The 9 red kitchen ideas that will help you introduce this vibrant color without overwhelming your space

Add some ’wow’ with our red kitchen ideas

Two kitchen with red cabinets
(Image credit: Divine Savages, Olive & Barr))

Intense and dramatic, red kitchen ideas may not be for everyone, but they can be used as sparingly or as much as you like for extra wow factor. 

Kitchens look great with color and red is no exception. Our interior designers share their ideas and work, including examples of light red, scarlet, magenta, burgundy, and brick. 

You can also use it as an accent color, leaning into red accessories, flooring or simply painting a wall. No matter what shade of red you're using, we have some kitchen color ideas to brighten up your space.

Stunning red kitchen ideas to consider 

Red is known for its energetic properties, it brings life to a scheme and works well with other colors. Read our guide below on how to introduce it to the hub of your home with our red kitchen ideas. 

"Kitchens are often the heart of the home and as such are a great place to introduce colors that will reflect the energy of the room. Shades of red are perfect for an unexpected and joyful pop of color," says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

expert headshot Ruth Mottershead
Ruth Mottershead

Ruth Mottershead, creative & marketing director of Little Greene, has been working in her family’s business for 12 years. She writes content for the company’s marketing material, manages photoshoots and communicates with Little Greene and Paint & Paper Library’s customers. 

1. Use it on your countertop and backsplash

A modern kitchen with coral-red colored kitchen worktop and backsplash

(Image credit: Future)

We often think that color needs to be added to walls alone, but there are other options and this countertop and backsplash is a great place to start. 

You can keep the rest of the scheme white or use a neutral tone and let this part be the statement piece. Coral red is a good mid shade to opt for, we like Benjamin Moore's Moroccan Spice AF-285, it's a red with a hint of pink and it looks contemporary teamed with their creamy Cancun Stand 2016-70.

2. Add a hint to an off-white scheme

White kitchen with white kitchen island, wainscotting on wall, beaded paneling with wallpaper inside, red shelving unit, bar stool, trio of black pendant lights, white painted floorboards

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Feeling unsure as to how to introduce red into your kitchen? A bright scarlet red really does look striking in a neutral scheme, and it's a perfect accent color. 

"You could paint your kitchen cabinetry to create a smart and impactful finish that will bring an instant sense of warmth, or use it to outline shelving to add a tailored and graphic touch," says Ruth Mottershead.

"If you are nervous of bolder pops of color across the walls, why not start in smaller ways, such as painting a chair or stool in a striking shade of red, such as the wonderful crimson ‘Baked Cherry’, to add character and create design impact." 

Or, you could start with Wayfair's Portofino Freestanding Gas Range by Smeg

3. Go all out with a wallpaper

Deep red kitchen cabinets with floral wallpaper, marble countertop and backsplash, rattan bar stool, light

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

Wallpaper in a kitchen works a lot better than you may think, it adds color and decoration to a scheme and can be used sparingly. 

"By choosing one element in the room as a starting point, such as wallpaper, everything else can complement or contrast with it through varying tonal hues and textures. Our wallpaper, The Brambles, inspired by the prickly, countryside staple, is fiercely floral in design and rich in shades of red, green, and aubergine," says Jamie Watkins, co-founder, Divine Savages

Choose a design with a red theme and use it alone in a neutral kitchen or match it to your cabinets. "Focusing on the predominant mulberry hues of the wallpaper gives the perfect color option for the cabinetry, bringing warmth and depth, whilst the neutral traditional marble surfaces and splash back balance the overall look with sophistication," adds Jamie.

Jamie Watkins
Jamie Watkins

Divine Savages specialises in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and limited edition art prints for the brave and bold.  It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017.

4. Use a dark shade to anchor the space

Galley kitchen with dark red units, stone painted walls, marble countertops, open shelving,

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

Sometimes it's good to use a deep shade to anchor a scheme, and red is good for this if you opt for a shade that's on the russet end of the spectrum. 

“Moving away from impersonal and stark bright whites, kitchen design schemes are becoming more considered, with schemes reflecting the wider interior aesthetic of a home," says Andy Greenall, creative director, Paint & Paper Library.

We agree, and it's certainly making kitchens more characterful and unique, Andy continues, "Richer, mood-setting colors are being used to great effect in combination across woodwork, cabinetry, and walls."

5. Paint the inside of your pantry red

Black kitchen with red pantry, black and white flooring, metallic bar stools with fabric seats

(Image credit: Maestri Studio / Stephen Karlisch)

There are less obvious what to include a bright color like red in your scheme and that's why interior design is so exciting. 

Take this striking kitchen design by Maestri Studio – essentially this is a monochromatic kitchen but open up one of the black cabinet doors and there's a big surprise with the fabulous red interior of the kitchen pantry

It's a bright red for sure, but how eye-catching when teamed with black, for a similar match look at Benjamin Moore's Vermillion 2002-10, it's a punchy red that's uber stylish.

6. Paint key pieces

Kitchen island seating in red, rest in pale pink, artwork, lighting

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

When we talk about accent colors they're often used sparingly but they can also be implemented on a large scale yet still not take up most of the scheme. 

For example, you could just paint your kitchen island in a color and leave the rest neutral, or in a paler shade. The beauty of paint is that it allows you to be creative in your own home.

7. Pick a classic red

Farmhouse style kitchen with deep red plate rack, cabinets and fabric skirt

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Garnet red is a great choice if you have a period property or want to add an authentic feel. It's a beautiful reddish brown that's more versatile than you might think. 

Team with jet black for impact and why not consider a red ticking stripe fabric skirt to take the shade through in other ways. We like Wayfair's 44/55" 100% Cotton Woven Ticking in Stripe Red, use it for drapes and blinds in your red kitchen. 

8. Choose an orange red for a modern look

Bright red kitchen, galley style kitchen, white countertops and pale wood floor

(Image credit: MMB Studio / Nick Sargent)

As with any color, there are cool and warmer shades to choose from. For a small galley kitchen, an orange-red is a great choice.

Matthew Boland, founder of MMB Studio explains, "The paint color was chosen because not every day in Florida is sunny, there are rainy overcast days too so we opted for a color that radiated cheerful vibes and felt invigorating all day long."

Teamed with white which is cleverly used to add balance, he adds, "I loved that although the red/orange was strong, with the white ground it felt grounded and almost neutral so I decided that we should paint the whole kitchen a version of that and do the countertops in stark white."

If you wanted to add floor tiles to this kind of scheme check out these Sicily Mosaic Wall and Floor Tiles from Wayfair

9. Go for a glossy finish

Red and blush kitchen with glossy red units, dining table to the side, off white countertops, pale grey floor, rug

(Image credit: Ikea)

Looking to capitalize on red as a kitchen cabinet trend? then do consider your finishes. With paint these days we tend to reach for the matte finish which is ideal for walls, but for cabinetry, there's the option of a glossy finish.

If you choose a deep rich red then look at the range of finishes on offer. A gloss certainly adds a new dimension and does lift a dark red. Team with a matte cream countertop for contrast. 

From scarlett to cherry, there's definitely a red shade for everyone. You can add a touch here and there, or go the whole hog and color drench instead. 

It does also depend on whether your kitchen is classic or contemporary – brighter shades tend to suit the latter, whereas deeper, more dramatic tones are better for the trad kitchens.

Our red kitchen ideas will help you decide what suits your space and lifestyle best. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.