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Standing the test of time

Kitchen ideas from Cuisine magazine

Getting a kitchen look that lasts begins with putting a contemporary twist on classic ideas.

A fresh and inviting look

Dreaming of a kitchen makeover? With innovative design ideas on display in magazines, online and in showrooms across the country, design inspiration certainly isn't in short supply. But the truth of the matter is, a complete new kitchen is a big investment – and one that you may only undertake once or twice in your lifetime.

However, there is such a thing as playing it too safe, too – the result of which is a space that's either sterile or downright boring. But how do you add personality without worrying that it'll start looking dated as soon as your renovation has wrapped? Before you dish out the dough for that much-needed facelift, look to these kitchen design ideas that resurface in popularity time and time again. While tried-and-true classics, these features are anything but boring and may just need a little elbow-grease to turn them around. And chances are, you may even have some of them already in your home

A fresh and inviting kitchen blends with this heritage home

Brand new isn't automatically better. Resene Norway on the walls and Resene Quarter Villa White on the trims, ceiling and cabinetry of this home make the kitchen look fresh and inviting while still blending beautifully with the home's heritage.  Design by home owners Jane & Pim Thorne. Photography by Jessica Gernat.

Go with the grain

While high-gloss cabinets can be a sleek and modern choice, one thing that no one tells you about them – unless they've had them in their own home – is how much they show finger prints and smudges. That means that unless you're willing to commit to cleaning them on the daily, your kitchen is always going to look messy.

Out of fashion for a while, wood cabinetry is enjoying a revival. Poles apart from the sterility of glossy white, the gold-toned richness of a kitchen decked out in oak, walnut, teak or stained plywood invites you to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Despite being hard surfaces, these woods practically ooze warmth and are extremely easy to care for when they've been properly protected.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

For popular wood stain options, look to Resene Colorwood Natural, Resene Colorwood Rock Salt or Resene Colorwood Uluru. Whichever colour you choose, be sure to seal them with Resene Aquaclear to keep visible smudges at a minimum. Or, go for a whitewashed or greywashed look with Resene Colorwood Whitewash or Resene Colorwood Light Greywash. If you're still not sold on making the move back to timber cabinetry, these finishes also look amazing on wood floors.

Back in the groove

While flat profile cabinets are by far the most popular choice for a classic look, vertical v-groove fronts are a timeless alternative for bringing in a bit of texture and interest.

V-groove cabinetry is a timeless option

V-groove cabinetry is a timeless option for breaking up the space, as long runs of all flat profile doors and drawers can be a bit monotonous. Walls in Resene Parchment, joinery in Resene Periglacial Blue, doors and architraves in Resene Eighth Parchment and vaulted ceilings in Resene Eighth Parchment.  Design by Annabel Berry & Meghan Nockels of Design Federation. Photography by Rachel Wybrow Photograph

If your home already has original v-groove cabinets, consider turning back time on your heritage kitchen by giving it a refresh instead of a full gutting. Cabinetry and millwork, if undamaged, is generally solid and built with materials of a much higher quality than many options you may choose now. Rather than ripping it out, it's well-worth the effort to sand it down and start again in a new colour then add a quick upgrade of new handles for a budget friendly fresh look.

If your timber cabinetry is damaged, there are a number of ways that carpenters may be able to patch and repair them followed by a couple of coats of Resene paint, which will make quick work of any resulting inconsistencies in the wood. Choose Resene Lustacryl for a hardwearing semi-gloss finish that's suitable for kitchen cabinetry and joinery, or go for Resene Enamacryl for a gloss finish.

Clever use of colour

While a kitchen that's white from tip to toe is about as classic as they come, this approach is one that's most likely to result in a soulless space. Kitchens are rife with colour opportunities, from walls and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets, to small accessories like vases, bowls and serving ware – there is always something that could easily be brought to life with a pop of colour. Pick up a few Resene testpots and throw the rulebook out of the window in favour of pops of unexpected paint colours. Try eye-popping hues like Resene Jalapeno, Resene Sushi or Resene Clockwork Orange or more subdued shades like Resene Saratoga, Resene Juniper or Resene Conch for a different look.

Start by deciding how much of a permanent commitment you are willing to make. Opting for coloured appliances, for instance, is not a decision that should be taken lightly. But if you've got your heart set on a retro coloured fridge, by all means go for it!

One of the easiest and least expensive options is to paint a wall, which can be easily updated should you tire of it. Or paint 1-3 cabinet or drawer fronts in a high contrast hue. This approach can look really sharp on its own, but it's also a great way to dip your toe into a potential new cabinetry colour. If your style or tastes change, you can always repaint it and bring it back to white, or try a new colour entirely. You may have never considered colours like Resene Breeze, Resene Tasman or Resene Matakana as choices for a contemporary kitchen, but they might be just the hue to give it the lift you've been looking for.

Naturally, the colours we choose to decorate with are often influenced by current trends. It could even be it was something you saw on Pinterest, Instagram or in your favourite design magazine that caught your eye and spurred you to take a serious look at your surroundings and realise your kitchen needed a refresh. In reality, choosing colours is a very personal experience, and it's one that there isn't really a right or a wrong answer to. The most important thing is to pick hues that you love – or at least find pleasing to look at – and don't worry so much about what's hot and what's not. If you find you need help choosing colours, try the Resene virtual colour consultancy service for advice without even leaving your kitchen.

Resene Baltic Sea adds impact to this distinctive kitchen

Even in a mostly achromatic space, it's the Resene Baltic Sea walls that define this distinctive kitchen and make it impactful in a way that white walls wouldn't. The doorway to the scullery (on the right wall) is trimmed in Resene Black White Image supplied by homeowners Matt and Elyse Keane.

Designer top tips:

Kitchen renovations need not be an all-or-nothing endeavour, nor do they need to be accomplished all in one go. Focus on the things that irk you the most about your current kitchen and remedying those issues first. You may find that's all your space really needs to get another 5-10 years out of it.

Skip the sledgehammer and make simple swaps like new stools, lighting, cabinets and drawer pulls, can all make a big impact on the overall appeal of your kitchen in a flash. Try a fresh coat of your favourite Resene paint colour for a quick pick-me-up.

Even things that you may not expect to be able to paint, such as tiles, benchtops, light fixtures and floors, actually can be painted. It doesn't have to be a ‘forever fix', but it may make certain aspects of your kitchen more liveable while you await your renovation. For most smooth surfaces all you need is Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface then two topcoats. Ask the staff and experts at your local Resene ColorShop or try the online Ask a Tech Expert, for tips, tricks and product advice for getting the job done right so you can say goodbye to that cringeworthy kitchen feature.

Trends come and go, but choosing what you really, truly love is what makes a house become a home.

Colours used in illustrative photos...

Aug/Sep 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.