With the kitchen now a multi-purpose room designed as much for living as it is for cooking, it is important to find a kitchen colour scheme that you will love for years to come.
Neutrals aren’t for everyone and the sizeable cost of a new kitchen shouldn’t dictate that you play it safe. It’s more a case of choosing how and where to introduce colour, picking spots that can be easily updated, and introducing shades that mirror the colour palette in the rest of your home. ‘It’s amazing how a change of paint colour or some new tiles can give a kitchen a completely fresh look, picking up on different accents within the home,’ adds Rob Whitaker, creative director, Fired Earth.
See: Our decorating section for more inspirational ideas and advice
Choosing a kitchen colour scheme is such a personal experience – in fact no one knows for sure whether we all even see the myriad shades in the same way. Mark Wilkinson, founder of Mark Wilkinson Furniture, believes that the colours we choose automatically are naturally influenced by current fashions. ‘The colour in a kitchen – be it on walls or fittings – should last for at least five years, minimum, so try to look beyond immediate trends and choose a colour that will keep you feeling good long term,’ he advises. Warm colours, between red and yellow on the colour spectrum, are ‘advancing’ so tend to be exciting and stimulating, while cool colours at the green and blue end of the spectrum ‘recede’ and are more soothing. Pick up the colour cards from leading paint manufacturers for inspiration.
Kitchens are rife with colour opportunities, from appliances and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets. Start by deciding how much of permanent commitment you are willing to make. One of easiest and least expensive options is to paint a wall can be easily updated should you tire of it.
Contrasting black or deep grey with white is the most effective way to create impact in a predominantly white kitchen, but the key is to vary the proportions. A 50/50 split could feel cold; instead pair dark cabinets with marble and another vital ingredient: texture. Grain-rich timber doors and accessories will break up the space beautifully, as shown in this Henley kitchen by Neptune.
‘The brief for this kitchen was to bring the greens of the garden indoors,’ says designer Hubert Zandberg. The full wall of glazed tiles sets off the industrial notes and natural wood for a richly textured look.
Green is very much the colour of the moment, and we predict that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In this kitchen by Little Greene, Aquamarine is used on the island and lower half of the wall, then the colour is taken up a notch on the door frame and island trim, then down again for the upper wall, resulting in a harmonious effect.
Practicality and beauty go hand in hand in this scheme, whose colours and mood are evocative of old Dutch paintings. Simple shelving and a freestanding dresser, rather than wall-hung cabinets, offset the rich chocolate palette, for an open, relaxed feel.
The dark walls work to absorb imperfections and even out textures, but there are still some tactile elements. Brooding, dark colours often work best when used dramatically and uncompromisingly. Putting a rich brown-black on both walls and cabinetry creates a bold statement that feels as historic as it does chic.
This muted colour combo has given pink a whole new identity. No longer super-girly, the murkier tones of blush pink teamed with industrial grey have a stronger, gender-neutral appeal.
A slim shelf is ideal for displaying pretty plates above a worktop. Here, shades of dusky pink and mole tone beautifully with the pale grey marble surface.
A bold red hue is often considered a daring choice for interiors, but used creatively it can introduce a welcome burst of energy and excitement.
A poppy-red cupboard is ideal for lifting a dark green scheme, while accessories sporting the same shade create a sense of cohesion.
With its warm, burnished lustre, brass is once again in the ascendant, lending a polished edge to interiors. A dark background is ideal for showing off the gleaming beauty of brass. Here, it forms a counterpoint to a statement mirror-like panel that adds a glamorous note to a kitchen island.
Making a colour part of the scheme rather than the focus of it offers a more contemporary feel. This kitchen splash back looks every bit like it’s been created using hand-made tiles but is actually a wallpaper, while subtle hints of ice blue and punchy red balance the look.
Handmade and artisan tiles bring a unique mix of colour, pattern and texture, adding instant character to walls and floors. There’s something about tiles – their tactile quality, the potential for adding colour, pattern and personality – that few other surfaces can match. Decorative tiles fell out of favour for a while but they are most definitely back and with a huge choice of forms and finishes.
Here, a selection of glazed tiles, in an Azure blue, sit pretty in an alcove space. They make an interesting foil to neutral colours and seamless finishes, enlivening your kitchen and making it feel totally yours.