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Light and airy kitchen painted with a pale grey hue

Starved for space in the kitchen? As well as being impractical for meal preparation and entertaining, a compact kitchen presents a difficult design challenge. However, as with all tiny spaces, the right choice of paint colours can make all the difference. 

If you think you’re limited to white walls, get ready to discover a whole world of small kitchen paint colours. From muted blues to intense indigo and sage green to enchanting emerald, almost any colour can be used to add some personality to your kitchen space. 

If you’ve found a shade you love, you can use the same colour to decorate an entire room. But with so much to choose from, why stick with a single hue? Introduce subtle pops of colour or inspired accents to make any kitchen come together. Whatever design plans you have in store for your kitchen, Johnstone’s is bound to have the colour you’re looking for. 

Considerations When Decorating a Small Kitchen

You don’t have to limit yourself to white and very pale neutral colours when decorating a small space. However, other factors come into play. One of the most important is the orientation of your kitchen. Is your kitchen north-facing? If so, it will typically receive little natural light. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid cool colours like grey and blue. While dark colours can work well in these spaces, a lighter hue that naturally reflects light will help give the illusion of more space. Conversely, a south-facing room is flooded with sunshine, so you’re free to add any colour you wish. 

Next, consider your style preferences. Are you a fan of traditional design features and country kitchen decor? Contemporary cobalt or saturated reds probably aren’t going to work with what you’ve got planned. Likewise, if you favour modern kitchen interiors, some pastels and more muted shades may clash with your units and fixtures. 

If you’re keeping hold of your kitchen accessories and appliances, make sure the paint colours you choose will coordinate with them. Stainless steel appliances pair well with almost any colour but work particularly well with grey colours and dark blues. Dark cabinets can already make a compact kitchen feel smaller, so don’t add to the problem by choosing an equally dark colour for your walls. Instead, go a shade or two lighter to create depth. 

Another thing to consider is the colour schemes of adjacent spaces. Does your kitchen lead into a dining space or breakfast room? If the wall colours and decor schemes of these spaces remain the same, your kitchen choices should be a harmonious addition. It doesn’t make sense to opt for yellow walls in the kitchen if a neighbouring dining space is finished in intense grey and metallics, unless of course, you're a fan of eclectic interiors. Ideally, go for something from a neighbouring section of the colour wheel for a more seamless transition. 

Which Colours Work Best in a Small Kitchen?

Still not sure which paint colour to use in your kitchen? No need to panic. Below, you’ll find some of the most effective colours you can use to give a small kitchen a new lease of life. 


Luscious neutral sandy white
Captivating shaded modern beige

Neutral shades aren’t the most dynamic of colour options, but they’re certainly one of the most versatile. They can also naturally reflect light, making them a safe design choice for smaller spaces.

Sea Of Tranquility is a terrific take on neutral, with this sandy white a good option if you want to bring some understated luxury to your cooking space. It will work with all styles of cabinetry, from pared-back shaker units to more traditional designs with ornate panels and door hardware. 

If that paint colour is too close to white for your tastes, try something like Vanilla Cloud. This modern take on classic beige is another versatile choice. However, it’s a surprisingly deep hue, making it perfect for adding some designer-level aesthetics to a modern kitchen. 


Pale neutral majestic blue-purple
Pale subdued periwinkle majestic blue

While blue isn’t always a good option for small kitchens, it can be used effectively if you’ve singled out the best shades. Cool and calming, this colour family can help you combat the stresses of a weekday morning in a busy household. 

Clear Your Mind is a beautiful take on blue that will make a fine addition to your kitchen decor. As it’s fairly pale, you can use this blue paint colour instead of a more subtle neutral. However, the majestic blend of icy blue and refined purple makes it surprisingly elegant. You 

Another option to think about is Harbor Light. Pale and subdued, this gorgeous blue has a touch of periwinkle about it, bringing some understated purple energy to your kitchen. Use dark blue appliances and accessories to accentuate your space, or use a sky blue runner if your kitchen space has a small dining table or breakfast bar.


Light peachy golden orange
Crispy soft honeyed gold orange

An easy way to open up a small kitchen is to brighten things up with bold colours. Orange hues can be a great choice for a smaller space, but it’s best to go with softer shades to avoid overwhelming your kitchen. 

A light golden orange like Peach Surprise is a stylish choice. It’s soft enough that it won’t compete with dark cabinetry and stainless steel appliances, while the peachy qualities make it a perfect companion to traditional kitchen interiors. 

For another classic colour for tiny spaces, try Crisp Won Ton. Soft and elegant, this honeyed orange has a subtle golden quality. It makes a perfect pair with all-white cabinetry but also sits nicely alongside stainless steel in a more contemporary kitchen. 


Snowy pale mauve purple
Majestic pale amethyst purple

Grey is another cool colour, so you need to be careful when decorating a north-facing kitchen. If you’re intent on using grey for a contemporary kitchen colour scene, avoid ones with icy blue undertones and go for warmer takes on this classic colour instead. Alternatively, go with grey hues that are enriched with notes of sophisticated purple. 

Snow Storm is a stylish colour choice for compact kitchens. This grey-inspired mauve might be subtle, but it’s full of regal character. It’s also remarkably versatile, working just as well in traditional spaces as in contemporary cooking areas. 

For something more majestic, try Diamond Jubilee. This amethyst purple is fairly pale, so it won’t prove too intense for a smaller kitchen. Balance things with a warm neutral if you’re keen on bringing in additional colours. 


Delicate seafoam aqua-green
Pale spring green with pistachio tint

If you’re intent on capturing the spirit of the outdoors in your kitchen redesign, green shades are a superb design choice. It has a calming effect that can counter the chaos of hectic households. What’s more, pale greens are very versatile, working well with all styles of cabinetry. 

Try Delicate Mist if you’re a fan of seafoam-inspired shades. This dreamy take on aqua-green is a good choice if you want to fill your kitchen with pigment. It works nicely with all-white units, steel appliances and organic materials. For a pop of something more intense, try using emerald green to create a feature wall. 

Another pale green worth considering is Rosemary Kiss. Subtle and elegant, it’s enriched with a hint of pistachio, which you can use as inspiration when finishing your interior with design accents.

Can Darker Shades Work Well in a Small Kitchen?

If you’re desperate to use darker colours, you don’t have to discount them just because your kitchen is on the small side. There are many ways you can introduce more dramatic shades like burgundy, charcoal and navy blue. 

The simplest way to add darker hues to a small kitchen is to use them as a feature wall colour. Have you used a light icy shade to decorate your kitchen walls? Explore dark blues to create a complementary feature wall. 

You can also use darker shades to create distinct zones. This might seem impossible with a small kitchen, but a creative use of colour can help you section off a dining space or entertaining area. Again, it’s best to stick with a coordinating hue for a more harmonious colour scheme, but you can of course experiment if you’re a fan of the eclectic. 

Is your kitchen small but benefits from a south-facing orientation and lots of sunlight? Use this to your advantage. If your kitchen is regularly drenched in sunshine, there’s no reason why you can’t use darker colours quite liberally. 

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