The New Kitchen Colour Rules

Clever cabinetry, on-trend colours and contrasting materials inject new cool into the wooden mainstay. Time to turn up the heat...

Looking for some kitchen colour inspiration?  Although white remains the fail-safe choice for kitchen cabinetry, colour is creeping into the conversation, presenting a whole new host of kitchen colour rules to live by.

Dive in at the dark deep end with a dark blue kitchen to add drama and a feeling of cosiness into your kitchen. Don’t stress if the space is small or lacks natural light – a dark colour can detract from its shortcomings and focus attention on the fabulous hue instead. Restrict it to walls or an island unit to create a contrast with paler cabinets. Blue sits beautifully with white and grey, so you’ll have plenty of options.

Brave enough to go ever darker? A dramatic line-up of dark hues and timbers with a smattering of metallics work like a charm. Add pale woods to ease the intensity while keeping the look fresh. Work a splash of white into your scheme – nothing makes a strong visual impact like the contrast between light and dark.


Another Livingetc favourite is pine green. This traditional hue can be used to create a contemporary cooking space with the power to calm and rejuvenate. If you don’t want to go green all over, work with white to brighten things up. Perhaps your kitchen just needs a refresh? Tiles allow you to flirt with the trend without overcommitting.

Erring on the safer side, a graceful grey will add depth to more subtle colours and let bold brights be the centre of attention.

Can’t decide? Sometimes two (or more) door shades are better than one. Coveted combinations include blue and a more neutral hue, or two shades of the same colour – grey gets our vote. Use a darker tone on base units and reserve the lighter shade for wall cabinets to stop your kitchen looking top heavy. Alternatively, make a statement of your kitchen island by painting it a different colour from the rest of the kitchen.


Lastly, some pairings never date, and nothing spells out a perfect partnership like white and wood, which work effortlessly together to bring their strengths to the table. White makes rooms look lighter, brighter and more airy, allowing other design elements to take centre stage, while wood brings an abundance of warmth, character and texture, taking the cool edge off an all-white palette. Together, this pairing strikes a restrained contrast, resulting in a modern scheme with a long shelf life.

Some final words of advice?

  • Always go for a mix of materials, such as a sleek quartz worksurface with an integrated wood chopping board,or dark cabinetry and a marble splashback.
  • Matching your cabinetry with the wall colour in your kitchen can make it feel larger. This works with darker hues like rich navy or heritage green. 
  • Clever and discreet task lighting is a must – use splashbacks to place LED lights in preparation areas. 
  • Combining traditional and contemporary cabinetry creates a look that is laid-back, eclectic, liveable
    and inherently cool. 
  • Invest in beautiful but functional brassware. Handles on drawers and cupboards will be seen and used a lot over the lifetime of your kitchen and can soften or sharpen the finished look. 


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