What color is good for a country kitchen? 7 ways to pick the perfect palette

Find the perfect hue for your rustic kitchen with this on-point advice from color-savvy design experts

dark gray pale gray and green country kitchen looks
(Image credit: Kitchen Makers Burbidge & Son / Artisans of Devizes)

More than anything, the best colors for a country kitchen are often influenced by the view outside your window. Natural hues, whether that’s from prairie-inspired yellows, soft meadow greens, the blues of rivers, lakes and sky, moody mountain tones of green, gray and brown, or the bright shades of a cottage garden border, all feature. 

Neutral tones are also key, but again these have an organic influence – milk white and cream, stone and putty shades, gentle pebble gray and coal black.

Bring this approach to nature-inspired color to your kitchen ideas and you’ll have the great foundation for a country-style kitchen.

What color is good for a country kitchen: the expert rulebook

You can introduce color to your country kitchen ideas in many ways – across cabinetry, through textiles, tile and your choice of countertop. 

‘Painted woods can bring color and charm into these spaces,’ suggests Sarah Barnard, Founder of Sarah Barnard Design. ‘To keep things feeling natural, select colors inspired by nature. In a recent project, sky blue cabinets paired with a warm-toned brick chimney helped to lend a coastal element to the country aesthetic.’

Decide whether you want to opt for full-on colorful kitchen ideas, to use color as an accent within more neutral kitchen ideas, or go for a majority white kitchen that pares back the country palette.

1. Add a blue or green island

Shaker style country kitchen with dark blue island and copper worktop and lights in 12th century Cotswolds country house

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Island paint color ideas can bring your favourite shade front and center of your country kitchen, especially when you take the predominant tone from the natural landscape – either blue or green.

‘Neutral tones are the overarching theme when it comes to colors for your country kitchen, though some projects will have an accent color for their island like a stoney blue or earthy green,’ explains Teri Simone, Head of Design & Marketing for Nieu Cabinet Doors.

2. Layer pale shades for warmth and depth

gray larder cabinet dresser with glazed doors with white kitchen behind

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers Burbidge & Son)

Lisa Slack, Head of Product at Thomas Sanderson, is another advocate of neutral tones as good colors for a country kitchen – but there’s a trick to making them look good.

‘Neutral color palettes are the key for creating the country style in the kitchen, especially the layering of different minimalist shades of whites, creams and greys,’ Lisa says. ‘Not only will a neutral color scheme crisp up your kitchen providing a sophisticated look, but  lighter-coloured walls will make any space feel bigger than it actually is.’

One option is to go for cream kitchen ideas that go across all surfaces. You could start with a warm cream for your cabinetry, with a lighter tone for walls, and a warm stone floor. 

Or for a cooler take on the neutral look, choose white cabinets and tile, with pale gray accents for depth, as in this kitchen from Kitchen Makers from Burbidge & Son.

Whether warm or cool, both schemes will create a harmonious, relaxed look that’s the epitome of country kitchen style.

3. Use brick and stone to add color

rustic kitchen with exposed brick and white painted walls, terracotta floor tiles and modern kitchen island in the center

(Image credit: Cult Furniture)

It’s not just natural colors that are key to a country kitchen; it’s natural materials, too. Choose surfaces and structural materials wisely, especially when organizing a country-style kitchen, and they will contribute effortlessly to your country color palette. These also work particularly well for layering color into traditional kitchen ideas and decorating schemes.

‘Brick helps create an authentic look and feel that reminds you of an old-fashioned home where everything was made by hand,’ says Utah-based interior designer Linda Hasse, of The Project Girl.

‘Stone can be used in several ways including countertops, backsplashes and floors. It also helps give your kitchen a rustic feel while making it seem more spacious than it really is.

‘Finally metal can be used as cabinet hardware or as accents throughout your kitchen such as pendant lights over your stovetop or ovens.’ Choose warm tones of copper, bronze and brass to bring burnished color to your country kitchen.

4. Pair pale blue with dark gray

dark grey green kitchen cabinets with pale blue walls and open wooden shelves with beamed ceiling above

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Country kitchen colors are used to convey a sense of ease and welcome. So while dark hues are cocooning and cozy, they can sometimes seem too heavy in a rustic scheme.

‘The answer is to play a paler tone against the darker shade, as in this country kitchen color scheme from Benjamin Moore paints,’ says interiors stylist and author, Sara Bird.

‘Dream-team colors good for a country kitchen include duck egg blue and deep gray; primrose yellow with deep green; and pale pink with either navy or plum.’

5. Add in a bouquet of tonal colors

colorful kitchen with scallop pendant light

(Image credit: David Hunt Lighting)

This vibrant and characterful country kitchen, with scallop-detail pendants from David Hunt Lighting, features shades of olive, pine green, deep blue and coral, over a base of pale putty pink.

‘Rather than a color clash, the blues and greens work harmoniously together – with the jolt of brighter coral to enliven the scheme,’ says global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens.

If you’re not confident about mixing and matching different hues, use the color wheel as your guide. Alternatively, take a photo of a bouquet of flowers or a vibrant garden border, and see which colors work beautifully side by side in nature. 

6. Embrace darker shades like charcoal and black

Haddon Charcoal kitchen cabinets with white apron front butlers sink and shiplap walls

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers Burbidge & Son)

Black may seem the antithesis of a good color for a country kitchen, but it can work beautifully across shiplap walls and wooden cabinetry.

‘Majority black kitchen ideas, or black and white kitchen ideas, can be great for a country scheme, especially when lifted with natural wood furniture and accessories that introduce warmth and texture,’ says stylist Sara Bird. ‘Decorative elements such as artworks, plants and displays of kitchenalia will also soften the look, and bring an eclectic feel to your dark kitchen cabinet ideas.’

7. Add sunny yellow to a country kitchen

Kitchen with an island in Sunflower chalky matt from Sanderson Design Group

(Image credit: Sunflower chalky matt from Sanderson Design Group)

Still wondering what color is good for a country kitchen? Add yellow to your list.

‘Heritage ochre, rich buttercup yellow and pale primrose are just some of the many yellow tones that suit a country kitchen,’ says Homes & Garden global editor in chief, Lucy Searle. ‘These natural tones can lift a dark scheme, form the foundation of a bright and sunny kitchen, or add zest as an accent in a neutral scheme.’

If you're considering yellow kitchen ideas, just remember that yellow paints can look very different depending on the amount and tone of light in your room. Test out lots of different shades before you make your final choice, not forgetting to pair them with the other colors in your scheme so you can be sure they complement each other. 

What are country style colors?

Country colors are inspired by the natural shades you would see in nature, and range from the darkest tar and charcoal to the palest sky blue and cloud white.

'In the US and Europe, what you won't tend to see in a country palette are artificial, neon or excessively bright tones, even if you might see these in a natural habitat – these would tend to be categorised as tropical tones,' explains stylist Sara Bird.

Andrea Childs

Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.