Colorful Kitchen Island: Add a Splash of Color to Your Kitchen

Adding a colorful kitchen island is one of the best ways to inject personality and vibrancy into your cooking space. A kitchen island not only provides extra prep space and storage, but it also serves as a stylish focal point in the room. Whether you opt for a bright, bold color or choose a more muted, earthy tone, a colorful island can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen.

Benefits of Adding a Colorful Kitchen Island

There are many great reasons to incorporate a colorful island into your kitchen design:

Pops of Color

A colorful island adds an instant pop of color and liveliness to your cooking space. Rather than defaulting to plain white or wood tones, infuse your kitchen with your favorite hue on the island. It can establish a fun color scheme for the whole room.

Focal Point

Kitchen islands inherently draw the eye, so take advantage of that by making yours a vivid focal point. Painting or staining it an attention-grabbing color will make it a standout feature.


A colorful island is an easy way to showcase your personality and decorating style. Opt for your favorite color or choose a shade that coordinates with the overall aesthetic of your home.


Colorful islands look especially striking against neutral backdrops. The pops of color stand out beautifully against light cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and white countertops.


Paint allows you to change up the island color any time. So embrace bold colors without the permanence. A new coat of paint lets you redesign as your tastes evolve.


Color costs little! Painting or staining existing cabinetry is much cheaper than a major renovation. A colorful DIY makeover delivers serious visual impact without the hefty price tag.

Popular Color Choices for Kitchen Islands

Looking for inspiration when picking the perfect color for your kitchen island? Here are some of the most popular shades for islands:

Vibrant Colors

Looking to make a bold statement? Consider painting your island in a vivid, saturated hue like emerald green, sapphire blue, tomato red, sunny yellow or vibrant orange. These energetic colors infuse kitchens with fun, tropical flair.

Earthy Tones

For a more subtle look, stick to muted earth tones like sage green, sky blue, blush pink and buttery yellow. These softer tones add warmth while still making the island the focal point.

Classic Colors

Timeless hues like navy blue, olive green, tan, gray and black always look elegant. Ground your kitchen design in one of these classic shades for an island with lasting appeal.


A bright white island pops against darker cabinets or colorful walls. It feels crisp and clean, while also reflecting light to make small kitchens feel more open.

Wood Tones

Wood stains in hues like espresso, gray, charcoal and whitewash impart gorgeous natural texture. Mixing wood island colors with painted cabinets feels bold and contemporary.

Design Tips for Colorful Kitchen Islands

Ready to add a colorful island to your cooking space? Keep these design tips in mind:

Match Island and Cabinet Colors

For a cohesive look, match the color of your island to your existing cabinetry. Painting both the same hue unifies the whole kitchen.

Contrast Island and Cabinet Colors

Make your island pop by selecting an island color that intentionally contrasts your cabinet color. For example, try a navy island against white cabinets for striking contrast.

Coordinate Island with Wall Color

Choose an island color that ties in to your wall color or backsplash tile. Coordinate all the colors in your kitchen for a pulled-together look.

Add Multicolored Accents

Incorporate secondary colors in kitchen accents like barstools, pendant lights and appliances to complement a bold island hue. Pops of color in accessories keep the room looking lively.

Consider Resale Value

Stick to classic island colors like white, gray and navy if resale value is important. Vibrant colors may deter some buyers, while traditional neutrals appeal to a wide range of styles.

Sample Paint Colors

Paint sample strips on the island before fully committing to a color. Seeing swatches of a few hues in the space helps you make the best decision.

DIY or Hire Out?

If you’re skilled at painting, DIY your island transformation. If not, hire a professional painter for best results. Proper prep and application are key for long-lasting color.

Ideas for Colorful Kitchen Islands by Design Style

Not sure where to start when picking the perfect island color? Consider what color best fits your particular kitchen design style:

Farmhouse Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Classic farmhouse white
  • Light wood tones like whitewash or driftwood gray
  • Sage green, sky blue or brick red for subtle pops of color

Modern Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Bold saturated colors like emerald green and sapphire blue
  • Glossy lacquered finishes in black, navy or red
  • Natural wood stains in walnut and charcoal

Cottage Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Pastel hues like powder blue, pale yellow and light sage
  • Distressed paint techniques in antique white or robin’s egg blue
  • Weathered wood stains in warm grays and taupes

Industrial Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Rich wood tones like espresso, charcoal and ebony
  • Matte black or dark gray paint colors
  • Exposed brick, concrete, or metal for edgy texture

Traditional Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Warm wood tones like cherry, mahogany and walnut
  • Classic navy, olive or hunter green paint colors
  • Carrara marble countertops for timeless elegance

Creative Colorful Kitchen Island Ideas

Seeking unique color ideas to make your kitchen island extra special? Here are some creative ways to implement color:

Ombre Island

Apply ombre paint that gradually shifts between two colors, like pale blue to navy blue. This adds modern dimension.

Hand-Painted Island

Commission a local artist to hand-paint your island with a custom scenic design. This adds artistic flair.

Wallpapered Island

Use removable wallpaper or contact paper to cover the island exterior in a vibrant pattern. Change it up easily.

Mixed-Media Island

Incorporate pops of tile, stone or glass mosaic tiles into the island facade for hits of color and texture.

Wrapped Island

Wrap the island in colored laminate or acrylic sheeting for bright color impact without permanent paint.

Glass-Fronted Island

Swap solid cabinet doors for glass-fronted ones to showcase colorful dishes, linens or accessories inside.

Contrasting Island Top

Choose an island countertop in a contrasting color to the island base, like white cabinets with black granite. Striking!

Two-Tone Island

Paint the island base cabinets one color and the top surface another. Or try light and dark wood tones together.

Painting vs. Staining a Kitchen Island

What’s the better color application method, paint or stain? Here’s how to decide:


Paint offers limitless color options, especially vibrant glazes and lacquers. Painted islands feel youthful, playful and contemporary. Paint also adheres well to laminate and thermofoil surfaces.


  • Wider range of colors
  • Glossy, glass-like finishes
  • Easily changeable


  • Needs frequent touch ups
  • Shows imperfections
  • Can chip or scratch


Stain allows you to enhance the wood grain while tinting it. Stained islands feel traditional, rustic and timeless. Stain highlights the wood’s innate texture.


  • Highlights natural wood grain
  • Long-lasting finish
  • Doesn’t easily scratch or chip


  • Limited color options
  • Needs consistent stain batches
  • Hard to change dramatically

Supplies Needed to Paint or Stain a Kitchen Island

If you decide to tackle an island paint or stain project yourself, gather these supplies:

Painting Supplies

  • Paint in your chosen island color
  • Paint primer
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Paint trays
  • Drop cloths
  • Frog tape
  • Sandpaper
  • TSP cleaner
  • Rags, paint thinner, spackle

Staining Supplies

  • Wood stain in desired hue
  • Stain brushes or rags
  • Wood conditioner
  • Sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Wood putty
  • Protective polyurethane

Doing prep work properly makes all the difference for a professional-looking finished island.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting a Kitchen Island

Follow this process for DIY painting success:

1. Empty and Clean

Clear everything out of the island drawers and cabinets. Clean surfaces thoroughly using TSP or degreaser to remove residue.

2. Repair Imperfections

Fill any cracks, nail holes and dents with spackle or wood filler. Allow time to dry completely.

3. Sand Surfaces

Lightly sand cabinet surfaces to rough them up for better paint adhesion. Wipe away dust.

4. Mask Off Areas

Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to mask off adjacent surfaces like walls, floors and countertops.

5. Apply Primer

Use a primer specifically made for laminate or wood. Apply 1-2 thin, even coats allowing drying time between coats.

6. Paint Color Coats

Roll on 2-3 thin coats of cabinet paint using a mini foam roller, allowing each coat to fully dry. Lightly sand between coats for a smooth finish.

7. Remove Tape

Once paint is completely dry, carefully remove all masking tape from adjacent surfaces. Touch up any smudges.

8. Replace Hardware

Reattach cabinet doors, drawers and any hardware you removed. Add new hardware if desired.

9. Seal and Protect

Use a clear sealant spray to protect your painted island from scratches and food spills.

Step-by-Step Guide to Staining a Kitchen Island

Follow this methodical process for staining success:

1. Clean Surfaces

Wipe cabinet surfaces with a damp cloth, wood cleaner or sander to remove grease and residue. Allow to fully dry.

2. Sand Gently

Lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper to smooth any rough areas and open the wood grain. wipe away dust.

3. Apply Conditioner

A wood conditioner helps stain absorb evenly into the wood. Apply according to product directions.

4. Test Stain

On a hidden spot, test your chosen stain color to ensure the tone is what you want. Apply according to directions.

5. Stain Island

Using a staining pad, brush stain onto all surfaces using smooth, even strokes. Avoid excess pooling. Allow stain to penetrate the wood fully before wiping.

6. Seal and Protect

Once stain is fully dry, apply 2-3 coats of a clear wood sealant like polyurethane for protection and sheen.

7. Replace Hardware

After sealant has dried, reattach doors, drawers, handles and any hardware you removed prior to staining.

FAQs About Adding a Colorful Kitchen Island

Still have questions about incorporating a colorful island in your kitchen? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What colors make a kitchen look bigger?

Light, bright colors like white, light gray, beige and light blue can make a kitchen appear larger and more open. Dark or vivid island colors may make a small kitchen feel more closed in.

What is the most popular color for kitchen islands in 2022?

White and light gray painted islands are currently very popular. Warm wood stains like oak and walnut are also on-trend island colors right now.

Should you match kitchen cabinets and island color?

It depends on your style. Matching the island and cabinet color creates a unified look. Contrasting them makes the island pop as a focal point. There’s no right or wrong approach!

Can you change the color of laminate cabinets?

Yes, laminate cabinets can be painted over using a bonding primer made for laminate surfaces. This allows you to transform the color.

What colors make a kitchen look expensive?

Deep shades like navy blue, emerald green, and black make a kitchen look luxe and elegant. Natural wood stains also appear upscale. Clean white with brass hardware conveys classic luxury.

Should I get a white kitchen island?

A bright white island pairs beautifully with both light and dark cabinet colors. It keeps small kitchens looking open and airy. White also suits any design style from modern to traditional.


A colorful kitchen island is an easy yet dramatic way to spruce up your cooking space. Whether painted in a vivid hue or stained in a rich wood tone, an island transforms a mundane kitchen into a personalized showpiece. Consider your overall design scheme, kitchen size and color preferences as you select the ideal island color for your home. With so many beautiful colors to choose from, you can’t go wrong! Experiment with color and have fun putting your personal stamp on this functional focal point. A colorful island gives your kitchen life, energy and character.


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