If we said “red,” you’d think: lipstick, a fire truck, or Target long before your mind ever went to kitchen cabinets. That’s because the cool side of the color spectrum—navy, hunter green, matte black—has dominated our renovations for far too long. Now it’s time shades like rust, ruby, and berry get their fair share of the limelight. Once just thought of as a favorite for farmhouses, the hue is slowly making its way into cool, contemporary spaces, none of which scream “stop sign.” Here are a few ways to incorporate the eye-catching color into your space. 

Stick to Just the Lowers

If you aren’t sure about committing to a full-on red kitchen, paint only the lower cabinets. An autumnal red like crimson is as close to neutral as you can get. Poland-based architecture firm KW Studio shows us a little goes a long way in this tiny apartment. 

Take an Inside-Out Approach

A bright idea worth stealing from these kitchen-adjacent built-ins designed by Jessica Helgerson? Let the insides of your cupboards be the statement. What gives this bookcase (or dishware display, depending on what you put in it) playful Pop Art vibes is the combination of four shades of red and orange.  

Resist Hardware

Simple circular cutouts that are finger-size are the way to go if you want your red kitchen cabinets to look super-seamless. Take it from British interior stylist Heather Milner, who gave her IKEA frames an extra dose of Scandi with fresh fronts from Naked Doors, now painted in Little Greene Paint Company’s Adventurer

Wood Is Your Friend

While butcher block is technically a classic farmhouse kitchen element, the wood plays nicely with sleek red cabinets because the tones are in the same general color family. The surface gives it an earthy touch, while something cooler like stainless steel would bring the whole room back to the ’90s. 

Dunk Everything in the Brightest Shade

So you want to take the color beyond just the lower cabinets—go all the way with it and cover everything in a happy red like strawberry or candy apple. We’re talking the walls, light switches, toaster, pepper grinder (anything you can think of). This level of commitment gives new meaning to a tiny footprint. 

Channel the ’80s

Before you think about ripping out melamine cabinets from the 1980s, consider bright cherry. Apartment 528 owner India Shannon revived hers with just a paintbrush. Psst: You can skip sanding and priming altogether because the plasticky surface absorbs pigment well. 

Ward Off Shiny Metal

If you are after that quintessential cottage farmhouse look, then don’t let your appliances show. Everything but the oven is concealed in this space, designed by Plain English, which features cupboards painted in the brand’s dark Rusty Nail color. 

Find Red’s Friends

No fancy ornamentation means you can have fun with the color combos on the flat panels. This Reform-designed space features green, blue, peach, and brown—and to top it all off, Viola marble countertops. 

Skip the Marble Aisle

For a sexy, smoky vibe, designer Michelle Nussbaumer paired these cabinets, swathed in Benjamin Moore’s El Cajon Clay, with coordinating tempest quartzite. The stone will run you $100 per square foot, but the end result is, dare we say, fire

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