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Decorating your kitchen

Wondering what colour to paint your kitchen? Look to the current trends for inspiration. While natural wood remains popular in kitchen decor, sophisticated hues have been gaining ground in recent years. Deep greens and steel blue greys are set to take centre stage, with even darker hues making a dramatic appearance.

Using Grey and White

“The white on white look is on its way out and we are now starting to see more darker colours like black and charcoal for both cabinetry and benchtops,” says kitchen designer Shannon Pepper of Shannon Pepper Design. “Going forward I think we will also see more appliances in darker shades and colours. Timber accents are still very strong as a trend, but the timbers too will start to darken. The trend has almost flipped to dark on dark.”

Colours like Resene Bokara Grey (a charcoal black), Resene Nocturnal (a deep grey black), Resene Blackjack (carbon black) and Resene Fuscous Grey (a burnt charcoal grey) are right on trend, says Shannon, with accent colours like Resene Tangaroa (a deep marine blue-green) and Resene Atomic (a gridiron grey blue) coming into play.

Resene colour consultant Rebecca Long has seen a change too. “People are beginning to become confident by introducing the likes of greys into their kitchens, rebelling against the all-white palette. Black kitchens are on the rise matched with brass, copper and gold accessories. Finishes are clean and smooth as opposed to antique and rustic.”

Rebecca is seeing colours like Resene Jaguar and Resene Nero (both deep inky blue-black), and encourages homeowners to experiment with them. “Make sure to build up your scheme with a variety of textures to add further power and interest. Sleek, gloss cabinets work in contrast with a decorative tile. Geometric patterns are proving very popular.”

If you’re not an admirer of moody blacks, try the classy grey tonalities, or mix a more traditional black and white scheme with coloured accents. The Scandinavian style continues to inspire the world over, with a monochromatic black and white scheme combined with iconic light wooden furniture. This scheme creates a sophisticated understatement that allows light to bounce off white walls to create an abundance of natural light.

To amp up the luxe factor, pair dark grey with steel blue and gold or brass accessories. Choose gold bar stools, gold tapware or a gold or copper coloured butler’s sink.

Using brown and white in a kitchen colour scheme
Metal rangehood and island front finished in a paint effect using a variety of Resene browns. View more about this project: Lessons from a renovation.

Or incorporate oversized lighting fixtures in colourful hues. Smaller accessories, like tea and coffee canisters and coloured glass jars, can be displayed on opening shelves or behind glass cabinet doors where they create a stylish look. Or simply breathe new life into your kitchen by painting a larger standalone piece – a hutch, a kitchen island or a buffet sideboard – in an on-trend colour. To finish the look, add deep blue, sparkling metallic greys or light or hot pink accents by way of accessories.

When it comes to kitchens, grey-black is the new white, but look out for other trends too.

Using grey and white colours in a kitchen
Resene Quarter Fuscous Grey with Resene Half Ash. View more about this project: All in the family.

“Lots of open shelving, glass inserts to cabinet doors with mesh, rough sawn timbers, handle-less cabinetry, and rangehoods tucked behind cabinet doors are all strong trends at the moment,” says Shannon.

So are leafy highlights. A vase full of large leafy greens as opposed to delicate florals is seen in every trending kitchen. Or small vertical modular indoor kitchen gardens are a smart vehicle for housing herbs or other greens – an ideal way to bring the outdoors in and to provide a touch of organic to your kitchen space.

If you want to add drama to your space without breaking the bank, consider a paint revamp.

“Paint is such a great way to update your kitchen,” says Rebecca. “Not only will a fresh paint job modernise your kitchen, but it is certainly a lot cheaper to paint your kitchen than completely replace it.”

Using blue, grey and white in a kitchen colour scheme
Resene Tuna, Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Half Bianca. View more about this project: Farmhouse modern.

Make sure you discuss your paint options with a professional first, as kitchens and other wet areas require special care.

“It is important that the correct primer is used to ensure that your brand new colour adheres to the cabinet,” says Rebecca. “And Resene has a range of water and oil-based enamel topcoats that will ensure that your kitchen is hard-wearing and washable. Kitchen walls need to be cleaned more than others and steam can be hard on standard acrylic paints. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom is a waterborne enamel that offers your kitchen a hard-wearing, wipeable finish. It also contains a mould inhibitor, which reduces the risk of mould growing in damp, steamy areas.”

If you’re reluctant to go the whole nine yards, try painting small sections of your kitchen instead. “If you're looking to update only sections of your kitchen, make sure to work with the existing features that aren't changing,” says Rebecca. “While it is exciting to pick a brand new colour, it's important that it works with the existing colours in your kitchen. Creamy, soft whites like Resene Bianca and Resene Rice Cake are nice whites to pair with warm tones such as rimu and browns. If your benchtop is charcoal grey, look into whites such as Resene Sea Fog and Resene Half Concrete. Some soft blues that I would recommend include Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Unwind.”

The inside of your kitchen drawers and cupboards can be a fun place to introduce colour if you’re still a little hesitant to add full-on colour to your walls or cabinetry.

“How fun would it be to open your knife and fork drawer and see a pop of yellow?” says Rebecca. “The best thing is, all it would take is a testpot.”

Or Resene Write-On Wall Paint can be used on an inside cupboard or pantry door to make your kitchen interactive. Mask out a rectangle and paint it with one of your favourite colours. Coat this with Resene Write-On Wall Paint and you've created a handy chalkboard - perfect for your shopping list.

Kitchens are undeniably the heart of today’s homes. Make yours the star of the neighbourhood with an ultra-modern, stylistic update.

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