08/28/2013 12:37 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Picking the Right Colours for Your Kitchen

One of the most satisfying home renovations is always the kitchen makeover: we spend so much time there, so although living without one for a few weeks can be tough (I'm going through my own kitchen update right now so I speak from lots of experience!), the process is absolutely worth it in the end. Whether you're getting new cabinets, or still loving old favourites, it can be tricky to know what colour to paint your walls to get the most satisfying effect. For your next culinary overhaul, or even just a DIY weekend refresh, consider my paint colour guide for the top five most common cabinetry styles, complete with hardware suggestions for a complete look you can be confident about.


Oak/Maple/Teak: One of the most common cabinet finishes in Canadian homes, warm midtone woods require a paint that will work with the undercurrents of red, but not fight them. Recently I've been inspired by the way very soft pink walls can appear almost neutral, while giving a touch of life to even a modern space. The light red hue works with the cabinetry, but doesn't overwhelm.

Colour: Benjamin Moore's CC-158 Pink Moire

Hardware: Rounded pull (more traditional) or thin extended bar (more modern) in a brass finish. Warm hued metals are a traditional look that's back en vogue -- it's definitely a trend to invest in.

White: Minimal white cabinets are popular in hip condos, but are also a timeless classic, and thus have become a staple for recent kitchen renovations. Your instinct may be to pair them with stark white walls, but matching the white shades exactly is nearly impossible, and the result tends to be cold. Instead, use a pale but warm grey to bring in some depth.

Colour: Benjamin Moore's OC-19 Seapearl

Hardware: Clear glass knobs (in a diamond cut for a jewel inspired effect, or clean simple squares). The colourless colour will add variety without breaking the tone on tone effect.

Blonde: Light, scandinavian woods give a light, airy effect similar to white, with a less minimal character. Rather than pairing them with a total neutral, consider a green-gray to a mixture with some character. Green is paired with wood tones all around us in nature, so we're instinctually attuned to this peaceful combination.

Colour: Benjamin Moore's CC-698 Killarney

Hardware: Playful accent. Take the opportunity to add a fun decorative knob with a punch of colour, such as a brighter green glass, precious stone or patterned porcelain.

Walnut: A favourite modern option, cool, grey toned walnut has incredible exotic character exuding from its dramatic grains. Purple is an excellent compliment, as it likewise balances between warm and cool (a mix of red and blue), and makes a hip statement.

Colour: Benjamin Moore's CC-920 Yukon Sky

Hardware: Extended metal handle. A long thin bar -- running horizontally -- picks up the lines of the grain.

Espresso: Black-brown stains have a masculine quality that works equally well in urban homes and traditional italian style kitchens. Here I would recommend playing against the warmth slightly -- adding any more brown becomes too much, but deep blue creates a sophisticated balance.

Colour: Benjamin Moore's CC-932 North Sea

Hardware: Aged metal knobs in a dark finish. The antiqued metal gives just a hint of character -- the handles don't need to stand out when the scheme is already so strong.

To get more interior inspiration (or a fresh set of eyes on your own kitchen design) visit

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