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After our long-term love of neutral and sparkling-white kitchens, we’re all craving a bit more color. You don’t have to change everything about your beautiful kitchen just to add new colors to your palette. Adding colorful accents can be inexpensive, although you can also choose to have a bigger impact by increasing your budget. Before you start shopping, it’s important to narrow down your wish list for your new kitchen color palette.

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white kitchen with gold accents

Gold accents warm up a white kitchen. Image: Designs by Craig Veenker

Goals for updating your kitchen color palette

There are a few different reasons you may want to update your kitchen color palette:

  • Move beyond a monochromatic color scheme
  • Lighten up a dark kitchen
  • Add on-trend accessories to a dated kitchen
  • Coordinate your kitchen colors with a recently decorated room
  • Personalize your showroom-perfect kitchen

Not every kitchen update is expensive — most are reasonably priced. Once you have a clear goal in mind, you can choose the accessories or upgrades that work best for your budget. The good news is that if your kitchen is neutral or mostly white, adding color will be effortless. Don’t be disheartened if your current kitchen design and color palette is more complex; we have ideas for that, too. Here are some of our favorites:

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neutral kitchen colors

Two shades of blue add color to a white kitchen. Image: Santa Rossa Mosaic & Tile  Co.

1. Create a mini color palette to brighten your neutral kitchen

You don’t have to start over completely to add colorful accents to your kitchen. Your neutral or white kitchen only needs a few accent colors to have an updated palette. Using one main accent color, then one or two smaller accent colors, helps your kitchen stay neutral. Monochromatic accents (different shades of the same color) are a no-hassle way to add color while maintaining a relaxing vibe.

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white kitchen gold hardware

Brighten up a gray kitchen with new hardware. Image: The Bath & Kitchen Showplace

2. Changing cabinet hardware is an easy fix

Cabinet and drawer hardware can change the entire mood of your kitchen. And you don’t have to choose between just brushed nickel and chrome anymore — countless new finishes have found their way into kitchens everywhere. A white or gray kitchen can be totally transformed with brushed gold hardware. For a traditional or modern farmhouse kitchen, oil-rubbed bronze warms up neutral cabinetry. It’s okay to mix and match metal finishes in your kitchen, but stick to two of them so that it looks like an intentional design decision and not a mistake.

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colorful kitchen lighting

Bold green light fixtures energize a white kitchen. Image: D2Interiors

3. Add colorful light fixtures

Lighting finishes and styles change every season, which is great news if you want to upgrade your kitchen color palette with lighting. Sure, there are many beautiful metallic finishes available, but don’t overlook using colorful fixtures in your kitchen; a bold light fixture can completely transform your kitchen space. To keep the color from overwhelming your existing decor, stick to one or two bold lights per room — they’ll have more impact that way.

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green dinnerware set

Colorful dinnerware makes an easy accent in the kitchen. Image: Joss & Main

4. New dinnerware makes a colorful impact

Bringing home colorful new dinnerware may seem like a small idea, but the visual impact on your kitchen color palette is huge. Open shelving and glass cabinet fronts are perfect for displaying dishes and cookware that are designed to be seen. If your kitchen cabinetry and shelves are not designed to show off your tableware, repurposing a linen tower or vintage baker’s rack is an easy display option (especially if you rent).

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faux backsplash tile

A faux tile backsplash transforms a simple white kitchen. Image: Wayfair

5. Install a colorful faux tile backsplash

If you rent, or if you’re just not ready to tackle a big tiling project, a faux tile backsplash can give your kitchen a designer look. With faux tiles, your new backsplash isn’t a major commitment. As such, you can have more fun with color and texture. If you’re crafty, you can find tile backsplash stencils or stick-on varieties that recreate the look of tile at a fraction of the cost. 

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blue table runner

Add a colorful table runner to brighten up your kitchen. Image: Wayfair

6. Make use of a colorful table runner

Looking for the easiest way to add color to your kitchen in a hurry? Add a table runner to a nearby dining table or even to an eat-in island or counter. Coordinating napkins and kitchen linens gives your kitchen a pulled-together look. A collection of seasonal table runners or placemats lets you keep your decor fresh all year.

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white kitchen color palette

Paint makes a big impact on your kitchen island. Image: Lauren Shadid Architecture + Interiors

7. Paint your kitchen island

We love the look of painted islands that complement kitchen cabinetry. Replacing or repainting cabinetry in a dated kitchen isn’t always possible or practical. If you have an island, a fresh coat of paint can create an exciting focal point for your tired kitchen color palette. If you’re unsure of which color to choose, look for inspiration in your tableware, artwork or your favorite color.

Updating your kitchen color palette doesn’t have to be extensive or expensive. With these tricks, you can give your kitchen a fresh new look with a few minor tweaks. How will you be updating your kitchen’s color palette?