The Kitchen Cabinet Color That Makes Your Home Look Instantly Dated

published Jun 26, 2024
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Kitchen with ambered wood cabinets and brown mosaic tile backsplash
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The kitchen is the heart of the home, but finding the perfect paint hues is no easy task. While keeping up with the latest design trends can be exciting, some design choices can inadvertently age your kitchen faster than you might realize. And one of the most influential elements in kitchen aesthetics is the color of your cabinets. From classic whites to bold hues, the choice of kitchen cabinet color can really impact the overall look and feel of your space.

To ensure your kitchen looks good for years to come, I spoke to interior design professionals to gain insight into which kitchen cabinet colors will stand the test of time — and which definitely won’t. Ahead, learn more about which shades and stains will make your space equally inviting and timeless.

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1. Retro Pink

The name itself practically gives it away, but a bold, retro pink is not a color that complements most kitchen cabinets. “Retro pink is definitely a color that takes us back to the ’80s, and even though the nostalgia trend is making a comeback, this color in a kitchen is forbidden,” says Devin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla Online Interior Design. “Somehow, it makes the space gloomy and dark as opposed to what you’d think. It doesn’t add life to the room, and in a kitchen, that’s exactly what we’re aiming for.” 

If you do want pink in the kitchen, it’s best to opt for a lighter shade that brightens the space. Think a creamy, peachy pink or a Bellini pink. You could also opt for bold pops of color throughout, with bright vases, flowers, or additional decor accents.

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2. Yellow/Orange Wood

“There’s a specific type of wood that is a combination of yellow and orange that dates back to the early 2000s,” Shaffer explains. “This shade has no personality nor style. It just makes the kitchen look dull, old, and boring.” To avoid this, opt for warm to medium-hued wood instead, timeless cabinet shades that can add a great deal of versatility to a kitchen while also suiting a wide range of styles and tastes. As for the finishing touches, Shaffer recommends adding matte black handles to tie everything together. 

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3. Bright Colors

According to Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets, bright colors never quite do a kitchen justice. “So many of the out-of-date styles we see stand out because of their bold colors or intricate detailing that catch the eye,” she explains. “By prioritizing versatile, understated features, your space will look effortlessly stylish. Rule of thumb for your cabinets: Stick with muted earth tones or neutrals for the dominant color — think whites, creams, or grays, and choose a cabinet door style with clean, simple lines or only slight embellishments. This is one reason the white kitchen continues to be so popular – it never goes out of style!” (Of course, if your heart is set on bright cabinets, it’s your kitchen — go for it!). 

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4. Ultra-Dark Wood

While espresso wood is always a classic, the experts say it’s important to stay away from wood that’s too dark. Dark wood finishes can take away from the inviting feeling a lot of people strive for in their kitchen. “Whether used in a big kitchen or small, the effect is the same — uninviting, dark, and can even seem depressing,” Shaffer says. Her advice? Keep it light and add welcoming touches like flowers, plants, or subtle decor accents.

So, What Colors Won’t Make a Kitchen Look Dated? 

Now that they’ve uncovered which kitchen cabinet colors aren’t timeless, the real question is, which ones are? Unsurprisingly, neutral shades are the experts’ go-tos. “My favorites are creams, grays, and greiges,” Shaffer says. “They are just classy, and they’ll always add that visual effect of making a space look bigger, which is something we’ll always be looking for. Another great thing about them is that apart from adding warmth to the room, they allow you to play around without committing to any piece of furniture or decor. They’re the perfect backdrop or canvas to incorporate your favorite items.” 

As for a general tip overall, think timeless. “It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to design a home that looks modern through the years is by choosing classic colors and styles,” Pierce says. “Your kitchen is a big investment that your family will enjoy for years to come — make sure that the space can evolve with your tastes by making sure investment pieces like cabinets, appliances, and countertops are classic. Then, use room accents like colorful countertop decor, island stools, and tableware to try out the latest trends in your kitchen without committing long-term.”

Want to learn more about the latest kitchen design trends coming in and out this year? Here’s everything you need to know about cabinets, flooring, tiles, and hardware.

This post originally published on The Kitchn. See it there: The Kitchen Cabinet Color That Makes Your Home Look Instantly Dated