7 outdated kitchen cabinet colors designers say you should wave goodbye to, plus what to try instead

Keep these outdated kitchen cabinet colors out of your space and use our pro-approved alternatives instead

There are no outdated kitchen cabinet colors in this beautiful shot of a kitchen with cherry red cabinets and shelves, two white circular pendant nights, a kitchen island with a hob, a white counter, and two rattan bar chairs
(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Outdated kitchen cabinet colors are worth remembering if you're zhuzhing up yours and want to have fresh and fabulous doors.

We've asked design experts what they've seen go out of style and which colors they're reaching for. Boring beiges and bright primary colors are just a few they've bid farewell to, and they're loving cherry reds, and more dramatic blues.

When looking for kitchen cabinet ideas, knowing what to swerve is just as important as having the right colors in mind. That being said, we have also asked our pros what you can use instead.

Outdated kitchen cabinet colors to swerve in your space

For those avoiding outdated kitchen cabinet trends, color is a crucial aspect to keep in mind.

Our experts have handily recommended colors you can go for instead, in case you're looking at your cabinets and are cringing.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Ditch dark brown, try light

A kitchen with three green windows, plants lining the windowsill, a green counter and copper sink, light wooden cabinets, and white tiles on the floor

(Image credit: Wood Works Brighton)

We love chocolate as much as the next person (in all forms), but when it comes to outdated kitchen cabinet colors, this rich shade is up there.

“Heavy dark browns used to be the number one option to create a snug, enveloping feeling, but now they can make a space look less inviting and too small,” explains Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

He continues, “The lighter wood tones are in greater demand for an open, airy feel.”

Even if you’re stuck with dark cabinets in a rental, you can still use peel-and-stick wood tiles such as these Achim Home Furnishings Store Tivoli Tiles from Amazon.

2. Ditch powdery country blue, try dramatic hues

A kitchen with a dark blue kitchen island and white surface with two white bowls, white walls, and a door frame looking to dark blue cabinets and a brick wall

(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

The powdery country blue shade may seem like a go-to, but it has been overused so much in recent years that it’s become an outdated kitchen cabinet color.

“Instead, embrace more defined, distinct shades of blue that evoke a sense of calm, tranquility, and sophistication,” says Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

She adds, “Whether it's a very light blue for coastal kitchen ideas or a rich navy for a touch of drama and depth, blue hues infuse your kitchen with a sense of elegance.”

For those seeking something more eye-catching, you could always go for Benjamin Moore’s playful Light Mint Paint Color.

3. Ditch Tuscan red, try richer shades

A kitchen with deep red cabinets and shelves, two white circular pendant lights, a kitchen island with a hob, a white counter, and two rattan chairs in front of it

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Red is the hottest shade of the year, thanks to the unexpected red theory being one of the biggest interior design trends. This is why experts are saying to swerve pared-down versions and to go just all-out instead.

Nina explains, “Say farewell to the outdated kitchen cabinet color Tuscan red, and instead, embrace richer red shades which will create an inviting room reminiscent of countryside kitchens.”

We think a few of these Merola Tile Antic Feeling Tiles from Wayfair on a cabinet would look amazing and are ideal for those looking for French kitchen ideas.

4. Ditch sunshine yellow, try yellow accents

A kitchen with yellow floral wallpaper, a white fridge, white cabinets, and a wooden countertop with white and black bottles, cups, and trays on it

(Image credit: Bobbi Beck)

We’re all for bringing cheerful shades into the home — that’s dopamine dressing 101. But bright yellow kitchen cabinets can be jarring.

Nina says, “Incorporate subtle accents of yellow into your kitchen counter decor through either textiles or artwork (we love this Limoncello Print from Desenio).”

If you’re dead set on the shade, you could even invest in one of the best small kitchen appliances in a bright yellow shade, such as this highly-rated Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV Select in Yellow Pepper on Amazon.

5. Ditch Barbie pink, try softer pastels

A kitchen sink area with green cabinets, a floral checked pink tea towel hanging from it, a brushed gold faucet, and pastel colored ceramic houses on the counter and on the window ledge above

(Image credit: Sorbet Dreams)

We have a real soft spot for Barbiecore decor, but it’s certainly now an outdated kitchen cabinet color. 

“Whether it's a blush pink for a touch of romance and femininity or lavender for a fresh, youthful vibe, choose pastel shades to add a sophisticated charm to your kitchen without overpowering the space,” Nina says.

For those who can’t let go of eye-catching pinks entirely, Benjamin Moore’s Damask Rose Paint Color is a pretty alternative.

6. Ditch tan, try neutrals

A kitchen with gray cabinets on the walls and on the kitchen island, three glass pendant lights, and a white counter with a black hob and red book on the kitchen island

(Image credit: Higham Furniture)

When splashed on in large quantities, tans and beiges can look seriously yawn-worthy.

“Although neutrals are classic, beige and tans that were prevalent in early 2000s kitchen designs have now been replaced with light grays and off-whites for modern kitchen ideas,” Artem says.

One of our favorite gray shades is Lick’s Warm Gray 14 Paint Color, thanks to its cozy pink undertones.

7. Ditch gold paint, try gold hardware

A close up shot of light gray kitchen cabinets with gold cabinet pulls and handles, and a marble counter with a wooden circular chopping boad and glass jars with pasta in on it

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

When making your small kitchen look brighter, you don’t need to go overboard with the metallic to create a luxurious effect.

Nina says, “Gone are the days of overwhelming gold color schemes that dominate kitchen spaces, suffocating them with their boldness.”

She adds, “Instead, I like to go for gold cabinet pulls which look lovely against neutral cabinets and allow other elements in the kitchen to shine.”

Shoppers love these Goldenwarm Light Brass Cup Pulls from Amazon, saying they look professional and are a breeze to install.


The kitchen cabinet isn’t an area you want to constantly keep refreshing as this will be time-consuming, so be sure to choose a shade you really love.

“Unleash your creativity and let your kitchen become a canvas for color exploration and aesthetic enjoyment,” Nina finishes by saying.

For more shade inspiration, these kitchen island color ideas may come in handy if you have cabinets on yours.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.

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