring instead. Try black-and-white tiles in a geometric design for a sophisticated yet fun result. As a nod to industrial design with a touch of nostalgia, team simple white ceramic brick tiles with dark grout.

Stuck with white grout? Colour it in with a grey grout pen as a quick fix.

12. Paint it white

kitchen with white wall white wooden flooring and White marble countertop with microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Embrace minimalist style with a glossy white kitchen idea. Go for a fuss-free scheme with plenty of glam touches and design-led details. Paint walls in a hard-wearing kitchen paint that allows you to wipe away splashes easily.

Why not install a splashback using textured white tiles for added depth? White gloss units blend seamlessly with the walls. For continuity, choose a white fitted oven and co-ordinating appliances.

13. Go for impact with contrasting colours

kitchen with red and white cabinet microwave white brick wall design and clock on wall fruits on counter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

This modern red kitchen idea is bold yet easy to achieve. To really add wow, choose shiny high-gloss units in a vibrant primary colour. Team a bold kitchen colour scheme with white worktops and wall cabinets, so the area still feels light and spacious.

Lastly, add a hint of colour with striped vinyl flooring. Lay the lines along the length of the room to further increase the feeling of space.

14. Create a vintage vibe with bold florals and fresh pastels

kitchen with floral wallpaper wooden flooring dinning table and chair with white cabinet and chair with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Celebrate spring all year round with pretty kitchen colour schemes full of colour and pattern. For a bold, vintage look, select an oversized floral wallpaper bursting with colour. Restrict it to the one wall, then keep the rest white for a fresh, modern take on shabby chic.

Complement floral walls with co-ordinating cushions and blind fabrics. It's okay to clash prints, but aim to stick to one colour palette. Make less patterned accessories sing by going for country-feel furniture in white.

15. Add colour with accessories

kitchen with white walls blue cabinet and rectangle wash basin with faucet with kitchen crockery and flower in basket

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Why not be adventurous with colour and texture by mixing hand painted bowls and coloured glassware to add personality to a table? Accessories like table mats and napkins are not only functional but a good way of injecting pattern and fun into the kitchen.

Invest in classic shapes in quality ware for kitchen staples, including wine glasses, everyday glasses and porcelain dinnerware, because they will stand the test of time.

Building a collection of treasured pieces, whether blue-and-white china ware, copper pans, stoneware or antique plates is a good way to introduce a splash of consistent colour in a scheme as well as creating a decorative touch.

16. Don't be afraid to go for a standout colour

kitchen with grey cabinet grey flooring tiles wooden dining table with chairs and potted plants wooden countertop with fruits

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

To prevent strong colour from overpowering, use it in small portions perhaps to highlight a key focal point, or keep it below your direct sight line as you enter the kitchen. Also consider scale: a big kitchen can take a much bigger burst of colour. Pair a strong kitchen colour scheme with matching accessories to make it look considered.

What is the best colour for a kitchen?

Put it simply, the best colour for your kitchen depends on the space itself. Every kitchen is different and so responds better to different colours. Consider the light your space gets - both natural and artificial. Then assess whether the natural light is cool easterly light, or warm westerly light. Colours will look different in each of these. A cool shade in a north or easterly room can look too cold, but could be easily warmed up with different light. There are essentially no 'wrong' colours for a kitchen, as simply choosing the right tone of your chosen colour can make all the difference

How do I choose a colour scheme for my kitchen?

Think about how you use the space. Is it purely for cooking? In this case you'll want a practical, bright space. If you entertain there, you might want a colour which can get moodier. If you work there, or kids do homework, perhaps you want an energising shade. Colour theory is always an interesting area to look into. Some believe that reds can provoke conversation, which is great for dinner parties. Some even believe that soft terracottas can actually help digestion! Yellow is a naturally energising shade, so perfect if it's a busy kitchen where you need everyone to get on with things quickly in the morning.

Jennifer Ebert