Finding the right kitchen wall color that you’ll love for years to come has never been more critical, with the kitchen now a multi-purpose room designed as much for living as it is for cooking.
Kitchens are full of color opportunities. Neutral and light color schemes aren’t for everyone, and the considerable cost of a new kitchen shouldn’t dictate that you play it safe on your walls. It’s more a case of choosing a wall color that goes well with your existing kitchen cabinet ideas and kitchen decor.
Start by considering what your favorite kitchen color ideas might be and take it from there. After all, one of the simplest and cheapest options is to paint a wall that can be easily updated should you tire of it.
The 7 most popular kitchen wall colors
For a classic, timeless kitchen, we sometimes err on the side of caution and choose a completely neutral scheme, forgetting that a little color on the walls can brighten up a room enormously.
We asked some of the best kitchen designers, decorators and color psychologists about the most popular kitchen wall colors, including the meaning behind them, to help you decide, once and for all, which color to paint or tile your kitchen walls. enhance your kitchen wall decor.
A white kitchen is effortlessly timeless and the beauty of it is that it can be modern or classic, whatever you want, so it comes as no surprise to learn that white kitchen wall color is one of the most popular choices for homeowners.
White kitchens are still very much favored, despite ideas that they can be too clinical for a home environment. But if you’re going for all-white walls, consider choosing oak cabinet kitchen ideas.
‘White alone can look a bit stark. Pairing white walls with wooden cabinets will bring warmth to a predominantly white scheme, along with texture and depth,’ explains Pluck’s (opens in new tab) co-founder Leila Touwen. A plain white background will bring interesting materials, such as wood, into sharp relief.
Don’t let anyone stop you from using pure white on your kitchen walls. “A lot of people think that if you like a certain color, you have to go all out for it, which is one reason they shy away from it,” says Karen Haller, color psychologist and best-selling author of The Little Book of Color (opens in new tab).’But it doesn’t have to be a complete kaleidoscope. We don’t need color around us all the time. We can choose what we need,’ she says. So, if that ‘color’ is white to you, then so be it. It is essential to decorate with colors that will make your home happier.
Psychologically, pure gray has no positive or ‘happy’ qualities, but that hasn’t stopped homeowners from using it for their kitchen wall color.
The beauty of a gray kitchen scheme is that it provides a great scaffolding on which to hang color accents, adds Deborah Bass, founder of Base Interior (opens in new tab). To keep the room from feeling dreary, it’s important to pair gray with either subtle or bold additions of color and texture in accessories and furniture such as artwork or kitchen storage.
Helen Shaw, director at Benjamin Moore agrees: ‘A gray kitchen wall color will harmonize well with almost any other shade, making it a highly adaptable neutral and giving good reason for its popularity.’
Often people use gray to quieten a space. Perhaps you lead a busy life, and the kitchen – the heart of the home – is your respite from a hectic, modern life. If you’re using gray to make yourself feel ‘safe’ and secure, the last thing we want you to do is stop.
Bringing the outdoors in by having green kitchen walls in your home is always a good idea; the nod to nature will create a peaceful atmosphere, however busy the space, so integrating the color in a well-used kitchen works just as well as in a spa-style bathroom. Green kitchens are also said to inspire creativity, making them ideal for a chef’s kitchen.
“We are reassured by green on a very primitive level,” says color psychologist Karen Haller. “It is a very peaceful color for us, and an indication of harmony, balance and stability.”
However, be aware that there is a lot to consider when using green. We see more variations of green than any other color. Among the many different colors of green there are pea green, emerald, aqua, olive, forest green, mint, moss, jade, chartreuse, khaki and sea foam green.
‘The psychological effect you will experience will vary according to the tone and intensity,’ says Karen. ‘Aqua is uplifting and refreshing, while there’s nothing relaxing about lime green. This is what I call greens alter ego.’
Red is unlike any other color. Despite being described as the most stressful color, red kitchens have grown in popularity in recent years.
A deep red can be a miracle worker for kitchen walls, adding both the cool light of north-facing spaces and a cheery glow to sunnier southern spots. Red colors are said to provoke conversation, so they work well in kitchens and family areas; A rouge dining room can extend those lazy dinner parties while adding visual drama. There are so many shades available within the red range, so it’s easier than ever to choose one that works for you.
“When using red in a kitchen color scheme, it’s best to choose shades that are rich and warm rather than harsh and persistent,” says Simon Temprell, head of interior design at Neptune (opens in new tab).
‘As the most stimulating and powerful colour, red can add excitement and drama to a space, but it can also be overwhelming. Use it to decorate as you would seasoning food: if you like your food hot and spicy, use very bold reds, otherwise err on the side of safety with warmer reds, such as maroon, rose bottle and burgundy.’
With bold colors, it’s time well spent considering how you react to the color and how it makes you feel. There is often a clue in our wardrobes as to which colors we lean towards.
Avoid costly kitchen design mistakes by getting two or three sample pots of different shades to compare. Paint swatches on large pieces of paper and hang them in the room to see how they work in different lights and next to your furniture and other colors you’re considering using.
Pure black, like red, has many different qualities, which is why it is such a popular kitchen wall color. However, unlike red, black can be a beautiful canvas to showcase other colors to perfection.
As with art or photography, black can be used to highlight – and emphasize – other colors and finishes in this space. Black is a neutral shade, so it can be used as the perfect backdrop for any color, but deeper, darker shades work especially well if you want to up the drama.
“The deep, striking shades of black can change the mood of a space and provide a sense of stillness and calm that comforts and cocoons,” adds Jonathan Stanley, vice president of marketing at Caesarstone (opens in new tab). ‘Not only that, but a black kitchen wall color will also create an atmosphere that encourages us to get together and eat and drink.’
But, for all its positive connotations, black should be used with caution, advises color psychologist Karen Haller: ‘Black can feel suffocating and give rise to heightened feelings of oppression and heaviness.’
“Research has shown that blue is the world’s most favorite color – perhaps because we are surrounded by it,” says color psychologist Karen Haller. “But too much blue or around yourself in the wrong tone, and you can find yourself feeling cold, or coming across as indifferent and distant.” But if you love a blue kitchen, don’t let that put you off.
Interior designers love working with blue, and it’s not hard to see why. The color of the sea and sky, often associated with mental clarity and calm, blue is a timeless color and works well in both classic and contemporary schemes.
‘Working with shades of blue in the kitchen is endlessly interesting – and playing with color can transform it from subtle and calm to a vibrant jewel box in a matter of moments,’ says Samantha Todhunter, founder of Samantha Todhunter Interiors (opens in new tab).
How do you feel when the sun shines brightly? If you answered happy and cheerful, you might want to consider decorating with yellow on your kitchen wall.
Mood-lifting and warm, yellow brings energy, confidence and optimism to a kitchen. Although yellow can be used anywhere, it is especially effective as a kitchen wall color, especially in a space that lacks natural light.
“Yellow has a long wavelength and is emotionally stimulating, making us feel more confident, positive and happier at home,” says color psychologist Karen Haller. “It can also boost our self-esteem.”
Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greene also likes to use yellow at home: ‘The kitchen, often seen as the heart of the home, is the perfect space to use stronger colours, such as Little Greene’s Giallo, which reminds of golden sun, which will bring joy and create an energetic scheme.’