How to Choose the Best Color for Your Kitchen

Choosing paint colors for any room can be a daunting and frustrating task when there are so many countless hues to choose from. You want a color palette that flows well from room to room, but you want each room's color to promote a certain mood and work for that particular room.


There is no single "best" color for your kitchen. The best color for you depends on a number of factors, including your personal preferences; how the color will work with your appliances, floors, and other permanent features; and how much upkeep you want to invest in.


Here are some tips for helping you choose the exact right paint hue for your kitchen.


  1. Take advantage of samples.

The first step to choosing the best color for your kitchen is to start with a few options that you're considering and head to the paint store for some samples. Samples are inexpensive, and investing in a range of color samples can help make your choice easier.


Once you have your samples in hand, brush a couple of coats of each paint onto the wall in one- or two-square-foot swaths. Watch what the color does in natural sunlight, on a cloudy day, and in your kitchen's lighting at night. Notice how the color interacts with the rest of your kitchen. For example, a dark color may cast an unpleasant pall onto your white cabinets, or a certain yellow may make the black appliances pop more than you'd like.


  1. Consider the exposure.

If your kitchen has windows on the north side, the light coming in will be cool and indirect. Cooler colors like blues, greens, and shades of white work well in northern light.


South-facing windows bring in stronger sunlight that's more direct and which tends to shift throughout the day, making your paint color look different at different times. The warm southern light will enhance the warm tones in a color, so consider earthy tones like brown, tan, umber, ochre, or sienna.


An eastern exposure provides strong sunlight in the mornings and shade in the afternoon. Contrasting colors work well in kitchens with an eastern exposure, so consider painting the cabinets a light color and the walls a darker color.


Western-facing windows in the kitchen mean shadow in the morning and strong sunlight in the afternoons and evenings. Darker colors help absorb this bright light — and the afternoon heat that comes with it.


  1. Consider the light bulbs.

The types of light bulbs you use will have an important influence on how any color of paint looks. Incandescent and halogen bulbs generally cast warmer, yellower light, which bring out warm hues and offer a warm, cozy glow. Fluorescent and other cool bulbs cast blue or green light, which work well with neutral blues and greens.


  1. Consider the mood you're going for.

Maybe you want a luxuriously warm kitchen that feels homey and comfy, or maybe you're looking for a minimalist, energetic vibe. The color you choose can make or break the mood you want for your kitchen. Here are a few color tips for creating the right atmosphere.

  • Warm colors like reds, yellows, and oranges are vibrant, cozy, and radiant. They can make small kitchens appear a bit smaller and larger kitchens feel more intimate.
  • Cool colors like greens, blues, and purples have a calming effects and can make a room appear larger, but also colder. Cooler colors feel comforting in a sunny room, but they can feel less so in a kitchen with little natural light.
  • Neutral colors, like shades of white, brown, and black, can have cool or warm undertones that make them behave like either cool colors or warm colors. Neutral colors offer more versatility in your decor and usually aren't the most important feature of a room, instead helping to accent other features of the room.

Keep in mind that lighter colors will show dirt more easily, while darker colors will hide it better. An eggshell or satin finish will be easier to wipe clean than a flat finish, while a semi-gloss or gloss finish will reflect more light and show imperfections more readily.


Choose a Color You Love

The most important rule of thumb is to pick a color you love and that makes you want to spend time in the kitchen. You can get lots of color ideas from online decor sites like HGTV and Houzz, or you can thumb through your favorite decorating magazines for inspiration. But it all boils down to what you like and how you want your kitchen to feel when you're in it.