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Kitchens go casual

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Soft colours and quirky details are all you need for a casual-looking kitchen

1970's stylingThe kitchen (above) is designed as a meeting point with easy access to all areas... more

There was a time when kitchens were neither to be seen nor heard. We hid them behind sleek banks of doors, tucked appliances behind integrated panels and then painted everything white.

It’s still a look that suits many homes but if you fancy a look that’s more casual, there are many ways to achieve that.

One of these ways is with Resene paint colour; or rather, a mix of colours. Then, there are unexpected details and materials to include in your creation, such as bespoke design and using upcycled items.

Mismatched by choice

A natural palette based on Resene neutrals and weathered elements, along with quirky materials, was a key ingredient for this Taupo bach kitchen. Decommissioned beehives act as storage under the kitchen island bench, and inject ‘reclaimed colour’. (See Top Tip.)

Paint effects for cupboards
Decommissioned beehives get a second life in this unique kitchen island.

The intriguing mix of materials includes copper tiles on the splashback, pre-aged copper sheets, blackened plate steel and hoop pine cabinets finished in Resene Aquaclear. A noticeboard is painted in Resene Blackboard Paint, while the walls are in Resene Concrete and trims are in Resene Alabaster.

Trained in textile design, bach owner Mandy’s eye for colour, pattern and a strong sense of texture made for a happy collaboration with Belinda Ellis and Fraser Cameron of Fraser Cameron Architects.

While the interiors were carefully planned, there’s a playful ‘mismatching’ of tiles and other fittings. The cabinets were made by Cromptons Joinery, Taupo.

Butlers pantry
Left: A butler’s pantry as an addendum to the main kitchen adds an elegant touch. Right: Contrasting textures

Top tip: These decommissioned beehives (top) look great in this modern kitchen, but if you don’t have handy access to them, this distressed look is easy to achieve with Resene paint. Just use Resene Lumbersider tinted to the colours of your choice, brush on a coat, wait for it to dry, then rub areas of the paint off with sandpaper. Think about where the natural wear marks would be but don’t worry if you think you’re getting it wrong – the randomness of the look is part of the appeal.

Grunty is good

Give a country kitchen a contemporary twist with a grunty kitchen sideboard painted in Resene Inside Back (below).

The kitchen is set against a wall in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue with a stripe in Resene New Denim Blue.

Timber is a mainstay of this style, seen above with simple pine shelves in Resene Colorwood Ironbark wood stain, along with wooden chopping boards and canister lids.

Bringing the whole scheme to life are pops of hot pink in the Resene Scrumptious herb pot, and the fruit bowl in Resene Sassy.

Divine duck egg blue

Duck egg blue is a colour that has huge appeal which suits many interiors. It brings vintage charm to a kitchen corner like this one, or goes easily with country flavours, in a beachy interior or in a Scandinavian-inspired setting.

It was a new colour when Resene launched Resene The Range fashion colours fandeck, and has been a hot favourite ever since. In the fandeck, Resene Duck Egg Blue and its variant Resene Half Duck Egg Blue, have been teamed up with other gentle green-edged greys like Resene Inside Back, Resene Unwind and Resene Emerge.

Using Resene Duck Egg Blue with these associated colours will give a soothing tonal scheme, but you can also pep it up a little with sharp rusty oranges, hot pinks or clean whites.

Bold colours details
Left: Adding shots of bright or bold colour.   Right: A grunty kitchen sideboard painted in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue.

Shots of colour

Another way to inject a fun and casual style into a kitchen is to add shots of bright or bold colour. If painting the cabinets or walls in yellow, red, orange or pink is too much for you, choose punchy accessories, like these yellow bar stools. They stand out against walls painted in Resene Foundry, which homeowner Katie Williamson chose to create drama and definition from the rest of the living room, which is painted in Resene Half Sea Fog.

A nod to the ‘70s

A home should be easy and enjoyable to live in, and each space should have both a purpose and social function: that’s the philosophy underpinning the design of this house, by Andrew Pope Homes in the South Island (see more at

The kitchen (below) is designed as a meeting point with easy access to all areas. The biggest design challenge for designers Andrew and Michelle Pope was creating the ceiling, the kitchen window and the recessed doors, which take up the entire west wall in the kitchen, opening out onto the deck.

A mix of high-gloss Resene Half Black White cabinets and plywood features, set against walls in Resene Half Inside Back, give this new show home plenty of character.

Built in kitchen seating
The built-in seating and raking window are a casual nod to 1970s styling.

New colour collection

The paint is dry on Resene’s newest colour collection: Resene Multi-Finish. This collection is the heart of the Resene Total Colour System, encompassing 896 colours covering the gamut of the rainbow, presented on a series of 64 palettes.

The collection brings together the most popular Multi-Finish colours, together with favourites from many of The Range fashion colour fandecks and a selection of new colour strengths. It’s a best-of-the-best Resene colour collection and is designed to work alongside the existing Resene Whites & Neutrals collection.

Moving from the existing three-chip-wide palettes to a two-chip-wide version, all colour chips run flush to the edge of the page, which makes it easy to compare colours to each other, or to other swatches or samples. On the back of each palette is colour information, including complementary colours recommendations.

Each chip is finished in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, the exact paint you can use on your walls. While most use printer inks on their colour charts, Resene use Resene paint and Resene VOC Free tinters to give a more accurate colour. After all, nothing looks more like paint than actual paint!


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.