These are the best neutral kitchen cabinet paint colors designers use for a liveable, elegant scheme

The versatile neutral paint tones interior designers are loving right now, and how to use them on your cabinetry

three images of neutral kitchen cabinets
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball / Havwoods / Tom Griffiths / Benjamin Moore)

We love the uplifting and inspiring effect of being in interior spaces that use bold color and pattern, but when it comes to the everyday, we tend to need something a little quieter. We are all for a fun wallpaper in the powder room or a dramatic paint choice in the hallway, but often the best kitchen color ideas are underpinned by a classic and unassuming neutral.

Our understanding of neutral kitchens has evolved over the past few years, as we have embraced earthy tones such as terracotta and green, and have found ways to combine gray with splashes of color. If you are currently brainstorming some painted kitchen ideas and are leaning towards decorating with neutrals, we have rounded up the best neutral kitchen cabinet paint colors below, as recommended by designers.

Kitchen color trends come and go, but we really don't want to be redecorating our kitchens every few years. From white to green, here are the timeless kitchen cabinet colors that will stand the test of time and provide a soothing, calming atmosphere while we cook, entertain, and wait for our morning coffee to brew.

Best neutral kitchen cabinet paint colors

Our kitchen cabinets take up a lot of the surface area in our kitchens, so they have a big impact on the overall feel. Here are the neutral tones designers are loving.

1. Gray

modern kitchen with white walls and gray cabinets and wooden flooring

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Interior designers recommend gray kitchen cabinets for a sophisticated neutral scheme. From charcoal to mushroom, gray is particularly well suited to kitchens that receive a lot of natural light, which is something to bear in mind. They also suggest greige (a blend of gray and beige) to bring extra warmth to cooler rooms. 'I’m a neutral fan when it comes to kitchen cabinets, but I really appreciate a hint of blue and gray undertones,' begins interior designer Breegan Jane

Breegan Jane loves putting Benjamin Moore: “Lavender Wash" with brass hardware, creating a beautiful contrast. 'It would make for such a sophisticated presentation,' she says. 'I can also picture this color with an accent bar, surrounded by a fun wallpaper.'

Interior designer Devin Shaffer is also an advocate of gray cabinets, but says to opt for the warmer, earthier shades on your color chart. 'You can pair greige with various countertops or backsplashes,' he says. For the colors that go best with gray kitchen cabinets, you can head to our guide.

breegan jane
Breegan Jane

Breegan Jane is a TV host, designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist in Los Angeles. Breegan’s signature style meshes the artistic and elegant with livable comfort. She achieves a stunning, modern aesthetic with decor that maximizes elegance and fosters simplicity, serenity, and supreme comfort.

2. Beige

Cream kitchen ideas with standard tongue and groove cream shaker kitchen and pots hung above the stove

(Image credit: British Standard)

If you're not so keen on gray but want to paint your kitchen cabinets in a shade that will never date, consider going with beige. Slubby beige kitchens always feel warm, soulful, and classic. Named after the French word for natural wool that hasn't been dyed or bleached, beige is quite easy to work with, combining beautifully with white subway tile, black or brass hardware, wooden kitchen countertops, and so on. 

Beige and cream kitchen ideas are great for creating a homely backdrop because of their warm yellow undertones and won't jar with bolder tones, such as blue, burnt orange, or even some unexpected red.

'Some of our favorite neutral paint colors for kitchens include Benjamin Moore’s Sea Salt, which gives a warm and slightly warm green tone,' says interior designer Kati Curtis.'Farrow and Ball’s Purbeck Stone is another inviting neutral.'

Kati Curtis
Kati Curtis

Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms. 

3. Soft green

green and white kitchen with island

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

As far as we are concerned, green is a neutral, as it's a naturally occurring tone much like beige and oh-so-easy on the eye. Sage green is one of the key kitchen cabinet color trends we're seeing this year, and it's highly versatile: a soft, earthy green looks beautiful with wooden countertops or terracotta tiles. 

'I think everyone has graduated to feeling that greens are neutrals,' agrees interior designer Peter Spalding, interior designer and co-founder of Daniel House Club. 'With this in mind, I like Farrow & Ball Lichen and Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre.'

According to Alexandra Cooper, an interior designer at Planner 5D, sage green can bring a fresh and calming vibe to the kitchen, evoking a sense of nature and tranquility. 'It works well with traditional and contemporary design styles and can be paired with natural wood accents or neutral countertops. It is a great option when you want to add subtle color to an overall neutral kitchen,' says Alexandra.

4. White

white kitchen with beautiful architecture and cabinetry and rug on floor

(Image credit: 5_Lisa Sherry/Photo Stacey Van Berkel)

For a clean and crisp look that keeps things bright and airy in a small kitchen, white cabinets are a failsafe option. White kitchens are also highly versatile and will work whether you're going for Scandi, contemporary, or traditional.

It's just worth trying a few samples first to ensure you choose the best white paint. 'Veer away from really stark whites and look for whites that actually seem a bit brown,' advises Peter Spalding. 'Farrow & Ball Old White No. 4 is a good example.' 

One shade will look quite different in your kitchen compared to a friend's kitchen because the orientation and natural light in a space can make a paint color appear different. 'If you have a lot of hot afternoon light, Benjamin Moore Baby Fawn is very pretty, but it will go green if you have more eastern exposure (softer morning light),' Peter Spalding explains.

Also, consider which shade of white will best complement your kitchen backsplash and surrounding walls. 'Whether warm or cool white, play around with it,' says Devin Shaffer.


How do you brighten a neutral kitchen?

'There are a few strategies to brighten a neutral kitchen: optimizing lighting, using reflective surfaces, and adding bright color accents,' says interior designer Alexandra Cooper. For lighting, Alexandra suggests maximizing natural light by leaving windows unobstructed by other objects in the kitchen and installing adequate artificial lighting  – overhead fixtures, under-cabinet lighting, and pendant lights.

'Add reflective materials such as glass, mirrors, or glossy finishes for countertops, backsplashes, and cabinet doors to bounce light around the room and create a brighter feel,' Alexandra says. 'Introduce pops of color through accessories such as colorful cookware, a backsplash, or decorative accents like rugs. Adding small plants also helps! This can inject personality into the space and visually enhance its brightness.'

Peter Spalding says artwork belongs on the walls of the kitchen as much as any other room. 'I think we tend to feel that choices in the kitchen must be built-in and permanent. This is not the case. Put a piece of art or freestanding furniture in your kitchen and see what it does to cheer things up,' he says.

Are there any colors to avoid when painting kitchen cabinetry?

'Avoid gleaming white. These whites do have a place, as a way of punctuating a doorway maybe, but for whole walls, they are too much,' states interior designer Peter Spalding. 'They make houses feel cold and inhospitable – places to leave as soon as you arrive.'

It's not just the paint colors you use, but how you use them – for an elegant kitchen with a sharp contrast between white and dark elements, you could opt for a two-tone or 'tuxedo' kitchen, where the upper cabinets are white, and the lower cabinets are black, like the pants and shirt of a tuxedo. Apparently, this kitchen combination adds value to your home, too.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.