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Vancouver Colour Expert; How to pick the Right Colours for your Kitchen

By 03/16/2010February 21st, 201724 Comments

I have been in too many kitchens where the floor is a completely different colour than the countertop, the backsplash, the cabinets and finally the paint colour on the wall.


In my world, a pretty kitchen is one where there are at least two surfaces (above) that ‘relate’ to each other with the colour. This seems like a really simple concept but can be very confusing when sourcing finishes because there are so many options.

I would say choosing kitchen finishes (without a professional) is probably much harder than choosing a sofa colour, which I talked about here.


In this kitchen above. The white in the marble countertops relates to the white cabinets.


In this kitchen (above) the granite countertop relates to the black squares in the floor tile, but notice that the alternating tiles are a gold beige colour while the ceiling (and most likely the rest of the kitchen) has been painted a pinky beige.


Since the above granite countertops already have at least 5 colours in them, it makes sense to select a wall colour that is already in the granite (like in the above photo). Otherwise you end up with 7 colours that do not relate to each other (as it looks like the tile floor in the photo above does not relate to the granite).

Sometimes that happens. You decide to replace the countertops but can’t afford to take out the tile floor. That’s when you need to be clear that you are ignoring the floor in order to move forward with the counters to get what you want eventually!


In this kitchen, the backsplash relates to the multi-coloured stone floor! The beams and wall colour appear to have been chosen to relate to the island and the warm brown tones in the tile. The cabinets here could have even been creamier but overall the colours in this kitchen tie together nicely!


Here the backsplash is pink and the cabinets are yellow. Remember this post where I talked about the only time pink and yellow work together? It’s not here in my opinion.

In this post I talked about hardwood floors and how they are pretty much like jeans when it comes to picking wall colours unless the colour is too close to the floor. With wood stained cabinets, it’s very important to consider how the wall colour looks. A pinky beige wall will not look good with orange oak cabinets, for example.

So read this post on painting up samples, and use them when finalizing colours, and when you are shopping for finishes. And of course, if you are choosing the finishes yourself, a consultation with a professional to make sure you’ve selected the right combination will give you the confidence to move forward with your renovation and have a kitchen to love!

We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous email consultation packages here.

The only way to choose the right colour every time is to combine my system of understanding undertones with the most indispensable colour tool available. You can purchase your own set of my curated large colour board collections here.

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.


Related posts:

5 Steps to a Kitchen you will Love!

Selecting your Kitchen or Bath Backsplash; Accent Tile or Not

The 80/20 Rule Also applies to the most Popular Paint Colours

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  • Annie @ The House That Jade Built says:

    Awesome post today! I completely agree with everything you said & it's so obvious in the pictures you used!!

    Also helpful because we'll be redoing a kitchen for a client soon – cross ur fingers for us! Luckily just picking wall colors & maybe painting cabinets – no big reno – just staging to sell!

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno says:

    I love this post! I'm going to be picking colors for my kitchen eventually, but it will be pretty standard: white cabs and ceiling, black granite, wood floors. Hopefully any color I put on the walls will look good….although I may end up redoing it anyway because I'm picky! ha

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Maria, finally i got the colour tendencies for 2010, remember? i want to send one copy to you. send me your post address 🙂

  • The Zhush says:

    Great examples of how kitchen colors and surfaces should relate! Loving the purple cabinets (in theory) in reality I am strictly a white kitchen girl. And congrats on the D of the D with Coastal Home!

  • Anonymous says:

    Oooo. I love the 5th picture with the stone tile floor and white cabinets! I see what you mean about more than one surface matching.

  • Acanthus and Acorn says:

    It is always so fun when you lay out all the details! I do think picking a wall color for the kitchen is one of the hardest things for most.

  • Erika @ BluLabel Bungalow says:

    Great post Maria and so very thorough! I like the metaphor about wood floors and jeans. I'll have to remember that one!

  • Grace says:

    A very timely post as I'm just in the process of deciding some details for our kitchen (the post is coming out next week.) Good to know that at least two of the colours should relate to each other – makes sense, actually.

  • traci zeller designs says:

    You are so right! I love what you said about wood stained cabinets, too; I think people forget that all too often.

  • DesignTies says:

    My floor, counter, cabinets and wall colour look FAB together! The backsplash though… well… you know the story!

  • Karena says:

    Maria, you really show it all! Great tips and advice makes all the difference!

    Art by Karena

  • unique unique design says:

    Very good point! It makes sense to have surfaces that relate to back to another surface through color.It gives it continuity. As always, Maria, great and informative tips!

  • Sourabh Agarwal says:

    Great Collection and a good way to share information.

  • Nancy@marcusdesign says:

    Great advice Maria, I am in the process of finding backsplash tiles so this info is in good timing!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    PHEW!!!! I am so proud that my countertops and wall paint relate!! Great post today! very good info…I like a simple scheme, but photo #1 is kinda pretty with all that color goin' on….

  • The Makeup Dolls says:

    We have just remodeled our kitchen with black cabinets, vintage rubbed corners and granite counter tops that can best be described as grey, blue and orange with dark brown hardwood floors.
    Our wall color is a light taupe grey, Ash from Pottery Barn and it has just never looked "right". We will take your advice and pull out a color from the granite for the walls. This should make all the difference! Thank you!

  • Roxy Te Owens says:

    Oh i love the natural ease of that second kitchen…we are re-doing ours now, and it's so expensive!! ekk!

  • Twenty Two Flamboyant Street says:

    Great comments about the surfaces needing to 'relate' to each other.

  • mydivabydesign says:

    I completely agree about the pink and yellow! Too Easter egg!

  • MrsDoodlepunk says:

    I want purple cabinets! I love the purple and aqua kitchen.

    I need to get ideas on what colors would look good with purple cabinets, like what to put on my walls. The kitchen and living room and dining area all are one and the floors are medium oak.

  • Renae says:

    I love that light coloured marble…beautiful.
    Good tips.

  • Cristin says:

    Another great post!!!


  • DesignTies says:

    I had to go look at my kitchen pics and see if I picked the right colours!! I think I did… there's definitely no pink and yellow!! 😉

    Thanks for checking out my kitchen makeover. I referred to a couple of your older posts when I was looking for info on styling a kitchen for a photo shoot. So thanks for the help 🙂


  • I need major help!!
    I am installing Antique White Cabinets, Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors and Antique Mascarello Color Counter tops. (Formica Group)
    I can not make up my mind on the color of my walls. I am very bold and outgoing so I do not want something plain or ordinary but I want it to look GOOD!!
    Can you help me??

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