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Remodeling 101: Best Colors for Urban Kitchens

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Remodeling 101: Best Colors for Urban Kitchens

November 1, 2013

Suffering from a small, dark kitchen? Or a galley so narrow the oven won’t fully open? Or a shoebox with no natural light? Whether you rent or own, your plan of attack is obvious: get out the paint.

We asked members of our Architect/Designer Directory for their palette choices for tiny urban kitchens. Here’s what they singled out:

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Above: Top row, left to right: Farrow & Ball Cabbage White; Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue; Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre; Benjamin Moore Super White; and Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Overcast; Pratt & Lambert Seed Pearl; Benjamin Moore Sweet Caroline; Benjamin Moore Adobe Orange; and Farrow & Ball Railings.

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Above: Santa Barbara-based interior designer Carole Magness likes Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre on kitchen walls paired with a white trim (specifically, Benjamin Moore’s Super White, see below). She says the combination “brings to mind a clear running brook in the forest.”

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Above: Carole Magness painted her own farmhouse kitchen Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath offset by Benjamin Moore Super White on the trim and ceiling. She notes that the perennially popular Farrow & Ball color has a “bright but historic feel.”

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Above: Benjamin Moore’s Super White, a bright white that’s a perennial favorite among architects and designers. Says Magness, “It makes almost any color next to it pop.” 

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Above: As an alternative to white, designer Rozalynn Woods painted her tiny work studio kitchen in Benjamin Moore’s Overcast: “The hint of color looks great. It defines the little wall space I have just enough to pull it away from the cabinets.”

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Above: San Antonio-based Lake| Flato Architects singles out Pratt & Lambert Seed Pearl as a favorite white. Of the white paints recommended here, Seed Pearl is the creamiest and approaches ivory.

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Above: Eliza Hart of Hart Wright Architects in San Francisco recommends Benjamin Moore’s Sweet Caroline to color one wall in a small kitchen. Says Hart, “We like to start with white, but then add a punchy color on one wall to break up the rhythm and make the room feel bigger–the difference in color makes you more aware of the space and how it feels.”

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Above: San Francisco interior designer Matthew Leverone suggests Benjamin Moore’s Adobe Orange as an accent color. Says the designer, “I have a small dark kitchen and I decided to paint one wall in Adobe Orange. It’s the perfect pop that energizes what had been an uninteresting space.”

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Above: For a colorful combination in a tiny kitchen, Carole Magness recommends Farrow & Ball’s Cabbage White for the walls with Oval Room Blue, below, for the trim. Cabbage White is a bright white with a hint of blue.

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Above: Magness’s trim choice, Farrow & Ball’s Oval Room Blue, has hints of gray and green.

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Above: Interior designer Nicole Hollis says, “If there’s no hope of brightening a small dark space by adding windows, then your best bet is to go to the dark side.” She suggests Farrow & Ball’s Railings or Off-Black coupled with a white trim. Architect Jen Turner also suggests going with a dark color, particularly around white or light cabinets–”the contrast adds the illusion of depth.”

We have more palette recommendations for you: see Happiness-Inducing Paint ColorsArchitects’ Moody Paint Picks, and Architects’ White Paint Picks. And check out the color I picked for my own kitchen in Rental Rehab: Small Kitchen Makeover.







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Frequently asked questions

Why is color important in urban kitchens?

Color is important in urban kitchens because it can help create a cohesive and visually appealing design. Additionally, the right color can create the illusion of a larger space and enhance natural light.

What are the best colors for small urban kitchens?

Light colors such as white, beige, and pale gray are great for small urban kitchens as they reflect light and create the illusion of a larger space. Soft blues and greens can also work well to add a pop of color without overwhelming the space.

What if I want to add a bold color to my urban kitchen?

If you want to add a bold color to your urban kitchen, consider doing so through an accent wall or by incorporating colorful accessories such as kitchenware or artwork. This allows you to add a pop of color without overwhelming the space.

Should I stick with neutral colors for resale value?

Neutral colors are generally the safest bet for resale value as they have broad appeal and can help potential buyers envision themselves in the space. However, if you're not planning on selling anytime soon, don't be afraid to have fun with color and choose something that reflects your personal style.

What if my kitchen doesn't have a lot of natural light?

If your urban kitchen doesn't have a lot of natural light, consider using light colors such as white or pale gray to brighten up the space. You can also incorporate reflective surfaces such as glass or mirrored backsplashes to bounce light around the space.

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