Let the sun shine with 9 yellow small kitchen ideas — it's the perfect way to brighten any space

Add cheer with our designers' yellow small kitchen ideas

Yellow walls with mid-century modern cabinetry, open shelving, artisanal ceramics, white countertops
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

If yellow small kitchen ideas haven't been on your radar, it's time to let us put them on the map for you. With so many colors to choose from, yellow is one that can get overlooked but it's the perfect hue for a glow-up.

Yellow has been a breakthrough color for 2024 and it's easy to see why. Known for its uplifting properties and the way it can add warmth to a tiny room, our designers share nine ways to use this fabulous color on your walls, cabinets, and accessories. 

It's surprisingly versatile too, as it looks great paired with other kitchen color ideas such as blush, white, and teal, and you can use it all over, or simply start with accessories. 

Striking yellow small kitchen ideas

Whether it's just a hint of yellow you're after or a more all-encompassing color-drenched look, we've got a little sunny something for everyone. 

Where our experts have recommended products, we've found matching buys rated highly by customers, and from trusted retailers. 

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Start small with a hint of yellow

Colorful small kitchen with small yellow island, tiled floor, wood cabinets, wallpaper above window,

(Image credit: Maestri Studio / Nathan Schroder)

A good place to start is by introducing yellow in small amounts. Try painting a small area, like this striking narrow kitchen island, pictured above, for starters. It'll give you an idea how yellow works in your small kitchen and give your space a focal point.

"As a space that is often referred to as the heart of the home, and is essential to our family who loves to cook and entertain, I wanted the kitchen to truly stand out. In this case, I love yellow and wanted the island to be the central focus," says Eddie Maestri, principal architect and owner of Maestri Studio.

"Yellow paint colors have an inherent brightness, freshness and warmth that makes them an ever-popular color all around the home, creating a feeling of positivity it is a color that makes us feel uplifted, happy, energised and invited," agrees Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greene

Eddie added a further hint of yellow with the fun lemon wallpaper. For a similar look, we recommend Wayfair's Lockehaven Peel & Stick Floral Roll. It comes in three yellow color combos, and is a renter's dream. Peel and stick it on, then remove in strips when it's time to move, leaving no sticky residue on your walls.

Eddie Maestri headshot
Eddie Maestri

Founded by Eddie Maestri in 2008, Maestri Studio is a multidisciplinary firm specializing in full-service architecture, interior design, and landscape design. Eddie leads the studio and delivers a truly custom experience for each client. All of his work is influenced by his upbringing in New Orleans and his appreciation of clean lines and midcentury design.

expert headshot Ruth Mottershead
Ruth Mottershead

Ruth Mottershead, creative and 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. 

2. Pair with black

Yelllow small kitchen with black chair, Aga and accessories, wood table, dark gray floor

(Image credit: Little Greene)

For a truly modern feel, pair your yellow shade with black kitchen ideas. The contrast you get from this combination is edgy, and a warm yellow looks fabulous with a black range, dining chairs, kitchen appliances, or accessories.

Choose a shade that's got a warmth to it so it complements darker accents. Ruth says, "Kitchens are often a hive of activity, making them the perfect place to use a joyful and energetic yellow such as Little Greene's ‘Giallo’

"It works beautifully in busy spaces to create a feeling of warmth and coziness, and is an uncompromising, yet very easy-to-use, burst of golden sunshine, but with a softness of color which will fill a small kitchen with light."

3. Pick an acid yellow

A mid-century modern small kitchen with two hanging globe lights - one yellow one glass - a black wall, a bright yellow kitchen island with plants on, and two light wooden rattan bar chairs in front of it

(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

With such a range of yellows to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. It does depend on the light that comes into the small space (we've delved into the best colors for north-facing rooms and south-facing rooms) but also the style of your home. 

Contemporary kitchens can take a bright more acidic shade and we love how this small kitchen pictured above also incorporates blonde wood, softening the overall scheme.

Remember, you can choose yellow accessories too such as a bright globe light that takes your eye to the ceiling. The Livex Piedmont pendant light from The Home Depot is a dead ringer for the one pictured above. We love the bulbous, smooth finish and how it brings a modern touch to any space.

4. Team it with Mid-Century modern style cabinets

Yellow walls with mid-century modern cabinetry, open shelving, artisanal ceramics, white countertops,

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Most yellow small kitchen ideas work very well with wooden cabinets, be it a walnut veneer or Scandi-style blond wood. Helen Shaw, color expert at  Benjamin Moore, says, "it enhances the rustic warmth of a wooden kitchen look."

This kitchen pictured above features Ochre 2151-30 by Benjamin Moore and it's a good example of how you can use yellow behind open shelving to striking effect.

“For a happy and energizing mood in the kitchen, bright colors are great for delivering a dose of dynamism into our lives. Yellow is the perfect example of an uplifting shade, it’s synonymous with happiness and evokes a feeling of warmth and connection to the sun," adds Helen.

A picture of Helen Shaw in a blue shirt
Helen Shaw

Color expert and international marketing director, Helen and her husband Craig are founders of Shaw Paints, acquired by Benjamin Moore in 2020.

5. Combine jade green with a warm yellow

Yellow kitchen walls with jade green units and wall cabinet, fabric skirt in ticking fabric, white and green floor tiles, stainless steel countertop,

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Green and yellow might not be the combination you first thought of, but as paint and color expert, Annie Sloan CBE, explains it's one that adds a touch of drama.

"The cheerful energy and vibrancy of Carnaby Yellow suits a space where we cook, entertain and enjoy meals whilst the striking contrast with Knightsbridge Green creates depth, texture and dimension. As well as infusing a certain sophisticated confidence there's a timeless elegance about this color that rounds out the playfulness in Carnaby Yellow."

If you want to try it out first then consider painting a small wall cabinet instead. If you paint your cabinets in a darker color, then contrast them with yellow floor tiles like Wayfair's Projectos 4" x 8" Brick Look Subway Tiles. They're water resistant, suitable for use on walls and floors, and with Wayfair, you can nab a free installation consultation to help decide the best route for you. Samples ship quick too so if you have an urge to get started, you won't have to wait long to get going.

expert headshot of Annie Sloan
Annie Sloan CBE

Annie Sloan, CBE, invented her revolutionary furniture paint, Chalk Paint™, in 1990 and hasn't stopped improving her formula since. She is widely considered one of the world's leading authorities in paint, color and style.

6. Use with white for a fresh feel

Yellow kitchen cabinets white walls, open shelving, hardwood floor, hanging rail with mugs, green glassware, cake stand, brass cabinet handles, bar stools

(Image credit: Fenwick & Tilbrook)

When your kitchen is on the small side it pays to keep the color lower down on the cabinets, this will draw your eye to them and not the rest of the scheme. Paint the walls white and keep your countertop pale too. 

For cohesion, add some pieces like yellow glassware and tableware to open shelving to tie the look together.

7. Zesty shades perk up a dark space

White kitchen with citrus yellow cabinet, white shiplap walls, fabric skirt

(Image credit: YesColours)

If your small kitchen is dark and dingy, a citrus yellow will make a room brighter. Use shiplap to create the illusion of length along the walls and add matching accessories for cohesion.

Kate Spade's two slice toaster in yellow from Nordstrom is a great color match to the picture above and comes with free shipping. Also, consider the budget-friendly and stylish Omniware Stoneware Round Casserole with Lid from Wayfair. It's a snip compared to another stoneware that comes in at hundreds of dollars, plus it's dishwasher safe meaning you won't be left scrubbing for ages at the kitchen sink to get stubborn baked-on stains off.

8. Color drench with your shade

Yellow kitchen color drenched, yellow floors, walls and pantry, dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Love color drenching? Then yellow is a fabulous choice for the task. Pick a warming shade and make sure you love it as it's going to be everywhere  walls, ceilings, wood work and even your doors.

"Babouche is the richest and most joyous of our bright yellows. This saturated yellow would make for the most wonderful cabinetry color for your kitchen units," says Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador, Farrow & Ball.

Consider introducing gray to your color drenched small kitchen, which pairs perfectly with yellow. Wayfair's Caritta Geometric Gray/Yellow/Cream Area Rug would be a striking choice. 

Patrick O'Donnell
Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell has been bringing his impeccable eye for colour to Farrow & Ball since 2012. Over that time, he has been a showroom manager, global color consultancy manager and now brand ambassador. However, he is best known as the much-loved face of Farrow & Ball on social media 

9. Try a honey yellow for a cottage

Kitchen with shiplap walls, yellow cabinets, skylights, open shelving, Belfast sink

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Choose shades that suit the space, for example, a characterful home like a farmhouse or cottage will suit a softer tone, like honey or mustard. 

As these kind of spaces can have lower ceilings, and can feel a little cramped, follow Ruth Mottershead's advice, "If you don’t want to use yellow all over, highlight woodwork, the ceiling, a door or skirting boards in yellow for a splash of joy."

For a similar yellow to the one pictured above, we recommend  Lick's Yellow 07 Matt Paint, which has warm ochre undertones for a soft, honeyed look that won't overwhelm the space but make it cozy and dreamy.

Our yellow small kitchen ideas will give you enough inspiration to try this uplifting color in your own tiny space. Whether it's a hint of yellow or a swathe across your cabinets, it's a color that's definitely worth trying. 

If you like the idea of a bright color but yellow isn't the right fit, consider pink kitchen ideas, or mix it up with two-tone kitchen ideas.

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.