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Stay in and savour in style

Kitchen ideas from Cuisine magazine

Get the ambiance of a restaurant at your place.

What’s not to love about eating out? From ambiance and atmosphere to tasting something new and not having to wash up afterwards, going out for meals is a chance to escape the daily grind and indulge a little. But with more compelling reasons to stay in as of late, a trending alternative is designing your kitchen and dining space so that you can recreate the experience of dining out in the comfort of your own home. Of course, you can still enjoy taking a night off or celebrate a special occasion by dining out, but by taking cues from favourite restaurants, you can bring more enjoyment to every home meal.

Blue feature dining room wall

Using saturated paint colours for your walls can make your dining area feel more cosy and intimate, just like your favourite restaurant. Warm up a moody contemporary blue like Resene Ziggurat with timber furnishings and offset it with cloudy grey flooring in Resene Mountain Mist. Plant pot in Resene Celeste, bowl in Resene Nebula, ball ornament in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue, artwork in Resene Celeste, Resene Nocturnal, Resene Rolling Stone, Resene Blue Bayoux and Resene Alabaster with frame in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue. Styling by Laura Lynn Johnston, Image by Wendy Fenwick.


Ironically, the evolution of restaurant design over recent years has seen a great deal of buttoning down in favour of less formal dining settings. Today’s hot spots are more relaxed, with many attempting to recreate a cosy ‘home away from home’ vibe – which means it’s easier to replicate the reverse than ever before.

Bring out your inner restaurateur with these simple colour and decorating tips to help evoke what you love about your favourite locale within your own walls.

Choose cosy colours

Soft pastels and neutral hues such as dusty pink, pale grey and forest greens have been extremely popular interior colour choices for restaurants wanting to build a warm and cosy environment. You can look to trending tones like Resene Soothe, Resene Rakaia, Resene Palm Green and Resene Clover for some of the hottest hues. But they aren’t the only options for building a chic yet cosy vibe.

It all comes down to the type of mood you want to emulate. Warm shades such as reds and ochres like Resene Fahrenheit and Resene Gold Coast can create a comforting mood, whereas cool colours such as dusted blues and lavender greys like Resene Dusted Blue and Resene Santas Grey can have a soothing feel. Deep and dramatic shades, however, such as moody purples like Resene Half Aubergine, charcoal greys like Resene Grey Friars and deep sapphires like Resene Blue Night will create a luxurious look that can transform your kitchen and dining space into an indulgent sanctuary.

Lower your lighting

Studies have shown that diners enjoy food more when they eat in soft or dim lighting situations, and that dining in a relaxed environment can lead to greater satisfaction. Since it’s common for your kitchen and dining areas to occupy the same open plan space these days, you’ll want to ensure you have a mix of lighting at your disposal so that you’ll be able to see what you’re doing when you’re cooking and create the right mood when it’s time to dig in.

Don’t overlook dimmer switches to give you greater control over your ambient overhead lighting, but you’ll also want to supplement it with strategically placed task lighting, such as pendant lamps, to illuminate cooking and dining areas. Undercabinet lighting in the kitchen can help shine a few more lumens on to your preparation surface. And a few carefully placed accent lights to illuminate artwork or statement décor pieces can go a long way in amping up the ambiance.

Remember that your lighting and paint colour choices and finishes should go hand-in-hand – especially if you want to bring dark and dramatic colours into your kitchen and dining space. Well placed recessed lighting fixtures will wash over a wall creating dramatic light and shadow effects and can make your Resene paint colours seem richer while clever use of tinted glass, lightshades and soft tone lightbulbs can help soften light further. While kitchen and dining areas are high traffic spaces that need to be durable, choosing a lower sheen or matt finish can also reduce glare and hot spots and give your walls a velvety look. Opt for Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, which is easy to clean while keeping light reflection to a minimum.

As a finishing touch, lighting a few candles always helps to set the mood. It doesn’t have to be fancy; putting a few votives on a plate can do the trick – just make sure that your candles are unscented so that they don’t interfere with the flavours of your food.

Greek or Italian trattoria style

Bench seating is popular in restaurants

Green room: Get the comfortable and casual look of a Greek or Italian trattoria at home by stencilling ‘tiles’ on your floor. Wall in Resene Peace, floor in Resene Elderflower with tiles stencilled in Resene Peace, Dining table and chairs in Resene Elderflower with dipped legs in Resene New Leaf, coat rack, wreath hoop and candle holder in Resene New Leaf, tall vase and pendant lamp in Resene Smoothie. Styling by Melle Van Sambeek, Image by Bryce Carleton.

Neutral room: Bench seating is popular in restaurants to create intimacy, and they’re a great option for doing the same at home to bring your family and friends closer. Back wall in Resene Bud, side wall in Resene Siam, floor in Resene Cargo, bench seat in Innocence, peg stool in Jurassic, other stool in Resene Woodland, straw wall hanging in Resene Rusty Nail, plant pot in Resene Mai Tai, basket planter in Resene Double Lemon Grass. Styling by Gem Adams, Image by Wendy Fenwick.


Resene Elderflower

Resene Smoothie

Resene New Leaf

Resene Peace

Warm it up with wood

By incorporating timber elements within your kitchen/dining space, you will immediately create a cosy and warm feeling that your family and guests will naturally appreciate. This can mean a lovely wooden dining table and chairs, but it can also translate into timber feature walls, vases, lamps and, of course, kitchen cabinetry.

As a natural material, wood is classic and holds universal appeal – which means it never goes out of style. Opt for simple, pared down shapes for a truly timeless look and stain it in warm tones like Resene Colorwood Natural or Resene Colorwood Nutmeg to add further depth and richness while allowing the beauty of the wood’s natural grain to show through.

It’s important to note that even if you’re after an unfinished look, timber needs proper protection to keep it looking its best for years to come. Topcoats of Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane on timber joinery, tables, chairs and feature walls will help seal the surface and make it easy to wipe clean while Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K waterborne urethane satin finish is a durable choice for protecting floors.

Embrace mismatching

Rather than trying to get a perfect matching set, many cafes now mix and match their seating types and colours. It’s something you can easily replicate at home. Look for seating that has something in common to provide a connection between all your seats. If each of your chairs or stools are completely different, paint them all in the same hue to create that connection. Or if you already have a matching set, mix up your look by painting selected seats with different Resene paint colours using Resene Lustacryl or Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint.

Pick up some plants

You only need to spend a few moments on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest for confirmation that house plants have been having a huge moment in home décor. In vogue restaurants wanting to bring a casual, residential feel to their design have been embracing the aesthetic and soothing value that indoor greenery provides.

Aloe vera, string of pearls, snake plants, ivy and monstera are some commonly used varieties that are grown in colourful or neutral pots hung on the walls and the ceiling or placed on dining tables and counters to bring some freshness to the mood. For a fun and quirky look, try a mix of bright colours and paint one pot each in Resene Jordy Blue, Resene Moonbeam, Resene Romantic, Resene Japonica and Resene Havelock Blue. For a minimal tonal look, try layering a range of natural terracotta colours like Resene Redwood, Resene Mocha, Resene Sante Fe, Resene Wild West and Resene Crail.

Soften your space

Many restaurants favour curtains over other window treatments because of their acoustic, sound-absorbing qualities. In a home setting, this can be an equally important choice if you entertain more than just your immediate family members, where there is the potential for more than one conversation to be taking place simultaneously.

If you’re having trouble finding curtains to go with your Resene colour palette, look to the Resene Curtain Collection. It’s a range of fabrics designed to work with popular Resene paint colours. The selection includes fashion stripes and patterns through to neutrals designed to complement a wide range of colour schemes and décor styles.

You can also choose to have fabric made into cushions or squabs to add further cosiness and soften hardsurfaced seating.


Month 2020

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

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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.