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Designs on a kitchen

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Although white kitchens are still popular, people are personalising spaces by being more flamboyant when selecting finishing touches. Sharon Newey looks at what’s hot in kitchen design and colour trends.

Orange splashbacks

Has the all-white kitchen had its day? Are we becoming braver in our colour choices? Well, no and yes. While we haven’t quite got over our love affair with white kitchens, according to local designers we are injecting our kitchens with more personality and more colour, and mixing up kitchen surfaces and cabinetry styles.

It might be a matter of adding some black cabinetry and a dash of bright colour in the splashback or accessories – this graphic look is strong overseas right now. Or it might be using two different types of benchtop, or introducing texture or pattern to surfaces and finishes.

Kitchen architect Toni Roberts believes that as the housing market slows and we are staying in the same house for longer, we are willing to be bolder in our choices rather than playing it safe for resale considerations.

Left: Two looks for the same kitchen. When you need a neutral background, simply close the doors (in Resene Black White) of this kitchen, designed by natalie du Bois, but open the doors to reveal a zingy orange splashback finished in Resene Daredevil (see top of page). The dark glossy cabinets are Resene Diesel Right: set within a mellow frame of Resene Half Sea Fog cabinets and walls, these hand-made textured tiles give this kitchen, by designer celia Visser, a striking centrepoint. created for a villa, the kitchen is contemporary without being overwhelmingly modern.

Kitchen surfaces and cabinetry are being mixed up more. This trend began with benchtops – you might choose the more heat-resistant stainless steel around a gas hob but a less austere engineered stone on the island bench where people sit.

Now, cabinetry is also varied with, for example, a different colour or treatment used for tall cabinetry or overhead cupboards. “Cabinetry is being treated more like a collection of furniture rather being all matching,” says Toni.

Summery kitchen
This summery kitchen, designed by Joanne Godding and using Resene Black White on the cabinetry and walls, is part of a casual dining and living area. Walnut veneer adds warmth and texture while the slicing through of benchtop materials adds interest.

The look of a kitchen has a variety of influences, from the architecture of the house – for example, a traditional look for a villa – to the owners’ own preferences and the environment or surroundings like a sea or bush view.

While open-plan living spaces that include the kitchen are still popular, sculleries or hidden work surfaces to hide the inevitable mess of cooking are being more frequently requested, says Toni.

Natalie Du Bois of Du Bois Design noticed a trend towards earthier, natural-looking kitchens when she attended the Euro Cucina show in Milan earlier this year. “On the one hand, there were very high-gloss futuristic kitchens. Then on the other, there were aged and worn textured kitchens with copper accessories, unfinished timber and concrete.” Pastel colours, such as soft lavender, pink and baby blue were also evident at the Italian show.

Retro tounge and groove and orange and white
Left: This kitchen takes on a retro look with tongue and groove cabinets finished in Resene Spirulina. The walls are painted Resene Acropolis (Resene Half Tea).  Right: Ant Paulsen’s all-white kitchen painted in Resene Black White won The Best Use of Colour award at the 2009 National Kitchen & Bathroom Awards, not because it was colourful but because it provided the perfect canvas on which the owner could then introduce vibrant colour through artworks and lighting.

Natalie tries to encourage homeowners to be more adventurous with colour, given that it’s often quite easy to later change the colour of even lacquered cabinets. She often uses changes of texture to create interest, such as a glossy, back-painted glass placed alongside the same colour painted or stained onto a grainy timber.

Kitchen designer Ant Paulsen says that while the white and black look is quite dominant, he has noticed graphic elements being introduced into kitchens, such as images or words imprinted onto glass splashbacks or doors, or highly patterned cabinetry fronts used in key areas.

“People are willing to take a few risks now. They might want a lovely stone island top, for example, knowing that it might be slightly higher maintenance but will look beautiful,” he says.

splashes of colour and dramatic black.
Top Left: Rather than take the usual approach of confining colour to just the splashback, Resene Pohutukawa red was extended beyond the boundaries of a ‘light box’ shape in this kitchen designed by Toni Roberts, to emphasise its form and make it appear to hover in front of the wall.  Bottom Left: Designed by Beibei Yuan of Tang Ming Group, the negative detailing slashed through the island bench of this kitchen, finished in high gloss Resene Alabaster, gives it a striking three-dimensional look.  Right: Set against walls of Resene Nero, sleek cabinets in Resene Alabaster become a dramatic statement. Accent and accessories in red complete the look.

Inspired by the houses they are in country and native bush.
Left: Amanda Neill of Designworx’s renovation of a country house balances the rich grapey tones of Resene Finn on a feature wall with kitchen cabinetry painted in Resene Black White. The focal point of the kitchen is the granite waterfall with its large embedded river-stone look, designed to flow over the side of the bench in a Dali-esque manner. The hanging pot rail maintains a link to the home’s country setting.  Right: The colours of this highly functional kitchen were inspired by the house’s native bush setting and, in particular, kauri trees. The golden hues in the kauri leaves and rich espresso brown found in the mottled bark became lacquered doors in Resene Colins Wicket and open shelves in Resene Diesel.


Minimise fly spots on ceilings with Resene Fly Deterrent. Designed to discourage flies from landing on the painted surface, it reduces the appearance of unwanted fly spots.

Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom and Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom (semi- gloss) combines anti-bacterial silver protection and MoulDefender mould inhibitor, perfect for minimising unwanted nasties in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

If you’re looking for colour inspiration, Resene’s The Range 2011/12 has plenty of exciting colours to try, and The Range Whites & Neutrals provides some classic combos. Call into your local Resene ColorShop or visit

Specifying your favourite Resene colour on kitchens can be a nightmare with the material supplier’s ‘colour match’ not matching the original. Now the Resene ArmourCat range not only has excellent coverage and durability, but is available in an extensive selection of Resene Total Colour System hues, Resene Metallic finishes and gloss and satin clears.


Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food 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.