The Only Surefire Way to Pick the Perfect Paint Color for Kitchen Walls

Choosing a paint color for your kitchen walls can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options to consider from existing elements to lighting and desired atmosphere, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t stress – follow this guide and you’ll surely land on the perfect shade.

We’ll walk through all the key factors to keep in mind when selecting that flawless paint color. From clever test methods to coordinating with your cabinets and counters, we’ve got you covered. Read on for pro tips that guarantee paint perfection.

Factor #1: Consider Your Existing Kitchen Elements

Before even glancing at paint swatches, take stock of your current kitchen aesthetics. The finishes and tones of your cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, and flooring should all influence your wall color selection.


Pay attention to the undertones of your wood cabinets – are they warm with yellow/red undertones or cooler with grays and blues? Chrome hardware brings in cooler tones while bronze adds warmth. Choose a wall color that complements the existing cabinet finish.

best paint color for kitchen walls

Countertops & Backsplash

Granite, marble, and quartz counters run the gamut from dramatic dark variations to airy light neutrals. Look at how the undertones of your counters play with your cabinets. Warm undertone counters pair better with warm paint colors.

Likewise, analyze your backsplash – does the tile or design introduce any new colors into the palette? Keep things cohesive by echoing backsplash tones in your wall paint.


The tone and color of your kitchen flooring sets the foundation for the whole space. Dark wood or tile floors tend to look better with lighter wall colors, while light floors enable you to go bold on the walls. Always view floor and wall colors together before deciding.

Factor #2: Type of Lighting in Your Kitchen

The lighting in your kitchen impacts how paint colors appear throughout the day. Evaluate both natural and artificial lighting to select a versatile shade.

Natural Light

North-facing rooms with indirect light take cooler paint tones differently than south-facing rooms awash in sun. Is your kitchen filled with light or quite dim? Supplement ample windows with lighting for balance.

Artificial Light

Overhead fixtures, task lighting and accent lighting all influence wall color. Cool white LEDs read colors differently than warm white. Be sure to view test colors in all your kitchen’s lighting scenarios.

Factor #3: Desired Mood & Atmosphere

The color scheme of your kitchen should support the vibe you want to achieve. Evaluate the mood you want to set before deciding on a color direction.

Bright & Airy

To make a small, dark kitchen appear more open and inviting, leverage light neutral wall colors like soft whites, ivories or very pale blues/greens. Avoid an ultra-stark bright white.

Cozy & Warm

Inject visual warmth into your cooking space with buttery cream walls or light peach and sage tones. Soft yellows also read cheerful and cozy.

Sleek & Modern

Want an ultra-contemporary look? Sophisticated dark shades like charcoal gray, navy and black complement glossy cabinets and stainless steel. Or try richer tones of gray for a slick vibe.

Factor #4: Test Paint Colors First

Before fully committing to a gallon of paint, put contenders to the test right on your walls.

Prime the Wall Section

Use leftover paint to prime a portion of wall that typically catches direct and indirect light. Apply with both rollers and brushes to evaluate ease of application.

Mark Different Test Sections

Paint numbered swatches of each color option you’re considering. Date each test. Observe colors at different times of day and with lighting on and off to gauge versatility.

Evaluate Over Time

Live with the test sections for a few days as color perception can change. Have family try out the shades and give feedback before finalizing.

Don’t forget to test the suggested gray with warm undertones and bold reds/oranges!

Factor #5: Choose a Durable Finish

Kitchen walls deal with plenty of wear and tear. Choose a sturdy paint finish that stands up to moisture, grease splatters and active homes.

Kitchen Grease & Moisture

Satin and semi-gloss sheens are best for wipeability. The higher the sheen, the more durable the finish.

Consider a “washable” paint for the kitchen. Many brands offer scrubbable finishes perfect for accident-prone spaces.

We covered all the insider tips for infallibly picking that perfect kitchen wall color – from coordinating with your existing finishes to thoroughly testing samples. Now that light, bright shade is within reach!

Don’t be afraid to get creative and use color to elevate your cooking space. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Its color palette should spark joy and warmth every time you cook, eat and gather with loved ones. Choose thoughtfully and you’re sure to have a kitchen that nourishes your soul.

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