When Atlanta-based interior designer Gina Sims learned that the owner of the kitchen shown above loved green—in particular, the varied shades of succulent plants— she went to work incorporating different tones of the hue into her renovation. Whether you want to go all in or just add a few little pops here and there, Sims has five ideas for adding color to your kitchen.
Related: See This Boston Kitchen’s Radical Before-And-After Renovation
Install a bright backsplash
It’s the showstopper in this kitchen (and both the homeowner’s and Sims’ favorite design element). “White subway tile is fine, but a colorful backsplash makes a big impact and is a great way to bring personality to a space,” Sims says. “There are so many different shapes of tile, and you can play with patterns, or opt for tiles with a fun print.” And because it’s a fairly confined area, you can go bold without making the whole room look too loud or busy.
The amazing tiles Sims chose are handmade by Ohio-based Seneca Tiles. You can’t purchase from them directly, but head to their website to find a vendor in your area. Buy it: Price varies, 8-inch Fan Water Lily Tile, senecatiles.com
Wood accents work with all colors. The exact stools Sims used for the homeowner’s kitchen island can soon be sitting pretty around yours. Buy it: $199, Alden Wood Counter Stool, westelm.com
Play with paint (or peel-and-stick wallpaper)
Looking for a safer (and more budget-friendly) way to make a splash than a backsplash? “Painting your island’s cabinets is a great place to start,” says Sims. (She recommends a semi-gloss paint, so it can be easily wiped down.) If you’re happy with that change, consider moving on and painting the rest of your kitchen cabinets. A popular trend right now is uppers that are painted a lighter color than the lowers. If you’re leery of taking a brush to your nice wood cabinets, Sims has another trick: “Try a peel-and-stick wallpaper on the back of cabinets with glass doors.”
Roll out the red (or purple) carpet
An often-overlooked way to introduce color into any room is adding it to the floor. Sims ordered several vintage rugs for the homeowner to try out. (Buying a few—keep those return receipts!—lets you see each one in the space and decide what you like best.) Ultimately, Sims says, “She had a sweet spot in her heart for this purple and green combination.” Look for flat-weave rugs, or indoor-outdoor versions, both of which are easier to clean than something with a higher pile. And opt for a rug with a pattern to help hide stains. If the rest of your room is pretty neutral, add some other accents, so not all of the color is on the floor.
This rug has a similar look to the vintage one pictured, and is a serious bargain. Buy it: Mistana Indira Violet/Fuchsia Rug, $44 and up, wayfair.com
Swap out your hardware
New knobs can give your kitchen a totally different look in the hour it takes to install them, notes Sims. (As can adding hardware to bare cabinets.) She chose copper drawer pulls for this kitchen, inspired by a copper clock the homeowner already had. But there are endless colorful options out there, from glass and ceramic to leather-covered.
You can find inexpensive copper drawer pulls all over the internet, so we’re stepping this pick up a notch and advocating for color, brass and leather with these beauties. Buy it: $11 and up, Brass with Leather Drawer Pulls by HookedPullMeKnob, etsy.com
Color shy? Adding small accents all in one shade—so it looks considered—is a great way to dip your toes into the trend, says Sims. Here, a Dutch oven, canisters and various plants all speak to the homeowner’s love of green. The more you experiment with color, the more confident you will become with your own tastes. “Most of my advice,” says Sims, “is ‘just go for it!’”
The photo hanging over the kitchen island was taken by the homeowner, who is a professional photographer. Take a tip from her and frame your own favorite photo or piece of art—or score the very same artwork for your spot. Buy it: $30, Historic Inman Park Neighborhood Sign Snow Covered Atlanta, GA, etsy.com/shop/catiteaguephoto