Contrasting Kitchen Island: Get YOUR Colour Right

Recently I was consulting with a couple on their new build. They told me they were definitely installing a white kitchen but they wanted a different colour on the island. This is the inspiration picture they showed me:

Robert Elliot Homes

When I asked what colours they were decorating with in their adjoining great room, they showed me a photo of their existing sofa which was a gold beige colour.

Now if they plan on introducing this green grey colour (above) into their decorating, then it’s a good choice. For example, the new great room could have this kind of colour scheme:

image via Tumish

Here the chairs are gold and the sofa is a green grey, but you get the idea. You can definitely incorporate your gold furniture from the tuscan trend and make it look more current by introducing grey just like the above photo. I like how the wallpaper picks up the gold and the grey, this room feels cozy with a nice balance of warm and cool.

Another client showed me a photo of the dark blue-grey shade she was considering for her kitchen island.

Then when we started talking about the colours she was using to decorate her great room, she sent me a photo of the area rug going in there.

I said “Well, take it out of storage so you can confirm that the colour you’ve chosen for your island works with your area rug, you’ll get cranky if, in the end, it looks like you tried to match it and failed”.

Even if you can’t see your kitchen from your adjoining living room or family room, when you walk through your house and your colours are coordinated, it feels. . . right. This is part of what creating flow looks like.


If you want something different but don’t want to be married to a colour, you could go with a wood-stained island that coordinates with your wood floors.

It’s likely that you’ll have a coffee or end table that repeats the colour of your island and then you can just forget about the colour. I would have repeated the white countertop on the island here, but overall this is a pretty kitchen (above).

I posted this quote on my Instagram page a couple weeks ago, because I had just spoken to the woman with the blue-green island, so I’m including it here because it reinforces my point.

And that is, it seems sooooo important at the design stage, to choose DIFFERENT colours for everything, but if you just blindly copy an inspiration picture without considering how it will fit with the rest of your furniture then you might just be disappointed with the result.

So before you choose just ANY colour for your kitchen island (or your cabinets for that matter), think about where that colour might be repeated somewhere else in your decorating for the prettiest result.

Babble | Decor 8

These two rooms are not from the same house but they could be right? You would expect to see a muted, mint green sofa in the house where this kitchen lived.

Domaine | House to Home

One more thing to remember. If you are painting your kitchen to give it an update and you DO NOT have an island that was designed to look like a piece of furniture like all the ones shown in this post, DON’T paint it a contrasting colour. That will simply draw attention to the fact that it’s dated, and old.

It often makes a huge difference to just take the island out and replace it with a more updated design. This way you can also possibly re-design the shape. Most kitchen islands should be square or rectangle.

You won’t see a kitchen in House Beautiful in an odd shape with shaved off or rounded corners.

Okay, hope that makes sense, if you have any questions, post them in the comments below.

I’m crushing on pinks lately how about you?

Related posts:

Should Your Great Room Fireplace RELATE to the Kitchen?

What NOT to do with your Kitchen Island Design

5 Steps to a Kitchen You Will Love!



leave aREPLY

  1. my kitchen cabinets are dark brown like most of the new homes that i see have in them , what do you think about me changing my kitchen island a linen color ? I need a change from all dark cabinets . thank you

    • An accent colour is generally darker than the rest of your colours so I would not recommend painting only your island a linen colour, it might look like you’ve started painting your kitchen and haven’t finished yet. Having said that, it’s your house and if you think you might eventually paint your kitchen, start with the island so that your kitchen will feel fresher! Hope that helps, Maria