Cream kitchen ideas are always warm and inviting, whether they're classic Shaker-style rooms or super-modern, streamlined spaces. The ultimate neutral, it's just as timeless as white or gray, but sunnier and more welcoming for larger or light-starved kitchens that will feel less like home in cooler tones.
There is a whole range of creams to choose from – from elegant, just-off-whites, such as ivory, chalk and alabaster, to gray-creams, such as taupe and stone, and more earthy shades, like linen.
Cream kitchens look fabulous with other colors, too – pale blue to navy, blush pinks, deep greens, grey, white and even black.
For anyone who has dismissed cream as a top option for their list of kitchen ideas, let us change your mind.
Cream kitchen ideas
Cream kitchens are incredibly easy to introduce accent colors and tones to. For contemporary spaces, warm metallics, such as gold and brass, look wonderful.
More traditional rooms will benefit from the textures that wood will introduce. And, of course, you can match cream to other kitchen color ideas for a two-tone kitchen design, too.
1. Combining cream with white creates a layered feel
The beauty of a cream kitchen is that it works with pretty much all colors – the sign of a great neutral. If you love white kitchen ideas but feel they will be too stark in your kitchen then consider teaming white with cream, which will create a subtly layered look.
To create contrast, you can opt for a deeper cream – more of a taupe or stone, like in this kitchen by Little Greene (opens in new tab). That way, the white will stand out and create a fresh feel while the cream warms the space. Wooden elements look great with this combination. Choose a dark tone for a kitchen that has plenty of natural light; otherwise, a mid-toned wood is the best option.
2. Patterns work well with neutrals
Using a neutral like cream opens up the opportunity to use color and pattern, because it’s so versatile. We love the idea of installing decorative flooring – it creates a focal point and adds an exciting element to the space.
David Snazel, hard flooring buyer at Carpetright (opens in new tab), explains: ‘When looking to update your scheme, bold kitchen flooring ideas can add a little "wow". If the room is on the smaller side, lighter floors will help open a space and create the perfect base to build upon with trending accessories.’
3. Matching walls to cabinetry creates a spacious feel
For an all encompassing look that is spacious and airy, choose your favorite cream shade and use it everywhere – on the cabinetry and walls, like in this kitchen by Neptune (opens in new tab).
Using the same cream on the ceiling will create a really warm-looking space, too. However, you will want to have some kind of contrast for the flooring and countertops so that the cream has something to shine against.
Here, the wood's natural textures and colors in the rustic gray kitchen flooring introduce a characterful feel and tie in nicely with the wooden window frame and soft gray backsplash. Pale blue chairs tone down the cream to create a pale, but interesting, finish.
4. Cream kitchen cabinetry suits a traditional look
Painted kitchens tend to suit traditional-style homes, but how do you choose the right shade of cream for your room? It really depends on the effect you want to create – warm, welcoming and relaxed or cool, elegant and restrained – and the amount and quality of natural daylight the room receives.
Light-starved kitchens, and those that you want to feel warm need creams with a hint of yellow or pink in them; sunny spaces or ones you would like to feel more pared back will work with creams that tend towards gray hues, so consider light when deciding how to paint your kitchen cabinets.
5. Warm metallics are the perfect accent for cream
For more contemporary cream kitchen ideas that you want to give a glam appeal, try using surfaces like Gerald Culliford’s (opens in new tab) SapienStone ceramic. It’s shown here on the countertops and cabinet fronts, teamed with internal brass edging.
This cream kitchen scheme would work well in a small kitchen design, as the clean lines and sleek edges create a spacious and seamless feel.
6. Teaming cream with navy creates real impact
When natural light is low in a kitchen, a barely-there white-cream like Farrow & Ball’s Lime White (opens in new tab) will brighten it without making it feel too stark. Named after the chalky pigments used in original distempers, it’s one of their traditional neutrals and has a small amount of green pigment.
The result is a subtle yet understated feel, that gently brightens without being too intense. Plus, it looks wonderful matched with deep navy blue kitchen accents – pick out just one element of your scheme in this color, whether a range, fire surround or kitchen island, and the effect will be beautiful.
7. Contrasting wall colors add depth and interest
‘The key with a cream kitchen is to pair cream painted kitchen cabinets with contrasting walls and textural elements, like dark wood countertops and flooring. This will give the design an edge and create appealing visual interest,’ explains Tom Howley, design director at Tom Howley (opens in new tab).
‘Use lighting to your advantage and choose a combination of colors that look fresh in the day but warm and inviting at night. The shadows created by your lighting choices creates an extra element of texture which can transform the space. Even during daylight, your choice of pendant lighting will add to the overall feel of the room.’
8. Combine cream with black for a contemporary kitchen
We often think of black and white kitchens working better in a contemporary space, but actually cream and black can be a touch softer, as London based interior designer Louise Bradley (opens in new tab) explains:
‘It doesn't have to be difficult to create a modern feel in a cream kitchen. Start with choosing a tone variation that's slightly muted and away from the yellow and cyan undertones. A light colored veneer will also create a contemporary feel.
'Combine this with a clean architectural design, a light or dark stone worktop and a less traditional handle detail. Adding glass and metal elements to your kitchen will further enhance the contemporary feel of the space.’
9. Cream kitchen cabinetry is the perfect match for low ceilings
We don’t all love light and bright – some of us adore a cosy feel that can be achieved with beautiful dark parquet flooring and warmer cream kitchen cabinet colors. This charming Shaker style kitchen by Neptune shows you how to combat that age-old issue of low ceilings, too.
The ivory units lighten the space and add warmth, which is helped by the white countertops. Recessed ceiling lights teamed with global task lights will create an ambience when the sun goes down. Stainless steel appliances coupled with chrome drawer knobs add a modern touch.
10. Cream looks fabulous matched with deep green
If you want to create a light and dark contrast then consider teaming cream with deep green kitchen ideas – it’s a classic combination that won't date any time soon.
Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL (opens in new tab), explains why cream is such a hit for kitchens:
‘Limited color palettes make styling a room easier. You can be much more selective, not necessarily keeping to that same color but being a little more restrained with your choices. A rich, muted color on the walls and cupboards with flashes of crystal and copper is enough to create drama.
'Similarly, in a light colored kitchen, the constraints of using only natural earthy colors help to instantly create a soft and mellow feel.’
What colors go best with a cream kitchen?
Natural colors go best in most cream kitchen ideas. At the most neutral end of the spectrum, that includes white, gray, browns and blacks – and you can include everything from marble to wood to slate within that color spectrum.
For bolder colors, sticking to shades inspired by nature is the best option – that's earthy terracottas, deep greens, dark blues and even blush pink. We would avoid anything too glaring – think: orange – and primary colors like red kitchen accents, which just don't complement cream's soft tones.
Are cream kitchen cabinets in style?
Cream kitchen cabinets are definitely in style – in fact, this color is a timeless shade that will never date, whether your kitchen is contemporary or traditional.
If you're wondering how to make a small kitchen look bigger, cream is a smart color choice. Unlike white, it will feel more welcoming and home buyers love cream kitchens, too, which is always a bonus.
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 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 for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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