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7 Ideas for Sophisticated Kitchen Cabinets in Every Color of the Rainbow

If you’re like many of my clients, you’ve practically drooled over pictures of kitchens with colorful cabinets in trending shades like cornflower blue or sage green on Instagram and Pinterest. But when it comes to your own kitchen decor, you may hesitate to step outside the safety of classic white kitchen cabinets with gray marble.

I totally get it. Kitchen cabinetry represents 40 percent of the cost of your kitchen remodel, so you want to invest wisely. You spend so much time in the kitchen, and it’s such an important room design-wise that you don’t want to choose a color you’re tired of six months later.

There’s a way to design a colorful kitchen doesn’t look like it was decorated by Rainbow Brite. It’s all about balancing color with neutrals in other areas and choosing a shade you really love, and being strategic with how you apply it. And remember choosing colorful cabinets isn’t like getting a tattoo — you can change it after a while. Most cabinets need a touch up facelift in a few years. Here are seven ways to create a sophisticated and colorful kitchen that you’ll love.

Go Blue

If you’re looking for one color that’s easy on the eyes for both men and women, choose a shade of blue.  In this Larchmont kitchen, my client wanted a shade close to navy. We settled on Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen Blue for two key areas: the island and the appliance wall. And then we balanced the bold hue with white seating, tile and counters. And science says blue is a good way to go: in a 2001 color preference study of 5,000 people, blue was the top choice for 47 percent of men and 26 percent of women.

Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

Fade to (Almost) Black

Black cabinetry has been trending for a few years now in both the kitchen and the bath. When paired with white, it creates a dramatic, classic look. Riff on this formula by choosing a deep shade that delivers the gravitas of black and just a hint of color. Blakes London does this perfectly with an inky shade of blue-black similar to Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Blue. The soft natural wood tone of the herringbone floor and mango wood stools, Carrara marble and abundant natural light balance it all out.

blakes london dark blue kitchen
Photo credit: Blakes London

Confine Your Color

If you’re still a little hesitant, then limit the bold color to one section of cabinetry. Designer Ashleign Sillar of Bespoke Interior Design in Melbourne used oxblood to stunning effect on the kitchen island. Everything else is a nearly white. If you decide you like the color, you can add more. Pick up the color with statement cookware from Staub or Le Creuset (like this Aubergine cocotte.)

Let There Be Light

This red kitchen from a home in Maine (shared by Cambria Bold on The Kitchn) is bright as all get out, but it works because the plentiful windows and glorious angled skylights help diffuse the color. And details like the light wood beams and antique oak floors make this a thrilling space that anyone would want to spend time in.  

Maine red cottage kitchen by Cambria Bold
Photo credit: Cambria Bold on The Kitchn

Keep It Under the Radar

Leaving your upper cabinets white or a more neutral shade and adding color to the lower cabinets is a good way to introduce a daring shade. Plain English uses this technique to feature this delicious share of tangerine (it’s one of their custom colors) in this Victorian villa. It’s basically another way of making sure your bright hue doesn’t overwhelm the eye.

orange cabinets plain english
Photo credit: Plain English UK

Green is Good

If you want to set a luxurious mood in your kitchen, nothing does that like a saturated green jewel tone. Philadelphia interior designer Ashli Mizell turns a kitchen into a verdant jewel box with vivid teal green cabinetry accented by gleaming brass custom shelving by Amuneal. The pristine white enamel French range and a Carrara marble wall ground the luxe look. Greens are soothing and they’re also growing in popularity — PPG Paint just chose forest-inspired Night Watch as their go-to for 2019. And green was the favorite color for women in that same 2001 color preference study.

green brass kitchen Ashli Mizell instagram
Photo credit: Ashli Mizell

Treat Your Color Like a Neutral

Or if you’re feeling bold and sassy, go all out and treat your favorite color as a neutral. Plain English UK scores again with this eye-popping butlers’ pantry in Boiled Egg Yellow. The room feels like slipping into a happy golden bath. I know this is where the cool kids will be hanging out at the next party.

Plain English UK boiled Egg pantry
Photo credit: Plain English UK

As a designer, I love helping my clients create timeless and classic white kitchens. But it’s thrilling when someone decides to design a distinctive kitchen that reflects their personality. I’m working on one right now with a bold “Where the Wild the Wild Things Are”-meets-Midcentury vibe and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, so follow your heart and add a color that makes you happy.