Adding color to your kitchen island is an easy and affordable way to transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Whether you want to make a subtle change or go for a bold, dramatic look, a colorful kitchen island can completely change the vibe of your cooking space. Here are some tips and ideas for using color on your kitchen island to create a customized focal point that reflects your style.

Benefits of a Colorful Kitchen Island

There are many advantages to incorporating color into your kitchen island design:

Draws the Eye

A colorful kitchen island naturally attracts attention and becomes a focal point in the kitchen. The color makes the island pop and stand out from the rest of the cabinetry and countertops. This is useful if you want to highlight a particularly attractive island shape or material.

Adds Personality

Kitchen island colors allow you to infuse personality and character into the space. You can use bold or vibrant hues to make a statement, or soft muted tones for a more relaxed feel. The color you choose says something about your style.

Establishes a Theme

Coordinating the island color with other accents in the kitchen ties the whole room together. It establishes a coherent theme and color palette for the space. For example, pick out one color from the backsplash and use the same hue on the island.

Provides Contrast

A brightly colored island contrasts sharply against natural wood or stainless steel appliances, making these features stand out more. The color contrast can make your kitchen feel more energetic and lively.

Appears Larger

Darker colors like navy blue or charcoal may make a small kitchen island appear larger than it is. Light reflects less off darker colors, so they recede visually. Lighter colors have the opposite effect.

Easy to Change

Repainting a kitchen island with a fresh color is one of the simplest DIY upgrades you can do. Because it’s usually detached from cabinetry, you avoid the hassle of having to paint an entire set of cabinets.

More Budget-Friendly

Adding a splash of color is an affordable way to update the kitchen. Painting or staining the island costs a fraction of a full remodel and doesn’t require changing materials or layout.

Choosing an Island Color

With so many color options available, it can be challenging to select the right hue for your kitchen island. Keep these tips in mind when deciding on an island color:

Consider the Overall Color Scheme

Look at the color palette you already have established in the kitchen, including the walls, backsplash, countertops, and cabinets. The island color should coordinate rather than clash. Use a complementary or contrasting hue, rather as opposed to matching cabinetry colors.

Factor in Lighting

The amount and type of natural and artificial lighting in your kitchen impacts how colors appear. Bold island colors like red or orange may overpower a space with abundant natural light. Soft neutral or pastel hues are more flexible.

Match Your Style

Traditional kitchens tend to use classic colors like navy, maroon, or dark green. Contemporary spaces can handle more vibrant shades like yellow, bright white, or glossy black. Pick a color that aligns with the kitchen’s overall look.

Consider Nearby Rooms

Think about the color scheme of any adjoining rooms and whether you want the kitchen island to coordinate or intentionally contrast with adjoining spaces. Tie it together or make it pop.

Focus on Function

While color can add style, also think about functionality. Darker colors can conceal cooking messes and stains better than light. Matte finishes hide fingerprints. Glossy surfaces add glare. Consider your needs.

Visualize the Full Effect

It’s hard to predict exactly how a color will look in a space until you see it in context. Buy sample pots of paint colors and paint swatches on the island to see options in the real-world setting before fully committing to a color.

Ask the Experts

Interior designers and paint retailers can be invaluable resources for selecting an appropriate, stylish color for your unique kitchen. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance if you’re uncertain where to start.

Island Color Ideas

Here are some popular kitchen island color ideas that can inspire you:

Bright White

A bright white island has a clean, crisp look, especially when paired with darker cabinets and counters. The striking color combo makes the island really stand out. White reflects light well, keeping things feeling open.

White kitchen island

A bright white island contrasts beautifully with darker kitchen cabinets.

Navy Blue

Deep navy blue makes a dramatic color choice for a kitchen island. It has a sophisticated, nautical vibe. Navy pairs well with white, natural wood, and stainless steel. With the right lighting, it can read almost black.

Blue kitchen island

A navy blue island adds dramatic flair.

Light Gray

For a more neutral scheme, try a light gray island color. Gray is versatile enough to work in both modern and traditional kitchens. Different paint finishes like high-gloss or matte will yield very different effects.

Gray kitchen island

Light gray islands have an airy, neutral look.


Yellow is a cheerful color that infuses any kitchen with energy and brightness. Mustard and golden yellow work well in traditional cottage kitchens. Vibrant lemon yellow pops in modern spaces. Avoid neon bright shades in small kitchens.

Yellow kitchen island

A sunny yellow island instantly brightens up any kitchen.


Green is a trendy and inviting kitchen island color option. Sage green has a calming, earthy vibe. Light minty green appears fresh and cheerful. Deep emerald green looks luxurious and sophisticated.

Green kitchen island

Green islands lend a welcoming, nature-inspired feel.


A black kitchen island makes a bold statement. It has an elegant, modern look. Black pairs nicely with stainless steel, white cabinets, or natural wood. Consider a chalkboard-painted black island for function and flair.

Black kitchen island

A black island can create a sophisticated focal point.


Red is perfect for adding drama and making the island the center of attention. Cherry red works in traditional spaces. Fire engine red looks modern. Deeper burgundy red has a luxurious vibe. Red pairs well with stainless, black, and wood tones.

Red kitchen island

A cherry red island pumps up the visual interest.

How to Add Color

There are several techniques for adding color to your kitchen island. Consider these options:


The simplest option is to paint the island. Use high-quality cabinet paint in a semi-gloss or gloss finish for a durable, wipeable surface. Make sure to properly prepare and prime the island before painting.


For a natural wood island, use stain or colored glaze to tint the surface to the desired shade. Stain allows the wood grain to show through while infusing rich, translucent color. Wipe on gel stain for a more opaque coverage.


Penetrating dye colors the wood from the inside out for a permanent color change. It soaks into the grain rather than coating the surface only. You can layer different dyes to create custom hues.


Self-adhesive vinyl wraps can transform the island surface. Choose from abstract patterns, faux finishes like marble or distressed wood, and solid colors. This removable option is great for rentals.


Installing tile on the island surface adds pops of color. Opt for wipeable porcelain or ceramic tile. Make sure tile coordinates or contrasts pleasingly with the rest of the kitchen tile.


Swapping out dated hardware for new knobs, pulls, and handles provides an easy accent. Opt for colorful hardware that ties into the overall kitchen color motif.

Combining Island Colors

Want to incorporate more than one color? Try these ideas:

Contrasting Base and Top

Choose one color to paint the island base cabinets and a different color or finish for the countertop. For example, try a navy base with a white marble top or a black base with a natural wood top.

Horizontal Divided Color

Paint the lower cabinets one color and the upper cabinets another shade. You can also paint the island sides a different hue than the front. Just tape off straight edges for clean painted lines.

Ombre Effect

Blend two colors together so they fade from light to dark, creating a fun ombre island. blues and greens work well. The fade can go vertically or horizontally.

Geometric Patterns

Paint, stencil, or use self-adhesive tiles to create triangles, stripes, diamonds or other geometric patterns on the island exterior using contrasting colors.

Things to Consider

Keep the following tips in mind to ensure your colorful island complements your kitchen:

  • Test colors first to confirm they work with the intended space. Paint large sample swatches.
  • Use the 60-30-10 rule as a guide: 60% dominant color, 30% secondary, 10% accent.
  • Remember lighter colors visually expand a space while darker hues feel cozy and intimate.
  • Matte, flat, or eggshell paint finishes help hide imperfections on islands.
  • Semi-gloss or gloss paint is ideal for high-moisture areas like behind the sink.
  • Make sure the island color doesn’t clash with other finishes like granite countertops or tile backsplashes.
  • Coordinating wall, trim, window and floor colors will make the island hue feel cohesive.
  • Adding color below the countertop makes the bottom feel anchored rather than floating visually.
  • Soft muted colors are easier to match and complement than bold bright hues.

Maintenance Considerations

While color instantly transforms the look of a kitchen island, keeping it looking its best involves some maintenance:

  • Use oil-based primers under dark paint colors to prevent bleed-through.
  • Avoid very dark stains on light woods which can appear uneven as stain absorbs differently.
  • Seal stained or painted islands with polyurethane for added protection, especially on tabletops.
  • Spot clean painted islands frequently to prevent oil buildup leading to yellowing.
  • Reseal grout around tile regularly to prevent stains and mildew growth.
  • Use cutting boards and coasters to protect the surface from knife scratches and glass rings.
  • Clean spills promptly to avoid permanent stains, which may require redoing paint or stain.
  • Expect to touch up paint jobs every 2-3 years and fully repaint every 4-5 years as needed.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about adding color to kitchen islands:

Should my kitchen island match my cabinets?

It’s common for the island to use complementary colors or finishes that don’t exactly match the rest of the cabinetry. This helps the island stand out. However, you don’t want wildly clashing styles either.

What sheen of paint should I use?

Semi-gloss or gloss paints withstand cleaning and moisture best on high-use islands. Matte finishes hide imperfections well but show scuffs over time. Satin/eggshell sheens offer a compromise between the two.

Can I use wall paint on a kitchen island?

You can, but cabinet paints formulated for the kitchen hold up better. The harder finish resists moisture, grease stains, and yellowing. Some paints like Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel provide superior durability.

Should I get my island professionally spray painted?

For the hardest, most durable painted finish, professional spray painting is best. The equipment allows for perfectly uniform coverage. But brush painting works for DIYers on a budget.

How do I repaint an existing island?

First clean and lightly sand the surfaces, then apply primer specifically made for painting kitchen cabinets and islands to prepare the surface. Caulk any cracks and put painter’s tape around edges. Then apply two coats of cabinet paint, sanding lightly between coats.

What colors make a small kitchen appear bigger?

Light, bright colors like white, light gray, or pale blue will reflect light and make a small kitchen island seem larger. Dark colors tend to feel more closed in. Also, use semi-gloss or gloss sheens which spread light around.


The right kitchen island color can transform the entire look, feel, and function of your kitchen. Whether you want an understated neutral or vibrant hue, a colorful island never fails to make a statement. Consider the existing color scheme, materials, lighting and your personal style when selecting an island color. Paint, stain, tile, dye, wraps and more can all infuse any shade imaginable to spice up your kitchen island with color. With the proper prep and maintenance, your colorful focal point will stay looking great for years to come.