5 colors that make a kitchen look more expensive

Interior designers share the shades you need for an upscale aesthetic in the kitchen

three images of blue and neutral kitchens
(Image credit: deVOL)

A high-end kitchen needs top-quality materials, statement lighting, and plenty of space to maneuver while cooking and hosting. You can also never underestimate the power of color to transform a space and make a kitchen look more expensive, given all of the personal associations and emotional connections tied up in the color wheel.

If the main goal is to make a home look expensive – perhaps you're about to sell your property or you want to squeeze the most out of your renovation budget as possible – it's best to keep the color palette relatively classic. Timeless neutrals and naturally occurring tones, such as green and blue, will give you a stylish kitchen that isn't going to look dated in five or ten years' time. 

Of course, it's your kitchen, your rules, but for a luxury kitchen feel, these are the colors interior designers are recommending right now, and how to use them.

5 colors to make a kitchen look expensive

If you are starting a remodel from scratch, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets are timeless and will continue to stand the test of time. Don't forget that kitchen lighting and kitchen styling play a significant role in creating a space that feels luxurious.

1. Burgundy

kitchen with checked tiles and wooden cabinetry

(Image credit: Isla Porter)

A rich, red-wine burgundy can give a kitchen a real feeling of warmth and luxury, demonstrated beautifully by the kitchen above by luxury cabinet company Isla Porter. Co-founder Emily Arthur says that burgundy pairs well with butter yellow, but recommends bringing in a wood tone as the third 'color' instead of another paint tone. 

'Two or more bright colors is about all a space can handle, although you can pull in other colors through natural materials to ground the palette,' Emily adds. Speaking more generally, Emily says it’s all about the mix when it comes to kitchen cabinet colors: 'No one cabinetry color can make or break the kitchen – it is the combination of the materials and how they complement one another.'

Emily Arthur
Emily Arthur

Emily Arthur is the co-founder of Isla Porter, a luxury cabinetry startup focused on disrupting the way interior designers and homeowners tackle kitchen and bathroom renovations. Isla Porter's goal is to give anyone, anywhere access to the kitchen of their dreams by marrying powerful AI technology with curated, thoughtfully crafted millwork designs.

2. French blue

pale blue kitchen with white countertops

(Image credit: deVOL)

A light blue kitchen never dates – just think of Delft tiles and country kitchens in sky blues that look like they have been there forever. 'Classic, timeless colors have an innate ability to elevate the look of a kitchen, imbuing it with an air of sophistication and luxury,' agrees interior designer and founder of Lawless Design, Hannah Oravec

'Historic colors like French blue possess a versatility that transcends trends, ensuring that the kitchen maintains its elegance for years to come.' Hannah also recommends going for a monochromatic palette when using classic colors. 

'Consisting of varying shades of a single color, a monochromatic scheme fosters a sense of cohesion and harmony within the kitchen,' she explains. 'To implement this approach successfully, incorporate different textures and finishes to add depth and contrast.'

Hannah Oravec
Hannah Oravec

Hannah grew up in a house with lots of renovation projects always on the go, and today she creates beautiful, sustainable space for clients. She loves to use vintage pieces and blends her passion for interior design with her knowledge of health and wellness. Hannah uses her knowledge and WELL accreditation to bring in elements that promote a better way of life for people and the environment.

3. Sage green

Neutral kitchen with sage green cabinets

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

Hannah Oravec says earthy shades, such as sage green will also stand the test of time and make a kitchen look more upscale. Soft green is considered a neutral these days, and thanks to its associations with nature and ability to blend in seamlessly with wood tones, marble, and metallics, it's a safe option that never feels bland. 

Painted kitchen cabinets are a great way to revamp a kitchen without too much disruption or expense, whether you DIY it or call in the professionals. Cooking Apple Green by Farrow & Ball is a popular choice – contrast it with bright whites for a fresh and airy feel, or color-drench for a more old-fashioned and traditional atmosphere. 

Alternatively, you could go monochrome but have your kitchen island a different color, such as mustard, pink, white or natural wood to break up the space and add interest.

4. Dark, jewel tones

dark blue kitchen with wooden island

(Image credit: deVOL)

Bring a sense of royal sophistication to the heart of your home with jewel tones, from deep blues to purples. Dark tones can make any space feel luxurious and cocooning – follow architect and designer Margherita Thumiger's advice and color drench the entire space in all the same hue. 'I favor dark colors, like navy blue or aubergine – stay away from pastels and shades of gray,' Margherita advises.

'Cabinets, top, and splashback all need to be the same color. The easiest way to do that is to find the splashback first – Corian is a great material for that, as it comes in so many wonderful shades. Then paint or spray the cabinets and walls to match.'

Dark kitchens are making a bold statement in modern design right now, adds Ashley Quinn from Interior Marketing Group. 'Dark cabinets painted colors like Benjamin Moore Graphite add drama and sophistication, creating a cozy retreat within the home, radiating luxury and character.'

Margherita Thumiger
Margherita Thumiger

Margherita Thumiger is a RIBA chartered architect and the co-founder of Studio 29. Margherita is Italian and studied architecture and interior design in Milan and Barcelona, and professional practice at Westminster University in London.

5. Warm neutrals

neutral kitchen with wooden dining table and boucle chairs

(Image credit: Isy's Interiors)

Nothing says luxury like layered taupes, beige, and deeply veined marble. According to interior designer Donna Wood of Stonewood Interiors, lighter cabinets with a warm undertone are the way to go if you want a neutral kitchen with a high-end aesthetic. 

Combine warm neutral cabinetry with antique brass hardware, quartz countertops that are understated, wooden floors, and panel-ready (integrated) appliances, she suggests.

'Cabinets can always be refreshed by painting them. I always suggest changing the hardware to something new. If you are painting existing cabinets, fill in the holes from the previous hardware before you paint, and then add pulls instead of knobs. Change plumbing fixtures, sinks, countertops, and backsplash if the budget allows.'

Donna Wood
Donna Wood

Donna Wood is an award winning designer with over 40 years of experience. With her extensive background in interior design and construction, Donna has been involved in designing and constructing projects all over the United States. Donna listens closely to clients and makes sure their vision is reflected throughout every space.

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How can I make a plain white kitchen look more expensive?

White kitchen cabinets with simple quartz or stone and white subway tile can lack interest, but combine them with a richly patterned onyx stone kitchen countertop or a mosaic-patterned backsplash, and immediately you have something much more intriguing.

'Small updates can make a big impact. Hardware, lighting, and a more interesting tile can transform your space with a relatively low investment of funds or time,' says Emily Arthur, co-founder of luxury cabinetry firm Isla Porter. 

'I love full-height backsplashes or have the countertop run up the wall to create a full-length backsplash. I like to hide electrical sockets by installing pop-up outlets in the countertops and use under cabinet LED lighting for ambiance,' adds interior designer Donna Wood.

The colors you choose for your kitchen are bound to have the biggest impact, and you want to be choosing classic shades. Classic shades like these listed here will always make a kitchen look more expensive because you never risk your space looking dated. 

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.