Paint Small With Bold
Warm colors remind us of warmth and food--banana yellow, apple red and carrot orange all qualify. Use warm colors in small patches because they move toward the viewer and can make a small kitchen appear smaller if used on a large expanse like a whole wall. Make these colors workable in the small kitchen by choosing a more sophisticated, muted version of them instead of bright, glowing color--a deep tomato, an ocher, a dusty cayenne or paprika. Use them as a backsplash color or on the back wall of glass door cabinets. Paint these colors on a single accent wall that includes a window to visually advance the outdoors inside.
Paint Cool Colors
Use cool colors in a small kitchen because they recede and allow the kitchen to appear larger. Cool colors tend toward blues, greens and purples. Use muted versions to make the small kitchen even larger. Try celery, lettuce or mint for greens, dusty muted blues like colors of sea glass or purples in the range of a deep iris or a muted (sliver or grey) berry. Cool colors will do well on walls in the small kitchen because they are not overwhelming. Try painting cabinets and walls the same color to make whole sections of the kitchen open up visually. Combine with a white for more expansion.
Go neutral with a soft cappuccino, a gray oyster white or a buttery off-white. Neutrals work much like white to create visual expansion. White will always make a space or room appear larger and is the perfect paint color for a small kitchen. Use a latex enamel paint for easy cleaning of painted surfaces. Add a touch of warmth and allow the color of nuts to guide the paint color choice--peanut butter, almond or cashew provide a starting point for selecting color.
Use a visual trick to choose a paint color for the small kitchen--continuity. Paint the kitchen the same color as the room next to it, the one that is the most traveled to gain entry to the kitchen. Most often this is the living room. By painting the kitchen the same linen white, mocha or sage green as the living area, the kitchen appears to be an extension of the living room. As part of the living area it takes on the same characteristics--large living room, large kitchen. Even a deep pumpkin color works well when using the continuity trick. Refrain from painting trim in contrasting colors or the visual continuity will break.