Outdated kitchen color trends – designers and trend forecasters are leaving behind these 5 colors in 2024

Color is a simple way to update a tired kitchen, however, there are some paint and color trends that are simply so passé – and could be dating the heart of the home

Outdated kitchen color trends
(Image credit: Becca Interiors/Rikki Snyder / Nicola Harding & Co/Paul Massey / Antony Crolla)

Traditional or modern, painted cabinetry and walls offer a versatile way to add individuality to your kitchen, but get it wrong, and you could be dating your kitchen

While there are some kitchen color trends that are timeless, there are others that feel well and truly past their expiration date. While there's certainly no one size fits all formula; color trends are entirely subjective, after all. There are still a few that should be resigned to the history books. 

But that is not to say that you shouldn't have any of these color schemes if they truly bring you joy. Our affinity towards certain colors has a lot to do with our personalities, environment, and experiences, so it is always important to choose decor that makes you happier at home, and take what the naysayers suggest with a pinch of salt.

5 kitchen colors that are dating your home

Choosing which kitchen colors to decorate with can be a daunting process as there are so many to choose from, but becoming your own color consultant is easier than you think, and we are on hand to help inspire you with a range of painted kitchen ideas for your home.

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | From $21.87/£30.45 at Amazon

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | From $21.87/£30.45 at Amazon
Learn more about the fundamentals of kitchen design in this bestselling book. Find practical advice as well as hundreds of images to inspire your own remodel.

1. Swap an all-over dark gray for subtle greige

Modern kitchen with cream painted shaker cabinets

(Image credit: Haris Kenjar Photography / Heidi Caillier)

Like most things, color trends come and go, so while the cool-toned grays of the early noughties once adorned many homes up and down the US, we are now seeing a sudden shift away from cool tones in favor of warmer color schemes. 

So what color is replacing gray? Of all the neutrals, gray was always the one that instantly brought the most gravitas, but there's a new color in the interior sphere; welcome greige. An amalgamation between gray and beige, greige is certainly having its moment in the spotlight. 

Greige harmonizes well with almost every other hue, making it a most adaptable neutral and giving good reason for its rising popularity as the kitchen cabinet color of choice, says Helen Shaw, director at Benjamin Moore. Greige is the new gray in interior design, and it isn't too difficult to see why. In fact, we would go as far as to say that greige is also the color replacing white.

2. Switch out an intense, bright red for a warm terracotta

Red kitchen cabinets with white wall and shelving for objects

(Image credit: Antony Crolla)

Decorating with red will never get old, but designers are moving away from the bright, bold red of yesteryear and moving towards a warmer, quieter version of this perennial favorite. The terracotta tone that is standing out from the crowd at the moment is paprika – it's a warm yet uplifting and real classic.

‘The warm, earthiness of Paprika is a blend of red and orange tones, but with an emphasis on the red,' says Simon Temprell, interior design manager, Neptune. 'It works beautifully with warm neutrals, natural timbers and darker shades of green.

Natasha Greig, director, of Veere Grenney Associates agrees that paprika is a color that we should consider for our kitchens in 2024: ‘A color like this feels both cozy and uplifting. It has great depth, so when used in small kitchens, it makes the room feel more generous. For our work as designers, it is a perfect backdrop to almost all colors.’ 

3. Choose in tonal two-tone color combination over a contrasting one

Interior design trends 2022 two tone color palette

(Image credit: Nicola Harding & Co / Paul Massey)

Contrasting kitchen color schemes were once the height of fashion trends in the early noughties, but 2024 is seeing a shift towards gentle, tonal kitchen color combinations instead.

A pleasing pairing of cabinetry shades will deliver depth and interest without being jarring. Tone-on-tone color involves using different saturations of one color to achieve contrast and movement. It’s a great option for those who struggle with combining colors but don’t want a flat look. 

Nicola Harding, director, of Nicola Harding & Co extols the virtues of using calming kitchen color combinations: ‘A two-tone kitchen scheme allows extra definition and interest without overcomplicating. Most paint charts are arranged in families of colors, making it easy to find two shades that work together or contrast.'

'Remember that dark colors take up more space visually. Use the darker shade below eyeline, and a lighter shade that’s closer to the wall color above; it will help break up expanses of cabinetry and feel calmer and less blocky than a high-contrast scheme.'

4. Ditch a harsh primary color palette in favor of pastels

Pink kitchen ideas with marble countertop and backsplash

(Image credit: Jennifer Welch)

Pastel kitchens were once the color du jour in the 1950s. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was pivotal in popularizing the color, which is often referred to as 'Mamie Pink'. Decorating with pink, especially subtle, pastel variations, is back for 2024, and we have the recent Barbie phenomenon to thank for its welcome return.

Within interiors, pastel tones gained popularity during the 18th-century Rococo era, used in combination with elaborate stuccowork. Inherently romantic and feminine, sugary pinks also conjure up scenes of bountiful rose gardens. For the upcoming season, such nostalgia has captured the imaginations of kitchen designers who are using this color more liberally than ever before. 

Here, Jennifer Welch of Jennifer Welch Interior Design used a combination of pastel pink to calm rather than energize in this modern kitchen. This subtle tone works perfectly in a kitchen that is rather dark, or which suffers from a lack of natural light. Not only does it inject a space with brightness and joy, but it will also bring out and highlight any accent colors in the room.’ 

Farrow and Ball: Recipes for Decorating | $43.16 at Amazon

Farrow and Ball: Recipes for Decorating | $43.16 at Amazon

Farrow & Ball is a leading producer of high-end paint and luxury wallpaper, and their design experts share their wisdom for creating harmonious interiors and beautify home décor in this inspirational book.

5. Leave behind pure white for softer off-whites, beige and sand

Neutral home decor ideas

(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

White is, of course, one of the most versatile shades in all of design, but interior designers and trend forecasters are instinctively leaning towards calmer versions from the same color palette, such as ivory, linen, sand, and stone.

White kitchens continue to be hugely favored, despite notions that they can be too clinical for a home environment. ‘There are many ways to “warm up” the design, one of which is to consider introducing warmer tones,’ says Richard Atkins, design director, DesignSpace London.

Here, interior designer Becca Galbraith of Becca Interiors uses this color palette to perfection. 'The search for the ideal neutral is not as easy as it would initially appear,' says interior designer, Becca Galbraith. 'Pure white can often be too cold and sterile, while trying to warm it up means possibly straying into the magnolia territory. Instead opt for a softer, warmer white and cream that grounds and lifts at the same time.'

Cream kitchen ideas, along with the trend for 'quiet luxury' are having something of a moment this year. Elegant and timeless in their simplicity, creamier color schemes have become a stalwart in the world of interiors, and are the perfect color addition to modest spaces.

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.