10 yellow kitchen ideas - designs experts explain new ways to use this uplifting hue

Yellow kitchen ideas will help inject warmth into your home, and designers explain how to use the very best shades from primrose to egg yolk

yellow kitchen ideas with a yellow backsplash made of tiles
Saffron Yellow Tiles, Sarah Lonsdale / Clé
(Image credit: Brad Knipstein)

Yellow kitchen ideas come in many different shades. Lemon, mustard, honey, sunny… there are so many subtle variations to choose from when it comes to picking the right yellow for your kitchen. If in doubt, a heritage hue is an easy win. When designing the colorway for her collaboration with Very Simple Kitchen, Swedish designer (and self-confessed color addict) Tekla Evelina Severin created her own deep ochre shade. For inspiration, she looked to the golden yellow that’s commonly used to soften the exteriors of Swedish homes, making them seem instantly inviting. ‘It’s warm and vibrant, and has been used to paint houses for centuries,’ she says of the classic color. 

A strong yet muted shade, such as the one Tekla developed, will instantly up the cozy factor and create ambience, it's one of the easiest kitchen color ideas to make. If you’d prefer a color at the paler end of the spectrum, experiment with softer sherbet tones. These will lighten and brighten, and can be used to pick out smaller details or as a wash of subtle color across walls or cabinetry. 

For a pop of sunny yellow with enduring appeal, try a feature wall of textural tiles. In one California kitchen designed by Lynn K. Leonidas of Landed Interiors, a swathe of saffron-yellow tiles sings out against a pared-back, shaker-style backdrop of off-white and green. ‘The palette was chosen for its natural cheerfulness,’ says its designer, who used the color variation between the handmade zellige tiles to soften the color contrast. 

Whatever your thoughts on decorating with this joyful shade, we’ve compiled a few creative ideas to inspire you to say yes to yellow and invite a little sunshine into your home. 

Yellow kitchen ideas

1. Honey-Colored Hues

yellow kitchen ideas bright yellow kitchen island

(Image credit: Københavns Møbelsnedkeri)

In this light, airy, muted room, you might be tempted to consider grey kitchen ideas, keeping the whole scheme neutral. But not so, and this daring addition of yellow enlivens the whole space. 

This handcrafted tambour kitchen is the work of Danish design studio and cabinetmakers Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, who created a striking curved island to take center stage in this glamorous space. ‘The beautiful organic shape gives the kitchen an inviting feel, and the cabinetry is painted in a warm and welcoming honey-mustard color, which was developed especially for the kitchen,’ say its designers, who collaborated with stone experts Made A Mano on the glossy yellow lava stone countertop and tiles.

2. Half-Height Color

yellow kitchen ideas with yellow cabinets in a shaker kitchen

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English)

If you know how to paint kitchen cabinets then you can totally revitalise your space - there is no need to take yellow all the way to the ceiling. ‘We often use a tide-line paint effect, where the color of the cabinets extends above the worktop to eye level, creating one continuous line around the room,’ says Adrian Bergman, design manager at Plain English. Adrian goes on to explain that the technique works particularly well in rooms with high ceilings, as it lowers the focus and grounds the joinery. Here, the muted yellow shade has the added benefit of injecting some color and personality without overpowering the space.

3. Choose a sunny yellow

yellow kitchen ideas sunshine yellow small apartment kitchen

(Image credit: Tom Ross)

When architect Nicholas Agius of Agius Scorpo Architects designed this cleverly configured ‘toolbox’ kitchen for a micro apartment in Melbourne, he chose a brilliant shade of yellow for the woodwork. The color was used to accentuate the cabinets, shelving and framework details, all of which are hidden in a large white cupboard when the kitchen isn’t in use, the smartest of small kitchen ideas.  ‘This highly visible ‘signal yellow’ is commonly used for heavy machinery, such as excavators and bulldozers,’ Nicholas explains. ‘This reinforces the utilitarian nature of the kitchen, and the bright color means that it really pops when you open it up.’

4. Bold Vinyl Floor

yellow kitchen ideas bright yellow vinyl flooring

(Image credit: Carpetright)

When it comes to floor types for a kitchen, you can add a real injection of color. ‘Vinyl flooring is an inexpensive way to add color to a kitchen without compromising on safety or quality,’ says Carpetright’s David Snazel. ‘Kitchens usually see a lot of traffic, so it’s best to opt for durable flooring that’s low maintenance and will stand the test of time.’ In this space, the homeowners chose a zesty yellow vinyl from the True Colors range to complement the timber-framed, teal-fronted cabinets. 'The base colors of teal are a mix of cyan, green and white, which makes yellow a perfect foil for this scheme,’ adds David. ‘The combination is both eye-catching and playful.’ 

5. Saffron Yellow Tiles

yellow kitchen ideas with a yellow backsplash made of tiles

Saffron Yellow Tiles, Sarah Lonsdale / Clé

(Image credit: Brad Knipstein)

‘We love the saffron shade of this authentic zellige tile for its ability to energize spaces like this,’ says Sarah Lonsdale, senior creative director at Californian tile brand Clé, speaking on the kitchen tile ideas used here. The home’s interior designer, Lynn K. Leonidas, selected Clé’s ‘Indian Saffron’ colorway to break up the cream-painted cabinetry of this shaker-style kitchen. ‘The natural color variation in the zellige tiles helps to soften the contrast,’ continues Sarah, ‘while the glossy glaze plays up the perfect imperfections inherent in the handmade tile, acting as a counterpoint to the strong vertical lines in the cabinetry.’

6. Add color to compact spaces

small yellow kitchen ideas in U shape

Design by R2 Studio Architects

(Image credit: Frederik Rissom)

Overhauled as part of a thoughtful redesign, this cheerful U-shaped yellow kitchen was completed by South London firm R2 Studio Architects, who revamped and extended this 1960s home. A palette of red, yellow and blue now defines the space – part of a plan to make small interventions while retaining the original modernist feel. ‘The kitchen is now boldly colored and forms the heart of the house,’ says architect Frederik Rissom. ‘Natural daylight floods in, allowing the vibrant colors to sing and the more subtly nuanced shades to give relief to the color scheme.’ The yellow used here shows how much of a difference small kitchen paint colors can make.

7. Pair mustard and marble

yellow kitchen ideas with monochrome backsplash

(Image credit: Very Simple Kitchen)

A contemporary reinterpretation of a classic kitchen, this lightweight and modular steel design was conceived by Italian brand Very Simple Kitchen. A collaboration with Swedish interior designer and color expert Tekla Evelina Severin, the kitchen pairs striped marble surfaces with mustard-yellow units - a great way to lift your white kitchen ideas. ‘I wanted to create a vibrant and spicy color to complement the marble, and was inspired by the golden ochre paint traditionally used on wooden houses in Sweden,’ says Tekla, who developed the shade specifically for the project. 

8. Change your kitchen fronts

yellow kitchen ideas yellow kitchen island

(Image credit: Husk)

On the hunt for new fronts to try your own Ikea hack? Look no further than these sleek and simple cabinet doors by Husk, which are handmade in the brand’s Bristol workshop and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. ‘For this project, the clients wanted something bright and minimalist but still in keeping with the home’s mid-century features, says Husk’s in-house kitchen designer, Freya Celeste Gibbons. 'The yellow complements the character of the property, while injecting some excitement and warmth.’

9. Mix yellow and black

yellow kitchen ideas with black monochrome stools

Design by Caecilia Potter / Atticus & Milo

(Image credit: Derek Swalwell)

Yellow can easily work alongside your black kitchen ideas, if you happen to have a flair for the dramatic. ‘My client, Kim, loved her home’s original 1970s architecture. She also loves cooking and wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house,’ says Caecilia Potter, design director at Melbourne studio Atticus & Milo. ‘Inspired by her vibrant personality, the original red-brick floor and black steel structure, I sought to bring some sunshine into this happy space with bold splashes of Dulux ‘Yellowstone’ on a palette of soft grey and black,’ says the designer, who topped the high-gloss yellow island with an oiled eucalyptus countertop, a great example of two tone kitchen ideas

10. Go for sherbet lemon cabinetry

yellow kitchen ideas pale yellow cabinetry

(Image credit: Reform)

When Berlin-based couple César & Maria enlisted Danish brand Reform to design their new kitchen, one of the first priorities was to make the space feel lighter. ‘We liked the idea of a bright color on the wall of floor-to-ceiling storage, and then a natural oak finish for the kitchen,’ says the pair, who also chose the color to give their 19th-century apartment a more modern feel - Reform is known for its kitchen cabinet color ideas. ‘At first, we were a bit nervous about the bold yellow because we picked it after seeing the tiniest sample, but we’re very happy with our wall of sunshine.’

Does yellow look good in a kitchen?

Immediately welcoming, yellow is the perfect choice of color for kitchens of any size, from a sprawling farmhouse-style space to a compact urban one. Whether you go for pops of color or painted cabinetry, this cheery hue will fill your kitchen with warmth. 

What color yellow is good for a kitchen?

There are a host of shades of yellow to choose from when selecting the right color for your kitchen. Go bold to highlight focal features, or to add punch to a small space. If bright colors are a little out of your comfort zone, try muted tones for a hue that’s easier to live with.

Tessa Pearson is an interiors and architecture journalist, formerly Homes Director at ELLE Decoration and Editor of ELLE Decoration Country. When she's not covering design and decorative trends for Livingetc, Tessa contributes to publications such as The Observer and Table Magazine, and has recently written a book on forest architecture. Based in Sussex, Tessa has a keen interest in rural and coastal life, and spends as much time as possible by the sea.