How to Choose the Right Paint Color For Your Kitchen

If you’ve ever stared at your kitchen and wondered what wall color goes best with your kitchen cabinets, you’re not alone. Picking wall colors that harmonize with kitchen cabinets can feel like a challenge. This guide will help you answer the question “How to choose the right paint color for your kitchen.”

Find Your Kitchen Color Scheme

Basically, what we’re talking about here is a kitchen color scheme. This scheme encompasses the entire space, not just walls. So, the first step is to think holistically, the way a designer might, repainting your kitchen.

Step back and consider it from an eagle-eye view. Everything from accent walls to cabinets, to the appliances and hardware, is involved in choosing your kitchen paint colors.

CEO of Shayna Rose Interiors, Shayna Rose, recommends considering how much light your kitchen gets. “If your kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light, you will want to stick to light shades in warm tones for your kitchen walls and cabinets. Light, warm colors give the illusion of adding light to the space. If you have large windows in your kitchen that allow plenty of natural light in, you have a little bit more flexibility to add some darker tones into your palette, whether that be on the walls or cabinets.”

Also, think about the features of your kitchen that you know you’ll be keeping. Like, if you’re keeping your cabinets, counters, and floors the same color, all you’ll need to do is add a wall color and some fun accent colors to balance it all out.

Take a tip from the pros and create a mood board of inspirational colors, themes or pictures. Playing this way can lead you to combinations you may not have considered.

The Myth of White Cabinets

White kitchen cabinets go with every color, right? Well … sort of.

Even though your kitchen cabinets are white, the idea that they’ll go with any color is a myth. That’s because each version of white is based on the blend of colors it took to create that exact shade. So, they could be red-based (if red is one of the colors in the paint mix), blue-based, yellow-based, etc.

If you have painted white cabinets, and you know the name of your paint color, ask the paint expert at your local hardware store what hues went into it to make that shade. From there, you can choose a color scheme that supports rather than fights the undertone.

If you’ve got a mystery color, just scrape off about an inch of the paint and take it to the hardware store to have it matched.

If you can’t scrape the paint (or your cabinets aren’t painted), then match it to something you have already – thread, for example, or color in a scarf.

Once you know what colors are in your paint mix, you’ll know which way to skew your color scheme.

Hint: You can use this same technique with any cabinet color to understand your undertone.

Ideas for Picking a Palette

Need some more ideas to help you pick your kitchen’s wall and cabinet colors? Here are a few to get you started.

Match the Walls to the Island

white and gray kitchen paint colors

Is your kitchen island a different paint color than your cabinets? Just like matching your socks to your tie or scarf, matching the wall to the island gives your kitchen a subtly coordinated look.

Pull Out a Color From the Backsplash

choosing kitchen paint colors

Most backsplashes are made to coordinate with cabinets. So pulling a color from your backsplash will give your kitchen effortless style.

Vary the Same Shade

blue kitchen paint color palette

For lovers of the dramatic, choose a wall color just up or down the paint chip from your cabinets. We just love all these shades of blue!

Keep the Colors Cool (or Warm)

yellow kitchen paint colors island

Depending on the undertone (red, yellow, blue, etc.), your cabinets may veer toward the warm colors or cool. These ash-toned cabinets, paired with an island in a cool yellow, lend themselves to an ash-toned neutral colors.

Spotlight Your Metal Tones

neutral kitchen paint colors

In a kitchen with all white and gray, matching a white wall might look contractor-grade. So pick a palette that is equally soothing, but brings out the best in your metal accents and appliances.

Choosing a kitchen color palette, especially matching wall color to kitchen cabinet color, may seem hard at first. But with a few tips, it can be fun — and you can have a kitchen that reflects your unique style.

When you’re ready to start painting your kitchen, Paintzen has crews who are skilled in cabinet painting and interior painting. Get a quote today!


Kelley Rebori

Kelley Rebori has written for national brands like Paintzen, HGTV, the DIY Network and Trulia for more than a decade. She loves home renovation projects, chocolate icing and small poodles. She and her husband split the year between their homes in Tennessee and Italy.