Your kitchen is the heart of your home, and it should be treated as such when you're decorating. Whether you're building a new house, renovating your space, or simply making a few updates, a carefully selected color scheme can help you get the right vibe.
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Kitchen cabinets often set the tone, since changing them requires more time and money than painting the walls or replacing hardware. If you have wooden cabinets in their natural shade of brown, consider yourself lucky. Brown cabinets will go with almost any kitchen color, whether you prefer to stay neutral or go bold and bright.
Interior designer Nadia Watts of Nadia Watts Design says white oak and walnut cabinetry are what she's seeing most often these days. "These are classic woods that can be produced in a variety of door profiles that reach across many design styles," she says. But that doesn't mean you have to use these woods in particular. You might lean toward a darker wood like cherry for a more dramatic kitchen look.
When searching for colors to go with brown cabinets, consider the feeling you want to evoke. For an airy, sunlit room, you might opt for a bright color and lighter shade of wood. For a more modern look, you may prefer all neutral tones.
"I am drawn toward using shades of green when working with natural wood cabinetry, [for the] backsplash, wall color, and textiles," Watts says. "I feel green is a wonderful pairing with natural wood. It brings the outdoors inside. Cream and taupe are colors that also work with woods for a soft look."
Keep reading for color ideas to use in your kitchen with brown cabinets.
7 Kitchen Colors for Dark Brown Cabinets
You can never go wrong with a monochromatic look. Surrounded by shades of brown, your cabinets will feel right at home. In this kitchen by Handel Homes, the brown wood floor and patterned tile wall keep the palette simple and unified and make the whole room feel warm.
Your walls are not the only way to incorporate other colors with your brown cabinets. You can also do a mix-and-match with brown and gray cabinets, as shown in this kitchen by Reena Sotropa. While the dark colors create a moody feel, the white countertops and pale gray tile backsplash keep the space light and balanced.
3. Sage Green
Create an earthy palette with sage green walls. In this kitchen, the green paint covers only the upper third of the walls so as not to overwhelm, while the marble backsplash and countertop also contain a hint of green. The unique textures here — from the plastered wall to the pronounced wood grain — create a striking, dramatic space.
Yellow can be an overwhelming color, but the right shade creates a bright, sunny kitchen. It's also ideal for accentuating the warmth of wooden cabinets. In this kitchen, bright orange enameled pots and pans and turquoise cabinets make the yellow walls feel calm by comparison.
Pink appliances pop in a white room with dark brown cabinets and shelves. This is one way to make your neutral kitchen look instantly colorful and fun. While you could achieve a similar look with pink wall paint, we love the subtlety of adding color just through accent pieces.
6. Royal Blue
This kitchen does a beautiful job of mixing multiple shades of blue for more dimension. The royal blue accent wall really stands out next to the brown cabinets and stainless steel appliances. While this kitchen uses tile, you can achieve a similar effect with royal blue paint and printed textiles like tea towels and quilted trivets.
In this space by Exquisite Kitchen Design, a gold backsplash matches the hardware on the dark brown cabinetry. The countertops contain both of these colors, as well as the deep gray of the frosted cabinet doors, bringing the whole palette together. Because gold elevates while brown grounds, this combo works in perfect harmony.
8 Kitchen Colors for Light Brown Cabinets
For a neutral room, go for beige walls with your light brown cabinets. Beige has more warmth and weight than basic white. Plus, it works with brown to create an earthy, desert-inspired palette. Cream would also look beautiful and provide a bit more contrast.
If sage green feels too neutral for you, pump it up with a deeper hue like hunter or teal. These green shades still make for a calming, nature-inspired kitchen, but they're bright enough to add extra personality and drama.
3. Bright Blue
If you're interested in a bold color for your kitchen walls, bright blue complements yellow-toned wood, while also creating a lively atmosphere. Considering that the kitchen is often a gathering place for family and friends, decorating it in a way that is fun and inviting can make it the perfect focal point of your house.
Light brown cabinets paired with white walls and floating shelves make for a fresh, bright kitchen, as seen in this space by Studio McGee. Add pale gray accents and greenery for a soothing atmosphere fit for a luxurious day spa. White and gold wall sconces complete the sleek look.
Pretty much any shade of blue will work with brown cabinets, but none is more classic than navy. This dark hue can make your space feel regal, especially when paired with gold fixtures as done in this kitchen by Studio McGee. The light brown, glass-walled cabinet and other wood accents keep the palette bright.
Just as gold can complement dark wood cabinets, silver can do the same with light brown cabinets. In this display by Amy Storm and Co., silver fixtures and a coordinating gray wall subtly contrast with the wood bar. The reflective, frosted backdrop feels as refreshing as a cold drink.
For a neutral space, complete your kitchen with more shades of tan, brown, beige, and cream. This room combines oak cabinets with light wood flooring and cream accents, such as the upholstered barstools and patterned rug. All the various colors, including a pale gray backsplash, keep the neutral space looking multidimensional and interesting.
Black can feel heavy against light brown cabinets, but for accent pieces, it's just right. This kitchen by Andrea West Design beautifully incorporates a few black elements (in the form of a range hood, barstools, and picture frames) to add contrast to an an otherwise light space.
Kitchen Colors That Go With Brown Cabinets
Brown cabinetry provides the perfect neutral foundation for your kitchen color palette, leaving you plenty of options for how to decorate the rest of the room. A variety of hues can work with brown cabinets, which you can incorporate anywhere from your walls to your accent pieces.
Here are some of the best colors to pair with brown cabinets:
- Sage green
- Royal blue
- Bright blue
- Navy blue