Standing in front of a paint swatch display can be a little overwhelming, but I’ll let you in on a secret: There’s a better way to pick paint colors.

One of the most common mistakes people make is heading to the store to buy paint without a clear idea of what they want. That dark green you loved on the paint chip might not look as great on your cabinets.

The trick is to set one or two kitchen objectives before you even start looking at colors. Are you trying to make a tiny kitchen seem bigger? Do you need to feel more awake in the morning? Color might just make all the difference.

Believe it or not, color can affect your mood, your appetite, and even how big your kitchen looks.

The best color for your cabinets depends on your personal taste AND a bunch of other factors, including these four big ones:

  • How you want to feel in the kitchen
  • The climate where you live 
  • What colors are already present in the room
  • The size of your kitchen

You might be wondering: How do I know which colors do what? That’s the fun part. Let’s go through those factors one at a time.

How Do You Want to Feel?

There’s a reason you can be “red hot with anger,” “green with envy,” or “tickled pink.” Color affects how we feel, though it’s really more about specific shades than colors in general. 

Most people want to feel awake and happy in the kitchen. If that sounds like you, opt for warm (not cool) colors. Cool colors have a calming effect, which makes them great for some rooms, like the bedroom or bathroom, and not for others. 



Warm reds and yellows stimulate conversation, so they’re great choices if you often eat with the family or chat with guests in the kitchen. Just stay away from dark shades of red if you have a lot of cabinet space — too much can feel oppressive. A gentle orange-red is fun and helps spark your appetite (not a great choice if you’re on a diet, but perfect for encouraging your guests to eat up).

Warm greens and yellows are said to make people happier and more upbeat. Try parakeet green or maize. Though generally a cool color, blue is associated with freshness, and sapphire blue is energizing. 



Want something a little more understated? Neutral colors like browns and creams are gentle and friendly when you choose warm, inviting hues.  

Do You Live in a Harsh Climate?

Does your home feel like a sauna in July? Or are you shivering all through January? While paint colors can’t change the temperature, they might make you more comfortable by creating an atmosphere that opposes the weather.

For example, fresh colors like crisp blues, whites, and greens can help keep you stay cool if you hate suffering through long summers. If you live somewhere with cold winters, know that warm colors like reds, oranges, yellows, and browns will keep your kitchen cozy.



What Colors Are Already in the Room?

Make sure your cabinet color complements other paint and furniture choices in the kitchen. If you’ve already decided on bright yellow walls and red appliances, you might want to keep your cabinets more neutral. 

Want to color coordinate? Match your cabinet color to a rug, curtain, vase, or even a painting you love. “It's easier to find a paint color to match an accessory, than the other way around,” says Better Homes and Gardens.

These kitchen cabinets match the pitcher and soap on the counter. The owner even used the same color for the ceiling trim.



How Big Is Your Kitchen?

You guessed it. You can make your kitchen feel bigger or smaller with the right cabinet paint colors, especially if cabinets take up a lot of your kitchen space.

White famously makes a small room feel more spacious, but light and bright yellows, creams, and pale greens work just as well. This kitchen owner chose a soft off-white.



To make a sprawling room feel more intimate, choose warm, rich colors like reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. Dark colors typically make rooms seem smaller, but be careful not to go too dark. You don’t want to feel like you’re cooking in a cave!

I hope these tips help you find beautiful colors for your cabinets. Consider these factors and set some kitchen goals, but always trust your instincts. You’re the one who has to live with the color every day!

If you need more personalized advice, our designers would love to talk colors with you! Give us a call at (434) 509-0863 or schedule an appointment to get started.


Featured image photo: Steve Larkin