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What are the best colors for kitchen and dining?

What are the best colors for kitchen and dining?

When it comes to choosing colors for your kitchen and dining spaces, there are a lot of factors to consider. The colors you choose for these high-traffic areas of your home can have a big impact on the overall feel and functionality of the rooms. Selecting the right kitchen and dining colors involves thinking about the tone you want to set, which colors will make the space seem brighter or darker, coordinating between multiple hues, and how color relates to mood and appetite. With some planning and knowledge of color psychology, you can pick paint colors, furniture, decor items, and accessories that will help create an inviting and visually appealing kitchen and dining space.

How Color Impacts Mood and Appetite

Color is a powerful design tool because different hues, tones, and shades evoke different psychological and physiological responses in people. So when decorating your kitchen and dining spaces, it helps to have an understanding of how color can influence emotions and behaviors like appetite. Here is an overview of how some common color families tend to impact people:

Color Family Mood & Appetite Impact
Reds, oranges, yellows Increase energy, arousal, hunger
Blues, greens Decrease appetite, calming
Neutrals like white, beige Clean, airy, appetite neutral
Grays, blacks Sophisticated but can dampen mood

In general, warm and bright colors are appetite stimulants, creating a lively atmosphere, while cool hues have a relaxing effect that can indirectly decrease hunger. But there are exceptions, like the bright red used in many fast food chains to stimulate quick eating. It’s also true that darker shades of any color will lower light and energy. So think about the dining experience you want to cultivate as you choose your color scheme.

Factors in Choosing Kitchen Colors

When brainstorming kitchen color ideas, take into account the following:

Aesthetic Goals: What overall look and style are you aiming for? Modern, minimalist, rustic, industrial chic? Certain color families like neutrals, blues, and greens lend themselves to more streamlined contemporary spaces, while deeper tones help create traditional cozy kitchens.

Size: Darker or very saturated colors tend to make spaces feel smaller and more enclosed. Lighter neutral or pastel shades open up smaller kitchens. Using a single color minimizes contrast and makes the room seem bigger.

Natural Light: Rooms with ample natural light can handle deeper or richer paint colors without feeling too dark or dreary. North-facing rooms may require lighter hues to compensate for less sun.

Artificial Lighting: Task lighting, pendant lights, under-cabinet lighting all impact color perception. Warm white light makes colors appear richer than cool LED light. Plan lighting and color simultaneously.

Architecture: Match your color scheme to architectural details like floors, cabinets, and countertops. Monochromatic cohesive looks are easier on the eyes than clashing shades.

Functionality: While color can affect mood, also consider functionality. Neutrals showcase appliances, pops of red energize meal prep. Just don’t let trendy color choices undermine usability.

Best Kitchen Color Combinations

When selecting two or more colors for your kitchen design, you’ll want to strike the right balance. Contrasting color schemes with bright accent shades tend to be energetic. Monochromatic palettes keep things calm and unified. Analogous colors like different hues of green or blue are harmonious. Triadic schemes using colors equally spaced on the color wheel provide visual interest while avoiding clashes. Here are some appealing, functional kitchen color combinations:

White and Blue

Crisp white paired with different shades of blue creates a timeless, peaceful kitchen palette. Dark navy bases ground light counters and white cabinets, while pale blue walls or backsplashes add subtle contrast.

White and Green

Like blue, green is a soothing accent color that complements white kitchens beautifully. Sage or muted mossy greens work well on walls, with touches of brighter green on tiles or accessories.

White and Wood Tones

White kitchens enriched by natural wood cabinetry, floors or butcher block accents take on a warm, organic sensibility. The wood provides visual interest without dominating.

Black and White

Classic black and white kitchens feel modern, elegant and bold. Use black on big ticket items like cabinets or flooring balanced mostly by white. Too much black can feel oppressive.

Yellow and Gray

Yellow infuses energy and joy into a kitchen while gray adds sophisticated contrast. Keep yellow muted like ocher or mustard and use gray on large surfaces for balance.

Factors in Choosing Dining Room Colors

Things to keep in mind when selecting dining room color schemes include:

Existing Interior Architecture: If your dining room shares an open floor plan with your kitchen or living room, you’ll want cohesive colors. Also match wood trim, floors or other existing architectural elements.

Lighting: As with kitchens, the dining room needs ample lighting for the colors to look their best. Add lighting over the dining table and incorporate wall sconces or pendant lights.

Formality: Darker dramatic colors tend to suit formal dining rooms while casual family dining areas can handle brighter, more whimsical palettes.

Furniture: Coordinate your color scheme with the tone of your dining chairs, table and other furnishings for continuity. Some contrast is fine, but avoid total clashes.

Appetite Stimulation: Warm tones like reds, oranges and yellows stimulate the appetite, which is ideal for dining. Just don’t go overboard into neon brights unless that fits your style.

Best Dining Room Color Combinations

Harmonious, appetite-enhancing color schemes for dining rooms include:

Red and Brown

Rich red walls or a red statement chandelier contrasted by wood furnishings creates a welcoming dining room that stimulates appetite. Keep the red saturated but not too bright.

Sage Green and Natural Wood

Organic green hues like sage complement natural wood dining furniture and hardwood floors beautifully. Green is calming yet still digestive stimulating.

Yellow and Grey

Buttery yellow dining room walls pop against charcoal grey seating and accessories. Keep yellow muted for refinement. Add mirrors to make the yellow glow.

Navy Blue and White

From nautical to modern, navy and white is an adaptable pairing. Use sparingly for an elegant sensibility that still stimulates interaction.

Plum and Gold

Deep plum walls with gold chandeliers, sconces and tableware fixtures create an indulgent environment ideal for dinner parties. Full of visual drama and appetite intrigue.


When designing your kitchen and dining spaces, carefully consider the mood you want to cultivate through color. Warm hues stimulate interaction and appetite, while cool tones relax. Brights feel energetic in moderation, but dark shades can dampen the mood if overdone. Aim for color harmony between your kitchen and dining areas, and complement existing architecture for a pulled-together look. With the right color choices, you can create kitchen and dining spaces that look amazing while also stimulating the appetite and encouraging social gathering.