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The kitchen is one of the most essential living spaces in every home. Whether it's a spacious room complete with a central island or a tiny kitchenette in a crowded city apartment, the kitchen is the setting for many of life's most memorable moments. Since we spend so much time cooking, eating, and just hanging out in the kitchen, it's important to make it feel like home. Fortunately, decorating with the right colors can be all it takes to transform your average kitchen into the gathering space of your dreams.

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White is clean and classic

If you gravitate toward elegance and simplicity in your decorating, consider a classic all-white kitchen. It has a clean, airy feel that looks especially great with lots of natural light from windows or skylights. You can avoid a too-clinical feel by selecting materials with interesting textures like a smooth subway tile backsplash or shiny lacquered cabinets. Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful natural materials like marble, quartz, and granite that come in stunning shades of white. Add a few pops of color with bright green houseplants or decorative bowls for visual interest and to showcase your personal style.

White makes a kitchen look clean and bright. LEK_3DPHOTO / Getty Images
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Grey is sophisticated and contemporary

If you are looking for a neutral color for your kitchen but want a more contemporary feel, grey is the way to go. This versatile option can feel warm or cool depending on the shade you select. It also pairs well with other neutrals, like white or black, but bright colors like lime green or red looks surprisingly great if you want to go for a bolder style.

Grey cabinets look warm with natural wood flooring and furniture. onurdongel / Getty Images
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Navy is a knockout when used as an accent color

Give your kitchen nautical panache by adding navy accents. Consider using navy as a cabinet color or as an eye-catching accent wall. Navy looks especially fresh and bright when paired with clean neutrals like white or grey or with sunny shades of yellow. A little goes a long way though, so try it out with a tablecloth, placemats, or even a simple vase to see how it works in your space.

Interesting tile and the navy island make this white and gold kitchen memorable. RAUL RODRIGUEZ / Getty Images
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Go green for a unique kitchen

After a trip to the farmer's market, our kitchens are already overflowing with greens. The fruit bowls may pop with bright green Granny Smith apples while dark green spinach and kale leaves populate the crisper drawers. Why not let your food inspire your kitchen decor? Bright green has an effect both invigorating and calming at once, while paler green shades have a charmingly retro feel. All shades of green pair well with browns for peaceful, nature-inspired kitchen decor.

Bright green walls pair well with textured chocolate brown cabinetry. tulcarion / Getty Images
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Try turquoise blue for a calm kitchen

The kitchen can be a busy place with lots of people coming and going and all the activities of cooking, eating, and cleaning. Try adding calming influences with turquoise blue decor. Soft turquoise reminds us of the ocean or a clear sky, and can look especially nice with other pastel colors or natural shades for instant cottage charm. Adding a color like turquoise blue against one wall or row of cabinets also anchors a white kitchen without overpowering it. Glass tiles are another way to use this color in a subtle yet powerful way.

Turquoise cabinets keep this neutral kitchen from being too bland. KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images
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Think pink for a pastel update

Pink can be such a pick-me-up of a color, it's an ideal shade to use in a modern kitchen. But if your goal is a contemporary, sophisticated look, keep the shade you choose pastel. Compared to darker or brighter shades, a pale pink or blush-toned color is much better suited for an adult apartment or townhome. Pair it with darker colors or metallic shades for a more natural look, or throw in more pastels for a candy-colored kitchen.

Pink paired with green and rose gold looks sophisticated. ume illus / Getty Images
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Yellow brightens up any kitchen

Make it nearly impossible for anyone to feel sad in your kitchen by choosing yellow for your decor. This sunshine shade is a great choice to brighten up kitchens that lack natural light or that are on the smaller side. For the freshest results, go for a lemony hue and combine it with neutrals for a light and airy kitchen your family members will love to spend time in. Just a few accessories can make a big difference in this bold color, or try peel-and-stick wallpaper for a more daring accent.

Yellow accents help this small kitchen make the most of its space. ArchiViz / Getty Images
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Brown makes your kitchen cozy

Make your kitchen a cozy gathering place by using wooden decor in shades of brown. Yes, it's true that kitchens that feature lots of wood can look more traditional, but it's easy to transform it into a contemporary, cozy hideaway with the right textures and materials. Opt for choices that showcase rustic style like exposed beams and unfinished tabletops or natural materials like jute, burlap, and straw.

This kitchen features lots of wood and brown tones, but still looks contemporary. Peter_visual / Getty Images
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Black boosts your kitchen's style factor

When it comes to neutrals, black may be the deepest, but that doesn't mean a black kitchen has to look dark and sad. Choose granite or marble countertops with interesting natural variations in their patterns, or combine with stainless steel appliances and glass fixtures for a cool industrial vibe. A matte or satin finish for black paint is more contemporary than a distressed or lacquered look.

Natural patterns in this black countertop add visual interest. piovesempre / Getty Images
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Get inspired with a stainless steel kitchen

Stainless steel appliances have been popular for a while now, but why not take it to the next level with an all-stainless kitchen? You can pretend to be a famous restaurant chef in your own home with gleaming, easy-to-clean countertops, fixtures, and sinks. Silver acts like a neutral, making it easy to pair with other neutrals or brighter colors.

A stainless steel countertop makes this kitchen look sleek. seanoriordan / Getty Images

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