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How much colour

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

How colourful do you want your kitchen to be? Nice and neutral, with a touch of colour, or are you a colour lover? Sharon Newey looks at the options.

Nice and neutral

Using a restrained colour palette doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a bland kitchen. The devil, they say, is in the detail. In this kitchen created by homeowner Darren and interior designer Kate Voice, Resene Black White, Resene Black and Resene Sea Fog are the building block colours of a timeless French- inspired look.

lime kitchen details

Darren wanted an elegant space that would be easy to accessorise with different colours, for example, his lime green bar stools. As part of an open-plan living space, keeping the background palette neutral has helped to keep it cohesive visually. The walls are in Resene Sea Fog, with trims and cabinets in Resene Black White. The cabinets on the island bench were originally white but part of the way through the building project, Darren opted to use Resene Black for extra impact. Detailing was important to achieve the French look.

Lime accents in the kitchen.

Darren specified ornate architraves and villa-style ceiling coving. The kitchen cabinetry has a panelled profile, and the handles are antique-style knobs. A replica oak floor throughout the living area completes the French look. On the kitchen splashback, the brick-pattern white tiles are grouted in black for extra definition. The sink is a white butler’s sink teamed with a black tap; even the accessories such as the toaster and jug are black and the bench top is engineered stone. To help define the dining space next to the kitchen and to give it a heightened sense of drama and luxury, Kate specified a silver and black striped wallpaper from Resene (Black & White 28701) on the back wall. Photography by Mark Heaslip.

Taking notice

Chalkboards are such a popular item to include in a kitchen. Practical and good looking, they can also add to your colour scheme because they don’t have to be black. Resene Blackboard Paint is available in a range of colours and the ever-popular black or Resene Spacecote low Sheen can be mixed into many colours and used as a blackboard paint; just ask the staff at your local Resene colorShop. And if chalkboards aren’t your style, Resene Write-on Wall paint can also be applied over a basecoat of any Resene colour, or use Resene Magnetic Magic underneath normal paint, Resene Blackboard Paint or Resene Write-on Wall paint to create a handy magnetic noticeboard.

orande and lime accents kitchen.

Above and below

It’s easy to get caught up in creating colour schemes just for the walls and kitchen cabinetry, but the floor and the ceiling are large parts of the overall canvas. You can lighten a kitchen floor with Resene colorwood Whitewash or ground it with Resene Pitch Black wood stain. For ceilings, consider running your wall colour onto the ceiling for a more integrated look or take up the current trend for more boldly coloured ceilings.

Touch of colour

White kitchens may be perennially popular, but that doesn’t mean they should all look the same. Simply add some carefully chosen pops of colour, and you can have this individualised look, created by interior designer Amanda Neill of Designworx. In a further twist, the Resene Ayers Rock orange is actually a blackboard using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. As the clients Shaun and Hilary say: “We didn’t want a bland kitchen, nor did we want something that would overwhelm us. We wanted splashes of colour that would lift the spirits.”

Says Amanda: “The house sits in farm land with a lot of green around it. We wanted to bring this into the house with a youthful energy which lime-based greens (such as the Resene Kombi used here) do, and then overlay that with a pop of the orange.

scullery and red kitchen

“Orange stimulates conversation and is a colour that adds energy, so in the right amounts it can be great in the living hub of the home.” The combination instantly appealed to the clients: “We would have never have thought of combining those colours ourselves. We had no idea where to begin and Designworx came up with a completely new and practical layout, along with a funky and modern colour design.”

They particularly love the island bench as a good multipurpose space, as well as the orange chalkboard (especially Hilary who loves to make lists), the chemistry lights and a Breaking Bad poster.

The chalkboard is multifunctional – it adds visual impact, is practical, but it also hides a join that would have been visible by including the bench pantry/ appliance cupboard. The walls are in Resene Quarter Akaroa and the ceiling and trims are Resene Alabaster.

Helping them through the many decisions to be made – from the colour of the switch plates to whether the skirtings should be painted – Shaun and Hilary not only have Amanda to thank, but also their builder Doug George.

Colour lover

Rochelle Jenkins of Kitchen Elements decided to go gutsy with colour for the kitchen of Lynda Jelbert and family. Lynda and her hubby adore cooking and longed for the kitchen to become the heart of their Wellington home: “After a hard day’s work, they wanted to come back to a kitchen that was cheery and bright,” explains Rochelle.

Resene Roadster along the entire back wall and main cabinetry adds punch to the galley kitchen, which was once a dark, u-shaped room. The high gloss finish makes it glow. The effect: a rich red that reflects light all over the kitchen and with it a warm and inviting ambience. The neutral Resene Half Black White on the base cabinetry allows the red feature to maintain its position in the spotlight.

red feature wall in the kitchen

Rochelle chose a gutsier red for this renovation but suggests you stick with a colour that you absolutely love. (She is seeing a recent trend for mustard.)

She says: “Colour has such an impact on your mood. If you find a colour that you’re naturally drawn to, such as a favourite dress, bowl, or pot, that’s when you know that you’re onto a winner.”

By sticking with one bold colour, the couple can accessorise with complementary accents of that colour range – a red toaster here, yellow tulips there, a bowl of bright green apples. And to add texture, the Kitchen Elements team designed elegant patterned, laser-cut panels to run along the back wall and sides of the prepping station.

“Lynda has reported an increase of friends popping in for a glass of wine, and you’ll often find the kids in there, homework splayed over the counter tops,” says Rochelle. “It’s really opened up the kitchen as a place to connect with family and friends.”


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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.