Nothing’s more inviting than a warm, functional kitchen. But if your kitchen is uninviting, a few simple changes can transform the space and make it more welcoming.

    An easy way to accomplish this is through color. Warm colors create a feeling of comfort for most people, and there are many ways to bring warmth and comfort to your kitchen through color. Keep reading for my top four ways to add warm colors to an unwelcoming, cold kitchen. 

    Paint the Walls

    Color schemes play off each other and tie a room together, so choose a color to paint the walls that will enhance other colors in the room and create a warm, inviting feeling. 

    Certain colors invite specific emotions in people. For instance, blue is calming and makes us feel centered. Yellow can be energy-boosting, while white feels clean and neat. 

    When selecting a warm paint color for your kitchen walls, consider existing elements like your countertops, backsplash, and cabinetry. You want a color that complements those features. 

    Earth tones like reds, oranges, and yellows are classic options that never go out of style. Avoid bright, loud shades that may overwhelm the space. Instead, look for muted, warmer versions of those vibrant colors. For example, try brick red or burnt orange rather than fire engine red or neon orange.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    I recommend testing paint samples on a wall before committing to a color to get an accurate impression of your kitchen’s lighting. Don’t forget to paint your ceiling, as extending a warm color overhead makes the entire space feel enveloped.

    Update the Flooring

    Replacing drab, faded linoleum flooring with natural sandstone can bring new life to an old kitchen. Sandstone warms a room with its brown, yellow, gold, and red hues. Premium flooring options like stone and hardwood cost more up-front but can increase your home’s value. Natural stone and hardwood are premium, high-end options that bring beauty and warmth to your kitchen. But they also come at a higher cost than alternatives like tile or laminate. However, these upgrades can pay off when it’s time to sell, increasing your home’s overall value.

    When choosing new floors for your home, consider warm-toned options like ceramic tile, hardwood, and laminate to add comfort and style. Ceramic tile in terracotta, brown, tan, and beige earth tones can create a seamless look with large tiles and minimal grout. Alternatively, choose hardwood floors made from oak, birch, and other woods with inviting amber, chestnut, and caramel hues. For a refined look, consider a light stain over the natural wood tones. 

    For a more budget-friendly option, laminate flooring mimics the warmth of real hardwood. Opt for textured laminate surfaces to emulate the look and feel of authentic wood floors for a fraction of the cost. 

    Regardless of what flooring you pick, these options will add cozy, welcoming warmth throughout your home.

    Update Cabinets and Countertops

    Kitchen cabinets and countertops account for a major part of the room’s surface area. Opting for cabinets in warm wood tones and countertops in earthy materials like quartz, granite, or marble can transform the overall aesthetic.

    Natural stone countertop options like granite and marble add beauty but require more regular maintenance than engineered quartz. Granite and marble countertops elevate your kitchen style but be aware they are more porous than quartz and will need periodic sealing to prevent stains. 

    For cabinets, consider:

    Oak cabinetry with a caramel or chestnut-colored stain exudes inviting warmth.

    Coat your existing cabinets in a muted brick red or burnt orange shade. Make sure the paint is formulated for kitchen cabinets and that you properly prep it for the best results. 

    New cabinet doors, hardware, and wood veneers applied over existing boxes cut costs over full cabinet replacement.

    And for countertops, classic warm options include:

    Available in tones like ginger, cinnamon, hazelnut, and vanilla cream. It resists stains and scratches.

    Natural stone with flecks of tan, brown, amber, and red mineral deposits. 

    Subtle veining in creamy off-whites, beiges, and tans. While beautiful, it requires regular sealing.

    Add Warm Lighting Fixtures

    Nothing transforms a space like the quality of light. Swapping out cool fluorescent or LED lights for fixtures that cast a warm glow can revitalize your kitchen.

    Depending on your existing infrastructure, plug-in and hardwired pendant lights are available. Plug-in pendants are quick and easy, while hardwired ones require wiring work but enable switches. Pendant lights suspended above the kitchen island or sink provide directed illumination right where you need it most for food prep and cleanup. 

    Under-cabinet lighting is ideal for brightening up the countertops and workspaces along the cabinets — select dimmable bulbs to control the mood and ambiance. Any of these lighting choices, with incandescent or warm LED bulbs, will provide the perfect warm and welcoming ambiance in your kitchen.

    So, Is It Worth Revamping Your Kitchen Color Scheme?

    With any home remodeling project, you’ll invest both time and money to change the look of your space. Is freshening up your kitchen’s colors worth the effort? For many homeowners, the answer is yes for a few key reasons:

    • Boosts enjoyment: Cooking and spending time in a warm, welcoming kitchen is more pleasant than one with a dated, sterile color palette. Updating colors makes it a space you want to be in.
    • Increases home value: A refreshed kitchen can easily add several thousand dollars to your home’s value by modernizing its style and look. 
    • Elevates mood: Warm tones like terra cotta, sandstone, and chestnut inherently lift your mood compared to cool grays or blues. 
    • Encourages family time: When the kitchen becomes a destination, family and friends want to spend more time together in the space.

    Enhancing your kitchen’s warmth and personality through color upgrades reinvigorates the heart of your home, making it a worthwhile endeavor. 

    If you’re planning kitchen color upgrades, you likely still have questions. Here are some frequently asked questions:

    FAQs About Warming Up Your Kitchen's Color Scheme

    What are the hottest kitchen color trends right now? 

    Earthy hues like khaki, olive green, and terracotta are trending, along with deep colors like navy and charcoal for drama. Brass accents are also popular.

    Should I change my cabinet color or reface them? 

    Whether you should change the cabinet color or reface them depends on your cabinet’s condition. Refacing costs less than new cabinets but only works if the boxes are structurally sound. Painting is the cheapest option but requires excellent prep, so assess your cabinet’s condition before making your final decision.

    Should I paint my ceiling the same color as my walls? 

    Yes, extending the wall color overhead makes the space feel larger and more inviting. I recommend using flat or matte paint to minimize imperfections.

    How do I coordinate new countertops with existing cabinets? 

    Always bring a sample of your cabinet finish when selecting new countertops. I recommend neutrals like white marble, tan granite, or cream quartz, as they pair well with most colors.

    What type of flooring is warmest for kitchens? 

    Wood conveys the most warmth underfoot. But porcelain or natural stone tiles in earthy hues also warm up the space nicely.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Jonathon Jachura

    Jonathon Jachura


    Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

    Learn More

    photo of Amy DeYoung

    Amy DeYoung


    Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

    Learn More