The all-white kitchen, the reigning trophy room of the American home, is not going away anytime soon.
But change is afoot: Color is tiptoeing back into the kitchen. A growing number of consumers are looking to add some friendliness and warmth to the cold, clinical white-and-gray cooking spaces that have dominated the past decade. Cobalt blue, pale pink and pumpkin are among the colors that are seeping into cabinets, islands, and even sinks and faucets.
“White is people’s comfort zone,” says Elle H-Millard, industry relations manager for the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “White is all about safety and cleanliness. It’s the feeling of purity we all want in the kitchen. White offers uncluttered, visual simplicity in a room where many of us spend a lot of our time.” Color, she adds, provides emotion and personality.
“We are seeing more color confidence as the economy does better,” says Wendy Mushow Werner, a Corian Design spokeswoman. “People are choosing more color, and the brighter and bolder colors are trending upwards.”
Aqua turned up in the Clive Christian luxury kitchen in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House that opened this week in New York. The color was used in the marquetry on the range hood, on the leather lining of the cabinets and in the Le Creuset tea kettle.
According to a 2018 National Kitchen and Bath Association trends report, white and gray continue their dominance in kitchen color schemes, with 90 percent and 89 percent of respondents selecting them as “hot” choices, but today, “more people are willing to take a risk,” says H-Millard, “especially millennials.”
You can inject color with new mint cabinets or a lipstick-red stove. But it can also be done with salmon leather bar stools. Or color can come in a smaller, lower-risk detail, such as a yellow toaster or an emerald-green glass pendant lamp. You could simply paint your white walls grass green or peony pink.
Manufacturers are dishing up kitchen options in a new rainbow of hues. Here are some of our favorites.
Want to make one big color statement? Get a major appliance in an unexpected hue, something fans of Aga and Lacanche luxury ranges have been doing for decades. The Italian company Smeg popularized Italian retro style in the 1990s with its pastel and candy-colored fridges, which are still sold today for about $2,000. And appliance manufacturer Big Chill has been offering color in the kitchen for 15 years. The color palette for the Retro line, which includes turquoise, Jadite Green and Pink Lemonade, is inspired by 1950s cars and kitchens. The starting price for a fridge is about $2,400.