30 Striking Ways to Add Color to Your Kitchen

Idea House Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

With open floor plans at peak popularity, kitchens are no longer strictly reserved for cooking. As guests hang out on bar stools and family conversations unfold over the island, your home's gathering space should mirror the life that happens there. Kitchen designers ditched the utilitarian approach a while ago, so it's high time you bring some color into yours. Although we'll always have an affinity for a classic white kitchen, there's also space for happy yellows and cool blues, whether those fun colors come in the form of brightly-hued dishtowels or a total cabinet makeover. Peruse these 30 vibrant kitchens to bust out of a neutral rut with flying colors.

01 of 30

Add Natural Elements

Kitchen: Simple with White
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

White subway tile is a classic backdrop that's not going anywhere. But why not punch it up with a big bowl of bright green apples or yellow lemons? Other options: Place a leafy houseplant on your counter, or make a habit of bringing home fresh flowers from the grocery. If you can't keep plants alive for long, just go faux! We promise you won't regret investing in a realistic-looking artificial houseplant.

02 of 30

Select Geometric Floor Tile

2021 Idea House Rear Kitchen/Pantry
Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Page Mullins

Although the colors of these tiles aren't bright, the visual variety and geometric pattern delivers floor-level flare. The pendant lights overhead repeat the color of the darkest tile, giving this white kitchen an enviably custom feel. Look for other opportunities to pull in color—like the painted open shelving in the pantry space seen here.

03 of 30

Throw Down a Bright Rug

Galley kitchen with blue cabinetry and white walls
Julia Lynn; Styling: Dakota Willimon

We love the bright blue paint on these cabinets (and the way the color is carried over to the window frames). But if you're not ready for an in-your-face cabinet color, consider laying down a vibrantly patterned rug in your kitchen. A runner fits a galley space like this one well, while small rectangular rugs are always at home in front of a sink. Love the look? Use the rug's colors as inspiration for a bold cabinet hue.

04 of 30

Use Wallpaper in Lieu of a Backsplash

Small Space Kitchen with Blue and White Wallpaper
Laura Negri Childers

Wallpaper has made a serious comeback, and we're here for it. Whether you wallpaper the whole kitchen or just one wall, the right pattern can set the tone of your whole space: Go for floral to add a feminine touch or geometric for a more modern look. If you don't have a backsplash (or the cash to cough up for expensive tile), you can fill the void with pretty paper.

05 of 30

Create a Colorful Nook

Bold Wallpaper
Annie Schlechter; Styling: Matthew Gleason

If your kitchen table tucks into a corner, add a bench or window seat for a low-cost update with big-time impact. Highlight the nook with a funky wallpaper accent wall and bright pillows. Can't fit a bench into your eat-in area? Replace head-of-the-table chairs with bold club chairs, paint your wooden seating in a variety of colors, or simply switch up your chair cushions.

06 of 30

Pick a Bright Backsplash

White kitchen with light teal backsplash
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

We get it: White cabinets are classic and eternally gorgeous. So do the white kitchen thing—but go bold with a backsplash that isn't white, beige, or gray. We love this sea foam subway tile backplash, which is clean-looking and endlessly eye-catching. If you're nervous to take the leap, bring home a few tile samples, prop 'em up, and look at them at different times of day (when the light varies) for a week or two. A clear winner will emerge.

07 of 30

Display Your Cookbooks

Dream Kitchen Design Ideas: Cookbook Shelf
Alexandra Rowley; Design: Kevin Walsh; Styling: Olga Naiman

Even if you're not an avid cook, you probably have countless cookbooks lying around, so why not make use of them in your kitchen design? Take off the doors of a couple cabinets to create open shelving, and line up your cookbooks for a colorful (and conveniently accessible) display. Sort by color if you think the shelf looks too cluttered.

08 of 30

Pick a Punchy Cabinet Color

Idea House Kitchen
Laurey W. Glenn

Does this kitchen leave you green with envy? Us too. Although painting your kitchen cabinets in an atypical color is a daring move, it promises attention-grabbing results in the best possible way. We can't help but smile when we enter a kitchen with colorful cabinets, which is why we're all for going green, blue, gray, or any other color you love.

09 of 30

Chalk It Up

Meg Lonergan Houston Craftsman Kitchen
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Barbara Schmidt

In this kitchen, the homeowners went all in with a chalkboard splashed across the back of their peninsula. But smaller doses of chalk paint can be equally fun: Consider spraying a rectangular section of a bare wall as a place for your little ones to add color and creativity to the kitchen. You can also spray a pantry door to create a calendar or menu board.

10 of 30

Install Floating Shelves

Amie Corely Kitchenette Dining Area
Ashley Gieseking

In this carriage house, low ceilings limited the options for up-top kitchen storage. Floating shelves presented an easy-to-install solution—and an attractive one, with shiny gold brackets and a colorful display of dishes wrapping around the corner. Even if you have ample space for full-size cabinets, installing a run of open shelving lets you play with natural materials, like reclaimed wood and metal, and also show off your prettiest pieces. Cabinets with glass fronts are another way to showcase brightly-hued items.

11 of 30

Add Artwork

Jessica Stambaugh designed galley kitchen with apartment-size appliances and white cabinetry
Alison Gootee; Styling: Suzonne Stirling

Whether you pick a painting, an old map, a cool print, or a creation from a little one, a piece of art is an easy way to add lots of color. If your kitchen doesn't have a backsplash, prop up a framed painting instead, or hang a plate behind the stovetop, as seen in this petite apartment kitchen. The best part: You can switch your art out with the seasons (or whenever your inner designer demands it).

12 of 30

Paint the Ceiling

Colorful Kitchen
Photography Laurey W. Glenn / Styling Leigh Anne Montgomery

For an easy way to add color, look to the sky. A painted ceiling requires less commitment than painted cabinets, and if you go with a soft blue hue, it can make a small space look bigger by drawing the eye upward. Save stand-out colors for large or high-ceilinged kitchens.

13 of 30

Play with Pendants

Patterned Kitchen Pendant Lighting
Colleen Duffley

Pendants that pop are cute, fresh, and fun. Fabric shades can easily be swapped out if your style changes, so don't be afraid to play with pattern. These floral pendants inject a dose of the unexpected into this beige kitchen, while metal or glass lighting can bring a touch of warmth and texture to your space.

14 of 30

Buy Vintage-Inspired Appliances

600 Square Foot Beach Cottage White Kitchen with Teal Smeg Fridge
Joseph de Leo; Styling: Liz Strong

If this fridge doesn't make you swoon, we don't know what will. Appliances now come in nearly every color from vivid orange to mint green to navy blue, often with a vintage flare that plays well with timeless features like subway tile or wood flooring. If you're nervous about purchasing a bright blue stove, start with smaller items like a colorful stand mixer or toaster.

15 of 30

Pick Bold Countertops

Lindsey Coral Harper Windsor, FL Makeover Green Kitchen White Cabinets
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Browse the warehouse of any countertop company, and you'll be stunned by the amount of color, sparkle, and pattern you discover. Don't be afraid to take one home: Whether you only outfit your island or go wall-to-wall with color, you'll love cooking atop such a striking surface. Before you take the leap, check out a few full slabs to ensure you'll love the look for years.

16 of 30

Splurge on Barstools

Blue and White Kitchen with Serena and Lily Barstools
Photo: Reagan Elizabeth Photography; Design: Kim Armstrong Interior Design

Some people want to slide their barstools under the counter and forget they're there. We're not those people. We love these blue-and-white bistro barstools, which coordinate beautifully with the blue island and vent hood. If you already have stools, consider repurposing them with colorful cushions or a bright coat of paint.

17 of 30

Make Windows a Focal Point

Kitchen island in 2017 Idea House in Newport, Rhode Island
Photo: Amy Neunsinger

Windows are an overlooked opportunity to add color, whether you hang a patterned window treatment, place flowers in the windowsill, or replace a small window with antique stained glass. If your kitchen is short on wall space, you can even prop a small painting on the sill.

18 of 30

Coat the Insides of Cabinets

Green kitchen cabinet
Laurey W. Glenn

Painting inside the cabinets is less risky than redoing the doors. Choose a fun color you wouldn't dream of painting the exterior, or for a jewel-box feel, coat the interiors with the same hue as the outside (then add a few strip lights to illuminate your treasures). To make your china stand out, pick a color that contrasts with your dishes.

19 of 30

Don't Desert the Island

Mobile Kitchen Island
Helen Norman

If you have an island in your kitchen, it's quite literally the center of attention. Shouldn't it be beautiful? The good news: With an island, you can pull off pretty much any color you please. Just make sure the shade complements the color of your flooring. If you don't have an island, buy a rolling cart like this one and jazz it up with a fun (and easily changeable) hue.

20 of 30

Hang a Corkboard

Family Command Center: Getting Started
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

For a pop of color that isn't permanent, paint the frame of a corkboard and hang it on a cabinet or wall in your kitchen. Kids' artwork and family pictures will congregate here; it's also a great spot to hang a calendar or store local takeout menus. If you get tired of the color you chose, simply take the corkboard down and grab a new can of spray paint.

21 of 30

Deck Out Your Hardwoods

2021 Idea House Kitchen with Painted Floors
Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Page Mullins

We'll admit it—painting over hardwood floors is a minor sin, but if yours are in rough shape or you don't like the stain (and you can't afford refinishing), it can be an incredible way to upgrade your flooring. Solid colors works although we're partial to a large-scale geometric pattern like this one, which pairs cool hues with creamy white. This look also works well on concrete floors.

22 of 30

Show Off the Good China

China Cabinet with Striped Fabric
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Gorgeous china shouldn't spend its life locked away. We vote to revive the old-school china cabinet. Find one at a secondhand store, paint the exterior, and wallpaper the inside. If you don't have room for another piece of furniture, try hanging plates or trays right on the wall or create a display with floating shelves.

23 of 30

Dress Up the Dish Towels

Butcher Block Counter Top
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Although it's only a tiny piece of cloth, a well-placed dish towel can have a big impact. Here, a striped one transforms a creamy kitchen into a French chef's abode. Accessible and inexpensive, dish towels are one of our favorite ways to bring color to the kitchen, whether you change them out a few times a year or whenever the mood strikes.

24 of 30

Refresh Your Walls

White Kitchen with green walls and corner breakfast nook
Mary Britton Senseney; Styling by Dakota Willimon

This one may seem obvious, but we're guessing so you're used to the color on your kitchen walls that you barely consider it. But before you turn your attention to your cabinets, truly take in that wall color: Would a fresh coat of paint transform the space and renew your love for the other finishes? Does the undertone of your wall color match that of your cabinets? If they aren't working together, your kitchen will look hodgepodge, but with the right wall color, even so-so cabinets can shine.

25 of 30

Display Your Pots

Colonial Cottage Kitchen Gray Paint Copper Details
Laurey W. Glenn

If you have a collection of copper pots, you have a ready-made route to color in your kitchen. Hang them on the wall with hooks, or dangle them overhead with an over-the-island rack. The metallic shine is nothing short of gorgeous.

26 of 30

Take the Backsplash to a Wall

2018 idea House in Austin, Texas Kitchen
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

By itself, this square tile backsplash behind the stove would serve as a lovely focal point—a splash of color in an otherwise neutral space. But taken to the adjacent wall, it becomes the room's defining feature, transforming this traditional kitchen into a statement maker. If you're installing a colorful backsplash, look for another tile-ready spot in your kitchen, like the partial wall here or the expanse above your sink. Bright tile looks especially stunning around a small window.

27 of 30

Go Retro

Retro Pink and Blue Kitchen
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Admit it: This pastel kitchen makes you grin. From the light pink appliances to the baby blue drawers and doors to the matching accessories, this retro galley kitchen takes every opportunity to have fun. Although most of the kitchen—the upper cabinets, the floor, the light, the ceiling—is white, the space feels like a wonderland of soft color, thanks to pastel paints, which are whimsical but never chaotic.

28 of 30

Install Pantry Bins

2018 Idea House in Austin, Texas Pantry
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

In our 2018 Idea House in Austin, Texas, designer Meredith Ellis recreated old-fashioned grain bins by installing drawers with glass fronts. Not only are they functional, but they're bright and beautiful when filled with dried beans. Turn a nook in your kitchen into an open pantry, and if you aren't able to add glass fronts to the drawers, mimic the look with large clear glass jars filled with beans or pasta.

29 of 30

Create a Fun Feature Wall

patterned kitchen backsplash
Getty Images

If you only saw the island of this kitchen, you'd probably describe the space as modern, sleek, maybe even sterile. But turn your eye to the blue tiled wall, and there's no question that this kitchen is filled with life. The mix of patterns makes every inch interesting, and the floating shelf breaks up the wall, without detracting from the beauty of the geometric tile.

30 of 30

Choose a Glam Vent Hood

Margaret Kirkland Georgian Makeover Blue and White Kitchen
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Yes, your vent hood is mostly there to hide a necessary accessory to your range. But it can also be an opportunity for a moment of levity. In this case, oxidized copper borrows from the the blue color of the backsplash, creating a place for the eye to rest in a sea of white cabinets. Whether you wrap yours in metal or coat it in colorful paint, decking out the vent hood can give your kitchen a custom vibe without changing the cabinets.

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