How Hilary Farr Brings Bold Color Into A Kitchen On HGTV's Tough Love

Hilary Farr loves to create timeless, classic homes, which means she usually gravitates toward a neutral color palette in her designs. The HGTV designer has a propensity for using creams, whites, grays, and pops of black in her house flips, but that doesn't mean she refuses to dabble in color when her clients ask for it. That's exactly what happened in Season 2, Episode 8 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr." In the episode, Farr works with a couple, Jennifer and Jason, who like to embrace all colors of the rainbow. "We gravitate to stronger, brighter colors, and we like our home to reflect that," Jennifer said in the beginning of the episode (via MAX). When Farr walked into their house, their kitchen walls were painted a bright orange and vibrant purple. However, Farr wanted to find a way to incorporate those kinds of saturated hues while still creating an airy space that didn't overwhelm the eyes. 

In the finished kitchen, Farr landed on bright blue cabinets and a lime green backsplash, which the clients requested. But in order to give the eyes a place to rest, she incorporated white countertops. This balanced out the room and made it less busy. Below is a closer look at how Farr brings color into a kitchen without overwhelming the senses.

Farr balances bright color with white accents

At first, Farr designed their kitchen to be less saturated. She opted for teal blue cabinets, chartreuse green island chairs, and light blue tile for the backsplash. However, Jennifer wanted something more vibrant. "Extremely bright color is very important to Jennifer and Jason. They've made that extremely well known to me and my design team. In fact, they've been shooting down every option we've shown them," Farr shared in the episode. When she met the couple for a second design meeting, Jennifer admitted that she wanted more color in the space, such as bright blue cabinets and a lime green backsplash. In order for that to work, the designer opted to use a plain white countertop. It's a kitchen renovation tip Farr swears by. "So, your island is your canvas," the designer explained. "You will set it up when you are having people sitting around it with plates and settings and napkins and flowers and whatever you like that are every color of the rainbow."

Farr stressed that the countertops had to be subdued in order for a colorful kitchen to work. "It's not the star of the show," Farr explained. "This is the star of the show," she said, pointing at the blue cabinet door sample and backsplash tile. While the clients at first were resistant, they loved the finished result and admitted Farr was right for pushing the white accent on them. "Yeah, this looks great with all the color on top of it," Jennifer shared. "And it's picking up all the color that's happening in the rest of the room."

Other times Farr creates colorful kitchens

While Jennifer and Jason's kitchen has been the most rainbow-hued space Farr may have ever created, it wasn't her first color-saturated one. Farr has created blue and green kitchens multiple times, and each time she has, she has balanced the color with a white countertop and even a white backsplash. For instance, In Season 2, Episode 2 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," the designer used green cabinets to add a pop of vibrancy to a small kitchen. And just like she did in Justin and Jennifer's house, she paired it with bright white countertops.

The reason Farr is such a fan of toning down color with neutrals is so there could be a sense of balance in the room. "I like bringing color in, but too much of it is going to disrupt the main design of the concept," she told Apartment Therapy. It distracts from the other thoughtful elements in the room. If you see a rainbow of color, you will be hard pressed to notice the smaller details, such as the cabinet hardware or stylish plumbing. Adding white helps you have the best of both worlds.