Color-blocking in home decor refers to using blocks of bold, contrasting colors together to make a statement. This eye-catching technique can transform any space. The kitchen is a great place to experiment with color-blocking. Vibrant color combinations on cabinets, tiles, accessories and more can give your kitchen a fun, contemporary vibe. Here’s how to color-block with confidence in the kitchen.

Choose Your Color Scheme

When color-blocking, choose 2-4 complementary colors to use throughout the space. Some popular combinations include:

  • Red, yellow and blue
  • Green, orange and purple
  • Pink, teal and yellow

Aim for colors with visual contrast. Don’t be afraid to use bright, saturated shades – color-blocking works best with hues that pack a punch.

Keep in mind the light in your kitchen. Cool tones like blues and greens work well in rooms with natural light. Warm shades like reds, oranges and yellows glow beautifully in spaces with less light.

Select Key Elements to Color-Block

With your color palette in mind, determine which kitchen elements will feature each color. Common options include:


Paint upper and lower cabinets in different colors for a striking look. Use one hue on the uppers and a contrasting color on lowers. Or paint perimeter cabinets one color and island cabinets another.


Tile a backsplash in one color and paint the wall above it a different hue. Or use two contrasting colors of tile.


Color-block with mix-and-match bar stools, pendant lights, appliance accents and more.


Install vinyl flooring or area rugs in a bold color combo.

Color-Block Cabinets

One of the most dramatic ways to use color-blocking is by painting the cabinets. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Choose cabinet paint with a semi-gloss or gloss finish for easy cleaning. Opt for cabinet-grade enamel paint.
  • Thoroughly clean cabinets first and sand to rough up the surface.
  • Prime cabinets before painting for better adhesion.
  • Use painter’s tape to mark off sections and avoid drips.
  • Apply 2-3 coats of paint for full coverage.
  • Remove doors/drawers to paint separately for easiest access.
  • Let paint fully cure for 30 days before using cabinets.

Painting the upper and lower cabinets different colors or the island a contrasting color packs a visual punch.

Add a Color-Block Backsplash

Make a big impact with a color-blocked backsplash. Use two complementary colors of ceramic, glass or stone tile. Or paint the wall above a different color than the tile.

When designing a two-tone backsplash:

  • Use a small tile size like 2×2 inches or smaller.
  • Alternate colors in an even grid pattern.
  • Outline sections in metal tile trim.
  • Incorporate patterned tiles for extra flair.

Take care to precisely lay out the design before installing.

Incorporate Colorful Accessories

Don’t stop at cabinetry and backsplashes. Accessorize with color-blocked:

  • Bar stools: Choose stools with seats that contrast against the base and legs. Or opt for transparent acrylic stools in fun colors.
  • Pendant lights: Hang pendant lights over a kitchen island in alternating colors that pop against your cabinetry.
  • Rugs: Define a breakfast nook or pantry with a colorful area rug. Look for easy-clean synthetic or machine-washable cotton.
  • Kitchenware: Display cookware and utensils on open shelves or in glass-front cabinets to show off bold hues.

Mix and match these accessories for an eclectic, energized look.

Use Strategic Accents

You don’t have to color-block entire surfaces to make an impact. Use strategic accents:

  • Paint an abstract pattern on one focal wall.
  • Stencil designs above backsplashes or on accent walls.
  • Add detachable wallpaper panels on low walls, ideologicals or furniture.
  • Display colorful dishware on open shelving.
  • Choose multicolored cookware like Dutch ovens or serveware.

Place these energizing hits of color near work zones or dining areas to maximize visual interest.

Achieve Balance

While color-blocking works best with bold contrast, you still want balance in the space. Here are tips:

  • Use one color more prominently, about 60-70% of the space.
  • Add plenty of neutrals. If surfaces like floors, countertops and large appliances are neutral, the color-blocking will stand out more.
  • Repeat accents of each color throughout the space for cohesion.
  • Add touches of metallic shine with faucets, light fixtures and hardware for glossy contrast.

The right balance of colorful accents and neutral foundation lets the color-blocking pop.

Frequently Asked Questions About Color-Blocking in the Kitchen

How many colors should you use when color-blocking a kitchen?

2-4 complementing colors work best. Limiting your palette prevents it from feeling busy or overwhelming.

What colors look good together in a kitchen?

Red and green, blue and orange, yellow and gray are examples of color pairings that naturally complement each other.

Should you color-block a small kitchen?

Yes, color-blocking is a great way to inject visual interest into a small kitchen. Stick to just two main colors and strategically place bold accents.

What kitchen elements can you color-block?

Cabinets, backsplashes, bar stools, rugs, pendant lighting and accessories like dishware offer opportunities for color-blocking.

Should you color-block upper and lower cabinets differently?

Painting upper and lower cabinets in contrasting colors can add appealing visual dimension to a kitchen. Keep countertops neutral to avoid an overly busy look.


Color-blocking the kitchen creates a lively, contemporary vibe. With strategic use of 2-4 bold, contrasting hues on cabinetry, backsplashes, accessories and more, you can transform the space. Balance the eye-catching colors with plenty of neutral foundation like countertops and large appliances. Feel empowered to color-block your kitchen with vibrant style using these techniques.