Kitchen colour schemes – ways to work with every paint shade

Neutral kitchen colour schemes aren’t for everyone and the sizeable cost of a new kitchen shouldn’t dictate that you play it safe
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  • Be inspired by these fabulous and daring kitchen colour schemes. Colour is a powerful design tool that completely alters the mood of a kitchen. It can change your perception of the space, making it feel wider and brighter, and it can draw the eye towards features worth highlighting. And, of course, it’s a great way to express personality.

    In the past, we’ve taken an all-or-nothing approach to colour in the kitchen. Remember avocado green and burnt orange in the 1970s? The new palette is a bit more restrained, with pale blues, greys and darker, inky shades proving a big hit. Though that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your kitchen colour ideas, as you will see in the schemes below.

    Tone is important, too, when it comes to kitchen ideas. Even within the grey family, warmer greys create a different feel from blue-based shades of slate.

    When choosing an accent colour or a mixed palette, you can’t go wrong by following colour theory. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel and will create a strong contrast with a vibrant feel, while colours that are near each other on the wheel will give your scheme a more relaxed vibe.

    Don’t just think about the colour on your walls or units – also consider the design and style of your kitchen flooring.

    Kitchen colour schemes to boost your mood

    1. Create a coastal colour scheme

    A white kitchen with a blue bar stool and shelves next to a copper pan

    Image credit: Simon Scarboro

    For a fresh look, a coastal palette of gentle blues teamed with off-white and grey kitchen ideas is a particularly versatile choice. It’s also considerably more forgiving than a brilliant white kitchen.

    Build up colours in layers, perhaps opting for units in two or three shades and using tiles and paint to create a clean but warm and inviting scheme.

    2. Introduce colour in unexpected places

    A dark green kitchen with white worktops, tiles and a sink

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Don’t limit pattern to walls and go bold with flooring instead. Try black-and-white tiles in a geometric design for a sophisticated yet fun result. As a nod to industrial design with a touch of nostalgia, team simple white ceramic brick tiles with dark grout.

    Stuck with white grout? Colour it in with a grey grout pen as a quick fix. Finally, if you’re wondering how to paint kitchen cabinets, update boring and bland wooden cupboards by painting them in an on-trend dark grey and changing the handles.

    3. Paint it white

    A white kitchen with statement wall lights and plastic bar stools

    Image credit: David Giles

    Embrace minimalist style with a glossy white kitchen idea. Go for a fuss-free scheme with plenty of glam touches and design-led details. Paint walls in a hard-wearing kitchen paint that allows you to wipe away splashes easily.

    Why not install a splashback using textured white tiles for added depth? White gloss units blend seamlessly with the walls. For continuity, choose a white fitted oven and co-ordinating appliances.

    4. Go for impact with contrasting colours

    A white kitchen with red cupboards and striped flooring

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    This modern red kitchen idea is bold yet easy to achieve. To really add wow, choose shiny high-gloss units in a vibrant primary colour. Team a bold kitchen colour scheme with white worktops and wall cabinets, so the area still feels light and spacious.

    Lastly, add a hint of colour with striped vinyl flooring. Lay the lines along the length of the room to further increase the feeling of space.

    5. Create a vintage vibe with bold florals and fresh pastels

    A kitchen with a wooden dining table and bold coloured wallpaper behind a french dresser

    Celebrate spring all year round with a pretty kitchen scheme full of colour and pattern. For a bold, vintage look, select an oversized floral wallpaper bursting with colour. Restrict it to the one wall, then keep the rest white for a fresh, modern take on shabby chic.

    Complement floral walls with co-ordinating cushions and blind fabrics. It’s okay to clash prints, but aim to stick to one colour palette. Make less patterned accessories sing by going for country-feel furniture in white.

    6. Add colour with accessories

    A kitchen with blue cupboards, white shelving and yellow curtains

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Why not be adventurous with colour and texture by mixing hand painted bowls and coloured glassware to add personality to a table? Accessories like table mats and napkins are not only functional but a good way of injecting pattern and fun into the kitchen.

    Invest in classic shapes in quality ware for kitchen staples, including wine glasses, everyday glasses and porcelain dinnerware, because they will stand the test of time.

    Building a collection of treasured pieces, whether blue-and-white china ware, copper pans, stoneware or antique plates is a good way to introduce a splash of consistent colour in a scheme as well as creating a decorative touch.

    7. Don’t be afraid to go for a standout colour

    A kitchen with blue cupboards and a dark pink island

    Image credit: Chris Snook

    To prevent strong colour from overpowering, use it in small portions perhaps to highlight a key focal point, or keep it below your direct sight line as you enter the kitchen. Also consider scale: a big kitchen can take a much bigger burst of colour. Pair a strong kitchen colour scheme with matching accessories to make it look considered.

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