12 yellow kitchen ideas to brighten up your cooking space

See how yellow kitchen ideas can bring both modern and traditional spaces to life. From bold sunshine accents to warming ochre tones.

yellow kitchen ideas
yellow kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Howdens)

Yellow kitchen ideas come in many forms: from wall to wall cabinets, to feature backsplashes and other accents. There are so many great ways to put yellow hues into play in your cooking and dining zone, for just the perfect splash of sunshine.

Varied shades across the yellow spectrum can be used to create a different kitchen color ideas and effects  –  for a fresh, contemporary finish when paired with white, concrete gray or punchy pastels and seamless slab doors. Or tone it down to a mellow tint and it brings a sense of warmth and enhance a relaxing ambience in a traditional kitchen. A middle ground brings a modern artisan energy when used on walls or tiles and adds plenty of unique character.

Yellow kitchens for sociable energy

Yellow always has happy associations, as Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene echoes, 'It is sunshine in your home. Yellow is a perfect color for spaces such as kitchens with a high level of activity – noise, laughter and fun'.

From luminous and popping Gen-Z yellow as an accent option, to larger swathes of rich ochre, that once had a nod to the seventies, but is now being regenerated as bolstered, earthy neutral in our homes, with its golden hues inviting warmth.

1. Tile a backsplash

Kitchen with yellow tile splashback

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Nod to yellow kitchen ideas by tiling a backsplash in an inviting, honey shade. A glazed effect injects a relaxed, artisan look that works so well with the open shelving. The semi-gloss tile also reflects the light and creates a contrasting finish to the matte white cabinetry and walls. 

Take the tile all the way to the extract fan to make a feature out of a range of cooker and create a focal point in the kitchen.

2. Go for immersive color

Yellow painted kitchen dining room

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Create a deliciously warm, cocooning room by painting walls, cabinets, woodwork and ceiling in the same sunny shade. If you’re going wall to wall in one color, the addition of paneling will help lift flat surfaces too, with light and shade. 

As Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene explains, the kitchen is the perfect place to make bold colour options,

'The kitchen really is the heart of the home, it’s a central hub, a hive of activity, and a place for entertaining friends. It’s therefore an ideal place to make a statement with adventurous and vibrant colour choices'.

For a modern country look, add defining black accents with hardware and dining chairs.

3. Add yellow bar stools

Pink kitchen with brass splashback and yellow bar stools

(Image credit: Dunelm)

We can't get enough of this color combination for a super striking finish. Pink and peachy tones with yellow just works like a dream. The cool Deco-inspired curves, velvet finish and gold tipped legs of these luxe bar stools add a touch of old school glamour to this modern kitchen, creating a boutique cafe vibe at home. Pair with rattan pendant shades for a boho-chic finish.

4. Mix it with dark wood

Dark wood mahogany kitchen with yellow wall

(Image credit: Oyoy)

Pair rich, dark stained oak or walnut cabinets with warm ochre kitchen walls. 'Ochre adds a happy glow to any room and is perfect for north-facing rooms that need to bring their own sunshine. Team with rich reds and brown tones to create a beautiful color palette that changes throughout the day as different light reflects on it,' explains Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George.

The blush, peach, terracotta and monochrome accessories inject a modern Scandi aesthetic that brings a playful lift to the intense color duo.

5. Upcycle old tiles

Blue kitchen with yellow painted tiles

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Using specialist paint such as a durable eggshell is a budget-friendly alternative to re-tiling the kitchen. You may need to prime the tiles first to help the eggshell adhere. 

For an on-trend matte finish, try a low-sheen paint, adding a painted trim on the top to create a neat, professional line. 

If you don't have tiles, painting a yellow backsplash will be a cost-effective option too. Just be sure to used a wipe clean paint. In this instance, try a paint with an eye-catching sheen, such as gloss or satinwood to contrast a matte finish above. For a sharp line use decorator’s tape to mask off the backaplash area. 

6. Choose a freestanding piece

White kitchen with yellow island

(Image credit: Devol Kitchens)

When designing an open-plan kitchen and dining area, freestanding pieces help create a s functional and 'kitchen-like' feel and help the rooms blend more seamlessly.

Add an unexpected pop with a single piece of freestanding furniture such as a yellow larder cabinet, display dresser or central island. The buttery, mid shade used here complements the traditional Shaker style and warm white cabinets.

7. Mix materials

modern kitchen with yellow island and grey cupboards

(Image credit: Husk)

Pantone picked the combination of Ultimate Grey and Illuminating as their colors of the year for 2021, but this pairing has been a long-standing favorite for interiors design schemes.  

No wonder then, smooth concrete or micro-cement looks so good with yellow cabinets in the kitchen. Whether it's a worktop, floor or concrete effect finish of storage, this modern industrial material is a softer contrast than bright white.

Millie Teden at Husk explains why this combination works so well, 'for a modern feel, incorporate textures and punches of black it breaks up the blocks of yellow in the space. The black details and textured fronts modernise the mid-century yellow tone'.

8. Create a welcoming ambience

Yellow country kitchen with butler sink Howdens

(Image credit: Howdens)

This heritage shade of yellow not only pairs perfectly with the traditional style of kitchen, it also helps conjure up a restful room. A warmer alternative to white and an updated option to cream, it will create a gentle uplift during the day and a cozy environment during in the evening.

If existing units or doors are sound, give them a new lease of life by painting kitchen cabinets in this cozy tone.

9. Pick a coordinated palette

yellow and pink kitchen cabinets with green tiles

(Image credit: Pluck)

Why choose one color in the kitchen, when you can have three! Two tone kitchens are trending, adding more personality and character, particularly in open plan spaces.

To understand why this palette is just so pleasing to the eye, it's worth looking at the color wheel. The green and peach-tones sit almost opposite each other, making them complementary shades, which makes for a bold and energetic finish. Yellow neighbors both, so meets the two colors in the middle and tones down the contrast. As an accent rather than dominant color, the mustard yellow, peeking out from the back and featuring in the front of the display shelving, doesn't fight for attention but adds depth and variety to the whole scheme.

10. Go for yellow appliances

black kitchen units with yellow oven

(Image credit: Neptune)

A playful element add a totally unexpected contrast to the black cabinets, and that's why we love it! The black units are a pretty bold statement alone, but the yellow cooker adds even more individuality and this eye-catching accent color brings an additional splash of joy to the space and would brighten up any kitchen ideas in need of more natural light.

The semi-painted wall and shelf however, creates a cohesive finish, slightly calming the contrast of the oven against the units.

11. Add a yellow window treatment

Modern kitchen with yellow shutters

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous)

Kitchens are often the heart of the home and sociable spaces, so a zesty splash of yellow will draw people in, 'it's a color that's warm and inviting and therefore works especially well in entrances, and as a feature in bedrooms and kitchens too,' says Paula Taylor, color trend expert at Graham & Brown.  

When thinking about kitchen window treatment ideas, consider yellow shutters to help to enhance the glow of the light shining through whilst still allowing for privacy or shade. Pick up this shade and repeat within the space, either with seating or small accessories.

12. Add a surprise element

kitchen window with yellow RSJ

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

If an entire kitchen or a feature wall are too much yellow for you, sometimes all it takes is a surprising splash. Painting inside a window or glass door recess is the perfect way to enhance a picture window through to the yard or smaller outside space.

It will give the room an instant lift and reflect any light coming through the window with an added glow. It’s an easy way of highlighting a structural feature such as an exposed RSJ, or you can create a similar effect by painting inside an alcove, around a door frame or the partition beam between two rooms. 

Is yellow a good color for a kitchen?

Yellow might seem like a bold move as a kitchen color choice, but it's surprisingly versatile, who knew this life-affirming color could suit so many styles?

As well as this, it's the perfect way to increase the energy in the central hub of the home, explains Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene,

'With more of us spending an increased amount of time at home, our homes are becoming spaces to relax and retreat, but also a place where we want to surround ourselves with joy, colors and patterns that make us happy. Yellow is a shade that provides positivity to a space. It is a color that makes us feel uplifted, happy, energised and invited'.

Which colors go with yellow in the kitchen?

All shades of yellow can be used as a neutral, so it works well with any wood tones, oak through to mahogany, and also mixes well with gold, bronze and copper tones, so think about incorporating yellow if you have brass taps and fixtures.

'It pairs well with dark blues, which are a popular choice for kitchen cabinets, as the warmth of the yellow balances the cooler blue,' advises Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands Paint

'For a classic feel, to soften the boldness that yellow can offer, pairing it with timber details such as oak or ash can enhance its warmth and bring out the golden tones. This can look beautiful in old country kitchens where solid timbers can be prominent', explains Millie Teden at Husk

Color expert Annie Sloan recommends her favorite combinations for mid to darker shades of yellow kitchens, 'For drama, pair it with strong green in a tropical setting, to dial it back, use with white and for something between the two, team ochre with a soft black- it's dramatic and interesting, but still very liveable,'

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