What are the best color pairings for a neutral kitchen? Experts share their favorite schemes

If you're designing a neutral kitchen, these are the color pairings experts say you should consider

Neutral kitchen color pairings
(Image credit: Zinnia Design Studio/deVOL/Neptune)

Neutral kitchens are truly timeless and can work in almost any kitchen style, but how can you make sure you choose the right color pairings? It's important to still have a sense of contrast and depth in a neutral kitchen, and the colors you choose are key to this.

As you explore neutral kitchen ideas, you will notice that they never use solely one shade – whether it's different paint colors or a contrasting finish, the right color pairing will really elevate your kitchen scheme.

Whether you're starting a neutral refresh or fixing a white kitchen gone wrong, we've asked interior designers and color experts to share their favorite neutral kitchen color combinations for a seamless scheme.

5 kitchen color pairings for a neutral kitchen

There are so many kitchen color combinations to consider, especially when it comes to a neutral scheme. Whether you want to keep it classic with paired-back hues or introduce a more modern take on neutral color palettes, there's a color pairing here for every style and taste.

1. Cream and natural wood tones

things that make a kitchen look cheap, pale wood kitchen cabinetry, marble countertops and backsplash, open shelving, brass tap

(Image credit: Neptune)

For a simple yet classic kitchen color scheme, introduce a warm cream hue on the walls and ceiling, and pair it with natural wood cabinetry. This adds contrast to the space without introducing more saturated shades, and it's a combination that never dates.

'The soft, creamy tones enhance the natural warmth of the wood, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Subtle whites, like Swiss Coffee OC-45 and Dove Wing OC-18, provide a timeless backdrop that highlights the beauty of wood tones,' says Hannah Yeo, senior manager of color marketing at Benjamin Moore. 

'This combination results in a beautifully elegant space that instantly feels like home. The neutral palette also allows for easy incorporation of seasonal accent colors, adding versatility to the design,' she adds.

2. Warm neutrals and earthy tones

jeccica helgerson interior design neutral shaker kitchen with no wall cabinets and warm accessories

(Image credit: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design)

Neutrals don't just cover various shades of white – some more saturated hues also fall into this category. As such pairing a neutral color like beige or warm gray with shades of green can create a beautiful neutral kitchen scheme.

'Use colors that are easy to live with as kitchens tend to be the most used room in the home. Look to schemes that have integrity and that you won’t tire from - this doesn’t mean bland, just restful,' suggests Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball.

'Classic color palettes for kitchens will always look smart, especially on your cabinets. Earthy colors from mid neutrals like Bone or Stony Ground on your walls paired with more dramatic darks like Pantalon on woodwork will deliver a subtle warmth to the space,' he adds.

3. Beige and cream

Real Shaker kitchen in Mushroom by Devol

(Image credit: deVOL)

For a more classic neutral kitchen scheme, you can't go wrong by pairing beige and white. The beige hues add an enveloping warmth to the kitchen, while the white ensures the space feels bright and airy.

'Choosing neutral paint pairings for a kitchen can create a versatile and timeless look that complements a variety of design styles. One of our favorite combinations is beige and cream,' says Burcu Garnier, co-founder at Color Atelier.

'We typically choose a dominant color for the larger areas and main walls, and then the complementary color for backsplashes, accent walls or furniture pieces,' she adds.

4. Navy and white

Kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy paired with white walls and wooden accents

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Although a darker hue, navy is often considered a neutral color thanks to its ability to pair with almost any palette. Navy works particularly well in a kitchen, especially when paired with shades of white.

'Evening Dove, a captivating navy hue, grounds the room against a backdrop of crisp, clean white, like White Heron. This bold contrast adds intrigue to the space while maintaining a sense of balance and sophistication,' says Hannah.

'It infuses a modern twist into a traditional kitchen, lending it a sleek and regal ambiance. Small nods to metallic accents through fixtures and hardware add a touch of glamour and refinement,' she adds.

5. Mid gray and soft white

Neutral kitchen

(Image credit: Zinnia Design Studio)

An easy way to elevate a neutral kitchen is to introduce luxurious color combinations. This doesn't mean you have to introduce bright colors, a simple scheme of white and gray paired with marble can be really effective.

'Two colors I would pair for a neutral kitchen color scheme are Benjamin Moore’s Paper Doll, a soft white, along with another Benjamin Moore color, Shale, a mid-tone but solid grey,' says Patricia Knight, founder and creative director at Zinnia Design Studio.

'They are both strong enough to be visually distinct yet soft enough to easily complement each other. They also work well with a striking marble backsplash, like we featured in this recent project. The whole design statement then becomes greater than the sum of any one of its parts, which is always the goal!,' she adds.

From warm, paired-back hues to earthy tones paired with classic whites, there are plenty of color pairings to choose from for a neutral kitchen. Whether you opt for warm white paired with natural wood tones or a hit of navy, these kitchen color schemes are sure to feel fresh and timeless.

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

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.