The best paint colors for your kitchen vary based upon the type of sunlight it gets, does your kitchen receive northern, eastern, southern or western exposure to the sun? Sunlight, other colors in the room, and other elements impact how paint colors look in your kitchen. That’s why it’s so important to test paint colors out in your kitchen before making any final decisions. In-store color swatches or paint colors on your friend’s walls could look entirely different in your home. Here are some tips to help you find the best paint colors based on the location of your kitchen.
If your kitchen faces east…
Kitchens with eastern exposure receive most sunlight first thing in the morning and bathe in shade by afternoon. As the sun shifts positions in the sky, you can expect large shadows to form throughout an eastern-facing kitchen. Use this effect to your benefit by painting your kitchen with contrasting colors. For instance, light colored cabinets paired with darker walls.
If your kitchen faces north…
Kitchens receiving northern exposure are the easiest to outfit with colors because they receive cool, indirect and smooth lighting. In fact, this is the preferred exposure for artists because light directing from the north is steadier and doesn’t shift as much throughout the day. That means whatever color you paint your kitchen, you can expect it to look like that color all day long.
Cool northern sunrays are best paired with cool colors like greens and blues. Yet, white and off-white colors look incredible in kitchens with northern exposure too. And don’t be afraid to mix some darker colors in there. Like we said, northern facing kitchens have the widest range of colors to choose from.
If your kitchen faces south…
Kitchens with southern exposure receive strong sunlight that fluctuates throughout the day. That means your kitchen paint colors will look different depending on the time of day it is. Strong sunlight causes other kitchen elements to reflect off nearby colors—like walls or backsplashes. Even if you paint all kitchen walls the same color, they might appear to be different colors depending on time of day. Your best bet is to go with earth colors because the abundance of light will draw out the warmth in these shades.
If your kitchen faces west…
Kitchens with western exposure enjoy the strongest sunlight in the afternoon with mostly shade in the morning. Dark colors help absorb the excess light and heat that radiates through each afternoon. Design experts recommend mixing up dark colored cabinets with lighter walls, or other accents.
What if your kitchen has no windows, aka no natural sunlight?
Without windows, it doesn’t really matter what direction your kitchen faces. Windowless kitchens require the perfect artificial light to create the illusion that there’s natural sunlight in the room. Consider adding a mixture of task lighting, overhead lighting and ambient lighting. Different bulbs cast different shades of light, for instance halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs give off more warm and yellow tones, creating a sunny glow to the room.
What if your kitchen is itty-bitty?
Tiny kitchens are incredibly popular and when properly designed can follow the color rules outlined above based on the direction your kitchen faces. Don’t be afraid of dark or bright colors in a tiny kitchen. White paint can make a small space look larger, but so too can an assortment of well-matched contrasting colors. Consider painting your cabinets red, blue or gray. More important than color is the amount of shelving installed, as well as how you utilize your kitchen’s vertical space.
When Backsplashes Complicate Kitchen Colors
What color is your kitchen backsplash? The answer to this question plays a role in the best paint color(s). If you have a dark backsplash you need to ask yourself: Do I want the backsplash to stand out or blend in? If you want it to stand out, pick lighter colors for surrounding walls, cabinets, etc. If you want the backsplash to blend in, go for darker colors with similar undertones.
If you have a light-colored backsplash, you have more freedom to use a variety of colors without fear of clashing. If your light backsplash has gray veins in it or other accent colors, allow those tones to stand out by using the same or similar shades throughout other parts of your kitchen. A classy shade of gray looks beautiful when paired beside white. Just beware using super dark colors right next to white, this can create shadows and cause colors to change their overall appearance.