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Kitchen ideas from Cuisine magazine

Delicious Resene colours for decorating your cooking and dining areas

Kitchen and dining room design

Even if you want to keep your kitchen and dining colour scheme fairly neutral, using a range of different strengths will create depth and interest – adding to the overall appeal of your space. Cabinetry in Resene Half Stack, walls in Resene Triple Black White and ceiling and trims in Resene Black White. *


When deciding how to divvy up your decorating budget The parts of your home that you spend the most time in should be your highest priorities. To get the most bang for your buck, the spaces where you prepare and partake in meals are an investment that should only come second to the most comfortable sofa and mattresses you can afford.

Some days, your kitchen and dining areas are the only places where you can relish in quality time with your family in between work, school and other commitments. And even if you own the most luxurious lounge set in the world, these areas are always going to be where guests congregate when you entertain – so there's ample reasons why you'll want them to be spaces you're most proud to show off.

The colours you choose to adorn the major surfaces in your kitchen and dining areas are understandably a key factor in the overall impression that these spaces make – namely, the walls, cabinets, ceiling and floor. But unlike other important elements, such as your benchtop and appliances, your Resene paint and timber stain selections will get you get a lot of impact for a relatively small spend. Plus, they're often something that can be changed up over the course of a weekend if you decide to go in a new direction.

There are some Resene hues, though, that are natural fits for cooking and dining spaces. These colours are not only timeless classics, they are rich in character, evoke comfort and cosiness and can even stimulate the appetite. Try these scrumptious selections and suggestions that are sure to stir the senses.

Gold metallic wallpaper in the dining room

Blue toned dining room with wallpaper

Metallic dining room: Incorporating metallic elements into your design that catch the light will not only bring additional visual interest to your design, it will also inject the space with an extra level of elegance and glamour. Plush textiles like velvet invite guests to linger. Wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 1907-139-05.   Blue dining room: Blue-based tones can be a comforting colour choice for spaces intended for relaxing. Try Resene Wallpaper Collection 2008-147-03 on upper walls with lower panelling in Resene Coast, timber floors stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, pendant lamps in Resene Quill Grey and accessorise with Resene Escapade and Resene Silver Chalice in your dining area.

Tantalising the tastebuds

For a palette that pleases the palate, you can't look past red and yellow based hues. Studies on the psychological impact of these colours have long found them to stimulate the appetite – a key reason why many fast food brands use these hues as their hero colours.

Tapping into this psychology doesn't mean you have to deck out your space garishly, but looking to warmer tones like Resene Gold Coast, Resene Sante Fe, Resene Beachcomber, Resene Half Drought, Resene Quarter Biscotti or Resene Serene – which each have subtle yellow or red undertones tied up in a soft and dusky package – are amazing and highly-liveable options for painting walls, ceilings, cabinets or floors in a way that can subtly influence the appetite.

Blue, on the other hand, is said to be the least appetising colour. This is attributed to the lack of blue that occurs in edible nature and the hue's association with mould. That doesn't mean blue should be off the table as an option for decorating your dining room or kitchen, but it is worth considering that it could have an effect on you, your family and your guests. For many, blue is thought to be among the most soothing of hues – which means that if you plan to spend a lot of time relaxing in your kitchen or dining space, working with a watery colour palette could be ideal.

Everyone is different, and so are their colour associations, so it's best to go with your gut and test your colours before you commit. Pick up Resene testpots in your short-listed colours and paint the entire contents of each one on to its own A2 sheet of card in two coats, leaving a 2cm wide white border around the edges. Then, move your samples around the room you'll be using them in at different times of the day and evening so that you can view them in different lighting conditions until you settle on a winner.

And when in doubt, stick to toned down coastal classics like Resene Duck Egg Blue, Resene Half Inside Back, Resene Bluff or Resene Coast if you're on the lookout for a blue that says mellow over mouldy.

Attracting attention

Creating a space that's visually stimulating isn't just about which colours you choose, it's how you use them. Using a single paint colour on your walls and ceiling and cabinets doesn't do much to inspire the imagination. If you have your heart set on one hue, use it in a variety of different strengths to break things up – for example, Resene Merino for your walls, Resene Double Merino for your cabinets and Resene Quarter Merino on the ceiling. But you're still going to want to bring in other colours to ground the space and create contrast and depth.

When bringing in an accent colour, you'll want to use it in at least three places within a single area – and spread it out. This technique causes your eye to move link them together, pulling your line of vision around the room to take in the full effect and could be achieved through artwork, accessories, pendant lamps, chairs, cushions, serving ware displayed on open shelving or by painting your kitchen island or select cabinets in an attractive hue. For on trend options, try an everglade green like Resene Palm Green, a muted one like Resene Gecko, a spicy amber like Resene Mai Tai or a warm terracotta like Resene Crail. For timeless classics, look to Resene Pohutukawa, Resene New Denim Blue or Resene Mondo.

Metallics are also an excellent choice for accenting kitchen and dining spaces. They catch the light – especially from a flickering candle – and the eye while carrying an air of elegance and glamour. Try a foiled design from the Resene Wallpaper Collection, especially one in a warm rose gold such as Resene Wallpaper Collection 1907-139-05, and paint a few accessories for your tablescape in Resene Gold Mine or Resene Rose Gold metallic to bring a little sparkle into your space.

Resene Rose Gold

Adding tactile touches

Incorporating tactile elements is one of the most important factors in creating an eyecatching interior. Highly textured items have a way of creating contrast – which is a key design principle – due to their naturally occurring highlights and lowlights.

In the case of kitchen and dining areas, bringing in particularly plush or cosy textiles such as velvet, wool or cotton flannel is a surefire way to invite family and friends to linger a little longer. But even items that have more of a visual texture than a touchable one, like a veiny marble benchtop or a grainy timber, work in much the same way. Woods, however, hold an advantage over marble or granite given that they are warmer and thus more inviting surfaces. But, you'll want to be sure to protect it to keep it at its most presentable. Choose a Resene Colorwood stain that's similar to the inherent hue of your timber cabinets, flooring, walls, ceilings or furniture for a more natural look. Or, pick a darker colour such as Resene Colorwood Bark, Resene Colorwood Iroko or Resene Dark Rimu for a more dramatic vibe.

Wallpaper is another simple way to incorporate visual texture – or even tactile, depending on the design you choose. There are hundreds of different options to pick from that could be used on your walls, ceiling, doors or even to line drawers for a fun surprise. For more texture, try one from the Resene Anaglypta Wallpaper Collection, which includes a wide range of highrelief designs that can be painted in any Resene colour of your choosing. Visit your nearest Resene ColorShop to see the full array of offerings in the extensive wallpaper library.

Top tip: Remember to request Resene AquaLAQ for your cabinetry to ensure the colour is authentic to the Resene colour swatch and co-ordinates with the rest of your kitchen. Many homeowners have been caught out by the wrong product being used for their kitchen with disappointing colour results.


* Design by Nathalie de Bois. Photography by Michelle Weir.

July 2021

Kitchen Decorating Ideas
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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.