12 Unexpected Kitchen Color Ideas and Combos to Instantly Transform Your Space

published Jan 14, 2024
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I love an all-white kitchen as much as the next person, but what I love even more is a kitchen that feels layered and dynamic, reflecting your personality and personal style. There are so many ways to accomplish this, from the hardware and fixtures to the cabinetry and countertops. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place — we polled some of the top interior designers for their favorite kitchen color ideas, and how you can pull them together in your own space.

Credit: Photo: Stoffer Photography Interiors; Designer: Kate Marker Interiors

1. Olive Green, Black, and Rustic Wood

This kitchen by Kate Marker Interiors in Barrington, Illinois, is defined by a mix of natural colors and materials. Olive green, black, and rustic wood together create a “masculine” palette that’s grounded yet refreshing — and always dynamic. 

Credit: Photo: Emily Millay Photography; Designer: Nicole Pier Design

2. Blue and White

Blue and white is always right, says almost every designer ever. Nicole Pier, owner of her namesake design firm in Cleveland, Ohio, incorporated the classic combination with light and bright perimeter cabinets anchored by a soft blue island. There are countless ways to pair the two, though: blue cabinets with white quartzite counters, white cabinets with navy tile, etc.

Credit: Photo: Tamara Flanagan; Designer: Hunter Hill Interiors; Stylist: Sean William

3. Blue, White, and Warm Wood

“White kitchens will always be timeless, but we try to find moments to add personality and depth,” says Colette Archambault and Karen Cacciatore, co-owners of Hunter Hill Interiors in Boston, Massachusetts. The duo intentionally selected complementary colors based on the surrounding landscape of this coastal cottage kitchen, but their appeal extends far beyond the seaside.

Credit: Photo: Stoffer Photography Interiors; Designer: Kate Marker Interiors

4. Black, White Oak, and White

This modern palette is quickly rising in popularity, which Marker attributes to its statement-making contrast. Plus, she adds, “Allowing the natural grain of the wood to show only adds beauty.” If you’re averse to dark cabinets, you’ve got to check out these brilliant black kitchen ideas

Credit: Photo: FVI Photo; Designer: House of Huck

5. Sage Green and Cream

To design a warm kitchen that also functions as a charming haven, Meredith Huck, owner of House of Huck in Milford, Connecticut, opted for a sage and cream palette. She notes that the two soothing tones are even more so when paired together. FYI: Green was 2023’s cabinet color trend of the year and shows no sign of letting up, which leads us to …

Credit: Designer: Blessed Little Bungalow

6. Green and Pink

“Green is gender-neutral and soothing, and pairs well with so many neutral colors, whether warm or cool,” says Amber Guyton, owner of Blessed Little Bungalow in Atlanta, Georgia. When coupled with pink, its most memorable partner, the color becomes both joyful and mood-boosting.

Credit: Designer: Nicole Pier Design

7. White and Cream

Warming up the white kitchen is simple with cream accents that maintain the lightness while adding dimension. To accomplish that in this space specifically, Pier selected Taj Mahal quartzite and seagrass stools from Restoration Hardware. You can also look to tile, styled decor, art, cabinets, and more for the same effect.

Credit: Designer: Truss Interiors

8. Rich Wood and Cream

According to Julee Wray, owner of Truss Interiors in Denver, Colorado, warmer, richer tones of wood are becoming increasingly popular, celebrating their grain and natural character. “In more approachable designs, we’ll see this paired with other softer materials for balance, such as cream cabinets, stone with lighter color veining, and glass cabinets as accents,” she explains.

9. Moody Jewel Tones

Rachel Peck, owner of her namesake interior design firm in Austin, Texas, says her clients are asking for color in their kitchens more and more. She recommends going bold with jewel tones that bring energy to the space (in high gloss for an extra bang).

Credit: Designer: Nicole Pier Design

10. Cream, Gray, and Navy

This isn’t your typical kitchen combination, Pier says, but it still gives off a timeless look. “We included pops of navy in the seating and range accent to break up the neutral tones,” she explains. The subtle addition takes the subdued color scheme to a more elevated level. 

Credit: Photo: Margaret Rajic; Designer: Kate Marker Interiors

11. Smoky Blue, White Oak, White, and Black

A neutral base can always use a pop of color. Not quite coastal and not quite navy, smoky blue is a just-unexpected-enough medium hue that Marker says “pairs so well with white, black, and white oak.” If you don’t want to commit to something as permanent as cabinets, consider incorporating it via decor or stools.

12. Blue on Blue

Blue on blue: It’s what Peck affectionately calls “the Canadian tuxedo of kitchens.” If you’re going to go tonal with any non-neutral color, universally beloved blue is the color to do it with. Pair with brass or polished nickel hardware for a cool, fashion-forward tone.