The Kitchen Color Palettes Agents Say Home Buyers Are Shying Away From

Is your kitchen design light on light? Gray on gray? Neutral with a touch of color? With every turn of the magazine page and every swipe on social media, people reject colors that don't work for them in their house or apartment, but especially in the heart of the home: The kitchen. The overriding principle of home design is that your home should match your style. But when it comes time to sell or move out of your home, talk with your realtor about how to make your kitchen color palette as appealing as possible to most buyers.

A well-known rule of thumb in real estate and the general housing market is that money spent on kitchen and bathroom upgrades will be recouped when it's time to move. No matter what your taste, it's best to be at least aware of what most people prefer and don't prefer when it comes to kitchen colors and upgrades.

Avoid dark and bold colors

Home Light, a real estate technology platform, conducted an extensive study in late 2022 that describes what buyers want in a kitchen, and the results are not startling. You can guess that most people want their kitchen to be neutral or have light colors.

The study indicates that 14% of real estate agents say that kitchens with predominantly black or black matte finishes are the least attractive to the average buyer. Similarly, 14% of agents also say their buyers are not looking for kitchens decorated with intense, bold color palettes. You'll want to be aware of the worst looks for a kitchen, such as these, so that you can avoid them. 

However, realtors and designers may respectfully agree to disagree on using a lot of creativity in kitchen décor. Forbes weighs in on the trendiest styles that are becoming less popular, and using matte black in the kitchen is among these fading fads. On the contrary, Vogue suggests using bold colors, such as deep green or blue cabinetry. 

Instead mix neutral colors and texture

The Home Light survey offers additional insights into what the average buyer wants to see in a kitchen. It indicates that 43% of buyers prefer a room with light or calming palettes. Fortunately, there are plenty of color schemes that fulfill both requirements. In the blog The Inspired Room, there are many examples of using soothing, muted greens and earth tones in the kitchen and beyond to create a subtle, peaceful environment.

Another key to appealing kitchens is using mixed materials. Even if your room is completely monochromatic, you can add a lot of interest by using various textures, as Kitchen Magic points out. Use glass or glazes in the cabinets and backsplash or patterned tile surfaces or rugs. Beadboard or paneling will help mix up the tone of an all-white or all-gray kitchen. Also, if you choose to add subtle color to the core of a neutral kitchen, feel free to add touches of that color to other parts of the rooms through artwork or curtains. Repeating the same tones throughout a room brings all the elements together for a pleasing, inviting space that you and your family will love.