You should never paint your kitchen this popular color, a psychologist reveals

The color you should never paint your kitchen is an enduring debate amongst designers – but this is what science says

Dark gray kitchen cabinets with kitchen island and bar stools
(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung)

It is unsurprising that the color you should never paint your kitchen is a vivid source of debate amongst designers and interior enthusiasts alike. From the green cabinetry craze to our fling with powder blue – our love affair with color experimentation in the kitchen continues. But who can argue with science? 

While some shades are admired for their aesthetic appeal, not every color is right for a kitchen. Indeed, a psychologist has urged us to step away from our paintbrush until we understand various shades' impact on our mental wellbeing. And since the kitchen is often the most used room in the home, we agree that it's important to get it right. 

Sharing his kitchen ideas, Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant Lee Chambers reveals what you need to know. 

Dark gray painted kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future)

The color you should never paint your kitchen – according to psychology

'When it comes to our kitchen color ideas, there are two to potentially avoid, depending on how you use the space,' Lee says. 'Firstly, dark grays and browns can leave a kitchen feeling cold, unwelcoming, and uninviting, and have the potential to induce a lower mood, the last thing you need when you're sharing a space with people close to you.

'With kitchens being a place where we have a focus on things being sterile and safe, these colors can almost feel a little bit grimy and dirty,' Lee adds. 

Does this mean we need to stay clear of the most popular paint trend of the year? It's a bold statement – but your kitchen will thank you for following Lee's advice. 

Dark gray kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung)

However, Lee doesn't stop with these fashionable hues. 'Another consideration is the use of vibrant yellow. This can bring a sunny presence into a kitchen and boost creativity, which might just be what you need for cooking with inspiration,' Lee says. But why should we avoid these sunny hues?

'The challenge with bright yellow is that it can increases stress levels, especially if we are juggling lots of aspects of preparing a meal or have people in the space that you find annoying,' he explains.

'It is also the color that fatigues our eyes more than any other and can lead to feeling unsettled, frustrated, and fatigued if you spend significant time in the presence of vivid shades of yellow.'

Yellow kitchen with hanging blue light fixtures

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

So, is it possible to discover a shade that celebrates interior design trends without hindering your health? Thankfully, Color Psychologist from EZ Living, Helen O'Keeffe, suggests that we are safe with green kitchens, as this 'optimistic' hue works in 'every room of the house'.

Meanwhile, speaking not from a psychologist's perspective – but from the top of the design world – Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin – told us about his painted kitchen ideas, suggesting using light and neutral tones to make your kitchen appear brighter, especially when paired against a dark-painted dining area. 

It appears there is a good use for your dark gray paint, after all – just beyond the kitchen. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.