Color is just as important as furnishings when telling a design story and perfecting a space, even in a room as functional as a kitchen. Choosing the right shade, whether it's for walls or cabinetry, is as essential as selecting the perfect backsplash and appliances. We spoke with a diverse group of designers about their tips for choosing kitchen paint colors and how they incorporated their favorite shades from the experts at Farrow & Ball to add an extra level of distinction into their work.
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Select Colors That Work With Your Materials
We selected painted cabinets to offset the wood flooring and layer in more materials in this kitchen. We selected a darker grey to be the foundation of our color palette—Down Pipe complements the other patterned materials in the space, like walnut wood and handmade tile, perfectly.
—Elena Frampton, of Frampton Co
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Keep Things Fresh
I love how fresh and clean this kitchen feels. The combination of Strong White on the walls and floor and Light Blue on the trim makes the perfect crisp yet whimsical statement, which is exactly what I was going for.
—Jodi Morton, of 2to5 Design
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To keep this French-styled kitchen feeling light and bright while maintaining its sense of authenticity, I definitely wanted a color that was off from white and selected Farrow & Ball Bone. It’s one of those colors that is difficult to describe as any one color… I think of it as a grey-green-taupe.
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Change is Good
Cornforth White is one of our favorite paint colors because it is such a chameleon. It really does change its hue based on each unique setting. We particularly love it for kitchens, as it creates a clean, neutral backdrop in all types of lighting.
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Bring the Outside In
Choosing a soft white color like Farrow & Ball’s Pointing helps to bring the outside in and adds a touch of the natural world to the kitchen. We wanted to select a color that contributes to the airiness of the space and enhances the wonderful light that the room receives.
—Teraissa McGovern, of Brewster McLeod Architects
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I love a pale kitchen, but all-white can feel so clinical. Cornforth White is the perfect oyster shade that tied in the bleached oak cabinets and let my white countertops feel extra fresh and clean. I painted all the shiplap and moulding in the same unifying shade. And there was a wonderful bonus—using an extra-durable paint meant I didn’t have to do a partial backsplash.
—Chloe Warner, of Redmond Aldrich Design
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Use Color to Create Energy
The kitchen area of the mudroom in this 1930’s Long Island home receives less sunlight than the rest of the house, because it’s three steps down from the main building. The owners wanted an upbeat pop of color to give the room some energy, and Farrow & Ball’s Cooking Apple Green No. 32 was the perfect blend of traditional and trendy.
—T.J. Costello, of Hierarchy Architecture + Design
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Consider the Seasons
Although this kitchen faces north and doesn't receive an abundance of natural daylight, we still wanted to paint the walls a moody, saturated color. The use of Mole’s Breath on the walls acts as the perfect anchor and backdrop for this space. It creates a warm and inviting ambience in the winter and a cool, shady feeling during the hot summer months.
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Go Full Gloss
In decorating this kitchen for the Lake Forest Show House, we had a number of restrictions on what we could and could not change. We looked to the ceiling, which was originally cornflower blue. Pointing by Farrow & Ball matched perfectly and is a really warm white that lends itself to the architecture of older homes. We love the look of a white tiled ceiling—like something you’d see in a French bistro—so instead of using a typical flat finish we chose Farrow and Ball’s Full Gloss, which really made the entire room sparkle and feel much larger.
—Leslie Martin, of M and M Interior Design
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Enhance Your Wall Coverings
The wallpaper in this butler’s pantry off the kitchen was the inspiration to find a perfect blue. Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Blue No. 220 pulls out the subtle blues in the pattern and enhances the deep honey tones of the Jerusalem gold stone tile floor.
—T.J. Costello, of Hierarchy Architecture + Design
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Let the Details Speak for Themselves
This kitchen was created as part of an extension to an Elizabethan barn. There were so many architectural details in the property that we wanted to use one colour on the walls and the ceiling to unite the space and let the period details speak for themselves. “All White” is a great colour for historical properties and sits well against oak, stone and metal details.
—Audrey Carden, of Carden Cunietti
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Choose a Pure Color
For me, Farrow & Ball paints are the purest in saturated color. They also represent a look and feel, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve in this kitchen with Down Pipe. The colors are so specific that I’m able to achieve the aesthetic I want not only through furnishings, but through the paint color itself. Their shades are also incredibly complementary to fabrics and wallpapers, making for an easy mix.
—Lee Ann Thornton; architecture by Douglas VanderHorn Architects
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Remember the Rest of the Home
Off the kitchen, this gorgeous century-old home has a generous sized dining room that is used daily by my clients. One of the homeowners is an avid baker and I wanted to mimic the color of clotted cream on the millwork. I wanted something light and airy, and not too serious. It had to be in keeping with the rest of the home and something that would work well for family every day as well as on special occasions. Off-White was the perfect color choice.
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Think About Your Surfaces
The neutral earth tones found in Farrow & Ball’s Savage Ground No. 213 complement natural elements like stone surfaces and wood trim. It's ideal for illuminating spaces like this large, open kitchen.
—Ryan Nessing, of Nessing Design
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Choose Complementary Colors
My client had recently returned from living in France for 20 years, and we needed to make a dramatic change to a Craftsman-style kitchen to suit her taste. We replaced the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and painted the island Down Pipe, which we selected to mitigate its large size. Down Pipe is a great “dark” color that can go in many different directions…green, blue, grey. Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon has the same properties of variation; you can see it on the family room wall on the upper left corner of the photo. They’re very complementary.
—Ruthie Alan, of Alan Design Studio
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Embrace the Outdoors
I personally love muted earthy tones and crisp whites, but sometimes you may want a little bit more color. Our client loved the lush parklands of nearby Hampstead Heath so the aim was to bring a bit of a “garden feel” into the house as well. We opted to paint the walls facing the garden in Farrow & Ball Dimity to frame the views in a more neutral tone while also creating a welcoming atmosphere with the color tones of the cabinetry and flooring. And Farrow & Ball's Chappell Green was a perfect choice to create a fresh backdrop along one of the primary walls.
—Dorothee Junkin, of
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Think of the Room as a Whole
The color of the kitchen cabinets is Farrow & Ball’s lovely Shaded White. We selected it because it has grey to beige tones that work well with the other features in the kitchen that also feature those shades—the zinc hood, the backsplash tile, the Belgian Bluestone countertops, the wood island and beams, and the limestone floor.
—Angelina Falotico, of Brooks & Falotico Associates, Inc.