Adding colorful accents to an eat-in kitchen can really make the space pop. Vibrant hues on walls, cabinetry, counters, backsplashes and décor elements infuse energy and personality into the room. When done right, a colorful eat-in kitchen becomes an inviting, cheerful hub for family and friends to gather. Here are some tips for using color to create a lively, functional eat-in kitchen.

Selecting Colors for an Eat-In Kitchen

Choosing the right colors is key to creating a cohesive, appealing look in your eat-in kitchen. Here are some considerations when selecting colors:

  • Coordinate with your overall home’s color palette – Pick one or two colors from elsewhere in your home to pull the eat-in kitchen into the general aesthetic. Tie it in with accent walls, artwork, rugs etc.
  • Consider the size of the space – Bigger rooms can handle bolder, darker colors. Smaller eat-in kitchens feel more bright and open with lighter, airy colors.
  • Determine the mood you want – Warm tones like reds, oranges and yellows create an energetic, inviting atmosphere. Cool blues, greens and violets have a more relaxing effect.
  • Combine colors carefully – Use the color wheel as a guide. Complementary colors (opposite each other on the wheel) provide contrast. Analogous colors (next to each other) are harmonious.
  • Use neutrals strategically – Off-setting bold colors with neutral walls, counters or cabinets prevents clashing.
  • Remember the light – The direction and quality of light impacts how colors appear. Test samples at different times of day.

Using Colorful Cabinetry

Replacing drab cabinets with vibrant painted or stained ones adds huge visual impact. Some tips:

  • Stick to one colorful hue to avoid looking too busy.
  • For a two-tone look, choose cabinet and island colors from the same color family.
  • Make lower cabinets neutrals to ground the space, with bright uppers for personality.
  • Coordinate cabinet colors with your counters, backsplash and flooring so everything ties together.
  • For a playful cottage feel, opt for cheery pastel cabinet colors like mint, yellow or sky blue.
  • Richer, bolder cabinet colors like navy, emerald and magenta make a dramatic style statement.

Painting or Tiling a Vibrant Backsplash

The backsplash is the perfect place to inject color because it takes up a relatively small area but gets noticed frequently.

  • Opt for glossy, colorful mosaic tiles in eye-catching patterns and textures.
  • Use subway tiles in bright solids or multicolored mixes laid in a herringbone or stacked pattern.
  • Choose a painted backsplash in any color imaginable – match your cabinets or go bold.
  • Incorporate designs like Moroccan-style tiles or artwork tiles for a pop of pattern.
  • Carry the backsplash color onto nearby walls for a cohesive look.

Adding Color Through Décor

Paint, tile and cabinetry are not the only ways to work in color. Small décor elements like:

  • Colored appliances like a retro mint green fridge or bright red mixer really stand out.
  • Patterned, colorful window treatments in complementary hues.
  • Vibrant rugs underfoot.
  • Ceramic kitchen canisters in different bright shades.
  • A multicolored fruit bowl.
  • Ornaments like colored jars, vases and soap dispensers.
  • Vintage colorful signage for decoration.

All add punches of color throughout the eat-in kitchen.

Creating a Color Scheme

Some examples of color combinations that work beautifully in eat-in kitchens:

Analogous Color Scheme

Using adjacent colors on the color wheel, like orange, yellow-orange and yellow, creates a harmonious look. The colors are familiarly related while still providing enough contrast.

Complementary Color Scheme

Pairing opposites from the color wheel, like blue and orange or red and green, makes the colors really stand out against each other. This provides a vibrant, energetic feel.

Triadic Color Scheme

Choosing three colors spaced equally around the color wheel (forming a triangle), like red, yellow and blue, offers visual interest from colors that work nicely together.

Neutral Color Scheme

An all-neutral palette with variations of whites, tans, browns and blacks has a calm, airy effect. Introduce pops of color through accessories.

Single Color Scheme

Using just one dominant color and various tones of it throughout the space provides cohesion. Add textures and warm metals to give it depth.

Tips for Using Color Successfully

  • Stick to 3-4 colors maximum so the palette doesn’t get muddy.
  • Balance brights with neutrals to avoid looking overwhelming.
  • Repeating a color in different places around the kitchen ties everything together.
  • Add interest by playing with tints and shades of your main colors.
  • Ensure proper lighting so colors render accurately. Mixing natural and task lighting works best.

With the right combination of colorful elements, you can create an eat-in kitchen that truly expresses your personal style!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose paint colors for my eat-in kitchen?

Consider the amount of natural light, the size of the space, and colors used elsewhere in your home. Neutral shades like warm grays or tans work well on walls, while you can be bold with accent walls, backsplashes, cabinets and décor.

What colors make a small eat-in kitchen look bigger?

Stick to light, airy paint colors like soft yellow, light blue, or pale green on the walls and ceiling. Darker colors can feel oppressive. Save deeper hues for small accents.

Should eat-in kitchen cabinets match appliances?

It’s not mandatory, but coordinating cabinetry and appliances creates a unified, built-in look. Stainless steel appliances pair well with white, gray or wood cabinets. Colorful appliances pop against neutrals.

How do I add color to a rental eat-in kitchen?

Use removable décor like brightly patterned contact paper on counters, colorful artwork, vibrant curtains or tableware. Stick to neutral walls and floors.

What paint finish is best for eat-in kitchen walls?

Eggshell or satin finishes withstand moisture, stains and cleaning better than flat. Semi-gloss is very durable but can show imperfections. Matte finishes hide flaws but require gentler cleaning.


An artful use of color in an eat-in kitchen – through paint, tile, cabinetry, décor and more – can take the space from drab to fab. Bring vibrance into the heart of your home with hues that reflect your personal tastes. A colorful, cheerful eat-in kitchen sets the stage for years of memorable meals and conversations shared. With practical tips on selecting a cohesive color scheme and properly implementing it throughout the space, you can feel confident to get creative with color in your own eat-in kitchen makeover.