Resene Paints - home page

Colour-shot kitchens

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Add bursts of bold to a neutral backdrop for great effect

White kitchen cabinetry is crisp, clean, timeless and versatile. Playing it safe with white or a predominantly neutral main component means you can introduce your favourite colours to other features, such as the splashback, the front of an island bench, on the walls, inside cupboards, on pantry doors, and with accessories.

Bright kitchen
A bright yellow Resene Fizz pantry door adds to the citrus-style accents of this house, owned by Trudie and Mike Nettle. The door is also coated with Resene Write-on Wall Paint so that it can be used as a handy noticeboard.

This approach to kitchen colour not only future-proofs the space by allowing you to change accents and keep up-to-date with current colour trends, but it’s also very economical. You’ll find this is particularly true for walls – for the price of a pot of paint, you can completely revamp the look and feel of your kitchen.

Imagine if you had Resene Duck Egg Blue walls one day, which create a romantic Cape Cod feel, then the next you changed to Resene Black for a striking New Nordic look. With these two styles, accessories and finishings, such as pale timber and aged metals, could even stay the same.

Timber with bright highlights
To offset the predominantly raw, natural materials of this house designed by Tim Dorrington of DAA, he and homeowners Mark and Susie Easterbrook chose strong, sunny, vibrant colours – Resene Monza (red), Resene Supernova (yellow) and Resene Chilean Fire (orange) for the kitchen. “This is the ‘active’ part of the house, so we wanted energetic colours,” says Mark. “In summer, the house is full of warmth and sunlight, so we wanted colours that brought this through in the colder months as well. We wanted to avoid cooler colours in this space, especially greens, because the extensive glazing brings so much green in anyway.”

Bold and beautiful greens and oranges, such as Resene Koru and Resene Clockwork Orange, have been popular accent colours for kitchens in recent years. Given their freshness and association with food, they are a natural choice. Schemes are now broadening, with black coming to the fore, and red returning as a favourite. As interior designer Susan Templer says: “Be consistent and don’t overdo it. Pick a favourite accent colour and then expand on this. Maybe you have a red toaster or a bright green fruit bowl. This could be a starting point for more accessories in this colour. Or be bold and paint a feature wall in the same shade. The important thing is that the bold colour does not overpower the space, but rather works as a strong focus or accent. For example, a red wall that frames the windows makes the bright white cabinets really pop.”

While Susan’s personal tastes tend towards the colours of nature, such as blues and greens, she doesn’t let this influence her work with clients. “As a designer, I don’t have any favourites. Everyone has their own personal taste and I help my clients discover their favourites and then make sure those colours work in well with their design.”

Kitchen designer Mark Bruce says applying colour depends on your circumstances: “If the kitchen is to reflect the personality of the owner, then go for it. If you are thinking of selling the house soon, then be more careful,” he advises.

The designer’s personal colour choices tend towards the warm strong tones of red and yellow. Bruce has noticed a move towards more general use of colour in kitchens with light timbers replacing beige and the return of black.

This old Lockwood home has been superbly updated by designer Tracy Murphy of Vekart Kitchens, using Resene Quarter Merino on the timber walls and ceilings. Resene Lima shines out from the island bench and around the window.

Left: Here’s a kitchen to make you smile each and every day. Designed by Susan Templer, the vibrant Resene Vibe walls were chosen to match an artwork, while the cabinetry is pared back in Resene Black White.

Top tips

If you want to use more than one accent colour, try a ‘related’ scheme, whereby colours come from the same area of the colour wheel. For example, you might use blues and greens, or in the case of a plywood kitchen (above), red, orange and yellow.

Resene specifically created the Kitchen & Bathroom range for these high-use areas. It includes anti-bacterial silver protection to sanitise surfaces and MoulDefender to guard against mould.

For brighter colours use Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen on walls and Resene Lustacryl on trim for a durable and easy-clean option.

For a myriad of variations in the neutral spectrum, check out the Resene Whites & Neutrals range. You’ll find warm creams, whites with a crisp blackened edge and others with green undertones.

Ensuring your cabinetmaker uses Resene ArmourCat, a super-tough paint, will give you a colour-correct result every time.


Text: Sharon Newey

Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.

More ideas


Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

View Videos

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.