Color tips from the pros: How to bring bold hues into the kitchen and bath

Why is it that some people can do daring things with color in their living rooms or bedrooms, but stick with the strongholds of beige and white in their kitchens and baths? As bright hues are surfacing in kitchen and bath design trends, existing oft-neutral pallettes make it easy to introduce bold splashes.

Whether it’s with a new faucet finish, a vibrant wall color, a playful backsplash – even a brightly-colored sink – adding color instantly creates a personalized and pleasing look in your kitchen or bath. Debating the best way to bring new colors into your home? Consider these seven tips straight from two industry professionals:

1. Find your perfect (color) match. Before you begin mixing and matching paint chips with backsplash tile, identify a color that has long resonated with your own design or fashion aesthetic. “If a client isn’t able to answer this question instantly, all I have to do is peruse the closet,” says Kohler interior designer Diana Schrage. “Chances are that repeated pop of color worn over the years belongs in his or her home décor as much as in his or her wardrobe.” Once that signature color has been identified, Schrage says homeowners often feel more confident introducing those brighter hues in a more permanent manner.

2. Make a color splash in the sink. “A brightly-colored sink makes a delightful and memorable impact,” Schrage says. Kohler recently made a color splash in the kitchen and bathroom with four bright and bold colors created in a partnership with color evangelist and design guru Jonathan Adler. The special edition hues, KOHLER Colors Featuring Jonathan Adler, include Palermo Blue, Greenwich Green, Piccadilly Yellow and Annapolis Navy – each available exclusively on three kitchen sinks and three bathroom sinks. The color offering doesn’t stop at four – there are 28 in Kohler’s enameled cast iron color offering to choose from. “Whether it’s on a Farmhouse sink in the kitchen or a lavatory in the powder room, a bright sink is a perfect piece to build upon as you bring new colors into your space,” Schrage says.

3. Harness the power of color. Color can have a big impact on mood andwhat happens in a space. Restaurants and retail outlets often enlist color psychologists to select colors that will encourage diners to splurge on dessert or draw shoppers into a store. So harness that same power in your home. Want your kitchen to be a comfortable space for your family that encourages an appetite in the pickiest of eaters? Incorporate orange. If you long for a peaceful bathroom oasis, bring in calming blues and soothing greens. “Blue in all of its many shades is the universal beloved color in the whole color world,” Adler says. “A crisp light blue is refreshing, calming and serene – like Palermo Blue in my collection with Kohler. Every time you dip your hands in it, it’s like taking a dip in the Mediterranean itself.”

4. Make up your own rules. “I feel like the world is often tame when it comes to color,” Adler says. “But embracing color is about embracing life. And to truly make a space your own, you have to make your own rules.” If your powder room feels plain and predictable, its small footprint makes it the perfect space to strengthen your color confidence by experimenting to show off your own design aesthetic. Always had a fondness for chartreuse, for example? Select a KOHLER sink in Greenwich Green and introduce a new faucet finish that isn’t used elsewhere in the home, such as Kohler’s Vibrant Moderne Brushed Gold or the new Oil-Rubbed Bronze finish for instant warmth. “The powder room is all about creating a memorable and gracious experience for your guests,” Schrage says. “Make it a fun one by incorporating color in an unexpected fashion by applying your favorite wallpaper to the ceiling with a complementing color on the walls, or a large installation of tile.

5. Focus on a focal point. Incorporating color doesn’t require a complete redo. Instead, focus on a smaller project within the space to create a focal point or accent. Color can act as an eye magnet to create a focal-point-worthy design statement that draws a room together visually and gives you a solid foundation on which to build out the room’s design theme. “A striking pairing of a faucet and sink can create a focal point,” Schrage says. “Throwing color into the mix only strengthens it.”

6. Layer for visual interest. If you want use color like a pro, learn to layer. Adler’s go-to layering hue: navy. “It’s a great base color to use with other bold colors,” he says. “That’s why Annapolis Navy was a must-have in my collection with Kohler; it’s classic. Nautical. Chic.”

7. Do your homework. If you’re considering a fresh coat of paint, a bright backsplash or bold new sink, experiment with apps and different websites to see how new colors can best be applied to your space. Kohler offers an app that allows you to mix and match sink colors with different faucet finishes, and sites like put more than half a million design photos at your fingertips and allows you to store your favorites in your very own idea book on the site.

Once homework is done and the concept is complete, conquer any lingering hesitation with by remembering Adler’s last bit of advice: “Incorporating an exclamation of color in a more permanent manner – such as a sink – resonates not only with your own design aesthetic, it means more permanent happiness.”