From delicate pastels to dark and moody hues, there’s a plethora of colours and finishes to choose from when it comes to your kitchen design. But with this high traffic area needing to operate on both a practical and aesthetic level, how do you choose the right colour for your cabinets?
While wipe clean white can seem the most practical approach, bolder colours can also help hide a multitude of marks and inject a sense of personality. We’ve rounded up 17 painted kitchen cabinet ideas to brighten up the heart of your home.
1. Paint your kitchen cabinets pink
“The desire for colour in the kitchen has gained momentum over the last year,” says Al Bruce, the Founder of Olive & Barr. “We have seen homeowners steer towards warmer and brighter colours, from soft pink to fiery red tones.”
And although pink may not always seem an immediate choice for painted kitchen cabinets, it can add warmth to north-facing rooms lacking natural light.
Choosing colour as a way of expressing your individuality in the kitchen is also a key trend noted in the 2024 National Kitchen & Bathroom Trends Report, which states, “for statement colors, designers are leveraging cabinetry, islands and vertical surfaces such as backsplashes, wall paint and wallpaper.”
2. Go with green to create calm
Soft, soothing and a great colour choice for the hub of your home, green painted kitchen cabinets create a neutral environment. Take a colour-drenching approach and also paint your walls in a complementary shade of green.
Not sure which shade of green to choose? It’s a colour that links perfectly to a kitchen environment. Think minty fresh green or subtle sage and you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice.
3. Contrast the inside and outside
Enjoy adding an element of surprise to your interiors? Pick a bold contrasting colour for the inside of your kitchen cabinet, such as pairing a bold tomato red with a softer salmon pink.
It’ll also keep you on trend, says Al. “We expect to see homeowners gain more colour confidence in 2024, introducing colour throughout the kitchen, through cabinetry, worktops and even inside cupboards and pantries, creating unique elements of surprise.”
4. White painted kitchen cabinets are timeless
If you prefer a completely neutral kitchen environment, opting for white is a safe and timeless painted kitchen cabinet idea that pairs well with natural wood tones. If you’re new to painting cabinets, it’s also a great colour choice that can be easily rectified if you make some initial mistakes.
White painted kitchen cabinets are also a sensible option in limited spaces. Both natural and artificial light sources will reflect off your white cabinets. And if budget is tight, white cabinets will work well next to economically priced white freestanding appliances, helping to blend everything seamlessly into one cohesive space.
5. Create a focal point with sophisticated blue
If you’re simply looking to update one part of your kitchen, choose a sophisticated shade of blue to highlight a pantry or coffee corner. The darker shade will help cover any current marks and also draw the eye towards the end of the room, thereby elongating the space.
6. Add zest with peach and orange
For a fresh and citrusy zing in your kitchen, choose a lighter shade of peach for your cabinets and walls but add a pop of colour to the doors and structure of your kitchen island.
Complete the look by hanging some eye-catching orange and white pendant lights above the island and the overall glow in the room will give you a feeling of warmth even when it’s gloomy outside.
7. Choose monochrome black and white
Stylish and classically contemporary, a monochrome kitchen scheme can help add new life to your painted kitchen cabinets. If your kitchen and living space are open plan, paint your units in a charcoal black and also add a darker colour to your walls to really define the space.
Pair with a white splashback and worktops, brass handles and taps, then soften with wooden flooring laid in a stylish herringbone pattern.
8. Embellish with eclectic edging
If your current kitchen cabinets are more vintage in style, update them with a fresh coat of paint and add some scalloped trims painted in the same colour to update them and hide any damaged edges.
Disguise areas where you can’t fit doors with a brightly coloured curtain and mix and match your door handles for a even more eclectic feel. Depending on their original finish, make sure you also choose the best kitchen cabinet paint for your doors.
9. Soften with shades of grey
If you feel white is too sterile in your kitchen, use a soft dove grey on your painted kitchen cabinets instead. When paired with white worktops, flooring and chrome accessories it will still feel clean and fresh, without being too clinical.
Add natural plants and textures with padded leather stools for a stylish, comfortable and practical space.
10. Create drama with a dark colour combo
“The allure of the dramatic dark kitchen cabinetry remains,” says Al. For a more atmospheric setting to your kitchen, turn down the dial and opt for a palette of darker shades of blue and black.
Add brass metallic handles and taps and hang low level pendant lighting above your island unit. It will provide practical lighting for preparation as well as creating a lovely seating area at night.
11. Purple will pop next to pastel shades
Although purple may not spring to mind as a kitchen cabinet colour, it can be a fun choice in a space where pastels prevail.
As shown in this kitchen design from Annie Sloan, this works well where doors are handle free and have a smooth fronted finish. It’s a door style often associated with a gloss finish, and as painting gloss kitchen cabinets can sometimes be tricky, make sure you follow the correct steps to get a neat and even finish.
To complete the look, add shelves and wooden chairs in contrasting shades and add texture with a distressed finish wooden topped dining table.
12. Add Mediterranean magic with cerulean blue
Yearning for sunnier climes? Bring the Mediterranean home with painted kitchen doors finished in bright cerulean blue. Guaranteed to banish the gloom, the colour works especially well in a south facing room where natural light will stop it from feeling too cold.
Although this scheme has paired blue with a delicate shade of pink, most shades of blue also work well with white, yellow, grey and even orange or red.
13. Paint a bespoke finish
For a bespoke painted kitchen cabinet, why not try your hand at painting a unique design or pattern. Alternatively, you could try another technique such as vinyl wrapping kitchen cabinets or using stencils.
“Painting the cabinets can completely transform a room, is budget-friendly and can be completed in a day,” says Emma Irving, Senior Product Manager at Rust-Oleum Europe. “We’ve seen our customers get creative with our variety of stencils that create a repeat pattern on floors and furniture including kitchen cabinets.’
14. Use coastal colours in a south facing room
Using cooler shades of blue in a light filled kitchen can bring a sense of coastal serenity and help brighten up a tired kitchen island. Pair with soft chalky white and if your kitchen is made from wood, consider stripping back some shelves to their natural wooden tones to complete the look.
15. Paint your cabinets sunshine yellow
For a summery feel in a more rustic space, update your base kitchen cabinets with a new coat of soft yellow paint. Replace or repaint your splashback tiles to match and add yellow accessories to make your kitchen feel like sunshine all year round.
16. Mix and match colour with wood
There’s no set rule that says you have to paint all of your cabinets when you’re refreshing your kitchen. If you love the natural warmth of wood, sandwich a bolt of colour in between your worktops and baseboards. For an extra individual touch, match handles on any remaining wooden doors or drawers to your new paint colour.
17. Choose a maximalist scheme to stay on trend
Bored of your bland scheme? Be bold with blue and yellow painted kitchen cabinets and add tiles with a golden motif to add glamour. It’s in line with kitchen trends being predicted by the experts.
“There’s a movement towards maximalism this year,” says Susie Spence, director of design and innovation at Howdens. “It’s all about self-expression so we can expect to see some bold colour choices. Shades of blue, green, and berry will be popular for a statement look.”
Wondering how to start now you’ve picked your painted kitchen cabinet idea? Our resident expert, Steven Jenkins answers your questions about how to get a flawless finish.
1. What tools do I need to paint kitchen cabinets?
Although some door finishes, such as gloss, require more prep than wood or laminate, you will need most of the following to paint your kitchen cabinets.
2. What type of roller should I use?
For the smoothest finish, invest in a set of foam rollers. If using a primer and top coat, use a separate roller for each paint type.
3. Is there a method for painting kitchen cabinets?
Following the right process will undoubtedly lead to a better end result. Preparation is key, including removal of doors, handles and hinges, filling any holes and using the right priming and finishing products.
If you want to know more about getting the perfect finish to your painted kitchen cabinets read Steve’s comprehensive guide to painting kitchen cabinets.
Founder Al Bruce began his illustrious career 25 years ago studying to be a cabinet maker at college. From humble beginnings, his natural skill in the craft of cabinetry and keen business acumen saw him quickly rise up through the ranks of the handmade kitchen industry, gaining invaluable experience and a wealth of knowledge along the way.
Emma Irving, Senior Product Manager at Rust-Oleum Europe has worked at the company for over 13 years and has worked in the painting and decorating industry for 15 years. Emma has worked on some of the companies biggest innovative products and launches.
Susie Spence is the Director of Design and Innovation at Howdens. Susie looks after forecasting in colour and kitchen design to ensure that Howdens continue to be market leaders. She’s also in charge of the product development and design teams who work to bring these trends and innovative ideas to market.
Steve is Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor, and has been a writer and editor for two decades. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.
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Sarah is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Assistant Editor and joined the team in 2024. An established homes and interiors writer, Sarah has renovated and extended a number of properties, including a listing building and renovation project that featured on Grand Designs. Although she said she would never buy a listed property again, she has recently purchased a Grade II listed apartment. As it had already been professionally renovated, she has instead set her sights on tackling some changes to improve the building’s energy efficiency, as well as adding some personal touches to the interior.