Maybe You Should Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Many, Many Different Colors
Seven compelling reasons to go bold.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:06 AM
All-white or all-wood cabinets are typically an easy choice in a kitchen. They’re simple and timeless, so you won’t get tired of them, right? Well, perhaps not.
Sure, it might be the safe choice to stick to classics in the kitchen, but there’s something compelling about a color-blocked look that makes the prospect of painting all your cabinets a different color feel extremely exciting. After all, if you ever get tired of it, you can just paint over them—but something tells us that this playful trend is only poised to grow more popular.
You don’t have to rip out your cabinets and install new ones to get this look; some types of paint work just fine! If your cabinets are already laminated (as are many from IKEA), just be sure to use a shellac-based primer or chalk paint (which doesn’t require a primer)—otherwise your paint won’t hold and it will likely peel right off. If you’re willing to invest in custom cabinetry, however, you can get cabinets in the colors of your choosing without having to put in the elbow grease.
For the most modern look, this trend works best with slab-style cabinets, as the grooves found in Shaker-style or even beadboard ones can overcomplicate the color-blocked effect of the kitchen as a whole. Keep the style simple and have fun with color, and the end result should look just right. Now, time to pick those colors.
For all-over autumn vibes
Stockholm-based design studio Bedow designed this entirely custom kitchen using a pine plywood frame and cabinet fronts made out of Valchromat, a type of engineered colorful wood. For the DIY version, start with light wood cabinets and paint only the doors.
For a diverse display
Another totally custom design, this kitchen by Belgian architect Dries Otten shows that a mix of plywood, perfoboard, and laminated doors works to create a distinctly playful area. Consider this proof that accent colors need not match nor appear more than once in a space. A soft panel of blush ties everything together.
For ultimate drama
If you want a high-impact look, go all out by color-blocking your entire cabinet arrangement. This design by Dries Otten keeps things fresh with a selection of five very different, very vibrant hues. If you go bold on your cabinets, don’t be afraid to throw in some more refined details, too. Here, a subtle rainbow terrazzo countertop and a brass backsplash are the chef’s kiss.
For small-space revitalization
Just because you don’t have a lot of cabinet space doesn’t mean you have to play it safe. Polish design firm In Architekci livens up a primarily blue kitchen with a column of light teal and a touch of baby pink. A few peeks of wood paneling give it additional depth.
For an updated classic
Mahogany cabinets may be timeless, but Veneer Designs proves that a few pops of color go a long way to making them feel more contemporary. The shades and spacing of the accent cabinets feel serendipitous, but additional accents throughout the open-concept kitchen and living room pull it all together.
For an on-trend pairing
We can’t get enough blue and orange, and the combination feels just right in this breezy custom Australian kitchen by Woodbeast. Four large-scale, strategically placed colorful panels on both cabinets and island are enough to make this kitchen distinctive.
For an immersive approach
Dare you use the same color on your countertops as you do on your floors? This space, imagined by Yaroslav Priadka, makes a compelling case to do exactly that. Yellow and blue might not be your go-to combination, but when the colors are muted they can work well together. A little bit of taupe mellows things out a bit, too.
See more colorful ideas: 12 Super Colorful IKEA Finds We Can’t Live Without It’s Time to Ask Your Grout, “Are You Working Hard Enough?” If These 10 Color-Blocked Walls Don’t Convince You to Reach for the Brush, I Don’t Know What Will