Kitchen paint ideas: 18 stylish ways to update your space quickly

Take a scroll through these kitchen paint ideas and get inspired to give your kitchen a quick, budget-friendly update for 2020

Kitchen paint ideas: 18 ways to update your space quickly
(Image credit: Burbidge)

On the hunt for some amazing kitchen paint ideas that could transform your space in just a few hours? Well of course you are, because who wouldn't want to update their kitchen quickly and cheaply? 

Whether revamping an old kitchen by painting the doors or just adding some color with a feature wall, using paint to spruce up your kitchen is well within the capabilities of all DIYers and we've got tons of ideas below to get you inspired. For loads more advice and tricks from the experts, head over to our kitchen ideas hub page. 

1. Mix one color tone for a cohesive kitchen paint idea

kitchen in a color scheme of blues with wood countertops, shelves and accessories

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

One bold color all over can lack interest, so why not try picking a few shades of the same color to use in one room? Put the darker shade on the cabinetry and the lighter on the walls for a fresh, bright finish.

Benjamin Moore's Mt. Rainier Gray (2129-60) (opens in new tab) on the oven wall is a great choice for a light and airy kitchen and the deeper shade of the Normandy (2129-40) (opens in new tab) painted cabinets perfectly complements the color scheme. The hallway wall is painted in a pretty sky blue shade called Breath of Fresh Air (806) (opens in new tab). The white gloss floor adds balance and gives the room a spacious feel. 

If you are looking to give your kitchen a refresh on a budget you can easily paint your kitchen cabinets yourself, just follow our guide. 

2. Pair two colors of the same hue for a cohesive look 

Kitchen painted in Annie Sloan paints

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Struggling to choose between two colors? Then, why not have them both? The key to this kitchen paint idea is to find a feature the colors have in common - in this case, they share the same tone (in other words, light value). Putting the warmer kitchen paint color on the walls - which have a greater surface area than the cabinets - will create a more inviting feel.

The wall paint used here is Antoinette from Annie Sloan (opens in new tab), it works perfectly when paired with the darker, aubergine hues of the kitchen cabinets (a mix of Annie Sloane Aubusson Blue (opens in new tab) and Emperor's Silk (opens in new tab)) as it gives the pastel hue a more modern look. 

3. Follow the trend of inky shades in your kitchen

inky blue kitchen from Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Deep, dramatic alternatives to grey - green, burgundy and blue - are very popular paint colors for kitchens, creating an elegant appeal, an effect doubled if used on both cabinetry and walls. 

Kitchens with good light and high ceilings can take the darkest of paint colors, such as Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue (opens in new tab) Modern emulsion (shown here on the walls and floor); an eggshell finish in the same color has been used on the cabinets. Keep the finish sophisticated with a smart, contrasting white – Wimborne White (opens in new tab) is the perfect choice - and add a pop of color in accessories to lift and modernize the scheme instantly. 

Love this kitchen? Don't miss our dark and dramatic kitchen design ideas.

4. Choose a neutral tone for a Scandi feel

warm grey kitchen by Dulux

(Image credit: Dulux)

Although they are a hive of activity, our kitchens are increasingly becoming spaces we relax and socialize in. However you use yours, color can help create a serene atmosphere in the kitchen.

For a peaceful, barely-there grey paint color try Paper White by Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab). It has a warming tones to make it welcoming but is light enough to create an illusion of space – ideal if your kitchen is small and on the dark side. For a color like the cabinet trim, try Benjamin Moore Cascade White (opens in new tab), which adds an extra interesting element to the scheme. For a white like the one seen in the middle of the cabinets above, try Benjamin Moore Decorator's White (opens in new tab) or White Dove (opens in new tab)

5. Let the cabinets take center stage

light duck egg blue kitchen from the Suffolk range by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

Traditional-style cabinetry suits the painted look perfectly. Shaker-style cabinets lend themselves to a splash of color just as well as very contemporary, high-gloss cupboards, so don't be afraid to embrace a new shade.

We love this sage-green color seen above, which you can recreate with a hue like PPG's Blue Shamrock, available at The Home Depot (opens in new tab).

We have loads more inspiring Shaker-style kitchen design ideas if you like the vibe of this kitchen. 

6. Keep it simple with white paint

You can’t beat an all-white kitchen– bright and crisp, it acts as a blank canvas for the rest of the scheme, enabling you to add and swap out accent colors quickly with accessories. It also means the kitchen will be far easier to update and match to new utensils, appliances or dinnerware.

In this deVOL (opens in new tab) kitchen the cabinets have been painted in Damask and the walls and shelves have been kept the same shade of white too. The choice of wooden flooring however keep the kitchen from becoming too clinical, which we fully recommend doing if you are going for an all white everything kitchen paint idea. 

7. Make a kitchen island the focal point 

Magnet kitchen in grey with a dark red island

(Image credit: Magnet)

Glossy, bright, apple reds are making way for a new team of more muted hues – think plum, oxblood and vermilion. Paired with sleek, contemporary cabinets, they offer a demure, but modern kitchen paint alternative to anything high-shine or in your face.

The above design from British kitchen manufacturer Harvey Jones has a modern look with streamlined cabinetry, and a dark red island that pops against a neutral backdrop. The advantage of doing this is that if you get tired of the color after a few years you can give your cabinets a new lease of life by re-painting them. 

8. Use warm tones to brighten a white kitchen

kitchen paint color ideas

(Image credit: Sherwin Williams)

If your cabinets are modern and white, choosing warm-tones kitchen paint shades for the walls will add visual depth to the space. This allows you to embrace the modern look (and easy-to-clean nature) of minimalist white cabinets, without being left with a sterile feel.

Here, Sherwin Williams Poised Taupe (opens in new tab) warms up this white kitchen.

9. Create a chalkboard wall in your kitchen

wall planner in Gettysburg Gray from Benjamin Moore in a kitchen

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

A really fun kitchen paint idea for a family kitchen is to have a wall of chalkboard paint. It might keep the kids amused under your watchful eye, or can be used to leave notes and shopping lists. Annnd, chalkboard walls needn't always be black, here Benjamin Moore's Gettysburg Gray (opens in new tab) has been used as an alternative. 

You can really easily DIY a chalkboard, head over to our step-by-step to find out how. 

10. Grey is always going to be on trend 

fitted bar dresser in a modern kitchen in an Edwardian home

(Image credit: Philip Lauterbach)

We couldn't put together a kitchen paint trends piece without including the classic grey. Grey does undeniably work great in a kitchen especially if you want to keep things neutral but want to be a tad braver than just going for white or cream. 

Try using a few different tones of grey to break up a wall of cabinetry, or choose a different color for a kitchen island. And if you want more grey kitchen inspiration, we've got a feature filled with ideas you are sure to love. 

grey kitchen from original btc

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Here's another grey kitchen right at the other end of the spectrum. We love, love, love the contrasting painted chairs that are set off perfectly by the grey. More on painting furniture in our step by step guide.

11. Try a clashing color combo 

Might just move into our guesthouse DABITO (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @dabito on Jan 13, 2019 at 10:17am PST

Olive green and salmon pink? Who knew it could look so cool? To recreate this kitchen paint idea, try Farrow & Ball's Calamine (opens in new tab) and Card Room Green (opens in new tab). And if you want more advice on how to make these contrasting colors work go and check out how you can use a color wheel for interior design and color scheming.

12. Add some retro vibes with brighter colors

Small kitchen? It doesn't mean you can go big on the kitchen paint colors! Check out @hardcastletowers (opens in new tab) brave small kitchen. For a similarly glorious turquoise try painting your kitchen walls in Behr Rainwater (opens in new tab) or Sherwin Williams Spa (opens in new tab) and use colorful kitchen accessories and appliances to add even more pops of color.

Love the the retro vibe of this kitchen? Go and check our more of our retro kitchen ideas

13. Choose terracotta for an on trend Mediterranean vibe 

Dulux Spiced Honey used in a kitchen

(Image credit: Dulux)

Terracotta walls have been a huge kitchen paint trend so far this year. And luckily, it's a bit less garish and orange-y than the color that graced many a home during the '80s. Think Mediterranean vibes, rather than your Grandma's kitchen tiles. It's earthier, warmer and a whole lot cooler.

We love Behr's Warm Terracotta (opens in new tab).

14. Add warmth with orange hues

Vanessa Arbuthnott orange kitchen blinds

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Give a north-facing kitchen a warm glow with orange paint, yes we did just say orange paint. Not normally a four wall color we know, but look how it gives off charming vintage vibes in this slightly darker kitchen. Choose something more muted like Arancia (opens in new tab) from Graham & Brown, and pick a more neutral color for your kitchen cabinets.

15. Choose a black kitchen for a dramatic appeal

Dark shaker kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

A kitchen that's stained, painted or lacquered in black makes for an astonishingly cozy and comforting space, especially if matched with beautifully grained wood for that much-needed texture and warmth. Going for this look? Ensure the room gets lots of natural daylight and that the artificial lighting is perfectly planned. 

Get more ideas for dark and dramatic kitchen in our gallery and find out how to plan kitchen lighting in our practical guide.

16. Be on trend with a pale pink and sage kitchen

A bar area at the end of a run of kitchen cabinets complete with copper coating and wooden bar stools

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Pink doesn't have to be a bold choice, you can almost use it as a neutral shade. In this kitchen you can barely notice the pinky hues of the walls. But how gorgeous does it look with the sage kitchen cabinets and gold highlights? 

Take our tour around the rest of this candy colored kitchen and for more pink decorating ideas check out our feature. 

17. Go green

behr paint kitchen

(Image credit: Behr Paints)

Green might be the hottest color in kitchen design right now, but if you don't want to paint your cabinets such an on-trend shade, try leaving them the way they are and painting a wall (or all of them) in your kitchen a bold green instead. We love forest tones and deep sage greens, like Behr's Free Green (opens in new tab) used above.

18. Create a retro feel by mixing greens and blues

Kitchen painted in Valspar paint

(Image credit: Valspar )

These kinds of dusty, muted blues and greens are everywhere at the moment and we love how they look in this slightly retro kitchen. Nab this kitchen paint idea and paint your cabinets two different colors. Keep it all quite subtle and choose colors that have similar tones. Match your kitchen colors to the one above with Valspar (opens in new tab).

Which paint color to choose for your kitchen? 

Dark colors, including grey and black, are popular, with wall colors often contrasting to add impact. If you would rather keep your cupboards light and neutral, a pop of color on the walls will be much easier to update, should you wish. And if you're painting your kitchen cabinetry a bold color, consider limiting it to a short run of cabinetry or a kitchen island, with a more neutral shade on the other cabinets; this will be ultimately easier to live with – and change in the future if you want a new paint color.

Which paint to use for kitchen cabinets?

Looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets? Depending on the look you're going for, high-gloss, semi-gloss, or a good eggshell will all be tough enough for cabinets. For walls, you can get away with eggshell or even a washable matte paint, ensuring that they are still wipeable.

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Kaitlin Madden Armon is a writer and editor covering all things home. In addition to Real Homes, she's written for Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, Refinery29, Modern Luxury Interiors, Wayfair, The Design Network, and lots more. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons, and black lab.