Trending Colours in Cabinets

White is still the rage, but surprising hues are gaining.

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen  


News flash: Painted cabinets will still be on-trend in 2019, but not all of them will be white. While white has dominated the cabinetry in kitchens and baths, more colourful options are on the rise, from pale yellows and greens to mid-range blues and reds to deep shades of charcoal and even black. You can expect these bolder cabinet colours in many of the most fashionable homes next year.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that white is “out.” Bright white, soft white and off-white are still popular cabinet colours and will be for many years to come. There’s good reason for this: White makes a space look clean and bright. It works well with other colours and with a variety of decorating styles. And it makes small spaces look roomier—perfect for tight galley kitchens and half baths.

But it’s becoming more common for homeowners to cherry-pick another hue from their home’s colour scheme and apply it to their cabinets. This technique offers some benefits:

  1. It allows you to greater customise your kitchens and baths and to express your own true style.

  2. It adds to your home’s “flow,” an important design concept, as you tie these rooms into other areas of the home.

  3. And it allows you to set a mood. For example, a kitchen with red cabinets can create some “spice” and excitement; a bath with blue cabinets will feel more spa-like.

Top Colours

While just about anything goes, there are some cabinet colours that are more on-trend than others, including both greyed and sun-kissed olives, slate blue, complex reds, dark charcoal, light grey and blue-greens like teal. On occasion, you’ll even see muted shades of purple, which work well with the grey-and-purple colour schemes that have become so popular. (Not uncoincidentally, all of these colours are part of the 2019 home decorating forecast.) 

Another rising cabinet colour is yellow, which is being used throughout the home, not only as pops of colour but as part of the main decorating scheme. Yellow is making its way onto cabinets in a range of beautifully sophisticated tints. Like white, yellow can make a room feel bright and is a good choice in rooms where there is a lack of natural lighting.

One word of caution: Yellow can be overdone. There is a something in colour psychology called “yellow fatigue,” a phenomenon that makes yellow especially wearisome as we age. If you’re considering yellow for your cabinetry, you might use it sparingly—such as on a top or lower bank of cabinets—or in a softer shade, such as chamois or buttercup. 

On the other end of the spectrum, black also is a trending cabinet colour, usually appearing in a flat or matte finish. The look is extremely high-end, especially when juxtaposed with brushed nickel or gold fixtures. In general, black should be saved for larger rooms and in areas that have plenty of light sources, since black absorbs light.

Pairing Colours 

Of course, you don’t have to paint all of your cabinets at once to achieve the benefits mentioned earlier. You can paint just your upper or lower cabinets, a kitchen-island or another piece of cabinetry in the room—whatever suits your fancy.

A rule of thumb: When pairing colours, try to keep the “colour temperatures” the same—in other words, keep warm colours together (those with a yellow cast) and cool colours together (those with a blue cast). That being said, there are some colours that work especially well together:

  1. Charcoal is stunning with deep reds and blue-greens. It also works well with the white family, from brighter hues to ivory.

  2. Blues and yellows look especially fresh with white and are a classic pairing when used together.

  3. Warm, deep reds take on an air of sophistication when paired with warm whites and creams.  

  4. Black also looks sophisticated with cream and becomes less overpowering 

  5. Neutrals, like olive and grey, are beautiful accompaniments to brighter hues. They also pair beautifully with wood stains.

This pairing technique is a great way to get used to a new cabinet colour without committing to the entire room. What’s more, you don’t have to worry that this look will go out of style any time soon. A mix of finishes is perfectly on-trend—and perfect regardless if this is the look you desire.