What’s your take on colour in the kitchen? For a decade now the prevailing trend has been to play it safe, with the gloss white Ikea kitchen being a standard everywhere from student flats to Knightsbridge townhouses. As a big investment it’s no surprise we err on the side of caution, going for quiet good taste over a daring colour statement. But finally the tide seems to be turning, with colours on kitchen walls and units getting bolder and warmer. The idea that your kitchen can be as expressive, dramatic and vibrant as any other room in the home seems to be taking hold, and here we round up eight new colour palettes that we think will turn any kitchen into a room that’s about much more than the appliances and units… a room with genuine soul.
Orange and black
…is the new black. Yes, the trend for dark paint colours for living rooms has filtered into the kitchen already, but this year sees a bold new addition that adds a distinctly modern twist. A hot orange added to a black room gives a real punch and lifts what could otherwise be a rather gloomy scheme. Add a few elements of copper or bronze, or furniture in a dark, grained wood, and the overall feel is contemporary and slightly exotic.
Charcoal and bone
So different to black and white, this combination works wonderfully well on traditional wood kitchens, giving cabinets a look that is both contemporary while also completely in keeping with a historic interior. Picking an off-black and a not-quite white – sticking to the sort of shades one would find in nature – makes the scheme feel warm rather than stark, and adding natural wood, brass, copper and ceramic will create an effortless look that sits in easy harmony.
Wine and purple
Although many of us have only just painted over the dark burgundy reds that looked so sophisticated in our ’90s dining rooms, wine colours are coming back. The dominance of every shade of red at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair will be manifesting in our interiors choices soon, especially when combined with a rather regal purple. If this sounds rather rich, it is! We suggest keeping plenty of white and natural materials in the mix too, to keep the whole space looking light and contemporary with a warm beating heart.
Yellow and grey
Our passion for grey at home is undiminished, and it’s become a very popular alternative ‘neutral’ for kitchen cabinets. If you want to take it a touch bolder, and add some warmth or zest to your space, then add a splash of yellow. Yellow is also going to be big next year, so get in early with the addition of some yellow on the walls or even, as shown here, as a splashback. A good, mustardy yellow will cut through the grey and turn last year’s safe grey space into something with a bit of bite.
When thinking of ‘historic’ colours for a traditional kitchen space, pink wouldn’t usually spring to mind. However the soft warmth of paler pinks can be perfect for providing a fresh feel in an older house. Mix with washed out, sagey greens or the natural dark shades of flagstones and old wood for a look that will feel completely authentic without seeming like a museum piece. Combining pink with these shades and materials will also – we promise – stop the pink looking too girly. Instead it will add a warm glow to your kitchen that you feel every time you step inside.
Another trend we reported on from Milan was for primary colours inspired by the 1980s Memphis design movement. Although this bold and slightly brassy colour palette is perfect for modern furniture and chunky plastics, we also see it emerging into more traditional kitchen spaces. Proof that a traditional wood kitchen doesn’t have to stick to bland, ‘tasteful’ colours, this scheme by British Standard puts red, yellow, green and blue all together to create a space that is homely, comfortable and unselfconsciously joyful.
Loved the trend for grey but ready to move it on a step? Then this is the palette for you. Painting your kitchen in a blue-green shade, combined with a strong colour rather than pure white, will give it a look that feels timeless rather than trend-led. Less cutesy than a sage green, this slightly mournful green warms up beautifully when paired with wood and stone and sets vintage copper kitchen accessories off a treat too.
Red on red
We told you red was going to be big next year, which is why it makes two appearances on this list! This take is very different from the sophisticated version above however. It’s much more about warmth, fun and giving a twist to a contemporary space. Red next to red might seem overwhelming, but layering up different shades actually softens the overall impact, especially if it’s used as an accent feature in a light, white space. Graduating shades from a true red through to light pinks and a warm, red-based white will bring instant warmth to your space, as well as creating a daring feature.