Play with color to make your kitchen stand out
To add contrast and color to your kitchen, opt for an accent island or bar by painting it a different color than the rest of your cabinets. In fact, 68% of kitchen designers are choosing another color for kitchen islands, according to 2021 Design Trends Research from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
To help you choose an on-trend color, read on for kitchen designers’ favorites, in order from the most to least popular shades.
1. White or Off-White
White and off-white are the most popular kitchen color schemes, according to the NKBA. In fact, designers are opting for these types of hues in 47% of their kitchen projects. Whether you establish an accent island or bar or keep it simple and paint the whole kitchen white, you can’t go wrong.
Gray is the second hottest kitchen color scheme, according to the NKBA. In fact, the Pantone Color Institute designated “Ultimate” gray (along with “Illuminating,” a bright yellow) as one of its 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year.
“I’m seeing lots of concrete grays paired with greens to create subtle but organic spaces,” says Amala Raj Swenson, principal interior designer at Amala Raj Interiors. The neutral hue is extremely versatile and meshes well with blue, black, and white.
Ariana Lovato, AKBD, CLIPP, owner and principal designer at Honeycomb Home Design, loves to use deep, rich grays, like Chelsea Grey by Benjamin Moore, in her kitchen projects.
3. Beige or Bone
In one-quarter of kitchen projects, NKBA designers are opting for beige or bone color schemes. A warmer alternative to white or off-white, these neutrals pair well with virtually all other hues. To infuse your kitchen with some pops of color, hang plants from the ceiling or walls or place a few pots or colorful bowls on your countertops (but not so much that it looks like clutter).
Blue is just as popular as beige or bone for kitchens, with designers opting for the color family for 25% of their projects, according to the NKBA. Blues including Clear Sky, Ibiza Blue, and After Midnight are all among the hues in The Pantone Institute’s “Fashion Color Trend Report, London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2021/2022.” The primary color is a particularly smart choice for a coastal or preppy kitchen island, especially when used with different shades of blue for your cabinets.
Bring in black for a high-contrast kitchen. Lovato recommends trying Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black or Iron Ore. To complement black accent islands or bars, choose matte black hardware or use black grout in white subway tile backsplashes. For shots of color, add plants or display bright enamelware (like a red Dutch oven) on your stovetop or on open shelving.
Nature has been a soothing balm for so many of us, so it’s not surprising that the Pantone Institute also included grassy and olive greens in its most recent color trends report. Both Swenson and Lovato have been incorporating greens in kitchens—darker hues for Swenson and deep sages with a bit of gray, like Sherwin-Williams Pewter Green, for Lovato.
7. Wood Grain
Full painted wood is the most popular finish for kitchen cabinets, according to the NKBA. However, full wood grain follows right behind, meaning that if you stain your wooden kitchen island or bar, you’ll still be on-trend. Try pairing blue or green painted cabinets with a wood grain island or bar to make it stand out.