“Any interior design is more special if you use colors in your house that make you happy and connect to important memories,” says Jenna Buck Gross, an Atlanta interior designer with an aptly named firm, Colordrunk Designs. In her own remodeled bungalow, Jenna saw opportunities in the kitchen and bathrooms to use white as a base — but then she gladly layered on more vivid hues when decorating with color.

“I think people are particularly nervous decorating with color in kitchens and baths,” she says. “For that reason, most homeowners lean towards white bathrooms and kitchens because that’s a safe color, and everything looks cleaner.” Since kitchens and baths tend to be areas of the home with more permanent, big-ticket elements such as tile, countertops, appliances and fixtures, it makes sense for those things to be white or neutral, then build color on top of that,” the designer advises.

decorating with color in the kitchen

The kitchen peninsula holds the dishwasher and sink and overlooks the family room, which shows the homeowner’s colorful, “more-is-more” approach to interior design.

The cottage was a complete redo, so the family had a chance to redesign the kitchen to suit their style. On their wish list: open cabinetry to show off everyday china, furniture-like cabinets, a chunky white marble countertop and a farmhouse sink. For a little color pizzazz, Jenna designed the café curtains and barstools in a Chinoiserie fabric.

The designer purposefully kept things a bit muted in her Atlanta kitchen because it was the one area her husband, Caleb, wanted to help design. The couple chose a greenish-gray cabinet color, making it the most understated room in the house.

decorating with color in the kitchen

Traditional cabinetry wears a peaceful gray-green shade as a twist on neutral kitchens, with white marble countertops and tile backsplash for contrast. Cabinet paint color is “Fieldstone” by Benjamin Moore.

decorating with color in the butler's pantry

As a complementary but different look in the adjacent butler’s pantry, Jenna chose white cabinets. The wall color is the same as in the family room. A zig zag patterned backsplash by Ann Sacks adds lively colors.

Jenna chose a chevron-patterned tile for her butler’s pantry, loving the groovy vibe of the turquoise and brown zig zag. However, she understands that most people rather add color in different ways. “I usually suggest to my clients that we bring in color with wallpaper, paint, fabric and art, and accessories in kitchen and bath areas,” she says. “Changing those elements is far easier than ripping out a tile backsplash or replacing a countertop.”

Jenna’s love of color blossomed while working in the fashion industry in New York in her 20s, observing how her mentors such as Marc Jacobs and Trina Turk combined patterns and colors in fresh new ways. “You don’t often have to spend a lot to get great pops of color,” she adds, citing a new coat of paint on walls as one easy fix. Some of her favorite destinations for accessories include budget-conscious shops Target and Home Goods.

The designer selected her favorite color, pink, for her daughter’s bathroom even before she knew she was having a girl. “I suspected I was having a girl, so I had the painters add the hot pink and, if Lottie had been a boy, that’s just too bad,” she jokes.

decorating with color in the bathroom

“Pink Ladies” by Benjamin Moore livens up the cabinetry, while custom black-and-white wallpaper brings in a sophisticated touch. Cabinet knobs are from Anthropologie.

“I designed our master bathroom to be pretty and feminine,” Jenna says, noting that husband Caleb is on board for all things color — although he’s a bit outnumbered with two young daughters in the house. Jenna spent months finding the perfect countertops made of statuary marble, with just the right amount of veining. She then chose a statuary marble tile from Ann Sacks for the backsplash to create a seamless marble look. Cabinetry is painted white so the veining in the marble and accessories stand out, she says.

Two art prints by Lulu DK — one over the tub and one in the water closet — are starting points for a splash of color in the master bathroom. “They both are full of blues and oranges that I knew would really liven the space up,” says Jenna. Diamond-patterned fabric on the window treatment by Schumacher bring in more richness. The vanity area combines beauty and function, allowing Jenna a special space to get ready for the day. “My girls and I love sitting there and playing with makeup and jewelry,” says the homeowner. “It’s our little ‘girly spot.'”

colorful patterns in the bathroom

A Roman shade can be lowered for privacy or raised to let sunlight in. Double sinks in the vanity create his-and-her spaces.

master bath has effective lighting and color

Jenna chose statuary marble for the master bath because of its artistic gray veining. Two of her favorite things in the bathroom intentionally have a similar shape: the curvy light fixture from Circa Lighting and the Made Goods mirror.

bathroom fixtures

Plumbing fixtures are by Rohl, chosen to match the formality and luxury of the marble.

Decorating with color may seem intimidating but it can be a great update for any kitchen or bathroom. If you’re still a bit overwhelmed choosing that perfect hue for your home, hire a color expert like Jenna to help guide you through the process.

Special thanks to Iran Watson for today’s lovely photos!


Interior design: Jenna Buck Gross, Colordrunk Designs
Photography: Iran Watson, Iran Watson Photography
Bath art: Lulu DK
Bath window treatment fabric: Schumacher
Light: Circa Lighting
Mirror: Made Goods
Bath faucets: Rohl
Girls bath knobs: Anthropologie
Cabinet colors: Benjamin Moore
Butler’s pantry tile: Ann Sacks


Want more design inspiration? Take a tour of all of the homes we’ve featured. Click here and be inspired!