Best colours for kitchens

Styling by Kate Alexander; Image by Bryce Carleton.

This kitchen uses a softer interpretation of a colour predicted to take us by storm next year, Neo Mint. Resene Aura is a pale minty green that pairs perfectly with warm whites and other colours used here: Resene Atlas on the shelf, and a range of fresh tones on accessories and stools like Resene Party Zone (orange), Resene Away We Go (green) and Resene XOXO (pink).

Kitchens are less likely to follow fickle fashion trends. A kitchen is an expensive room to install so most of us are keen to make sure they last the distance. Classic and timeless is appealing, which is why many kitchens in the past decade or two have sported white cabinetry.

It’s a practical choice but doesn’t have to be boring.  One element in a kitchen that is easily changed with paint is the wall colour. And because there normally isn’t much wall space showing in a kitchen where cabinets dominate, you can be bold with your colour choices without too much risk.

Dark blue, fresh green, deep yellow, French grey or even red – all of these will look good on the walls of a kitchen with white cabinetry.

Some will also look good on the cabinetry itself as trends slowly turn away from all-white, to using colour. Don’t be alarmed – most of us won’t be hurrying to use the sorts of cobalt blue and forest green fashionable in the 1990s. It’s more likely to be soft misty blues, like Resene Duck Egg Blue, and pale apple greens like Resene Aura, or grey-greens like Resene Secrets. Throw in a classic French grey like Resene Silver Chalice.

Some designers are isolating colour to just the tall cabinets, or those under bench height then using white cabinets elsewhere.

Another spot to successfully use bold colour in a kitchen is on the cabinets of an island bench. Deep blue, black, grey or dark rich timber all look good here.  Or on a back-painted splashback.

For a fun and unexpected element, how about using a bold colour, like yellow or tangerine, such as Resene Half Turbo or Resene Daredevil, inside a cupboard or on the walls of a walk-in pantry?

By choosing colours that have an association with food, you can’t go wrong. Think fruity shades like apple, lemon, lime, melon and raspberry, or vegetable or herb colours like mid parsley green, soft sage or avocado. You’ll find many colours inspired by foods in the Resene colour range, such as Resene Lime, Resene Parsley and Resene Sage.

Blue is a classic kitchen colour because of its association with freshness and cleanliness. Soft duck egg blues and smoky navy blues, such as Resene Duck Egg Blue or Resene Coast, look superb in a more classically styled home.

Red may sound a bit extreme, but it’s a colour we’ll see more of it future and is a colour that stimulates appetite – maybe not a good choice if you have food-hovering teenagers in the house.

Black may also seem to be a courageous choice but it’s a neutral colour and can bring a luxe or sophisticated air to a kitchen, particularly when used with a high-gloss cabinetry finish.

Kitchens are often part of an open-plan space so if you use a colour other than white on the cabinets or on a feature wall within the kitchen, echo that colour in other parts of the room – on chairs, rugs, accessories and cushions – so that the colour feels like it is part of the look and not an afterthought.  

If you would rather have a kitchen that recedes rather than shouts at you, use the same colour on the walls and the cabinets making sure you specify Resene paint for both for a seamless finish.

And if your dream kitchen is a little out of your current budget, consider doing a quick makeover to freshen it up while you save for your dream kitchen.  Simply repaint the cabinetry and add new handles for a new look.

Top tip: The Resene Kitchen & Bathroom paint range combines anti-bacterial silver protection and MoulDefender to minimise unwanted nasties in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Available in whites and off-whites and in a range of finishes.

You can find Resene experts at your local Resene ColorShop or online with our free Ask a Colour Expert service or free Ask a Tech Expert service.

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Need help with your decorating? Resene has a colour expert and technical expert service to help you choose the right colours, wallpapers and paints for your project, plus advice on how to apply the products to get the best finish.