A Plethora of Ways to Add Color in the Kitchen

A Plethora of Ways to Add Color in the Kitchen

Nancy Mitchell
Sep 25, 2013

Kitchens and bathrooms aren't always colorful places. We flirted with wildly colored kitchens in the 50s and 60s, got burned, and have been a bit leery ever since. But maybe it's time to rethink that. The kitchen, really, is the heart of the 21st century home, and why should that heart be wan and colorless? We've got oodles of ideas for adding color to your kitchen, for everyone from the completely color-phobic to the completely comitted.

To get the biggest impact, add color to the thing that takes up the most space in your kitchen — your cabinets.

1. A lovely green kitchen by Barbara Bestor, via Desire to Inspire.
2. You don't have to paint all the cabinets — just lower cabinets will do it, as this room from Beautiful Kitchens demonstrates. Or you can paint just the upper cabinets, like Lee did in this Before and After.
3. Of course, on the other hand, you could always paint both the cabinets and the walls. Just make sure it's a color you really really like. Super yellow kitchen by Design Intervention, via Singapore Home & Decor.
4. Elsie of A Beautiful Mess added color to the inside of her cabinets. It's a beautiful secret that only you will know about.
5. Can't decide? Make your kitchen every color. Magnus Anesund for Elle Interior.

For even more colorful kitchen cabinets (seriously — cabinets in every color of the rainbow), click here.

I used to work at an architecture firm. In our library, we had boatloads of countertop samples, many of them in outlandish colors like orange and bright yellow. Who would ever use this in a kitchen? — I found myself thinking. Well, the answer is: really brave and stylish people. Here is a kitchen with a hot pink countertop, and — surprise! — it is gorgeous.

1. Go bold. A pink countertop and walnut veneer just works. Ursula Mayer for Schorn & Groh via Bungalow.
2. A yellow countertop is just right in this minimal kitchen from Zeta Studio Architects via Home DSGN.
3. A Turquoise countertop makes a big impact in a small kitchen from Kathleen Hay Design (via DecorPad).
4. Pink quartz in the kitchen? Yes, a thousand times yes. Bonus points for the backsplash. From HGTV.

This is, of course, the most obvious way to add color to any room. The problem is that there's really not a lot of 'wall' in most kitchens. Are you very committed? Trade in your upper cabinets for open shelving, and embrace some glorious hue.

1. How happy would you be to cook in this kitchen? From Anthology Magazine.
2. If bold color isn't your thing, try a soft pink. From Hogar Util.
3. Domino via Paloma81.
4. Sooz Gordon's home is full of rich color, and her kitchen is no exception.
5. For low-comittment color, paint the space above your tile (or the space above the cabinets). Photo from Stadshem, via La Maison d'Anna G.

And in the photo at the very top of this post (from Design*Sponge), the homeowner painted her kitchen in a whole array of bright colors. I bet that's a real pick-me-up in the morning.

Don't forget the floor. Commitment shy? Try a rug. A sturdy one, of course.

1. A green floor, spotted in Ralph & Julie's Spacious Altbau in Berlin.
2. A colorful rug saves the day! Some colorful bottles and cookbooks help out. From Plaza Interior.
3. Bonus points for color on the ceiling AND the floor. Lina Östling for Hus & Hem via From Scandinavia with Love.

Don't forget the CEILING. There aren't any pesky cabinets up there to get in the way — you'll be bathing in gently reflected color in no time. Image from House and Home.

If you're a bit color-shy, adding a colorful backsplash is a great way to liven up an otherwise staid kitchen.

1. A painted backsplash could work in a kitchen that doesn't see a lot of heavy lifting — just make sure to use a high-gloss, heavy-duty paint. Crown Paints via Easy Living.
2. That backsplash pretty much makes the kitchen, no? From Fredrik Paulsen (photography by Märta Thisner).
3. Stripes of contrasting tile — colorful, unusual, beautiful. Made a Mano tile, via Happy Interior and Design Crisis.
4. A beautiful light blue from Desire to Inspire.
5. Okay, so this is actually a bathroom (the bathroom of the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, specifically, spotted on Justina Blakeney's blog). I am posting it anyway because it's gorgeous. Also, subway tiles turned sideways? That's a new thing.

Low-committment, high impact. If you're going to hang a very large piece, you will need to find a spot without cabinets, but you can also squeeze in smaller pieces in between upper and lower cabinets, or prop them on top of the upper cabinets, as Arthur and Katherine have done. The photo above is from a Paris apartment we spotted on Trend Home. Bonus points for the pink Smeg and red dishwasher.

If you're going to choose this option, you might just go ahead and buy a Smeg. C'mon, you know you want to.

1. The Kitchen Cousins designed this beautiful kitchen with a blue stove and refrigerator for Jeannie Mai and Freddy Harteis. See more of their home here. The appliances are by Big Chill: they make a dishwasher, stove and refrigerator in 8 different retro colors.
2. A stove and refrigerator from Blue Star liven up this white kitchen. (And the house is for sale!)
3. A tiny pink Smeg adds just the right amount of color to this tiny kitchen from Klikk via Planete Deco..
4. A lovely yellow stove (looks like another Blue Star — they come in about a billion colors) with coordinating art in the home Bobbie Burgers, as seen on Escapade.
5. Lidia Bastianich looks proud of her red stove. I would be, too. From Food Network.

For even more colorful appliance inspiration, click here.

So there you go. Kitchens will never be boring ever again.

(Images: as linked above)

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