This is the Most Common Kitchen Color Mistake People Always Make, These Designers Agreed

Color is an important decision in the process of your kitchen design, and one that's not easy to change once you've made it. Here's how designers ensure they get it right

a blue kitchen with a colorful mirror accent
(Image credit: Oni Stories. Design: Mistovia)

Can you imagine ordering what you think is your dream kitchen, but not liking the color when it arrives? It's a more common occurrence than you might think, according to designers.

That's because, despite best efforts, not every person who remodels their kitchen pays quite enough attention to one specific element of choosing color, and it can come back to bite them.

We asked kitchen designers, and they all agreed on the biggest mistake you can make when you're choosing a kitchen color — plus, they gave us their advice on how to avoid this pitfall.

What is the biggest kitchen color mistake?

A modern light blue slab door kitchen

(Image credit: Jenny Siegwart. Design: Studio Henree)

'Frequently, I've been asked seemingly straightforward questions like, "What's a good white color for my walls?" or "Which color suits a kitchen best?" says interior designer Emily Taber Moore, founder of Studio Henree. 'There is no straight answer, and the reality is that lighting significantly influences color choices.'

'You always want to consider the natural light you have in your kitchen as colors always change depending on this factor,' interior designer Ashley Montgomery agrees.

The big problem when it comes to choosing a color for any room in the house is that it's not a decision you can make looking at your chosen shade at one time of day. 'Overlooking how a paint color appears in different lighting conditions - day versus night, natural versus artificial light - is a common oversight,' Emily explains.

You may think it's not going to be that big of a deal — after all, a white is a white, right? 'What may seem like the ideal creamy white in pictures or at the retailer might display undertones of pink or gray when applied in your kitchen.' These undertones can change the whole vibe of a kitchen — making it feel more traditional than like a modern kitchen, or more stark than cozy.

There are some other challenges to overcome too. After all, you'll never get a true read of your color exactly until your room is completely decorated. 'Ultimately, it hinges on the lighting and the interplay with other materials within that space,' Emily explains.

How can you avoid this mistake?

a dark beige kitchen with cutting board storage

(Image credit: Lauren Miller. Design: Ashley Montgomery Design)

It's something I was slightly terrified about when remodeling my own kitchen. After all, spending tens of thousands of dollars on kitchen cabinets that you don't like the color of when they arrive is far from ideal. However, there are some simple ways to avoid it.

'Grab a couple of color swatch cards and place them in your current/soon-to-be kitchen area and see how it changes throughout the day,' Ashley Montgomery recommends.

'I strongly advocate for my clients to acquire physical paint samples or conduct paint color tests before making a definitive decision,' Emily echoes. 'Testing the colors firsthand helps avoid unexpected color shifts and ensures a more accurate portrayal of the final result.'

If you're buying from a kitchen design studio, these designers often use paint colors that you'll be able to buy off-the-shelf samples of directly from brands. However, if not, a good designer or design studio, or even online retailers, should be able to provide samples — check before you invest your time.

What other mistakes do you need to avoid?

a modern wood kitchen in an apartment

(Image credit: Gieves Anderson. Design: Justin Charette Design)

This wasn't the only mistake designers considered when it comes to choosing color for a kitchen. They also talked about how to ensure your kitchen stays timeless, and doesn't date quickly, by avoiding trendy colors.

Another pitfall to avoid is the all white kitchen, according to Valerie Lush of Viola House Design. 'While they've been a staple for years, all-white kitchens can sometimes lack depth and character, and they can be challenging to keep looking clean,' she says.

Bob Bakes, Head of Design at kitchen design studio Bakes & Kropp, also warns against not considering how your kitchen color relates to the rest of the house. 'While it's natural to want a color that reflects your individual taste, it's crucial to find a balance,' he says. 'It's perfectly fine to inject personal style, but one must be mindful of the overall cohesion.

'A kitchen's color should harmoniously blend with the rest of the home's visual narrative. A color that stands in stark contrast or disrupts the flow of the house can impact the overall aesthetic and feel of the space. The focus should be on creating a cohesive look that complements the entirety of your home.'

So, there you have it — a few pitfalls to avoid in choosing a kitchen color to consider that may just save you from buyer's remorse.

Luke Arthur Wells
Freelancer writer

Luke Arthur Wells is a freelance design writer, award-winning interiors blogger and stylist, known for neutral, textural spaces with a luxury twist. He's worked with some of the UK's top design brands, counting the likes of Tom Dixon Studio as regular collaborators and his work has been featured in print and online in publications ranging from Domino Magazine to The Sunday Times. He's a hands-on type of interiors expert too, contributing practical renovation advice and DIY tutorials to a number of magazines, as well as to his own readers and followers via his blog and social media. He might currently be renovating a small Victorian house in England, but he dreams of light, spacious, neutral homes on the West Coast.