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Kitchen concepts

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

If your kitchen is looking a bit tired and you’re thinking of a revamp, Sharon Newey has the inside scoop on the latest trends to look out for in kitchen design.

Clean lined benches Clean lines are further defined by a tranquil but interesting colour scheme using Resene French Grey in this house designed by Daniel Marshall.

It’s the most expensive room in the house to fit-out and, with the current tendency towards open-plan living, it’s now also often a room that’s on full display. So do we make our kitchens look as timeless as possible so that they don’t need renovating in a hurry? Or do we deck them out in the latest looks and colours? A bit of both, according to local kitchen designers.

For many years, we have had a love affair with white kitchen cabinetry, engineered stone benchtops and galley layouts with an island bench. While that’s not changing in a hurry, some interesting variations are creeping in.

The use of bold colours
Left: Resene Sensual Red pops out of this kitchen designed by Toni Roberts.  Right: This strong retro-style kitchen by Toni Roberts uses Resene Clockwork Orange on the far wall as an extended splashback, contrasting with black granite on the wall to the right.


White cabinetry is classic and practical – it doesn’t show finger marks like darker colours, says kitchen architect Toni Roberts.

Having said that, you can introduce a second colour onto one area of cabinetry, for example, having the tall wall cabinets in off-white but those under the island bench in another shade. Or offset white cabinets by using a vibrant colour on the walls.

If you work with whatever the homeowner is passionate about, the finished design will be quite individual, explains Toni. A recent client had a purple sofa, which was Toni’s cue that she would be more adventurous with her colour choices. The resulting kitchen has rich raspberry walls and a splashback in Resene Sensual Red with pewter-style cabinets. The granite chosen for the benchtop has flecks of the raspberry colour in it, too. “If you are going to be in this home for a long time, you may as well do what you like,” says Toni.

For example, she has clients who requested a very retro 1970s kitchen for their much older house. With Resene Clockwork Orange and black granite on the walls, the cabinetry is wood grain.

Isolating colour to just the back-painted glass splashback is a common way to start using colour in a kitchen but there are lots of ways you can integrate colour to even better effect.

Kitchen designer Rochelle Jackson of Kitchen Elements predicts that teaming a thick industrial stainless steel top with base units in a rich colour is a trend we will see as the world moves into a brighter mindset. Dull, drab colours will be replaced with deep, rich colours that make us feel hopeful, she says. These bolder colours will be set down low so as not to overwhelm you when you enter the room.

Currently popular earthy tones will be joined by metallics and soft champagne golds.

Rochelle predicts that people will also want to incorporate both more texture and detail and more flexibility into their kitchen design. That could mean that we will see detailing that can be added to cabinetry doors, maybe in the form of a pattern that can then be peeled off, or panels that can be unscrewed and changed.

White is always popular because people like a clean look, says kitchen designer Natalie Du Bois, especially if people are renovating an old kitchen that has dark, heavy colours or all-timber cabinetry. But for a change from white while staying light, Natalie suggests that a scheme using three tones of the same neutral paint for cabinets and walls would work really well.

According to Natalie, drama can be introduced with the controlled use of strong blacks and chocolate shades. Also, timber cabinets can be washed or stained in shades of grey or blue for interest, and look great with the grain of the timber showing through. Or timber can be whitewashed for a beachy look.

Designer Leonie von Sturmer has been using timber in a more distressed way – aged and weathered. She has also used paint effects, as seen in her award- winning kitchen, which combined varying strengths of Resene Bison Hide for some of the cabinets.

Traditonal kitchen
Designer Leonie von Sturmer has used paint effects to introduce character, as seen in her award-winning kitchen that combined varying strengths of Resene Bison Hide for some of the cabinets.

It’s about how we live

Kitchen design is all about making food preparation efficient and enjoyable, providing maximum storage and making it all easy to clean, says Rochelle Jackson. If a kitchen is well designed, people will eat more and healthier meals at home and will spend more time with the kids. Get a teenager chopping up vegetables, and you’ll chat and find out what’s happening in their life – when their hands are busy, they talk more, she says.

Likewise, for a person working long hours, a well-designed kitchen will allow them to pop their laptop on the bench, have a glass of wine and chat to their partner rather than being stuck in the home office. In many modern kitchens you can slide your iPad into a special holder and look up your favourite recipes, or have a small television pop up to watch the news while you cook.

In the near future we’ll also likely have small herb and vegetable gardens in the kitchen – easy to care for and access. Or how about appliances that grow vegetables hydroponically?

Technology take-over

With the huge growth in portable technology and the continuance of open-plan living areas, many kitchens are being extended to include an office nook or area that performs as an office but visually integrates with the kitchen, says Toni Roberts. This is a place to keep the laptop, check emails and charge all of the mobile phones and other devices that would otherwise clutter up the kitchen bench. It’s a place to hang the family noticeboard and keep current household paperwork.

Rochelle Jackson says that can be taken one step further with a drawer assigned to each family member where they can keep their iPods, laptops and various chargers as well as having a power point within the drawer.

Blackboard paint wall
Resene Blackboard Paint not only gives a practical and striking surface to this kitchen but also enhances the retro 1950s feel. The cabinets are Resene Half Black White and the kitchen is designed by Rochelle Jackson of Kitchen Elements.


The utterly clean-lined minimalist look is over and more detailing is being used in kitchens. It may be in the form of a metallic paint, or a paint effect. Handles are one area you can easily introduce some character and interest.

Unless you are doing a full-on ornate traditional look, the points of interest in a kitchen need to be limited to three, says Toni Roberts.

Rochelle Jackson notes that lighting is huge at moment, both those that are on show, such as designer chandeliers above an island bench, but also those that are hidden away to provide both task and mood lighting.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it’s important to get it right. Take the time to research the latest trends before you start to make decisions and see which ones will suit your needs and tastes.

Get the latest

Some new products from Resene help keep your kitchen up to date.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a exciting way of achieving the stylish whitewash effect that has become popular for timber floors in kitchens. Ideal for continuing a clean minimalist colour palette from your walls to your floor, it’s easy to apply and lets the natural beauty of the woodgrain show through.

Resene ClinicalCote is a low odour, washable waterborne paint finish formulated with anti-microbial silver for use on walls that need extra sanitising protection. Developed for medical facilities and resthomes, it can also be used in homes and comes in a range of more than 800 Resene colours. Or use the Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range available in low sheen and semi-gloss finishes.

With neutral colours being so popular in kitchens, The Resene Whites & Neutrals flat chart has always been popular and has now been updated to reflect current trends. There is an upswing in green-toned hues, like Resene Thorndon Cream, and more variants of grey for trafficable areas. The new colour charts are available from Resene ColorShops and resellers.


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.