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Designing on a budget: kitchens and dining rooms

From the Resene decorating blog

Kitchens and dining rooms are so often the heart of your home, no matter what kind of house or apartment you live in, or how many people live in it with you.

They’re often the rooms where you and your guests gather to socialise, catch-up and, of course, prepare food. As such, a new look in your kitchen or dining room can often elevate the feel of your whole house.

Revive a dining room with Resene wallpaper

Resene wallpaper is a simple way to revive a dining or kitchen area with plenty of style and colour, and less expense. The upper walls in this dining room are wallpapered in Resene Fiore Wallpaper Collection 220482. Lower wall painted in Resene Spanish White, floor in Resene Quarter Spanish White and Resene Double Spanish White, mirror frame in Resene Rewilding, console table in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue with a vase in Resene Wax Flower, large floor vase in Resene Quarter Spanish White, planter and light shade in Resene New York Pink and vases on table in Resene Travertine and Resene Cest La Vie. Dining table and velvet chairs from Danske Mobler, lamp from Freedom. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

However, cost can be a prohibitive factor, as these spaces, kitchens in particular, have a reputation for being among the most expensive spaces to make over. The good news is that doesn’t need to be true.

If you’re on a budget and opt for a refresh that stays away from major construction and plumbing works, you should be able to create a bold new space that only looks expensive.

Paint the unexpected

If your kitchen cabinets are looking a bit tired and grungy, the simplest fix is to give them a new coat of paint in an up-to-date colour that you love – even if you have melamine-coated or laminated surfaces.

To cover these types of surfaces, Ashleigh Strange from the Resene advice team suggests applying a thin (the thinner the better) coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer to the cupboards, then allowing it to cure without any water contact for at least 48 hours.

Framed drops of wallpaper add colour

Framed drops of wallpaper are a cost-effective way to add colour without cost. Many Resene ColorShops sell individual drops of some wallpapers so you don’t need to buy a whole roll, or you can buy a roll and use it for a range of projects to brighten your home. Back wall painted in Resene Woodland with drops of wallpaper art in Resene Wallpaper Collection 91210 and frames in Resene Teak. Floor and side wall in Resene Blanc, sideboard in Resene Teak, table in Resene Papier Mache with chairs in Resene Woodland, vases on sideboard in Resene Woodland, bowl in Resene Crail, vases on table in Resene Brown Sugar and Resene Avocado and light in Resene Crail. Rogue faux bamboo from Freedom, rattan basket from Bed Bath & Beyond. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Then, using a Resene #4 microfibre roller sleeve, apply a topcoat in a waterborne enamel like Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss paint in your chosen colour, as they’re hardwearing and easy to clean once fully cured.

The new paint system will take five days to develop good initial adhesion and will continue to develop for another three weeks until a full cure occurs. In the early stages, the painted surface won’t be very resistant to cleaners or abrasion but that resistance will develop as the finished surface completely cures.

Ceramic tiles and glass are the other common kitchen surfaces you can paint to give your room an immediate, colourful facelift.

Ashleigh suggests preparing the tiles or glass with Resene Waterborne Sureseal before you topcoat in Resene Lumbersider or a waterborne enamel such as Resene Lustacryl or Resene Enamacryl. Try a spray applicator, brush or roller; whatever gives you the best result on your surface.

Top tip:  If you’re painting ceramic tiles to deflect heat, a classic white like Resene White or Resene Black White are good colour choices.

You can also paint your wooden, concrete or tiled floors if they too are in need of an updated or refurbished finish. The best tip for floors, particularly in high traffic areas like kitchens is to go for a hard-wearing, slip-resistant paint like Resene Walk-On flooring paint which is also easy to clean.

Make a dining space more cohesive with clever repeated use of colour

Clever repeated use of colours creates a more cohesive kitchen and dining room space. Back wall and architrave painted in Resene Triple Merino, with a side wall in Resene Anglaise, table and shelf in Resene Half Sea Fog, sideboard and dish rack in Resene Spindle, bright blue on the chair, picture frame, pot and cabinet highlight in Resene Resolution Blue, cream chair in Resene Anglaise, yellow chair and cabinet highlight in Resene Twine, red cabinet highlight in Resene Smashing, square highlight in Resene New York Pink and floor in Resene Colorwood Greywash. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Colour schemes to try

The world is really your oyster when it comes to kitchen and dining room colour schemes, but if they are rooms you spend a lot of time in think about the kind of environment you’re trying to create, how you want it to connect to the rest of your house, and, most importantly, think about what colours you love.

For a classic, clean and contemporary kitchen opting for a monochrome colour scheme is a popular, appealing choice. Classic colours like Resene Alabaster to match traditional white appliances with contrasting black cabinetry or trims in Resene Black will always look elegant.

If you want a sharp colour punch to add more personality add one or two notes in an intense bold version of your favourite colour. If you love blue try sky-hued Resene Wet N Wild, for reds try summery Resene Pohutukawa or for green try the Granny Smith-toned Resene Wild Side.

Revive your kitchen by painting kitchen and side cabinets

Painting kitchen and side cabinets is a fast, cost-effective way to revive kitchen and dining areas. In this space, different colours repeat the striking on-trend checkerboard design to pull a multi-use space together and make it fun to look at. Rear wall painted in Resene Eighth Joss which is also on the floor paired with Resene Doeskin, cabinet in Resene Dusted Blue with Resene White Linen, check planter in Resene Regent Grey with Resene Doeskin, check vase in Resene Black and Resene White Linen, small, handled vase in Resene Black, tall bottle in Resene Tobacco Brown and pendant light in Resene Tea. Dining table and chairs from Nood. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Colour-saturated but less vivid tones will also work well to show off your mostly monochrome colour palette. How about a muted crimson in Resene Very Berry or a burnt orange in Resene Rose Of Sharon?

If you want a kitchen and dining area that is more relaxed and inspirational, try a colour scheme that connects it to the outdoors. You can replicate the colours of your outdoor spaces inside with lush greens like Resene Deep Teal, paired rosy shades like Resene Valentine and Resene Dawn Glow. Stain wood benchtops or cupboards in a neutral like Resene Colorwood Natural to emphasise the texture and grain or try to pair your wood surfaces to wooden furniture like a dining table and chairs for a cohesive finish.

If your kitchen and dining room are open plan or connected, you can use paint colours to cost-effectively make them work as a cohesive space.

Layers of different tones of a similar shade can be a very effective way to do this, as can repeating shades between the two different spaces.

For a tonal effect, pick the overall general colour you want to be the basis of your palette. It might be forest greens, warm beiges or sunset golds. Then, check your Resene paint colour charts to find a range of five or six colours that meet that description and use them in small amounts in different areas through your two connecting spaces.

Top tip:  The Resene Multi-finish colour palette cards can be a big help in finding variations of similar shades that work well together as they’re already grouped together.

Aim for one main colour for each room. It could be the same colour for both rooms, or you could try going a shade or two darker between rooms for a subtle difference. For example, you might want to try the soft pastel of Resene Summer Green on your kitchen walls but opt for the slightly deeper Resene Laurel in the dining room. Then between the two rooms you can layer different greens in your cupboards, furniture and decor pieces for a layered effect. Some other shades to try with this green palette would be Resene Green Pea, Resene Edgewater and Resene Bush. Remember you can also experiment with half, quarter and eighth strengths of your chosen colours and you may also want to add in an off-white neutral like Resene Quarter Tea to complete the look.

If you want a bolder, more contrasting colour scheme try picking three complementary colours like Resene Sunbeam with dusky blue Resene Epic and yellowed neutral Resene Rice Cake. You could use the neutral on your kitchen walls with highlights in the blue and gold, then in your dining room, repeat the effect but change the proportions by opting for bold walls in Resene Epic or Resene Sunbeam and keep the Resene Rice Cake for your trim areas or a piece of furniture.

A word about wallpaper

Wallpaper can be a conveniently fast and cost-effective way to elevate a kitchen and/or dining room.

Use a design like Resene Wallpaper Collection AS379842 to add visual interest in a modern monochrome kitchen, or create a conversation-starting mural in your dining room with Resene Wallpaper Collection HX4-035 then repeat some of the wallpaper shades in the colour scheme of your connecting kitchen.

The other way to keep costs down when using wallpaper is to treat it like art. Wallpaper over hard boards or canvases and frame them as decor features in your space that work with your colour schemes. You can also use wallpapers to cover the backs of open shelves in a pantry or wall unit to add visual interest with additional style and colour without blowing a budget.

Top tipWhen using wallpaper in a kitchen opt for a paper that can be easily wiped down and kept clean. Alternatively, you could try a textured anaglypta wallpaper then paint over it in a durable topcoat, such as the Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range, in your chosen colour.

Resene Valentine

Resene Dawn Glow

Resene Sunbeam

Resene Rewilding

Resene Epic

Resene Wild Side

Resene Very Berry

December 11, 2022

For help choosing colours to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert online or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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