Based on the the feel you are after, a small kitchen can be painted in any color. A less-than-spacious kitchen can be drawn out and made to look larger by using a single light color or a monochromatic color palette that uses tints, shades or tones of the same color. Or if expanding the space is not your primary concern, a tiny kitchen can made to feel inviting, invigorating or cozy when clad in a bright or rich, warm color.
Any Color, All Over
To maximize the feeling of space in a small kitchen, keep walls and ceilings the same color to create a visual continuum. A single color can help lead the eye all around the room and effectively open up the space. A monochromatic palette allows you to add variations of a single color in multiple shades, tones or tints to create contrast and interest.
To go a step further, paint the cabinets in the same color. Although pale colors are more intuitive in a small space because they reflect light, it is kosher to use dark colors as well because they trick the eye -- dark colors recede and seem to push walls back further than their physical limits.
Contrast between dark and light is what really jumps forward, so a room saturated with any one color will create the feeling of space even with light changes throughout the day. Your desire for airy versus cozy or dynamic dictates whether to go light or dark in your color choices.
Experiment with colors in your small kitchen that may feel overwhelming in a larger room. Kitchens offer an ideal opportunity to experiment with bold paint colors: a little energizing hue never hurts while concocting gastronomical masterpieces. Energy from colors such as warm reds, deep saffrons, spicy oranges or even tangy tropical green can energize aspiring chefs instead of making them feel limited by space issues. Not everyone is trying to maximize the illusion of space in their undersized kitchen; the warmth of the color and your personal preferences are much more important.
Whitewashing cabinetry can give your kitchen antique or vintage appeal while hiding a world of imperfections. Painting walls white offers a sure way to block out unpalatable colors, designs or textures. An all-white kitchen may open up the space, but can also seem lifeless to some. Use decor or trim accents in different colors if the quietness of white is too calming for you. For instance, use a different color for cabinet paint, a tile backsplash or bar stools. Perhaps your kitchen will assume a new exotic identity -- maybe Spanish Revival -- with its new mantle of white, a colorful backsplash in primary colors -- reds, blues and yellows -- and some black wrought-iron fixtures.
A yellow kitchen with white window, door and baseboard trim, just works, no matter how small the room. Maybe the pairing just goes together like an egg white and egg yolk, butter and milk or a daisy's center and its petals. The combination is wholesome and hopeful. If chrome and glass accents are thrown in, it adds a modern touch, but it's equally natural to gravitate toward wood furnishings and feel like you're in your grandma's country kitchen again. Yellow is the adrenaline of colors and will have you humming in the morning despite yourself. Your kitchen will no doubt become a new retreat after its dose of sunshiny color.