Kitchens With COLOR: Yellow

Well, October is officially over, and November is here. To me, this marks the beginning of the holiday season. And before you jump down my throat about celebrating holidays too early (Christmas decorations for sale in October? Slightly excessive, Costco), let me clarify that my mood begins to shift from winter dread to childlike excitement. The short days and dark skies suddenly don’t seem so terrible when there are good times on the horizon.

And, best of all, I can begin planning my Christmas decorating extravaganza.

With this cheerfulness in mind, today we will explore sunny, happy, yellow kitchens.

Let’s begin!

Traditional Kitchen

traditional yellow kitchen

This traditional kitchen utilized yellow ceramic tile with trims of navy blue and white wainscot for a preppy look. With lots of natural light, a farmhouse sink, and windowed cabinets, this kitchen appears very homey and comfortable while still remaining refined.

The beauty of this design is that it is extremely inexpensive. Yellow ceramic tile in a 4×4 is a very easy find, and the trim was completed using cut navy blue 4×4 pieces around the edge of the counter. A navy blue pencil trim was added into the splash to tie in with the edging. Easy peazy.

Here’s another traditional yellow kitchen:

traditional yellow kitchen

This one inserted a rustic stone medallion into the yellow-tinted glazed stone backsplash to add a focal point in the room.

Now this backsplash is interesting, because the designer chose to use the exact same stone in 3 different ways: as an offset field (see far right) for around the majority of the room, in a herringbone pattern for above the stove area, and set as a vertical trim to surround the herringbone.

This reminds me of the post I wrote discussing all the different ways you can use subway tile. Since a 1×2 follows the same ratio as the traditional subway tile (3×6), all the same rules apply.

Contemporary Kitchen

contemporary yellow kitchen

The difference with this kitchen is slight: the tile used is a slightly larger size (2×4) and the herringbone was set at a 90 degree angle. This designer also opted to frame the herringbone in with a pencil trim rather than more 2×4 tiles. This makes the frame appear cleaner and more minimalistic, and lets the pattern inside shine.

Modern Kitchen

modern yellow kitchen

Of course: glass. This is an interesting juxtoposition of a modern material in a modern kitchen being used in a traditional way. These tiles are in a 2×2 format, which are slightly harder to find. To be perfectly honest with you, I am really not sure who is manufacturing yellow 2×2 glass tiles. But the look is nice, clean, and simple.

Cottage Chic

yellow cottage kitchen

This is an excellent example of a shabby chic kitchen done well. The bright pops of yellow emphasize the brightness and airiness of the room, and the color doesn’t look out of place because it’s repeated through the pottery on the opposing wall.

This is another easily accomplished and budget-friendly design: simply alternate white and yellow 4×4 ceramic tiles throughout the field, and trim with matching 2×2 yellow tiles.

Rustic Charm

rustic yellow kitchen

This kitchen is slightly reminiscent of a classic Frank Lloyd Wright fireplace with the exposed wooden beam, but nearly everything else about it is very Spanish. This kitchen is very themey, but because of that, the amount of yellow in the space actually works. The pattern on the backsplash is mimicked on the floor, which ties together both elements and gives a sense of continuity. Continuing the color of the backsplash onto the counter is usually a giant no-no (re: green gone wrong), but because this kitchen is clearly so themed, it works in this space.

This is another easily accomplished look: some ceramic 4×4 tiles come with the corners nipped off to allow for inserts, but it may be difficult to find these in yellow. But never fear, it’s very easy to nip off the corners yourself. This kitchen chose navy blue 1×1 tiles as inserts, and then continued this pattern on the floor. Inserts can be done with 2×2 tiles as well if you want a heavier look.

Architectural Cool

architecturally cool yellow kitchen

This is a new category for this series, but I didn’t want to list this kitchen under “modern” since there’s no tile involved. But it’s so awesome, I had to include it in this post.

I don’t even really have anything to say about this except that it’s awesome, and would certainly make the dark days of winter much more bearable! This is probably not a look you could re-create yourself, unless you’re planning a major kitchen renovation that involves tearing down walls.

Yellow Kitchen Gone Wrong

yellow kitchen gone wrong

On first glance, this kitchen doesn’t seem terrible. And it’s not terrible, per say, but there are definite problems.

For starters; the choice of green paint was all wrong. Green could have potentially worked if it had the same hues that are in the yellow tile.

Second, and listen to this carefully: trim can go very, very wrong if there isn’t enough continuity around the room. To explain, it’s ok to break up trim with a window if there’s say, one window in the room and the rest of the trim runs continuously. But this trim is broken up significantly by a huge window, and by the glass behind the stove. They would have been better off without the trim in this space, of running it low enough that it could run below the window. But with the trim only running about 50% uninterrupted, it looks disjointed.

Third, the choice of trim tile wasn’t appropriate for this space. The colors don’t coordinate with any of the bright colors presented in the room. If this trim had included the green in the paint above the trim, it might have worked better, but it just looks busy and out of place here.

In short, please remember that trim should only be used in a space that doesn’t have a lot going on with color, and if it can run at least 75% uninterrupted by windows or other fixtures.

There is a time and a place!

If you’re unsure about what that time and place is, please feel free to email me at with any questions or clarifications 🙂

6 Responses to “Kitchens With COLOR: Yellow”
  1. I applaud anyone who can make the committment to a color in their kitchen – it is not for the fickle of design or style. Yet, the times I’ve gone completely (gutlessly) neutral are the times I’ve wanted to re-do a space to add some pizzaz.

    I had a yellow kitchen. Benjamin Moore’s Concord Ivory (actually quite a strong yellow-gold) cabinets glazed with burnt umber. The counter was 2″ of end-grain mesquite (dark cherry/mahogany colored), and the floor was a dark grey concrete applied like venetian plaster.

    It was incredibly inviting, and it was so sad to paint over the cabinets when the house was sold this fall.

    Now I’m planning the gut-and-remodel of my new, small condo kitchen. I am wavering between neutral and no-guts-no-glory. So far, the cabinets are black/brown and the counters are a medium grey stone called Pietra de Cordoso (looks like soapstone, the lighter/bluer kind).

    • Tile Tramp says:

      Ooh what a fun neutral palette to use as a jumping off point! You could definitely go either way with what you’ve got to work with. I know what you mean though, I always respect bold color decisions, but I’m a chicken when it comes to my own space. I always go to the same neutral colors and use brights for accents 🙂

  2. Deborah says:

    Susan Jablon makes a range of 2 x 2 tiles that can be custom blended from 40ish colors:

    We’re still deciding if we want to do straight-set glass tile or Jablon’s 1 x 3 herringbone glass tile for our renovated mid-century mod kitchen. Either way, her color selection and custom options are really the best I’ve found!

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