A kitchen is one of the bigger investments when it comes to your home, so ensuring you create a scheme that you will enjoy for years to come is always important. Although there are plenty of less-invasive ways to update a kitchen later down the line, there are a few factors to consider in the planning stages to avoid any extra work down the line.
Choosing a timeless kitchen is the best way to create a space that will endure. When designing your kitchen, consider the components that have the biggest effect on the overall scheme. The kitchen cabinet color is one such area – they are usually the part of the kitchen that takes up the most space, so choosing a color that feels timeless will make a huge difference to your design.
Making big design decisions can feel daunting, especially deciphering between different colors. To help you choose a hue that feels timeless while still appealing to your personal style, we've asked interior designers and experts for their favorite classic color palettes for timeless kitchen cabinet colors.
Timeless kitchen cabinet colors
There are timeless kitchen cabinet colors to suit everyone's tastes. Whether you prefer to stick to more neutral palettes or find joy in more vibrant shades, there are a number of colors that have endured in kitchen designs throughout the years. If you're still searching for the perfect shade, one of these suggestions might be the perfect pick!
1. Slate blue
In recent years, kitchen cabinets in more saturated hues have become more prominent, and certain shades prove exceedingly timeless. Shades of blue in particular work well – darker tones are ideal for a moodier space, whereas slate blue is a great choice for something a bit lighter.
'I love the look of slate blue when it comes to kitchen cabinet colors,' says Kathy Kuo, CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. 'It offers a pop of color, but it's subtle enough that it's easy to mix and match with a number of design styles and other colors – you can be sure that it won't clash or fall out of style!'
The benefit of slate blue kitchen cabinets is that you can choose between many countertop materials – this color works really well with wooden counters, or opt for something more contemporary like marble with complementary veining.
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.
There is arguably no paint color more timeless than white – not only does it go with any color, but it's a shade that transcends styles. 'I will always and forever claim that the right shade of white will be a timeless kitchen cabinet color,' says Kristin Harrison, interior designer and owner of Bungalow 10 Interiors.
'I always tend to lean towards a warmer white, like Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, or Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball,' she adds. The beauty of white kitchen cabinets is that you can pair them with a wide range of kitchen countertops. 'Marble with more pronounced veining, like calacatta, a more gray-ish stone like Carrara, Soapstone, and even butcher block counters are all fantastic pairings.'
The beauty of opting for white kitchen cabinets is that you can lean lighter or darker with the worktops, and you can embrace vibrant tones on the walls if you so wish. When it comes to hardware, any finish will work well, but brushed gold or antique brass are typically more timeless.
3. Soft pink
Pink might be commonly associated with interior design trends (think Barbiecore interiors, for one), but when using the right shade, pink can be a truly timeless color for your kitchen cabinets.
'Here at deVOL we stick to a fairly small selection of colors, only adding new ones once in a while. Our new blush pink, named ‘Princelet Pink’ after one of my favorite East London streets, has become everyone’s new favorite,' says Helen Parker, Creative Director of deVOL Kitchens.
'The color is barely there, soft and skin-like, and matches perfectly with black and green, not as a contrast but more of a pairing that just sits so quietly and unassumingly. I would say the most popular colors of the moment are definitely along these lines, quite soft and traditional,' she adds.
Helen is the Creative Director at deVOL, a leading kitchen design company that mixes classic and contemporary. Helen has been creative director at the company since 2011, passionate about the signature understated approach deVOL takes to designing kitchens.
4. Shades of gray
There's often debate over whether gray interiors are still on trend, but when the right shade is chosen, gray kitchen cabinets can feel really classic. Hannah Yeo, senior manager of color marketing at Benjamin Moore, recommends their paint color Chelsea Gray HC-168, which she describes as a more neutral shade with an undertone that leans more brown.
'From interior walls to exterior façade, there isn’t a limit for using this color—and kitchen cabinets are no exception,' she says. 'This color is on the darker side with a light reflectance value of 23, which makes it ideal for kitchens with lots of natural light.'
If you're working with a more compact kitchen space, it can feel a bit daring to use a darker color on your cabinetry, but there are plenty of ways to make it work. 'For small kitchens, consider painting lower cabinets or an island in this shade. Balance the light by pairing it with off-whites on upper cabinets or a marble countertop,' recommends Hannah.
5. Wood tones
It's not always about paint colors when it comes to timeless kitchen cabinets. Sometimes the best way to create and enduring scheme is to leave the cabinetry unpainted and embrace the natural wood finish.
'Natural wood tones are back in favor now (never went away in my opinion), and bring in the perfect warmth and texture for a kitchen,' says interior designer Susan Sutter. 'Pairing natural wood tones can be a little tricker so we tend to focus on lighter color stone tops in kitchen spaces to avoid a super dark room,' she adds.
Kristin Harrison agrees, adding 'raw wood tones are also something, in my opinion, that will never go out of style. You can use a variety of countertops with these finishes. The nice part about sticking with a classic cabinet color, or finish, like these, is that you can use a variety of color on your walls, or even wallpaper to spruce things up.'
The easiest way to achieve a timeless kitchen scheme is to stick to transitional tones that will stay in style regardless of trends. 'I always tell my clients to pick more neutral bones in a space (the more expensive choices) so that the less expensive things are easier to swap out when/if you get tired of a trend,' adds Kristin.
Even though natural wood tones cater to this, it's worth noting that wooden cabinets come in a variety of shades – some lean lighter, whilst others can feel a lot darker. If the latter applies to your kitchen, consider adding balance to avoid creating a kitchen that feels dim and uninviting. 'We like to suggest doing a portion of the space, such as the island, in a wood tone with a white or cream perimeter to balance the light and dark elements,' explains Susan.
Although white is a timeless kitchen cabinet color, it can feel too stark for some styles and spaces. In these instances, opting for a neutral color, such as a cream or beige, retains that classic feel but with a warmer undertone.
'Creams have been used in kitchens for hundreds of years and will continue to be used for their classic and clean look,' says Susan Sutter. 'Neutral colors allow for fun pops of color in metal elements, natural stone countertops, light fixtures, and tile backsplashes,' she adds.
In this kitchen, a warm neutral color has been choosing for the cabinetry, paired with a light counter and brass hardware – a perfect combination for a timeless kitchen scheme.
7. Navy blue
A timeless kitchen can be created by using deeper tones on the kitchen cabinetry, One shade that has proved popular is dark blue, particularly navy hues. This shade adds warmth and depth of color without feeling overbearing – this palette has endured for centuries, and shows no sign of falling out of style.
'Hale Navy is our classic navy blue that gives a sense of balance, stability and reassurance,' says Hannah Yeo. 'This gorgeous hue has been one of our top-sellers for decades, and there’s a good reason for it – decorating with Hale Navy simple as it's a versatile color that effortlessly brings a sleek sophistication,' she adds.
A stylish and practical choice for kitchen cabinetry, navy blue hues pair best with a white countertop (think marble or quartz) and hardware with a warmer finish, such as brass or gold.
There are so many cabinet colors that create a timeless kitchen scheme. Whites and neutrals are always a safe bet, with the ability to transcend trends and cater to more minimalist tastes. But for those who favor a more colorful interior, more saturated hues like pinks, blues and greens have endured for decades, and show no signs of teetering out of style.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a timeless kitchen cabinet color is to go with what you love – if you like it, it will never go out of style in your eyes.
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Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she 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 the best places to source pre-loved homeware.
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