An easy and inexpensive way to make an impact in your kitchen is to opt for a change of cabinet color. But which is the best color to paint your kitchen cabinets, according to design professionals?
White remains the most popular of kitchen cabinet colors for homeowners by a mile according to research done by cabinetry company Plain & Fancy. And, the sage green craze of the last few years may finally be on its way out. Interior designers and realtors back these findings, and while neutrals remain the most popular choices, blue kitchen ideas remain perennially popular.
Ahead, we’ve polled five interior designers on their kitchen trend predictions and favorite hues for the most used room in your home. So, whether you’re looking for a fresh slate or a bold statement, read on for the four most popular kitchen cabinet paint colors for 2023.
What is the best color to paint kitchen cabinets?
'When you're considering kitchen color ideas, my best advice is to choose a cabinetry color that won't date, and which you can easily redecorate around,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens.
'It is incredibly easy to repaint walls to suit your mood, but not so cabinetry. So the best kitchen cabinet colors are, by default, usually neutral.'
What to consider when choosing kitchen cabinet colors?
- Longevity: how quickly will your color choice date? Will future buyers like it?
- Easy color scheming: how easy is it to redecorate around, or will it limit you?
- Room orientation: north- and east-facing rooms suit warmer colors; south- and west-facing rooms can take cooler colors.
- Room's daylight: it's always best to choose kitchen colors to maximize daylight.
- Room size: lighter colors make a small kitchen look bigger; darker ones make any kitchen look smaller, which can be a bonus in large spaces you want to make feel cozy.
White kitchen cabinetry is the easiest way to incorporate a light and airy feeling into your kitchen – especially for those with tight square footage or limited natural light.
Not only a great choice for small kitchens, white paint is a timeless staple that will withstand shifting trends and varying design styles, plus it's loved by realtors because it's the ultimate neutral that buyers tend to like most – 'And, after all, it's often the kitchen that sells a house, or breaks the sale,' says Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief.
'White works particularly well in rooms lit by warm natural daylight, which means south- and west-facing spaces,' she concludes.
Instead of choosing an all-white palette, Mimi recommends investing in dramatic kitchen countertop ideas. ‘From natural stones to man-made composites that have layers of warm, earthy colors,’ Marian says.
She adds that vibrant clay, porcelain, or cement tiles are a similar alternative to add a modern twist to your all-white scheme – to keep your palette up to date.
Lick's White 07 Matt is a good white paint color choice, and you can shop it here.
Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.
Cream or Beige
For those who wish to opt for a neutral, but don’t love the cold, starkness of true white, designer Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors recommends an off-white or warm beige.
'This color family is warm, timeless and pairs beautifully with tile and stone,' she explains.
'Cream kitchen ideas are perfect choice for anyone who loves the idea of a white kitchen, but who has a north- or east-facing room, which will feel cold in pure white,' says Lucy Searle. 'Decorating with beige, a slightly muddier tone than cream, has become incredibly popular recently – in fact if you're wondering what color is replacing gray, the answer is: beige.
'Where cream can be used with darker countertops, however, I would consider using pale-colored counters with beige, to keep the color balance just right.'
Not only is cream/beige versatile enough to work with both modern kitchen and traditional kitchen ideas and design styles, but they also increasing in popularity as Behr chose an off-white as their color of the year for 2023.
Molly Torres Portnof is a New York City-based interior designer who specializes in transforming residential spaces. Having studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she soon struck out on her own, launching DATE Interiors. She provides both form and function in the spaces she designs by doggedly finding, foraging, or creating just the right personality-filled element
Neutral Two Toned
Two tone kitchens, in largely neutral tones, allow you to keep the cabinetry color easy to redecorate around, but add an extra layer of interest.
'I like to use two coordinating colors for cabinetry, because I feel like it adds depth, especially if the walls are white,' says Los Angeles-based interior designer Linda Hayslett. 'Always paint the bottom cabinets darker in order to ground the room.'
'Neutral' doesn't need to me white or earthy tones, however. Increasingly, natural shades, such as blue and green, are seen as neutrals, as long as you pick colors that soothe rather than shout. For a true impact, keep the two shades in the same color family, like this space that uses both a light and dark blue.
Linda Hayslett is a Los-Angeles-based interior designer that specializes in residential projects. With a rich fashion and entertainment background, Hayslett moved to LA in 2003 and became a designer after working as a celebrity fashion stylist. Linda was recently named one of House Beautiful's 2020 Next Wave Designer to watch and was 1 of 8 designers for Wholehome 2021.
Glidden and PPG’s Color of the Year for 2023, rich teal is taking home interiors by storm. Beloved for its versatility and ability to coordinate with both warm and cool tones at once, teal is taking the place of last year’s all-green trend.
Pair with dark countertops for a cocooning and moody effect, or choose warm metallics, such as in the kitchen above, for a warmer feel. .
What color kitchen cabinets never go out of fashion?
White kitchen cabinets never go out of style because they are so easy to decorate around. So, whether you like to switch up your decor regularly, or are looking to invest in a kitchen with long-term appeal, perhaps to future home buyers, the classic white kitchen is unbeatable. Add warmth in flooring and countertop materials, and color with wall paints.
Is matt or gloss better for kitchen cabinets?
If you are painting kitchen cabinets, always consider a matt or satin finish over a high gloss. This is for two reasons: first, gloss kitchens are not in fashion, so your kitchen will quickly look dated; second, matt or satin finishes are easier to keep looking clean since smudges and fingerprints don't show as obviously as on gloss.
Perhaps there are no surprises that design experts have nominated safe choices as the best color to paint kitchen cabinets: after all, the kitchen is the single most important room in affecting the sale price of a house. That's not to say you can't choose bolder cabinet colors if you love them and don't plan to sell your home any time soon. It is, after all, perfectly possible to repaint kitchen cabinets to a more neutral shade when you are ready to move on and leave your kitchen behind.
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Kate McGregor is a freelance design writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Covering everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, she has written for both print and digital publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, House Beautiful, and Architectural Digest’s Clever. When not writing or on the hunt for the ideal taper candle holder, you can find Kate attempting to learn to knit (again), or perfecting her banana bread recipe.
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