What colors work best in a modern rustic kitchen? 5 perfect shades to complete the look

And not all of them need to be neutral...

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore/Sherwin Williams/Original BTC)

Modern rustic kitchens are a go-to style for blending old and new. As such, the color palette chosen can really make or break the overall aesthetic – something too traditional can leave a space feeling dated, but choose a shade too stark and you lose all sense of the rustic vibe.

This doesn't mean you are limited on what colors you can choose, though. Part of the appeal of a modern rustic kitchen is that there are different avenues to go down when it comes to the color scheme. A great selection of neutrals can add warmth and light, whereas carefully selected hues of bolder shades add personality and character.

Finding the perfect shade can be a tricky task, especially if you're not an interior design aficionado. To help guide you in the right direction, we've asked interior designers and color experts for their thoughts on the best colors to use in a modern rustic kitchen.

Modern rustic kitchen color ideas

There are so many kitchen color ideas to choose from, but these shades tailor best to the modern rustic aesthetic. So, whether you want to keep it simple with warm neutrals or inject appropriate color, there's something to inspire every style.

1. Dark earthy colors

Modern rustic kitchen with kitchen island and white marble kitchen counters

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Though you might immediately associate modern rustic kitchens with neutral color schemes, there is plenty of room for more colorful palettes. Instead of bold, bright hues, opt for something more understated and moody, like darker earthy tones.

'Modern rustic combines the warm, earthy neutrals and natural textures of a cozier aesthetic with the sleek, streamlined style of modern design. It is about balancing the two styles to create a refined yet welcoming design,' says Arianna Barone, color marketing manager at Benjamin Moore.

'Southern Vine 2138-10 is a great choice for modern rustic kitchen cabinets. It is a deep, rich olive with a cozy brown undertone that not only makes a statement, but also warms the space to create an inviting feeling. Paired with a chic island in Blacktop 2135-10 and crisp white subway tiles, this kitchen feels just the right amount of modern and rustic.'

2. Rusty reds

Modern rustic kitchen painted in a rusted red

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Color is an easy way to add warmth to a kitchen, so introducing a balance of more saturated hues with airy neutrals creates a balance typical on modern rustic style. A deep or rusty red kitchen is a great choice for adding a sense of coziness.

'Comforting and warm, decorating with a rust red in the kitchen instantly rejuvenates a space. A wonderful way of bringing a touch of the outside in, rust brings a beautifully organic and earthy feel to a space' says interior designer,' Naomi Astley Clarke

'The perfect shade for the kitchen, it's a wonderfully versatile color that simultaneously pairs well with neutral and bolder hues.' As well as complimenting other colors, tones of red pair beautifully with gold and brass hardware, like this hanging rail for pots, the outlets and cabinet handles.

 Naomi Astley Clarke
Naomi Astley Clarke

London-based interior designer, Naomi Astley Clarke, has worked in the interior design industry for over 20 years and has a client base of movie stars, producers, music moguls, professionals, and entrepreneurs. She creates uplifting and exciting renovations and refurbishments of both residential and commercial properties.

3. Warm earth tones

modern rustic kitchen with marble countertops

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan, Photography Julie Soefer)

If you're working with a white base in your kitchen, you can introduce modern rustic colors through the decorative items you display. 'When I think of modern rustic, I think of warm earth tones like terracotta, mahogany, and sand' says Kathy Kuo, CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. 

'Bring these cozy colors into the kitchen in the form of stoneware dishes, linen dishtowels, reclaimed wood crocks for storing utensils, and organic-inspired ceramic vases for holding seasonal flowers.' If you've space for larger pieces, consider introducing upholstered barstools, antique terracotta pots for plants or mahogany shelving that leans into the modern rustic kitchen aesthetic.

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

4. Green hues with cozy neutrals

Modern rustic kitchen with wood panelled cabinetry painted in a pale green hue

(Image credit: Sherwin Williams)

Green kitchens transcend styles, and is a particularly popular color for painting cabinetry. In a modern rustic kitchen, green works wonderfully in a lighter shade. A paler tone that has an almost neutral feel to it adds warmth and personality while remaining calming and not too overpowering.

'Warm neutrals are the easiest way to go to create a modern rustic kitchen for homeowners who want to transform their space but might be intimidated by too much color' says Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin Williams.

'To take the modern rustic style further, I recommend using a grayish green like Evergreen Fog SW 9130, which transforms any kitchen into a cozy and rural feeling space and pairs very well with wooden accents.' Thanks to the grey undertones, this shade offers a subtle green hue rather than feeling too colorful, fitting of the modern rustic style.

Sue Wadden
Sue Wadden

With a strong background in design and color leadership, Sue Wadden was appointed director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams in 2016, and has been with the paint brand since 1998.

5. Black

Modern rustic kitchen with neutral walls and checker board floor tiles

(Image credit: Naomi Astley Clarke/Paul Massey)

Creating a modern rustic kitchen gives you the option of leaning into much deeper colors, one of them being black. Though darker shades can feel more daring, they create a wonderful balance between old and new, ideal for this aesthetic. Black on the walls, cabinetry, or even floor tiles makes a real statement in the kitchen.

'Another one of my favorite shades to achieve this aesthetic is Tricorn Black SW 6258, a classic never-boring true black that makes for the ideal contrast with lighter neutrals' says Sue Wadden. Pairing with a lighter neutral like cream or white adds balance to the scheme and helps build cohesion between the modern and rustic elements in a black kitchen.

Kitchen tiles are another way to introduce darker tones, ideally on the floor where you can introduce a lot of character. 'Pair a high-contrast black and white chequerboard pattern with more delicate shades, like sage green, dusty rose, or pale turquoise, to soften the feel of the room.' recommends Naomi Astley Clarke.

There are so many wonderful options when it comes to modern rustic kitchen colors – with palettes all falling into more muted shades, it's easy to see how this style of kitchen comes together so beautifully. So, whether you lean neutral, opt for earthy tones or embrace the darker hues, you can create a cohesive modern rustic kitchen that speaks to your design style! 

Kitchens & Bathrooms Editor

I joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as the kitchens & bathrooms editor. My undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which I studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, I worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to timeless kitchen schemes and the best places to source pre-loved homeware.