Kitchen Cabinet Color Ideas

Pairing white with unique natural wood kitchen cabinets may be just the key to unlocking a perfectly homey, yet bright and open kitchen.

Looking for the top trending kitchen cabinet color ideas for 2021? Need inspiration for a beautiful and modern kitchen update? Want to know what aesthetic inspiration is in this year? Check out our take on the best kitchen trends of 2021, full of images sure to inspire your ultimate dream kitchen design!

What Was The Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Color 2020?

The pure white kitchen that has been so popular for several years found itself being shooed out the door in 2020. And while white still holds its place as the most classic and favorite kitchen color—possibly of all time—other less neutral shades have been climbing steadily in popularity for the last year. It was the blues, greens, greys, and even blacks that started finding their place as paint colors for the kitchen in 2020. 

Maybe it was missing out on everything that was happening outside the home in 2020 that had some begging to bring the drama to the kitchen, but deep, exciting paint colors solidified their places on cabinets and islands throughout the year. And despite its being the polar opposite of the most popular kitchen cabinet color, black became one of the hottest kitchen colors of 2020.

Before you choose black for your custom kitchen cabinets, think—does it fit? Black can be a moody and fun surprise but it has to make sense in YOUR home.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

And for the other half of the world, it seemed more tranquil shades fit the bill for the kitchen. Lighter, happier hues of blueish or sagey green paint worked wonders in all kinds of kitchens.

Have you ever thought about creating a specified study nook for the kids in your home? This custom island design off the mudroom makes the perfect homework station.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

What Is The Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Color 2021?

Looking back on 2020, you can see several favorite kitchen cabinet color ideas that haven’t quite run their course yet. I mean, 2020 was kind of an on-hold year for many things, and some of the most popular paint colors are still in their trending infancy in 2021. Which is good—you know they lasted their initial debut and could still find their way into your home without you feeling like you’re on the tail end of a kitchen color trend.

Trading some of last year’s bold paint trends for the more earthy tones of blue, green, and gray and adding greige, and creamier, slightly warmer whites, people are seeking sanctuary in their kitchens in 2021.

And even though some of the kitchen cabinet color ideas from last year are overlapping with this year’s, don’t make the mistake of thinking kitchen style trends are just the same-old, same-old. For years popular tv shows have marketed a stark white farmhouse look that has held strong but is currently bending in favor of a couple more fresh takes on kitchen design. Think more in terms of chic industrial warehouses and cozy English cottages—not only in terms of kitchen cabinet color ideas but for overall layout, design, and decor inspiration.

A great custom kitchen can bring together multiple styles and make them all fit together seamlessly. Not everything in a kitchen should "match" so long as a great designer sees that it "goes," like in this custom natural kitchen design.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

Because these other aesthetics are increasing in popularity, you’ll see more things like open shelving, mix-and-match metals, monochromatic painted drawer knobs, and glass-front cabinetry. You’ll find more mixing of natural wood stain with pops of color on larger appliances or painted kitchen islands—again, mostly in those soothing and semi-muted tones of blue and green.

It doesn’t hurt to go through your current kitchen items and make a list of the large item sizes and any personal kitchen items that are unique to your lifestyle (tea storage, coffee makers, large knife sets, sport bottles, china, tupperware, etc.) so that your custom cabinets in the kitchen can hold it all.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

Another 2021 kitchen trend that can bring color and excitement to your kitchen is making what some are calling the 5th wall—the ceiling—a visual focal point. Whether it’s dimensional molding, a pretty wallpaper, or even a shock of modern black shiplap, the kitchen ceiling is ready for its closeup in 2021.

Pairing white with unique natural wood kitchen cabinets may be just the key to unlocking a perfectly homey, yet bright and open kitchen.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

What Is The Best Color For Kitchen Cabinets?

The best color for kitchen cabinets is truly up to you—within certain parameters and taking into account the size, layout, and lighting in your kitchen, of course.

There are basic things to consider when deciding which kitchen cabinet color idea to pull the trigger on. If you’ve got a small kitchen with very little natural light, you’ll want to lean toward a lighter, brighter hue, even if you don’t opt for full on white. If you want black or dark blue cabinets, think about fingerprints and how regular wear and tear may show more than on white or wood cabinets. If you’re trying to decide between a blue- or green-tinted hue, reflect on existing or planned decor and which shade you think will blend best with the rest of your interiors—particularly if your kitchen opens up into another living space.

The beautiful blue paint on these custom cabinets for the kitchen pulls in color from the stone on the fireplace and makes the open concept kitchen really work for this home.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

The best thing about learning these types of kitchen cabinet and layout basics is that, rather than restrict you, they open up incredible opportunities for creative and unique solutions to your own set of circumstances. It means you can play with various color, material, and textural combinations to bring plenty of interest and personality to your space.

Why not add a splash of color to your custom kitchen cabinets? This pale blue makes this custom kitchen even more unique!

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

For instance, painting your kitchen island or even just a few strategic cabinets side-by-side in a pretty accent color is becoming an increasingly popular and versatile way to add some visual depth to your space and freshen things up if you’ve already got a white palette to work with. It’s the perfect way to put some of that popular green or blue paint in your kitchen without committing to a fully monochromatic space you might fear having to change in a few years. You could also consider just painting the lower cabinets to bring in some of that colorful drama while still keeping it a bright and inviting space.

Blue kitchens are popular for a reason! Hale Navy helps these custom kitchen cabinets play perfectly with the white walls and upper cabinetry as well as the warmer tones found in the floor and chairs.

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

Two tone cabinetry is a fun way to really capitalize on a kitchen cabinet color idea without taking it to the extreme. And depending on how it’s done, it can age very well and continue to provide unexpected and beautiful customization for your kitchen for years to come.

Who says every drawer and cupboard door have to match? These kitchen cabinet doors feature contrasting stained wood against the rest of the white painted cabinets, to great effect!

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

And if you’re considering going with or keeping your more neutral kitchen cabinet color? Like we’ve said before, white and other neutral cabinet colors (think warm stained wood and gentle off-white and light greige paints) provide the perfect backdrop for louder design elements like tile, hardware, or lighting to really shine.

This unique kitchen cabinet design conjures memories of a vintage kitchen while offering complementary modern elements to balance out the look. Dare you not to dream of that custom tile backsplash!

Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design

How Quickly Do Kitchen Cabinet Color Trends Change?

Kitchen cabinet color ideas and trends change about every 5-10 years. But it’s not just about flighty tastemakers or money-seeking designers. Remember that world happenings, technological advancements, and cultural fads play their parts in home decor and design trends as well. That said, once something becomes a classic—a white kitchen, for example—it’s not likely you’ll see it go out of style in your lifetime.

And that’s part of the reason the kitchen cabinet color ideas of 2021 are so exciting. They’re not coming in the form of hard and fast rules, like just having to have a red wall in your kitchen (hello, early 2000s!). Rather, the blue, green, gray, and off-white kitchen paints people are brushing on this year, combined with the chic warehouse + country cottage aesthetics, are gentler, more cozy suggestions that allow for a ton of personalization and interpretation while creating that natural refuge we’re all looking for in our homes.

Check out my other posts on the perfect paint colors and my Instagram for more kitchen and home inspiration!

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