As you scroll through pictures on Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz to imagine your kitchen renovation, did you ever wonder why you’re drawn to certain images? Chances are that the picture’s color palette captivated you. But with infinite shades and tints, picking colors for cabinets, islands, and walls can be daunting.
How do you pick a color scheme that fits your style, fits in with the rest of your home, and will stand the test of time? You can love a set of colors, but do they go together? A quartz countertop may be beautiful, and a beautifully painted island may look amazing, but will the two look amazing together? And what about the backsplash and wall color? Homeowners need to work with a skilled designer to make sure the main features of your kitchen work together and the color palette has lots of visual interest, but is also balanced.
Maybe you are tired of looking at the current cabinetry — especially the outdated color — and that’s what started you thinking about a kitchen renovation in the first place. When it comes to color, cabinets are the best starting point. Cabinetry is the dominant feature in the kitchen and will set the tone for the overall look of your new kitchen. Will you choose light colors? Wood tones or paint? Some dramatic effects can be gained by choosing contrasting colors between the island and the perimeter cabinets.
Now you can move on to select countertop material, backsplash tile, flooring and finally wall colors. Other color or tonal elements are picked up in finishing details such as cabinet drawer and door hardware, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and major appliances. For example, the metal features may be brushed nickel, bronze, chrome or gold.
The average years spent in a home has been on the decline recently. Especially if you are concerned about resale, choosing neutral colors for your kitchen makes sense. As long as the overall kitchen design is well executed and the neutral colors work together, future owners can add pops of color or leave the neutral tones exactly as they are.
You’ve probably seen some glamorous looking kitchens in white tones, even though in real life it is rare to see a pure neutral white used throughout a kitchen. Consider a tint to add a hint of color to walls or trim, without taking too much focus off of countertops and cabinets. Whites tend to take on the color of their surroundings, so even with a color palette you feel is very one-note in shades of white, it is important to look at all the elements together in the kitchen space.
Shades of gray are always on trend as they find their way onto walls and trim, as well as a finish coat for the cabinets. This can be a welcome upgrade especially in a home that has defaulted to shades of beige and off-white. Gray tones will resonate beautifully with marble countertops and stainless appliances.
Below is a recent kitchen renovation with some striking uses of gray.
Neutral is fine, but if you love vibrant color, there is no reason you can’t embrace that in your kitchen. Walls, backsplash, or an island are great places to experiment with color. A good designer can help you choose an appropriate palette. If you choose an accent wall to add color, for instance, you can always paint it back to neutral when you go to sell.
DC area residents tend to have a more conservative approach to the use of color. A gentle nudge to the edge of your comfort zone when it comes to color can lead to a truly beautiful kitchen design. You probably don’t want to get too crazy with color, but keep an open mind during the process.
Now you have an idea of the color palette you want to work with. The next step is to test the color. You may love how a color looks on the sample swatch but how will it react to light in the room? A good designer will paint color swatches directly on the walls or large sheets of poster paper so the client can move them around to see how the color looks in different areas of the room at different times of day. You’ll want samples of cabinets, countertops, and backsplash too, to make sure colors and patterns are all harmonious.
Your renovated kitchen will be a place where your whole family will be spending lots of time. One or more of you will be cooking, there may be school and work projects sprawled across available surfaces at various points in a given week. A lot of life happens around the kitchen. Making good color choices will ensure the time spent in that kitchen will be as enjoyable as possible.
Learn about how to approach a kitchen design and remodeling project by downloading The Definitive Guide to Kitchen Design & Remodeling Success.