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Kitchen colour palettes – white as snow or kaleidoscopic?

Kitchen colour palettes – white as snow or kaleidoscopic?

Making a decision about which colours to use in any of the rooms in your home is rarely one that’s reached at the drop of a hat. The options are endless, and often, you’re drawn to more than just one hue.

Palette picking is potentially harder still in the kitchen where there aren’t just walls to consider but cabinets too which, of course, dominate a large part of the space.

Recent years have seen two clear camps emerge on the colour front – white on white kitchens and bold and beautifully colourful kitchens. Here, we look at the plus points to both so your own palette path becomes far easier to pick out.

Create light with white

It’s often said that using white won’t make a scheme feel any lighter unless natural light is on your side. A dark room won’t suddenly appear like a lightbox with a lick of Salt paint here and a dash of Snow there. Be that as it may, using white will certainly not make your room feel dark, so if the moody hues of a charcoal grey or inky blue don’t appeal, know that any tone of white will provide your kitchen with lift – the degree of which all comes down to said natural light.

As a case in point, our bay window-fronted kitchen (pictured) is flooded with sunlight, making the white as light as can be, compared to the later wraparound Chichester kitchen where there are much smaller cottage windows. The kitchen remains light, but there’s a clear difference in its intensity.

White equals clean and crisp

If you’re somebody who appreciates quiet, simple settings, then white is undoubtedly a colour that will help to achieve both of these things. White is innately crisp – even more so when there’s something it can be contrasted against (more of that shortly). Even without, in a kitchen with white walls, white cabinets, a quartz work surface and pale flooring, the room will take on a pure, clean character that’s much harder to create when using pigmented shades.

Low maintenance – don’t rule out white

It’s a misconception that white is an impractical choice. Sure, on a rainy day, wearing white asks for mud spatters, and inevitably a white shirt will not get along with spaghetti bolognese, but white in a kitchen is surprisingly robust. Because the paintwork is eggshell, it means that, should a spill happen, you can dab at the cabinetry to remove all signs of splatter. But better still, white shows up far less dust than a colourful kitchen – often a bone of contention with particularly dark cabinets.

Add contrast to a white kitchen

Concerned that the puritan white kitchen is a bit too…pure? Don’t forget that a white kitchen can embrace an element of contrast to break it up. One of the most popular routes to take is to have a coloured kitchen island – see our first few kitchens pictured where the islands range from Fog to Walnut. Or, to have more impact still, any wall cabinets could be in a contrasting colour.

But if the prospect of deviating from anything other than white makes you nervous or isn’t in-keeping with your style, remember your good friend texture. Clad the ceiling in our Cranbrook shiplap panelling, change the flooring to weathered wood floorboards or even aged terracotta, expose some original brickwork as a splash back or as a feature wall, and ask for a purposefully non-smooth plaster finish on your walls, and your white kitchen will have plenty of tonal and textural contrasts for company.

Colour can be calming

While white is heralded for its tranquility, more colourful schemes can too be classified as an oasis of calm. It’s all about application of colour. For example, a kitchen painted in just one choice of hue – such as the Aqua Blue Suffolk featured at Neptune Edgbaston – feels just as restful as those previous to it in soothing neutrals. Similarly, the Cactus green Suffolk kitchen shown has an equally as mellow character because of the same colour being featured on the walls behind it (which in turn makes the room feel larger too). Keep to steady, consistent and uncomplicated expressions of colour and your kitchen will feel perfectly zen.

Let cabinetry unleash your playful side

Despite the recent resurgence of colourful interiors, walking into a bright and cheery kitchen is still a bit of a surprise. As a nation, we’re accustomed to safe, familiar white kitchens, and so when you’re faced with cabinetry in blue, in green, in teal and in pink, your eyes widen and there’s a sudden spring in your step. Colour is cheery, colour is playful, colour is creative, and the moment you embrace it in your kitchen, life feels that bit more fun.

Include tiles, wallpaper and panelling in any colour conversations

Colourful kitchens aren’t all about the cabinetry. Tiles too can take part, as shown beautifully in one of our home stories where Liz’s Chichester kitchen walls are clad in emerald glazed metro tiles. By the same token, your walls can be fitted with coloured panelling in the same colourway as your cabinets to emphasise their presence ever more. And though a more unusual choice for a kitchen, wallpaper works fantastically well for introducing a new hue. In another of our customer homes, Vicki chose a powerful pink wallpaper (pictured) to take her deep, dark Neptune kitchen into realms exuberant and undoubtedly self-expressive.

Because after all, isn’t that what your relationship with colour is all about?

Are you considering a new kitchen? Discover our kitchen collections here. 

Tags: Interiors