When it comes to kitchen design, colour can transform in a big way, adding both warmth and character. You can choose to go subtle or bold, but if you decide to make an impact with colour, nothing will create drama as instantly as these red kitchen ideas.
As the heart of any home, it's important to make our kitchens feel like a space we take comfort in, as we spend so much time here. To create this environment we look for rich kitchen colour schemes and warming tones, such as red, to enrich the senses and create atmosphere.
'Colourful Kitchens are set to be a huge trend for 2021,' says Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising at Magnet.
'As we spend more time indoors, we're looking for colour to enhance our mood. It seems like we’ve been staring at the same four walls for some time now, 2021 is all about taking risks with interiors, creating a new and very different feeling environment. Homeowners will be looking to experiment and introduce new bolder shades that bring their kitchen to life.'
Red kitchen ideas
Whether you're bold enough to choose a strongly red-toned decor, or you want to know how to work just a little of this appetising hue into your kitchen idea, red is a reassuringly on-trend choice.
‘Red is set to be a big colour for this year’ says Sinead Trainor, Kitchen Category Manager, LochAnna Kitchens. ‘Red is a very warm colour, which motivates us to take action and symbolises confidence and courage.
'At a time when we are spending more and more time at home, red is a great colour choice for homeowners looking for ways to brighten up rooms and create a positive and inviting space.'
1. Take a soft approach
With a whole range of shades and finishes available for cabinetry, you can introduce red to your colour scheme without it feeling too much.
This delicious shade of 'Merlot' red in a matte finish is an ideal way to incorporate colour into your kitchen ideas with a softer approach. Used on the lower level cabinets prevents the colour from taking over. Blended with chic grey units and natural wood elements helps to keep the overlook soothing and rustic.
'Shades of red may seem daunting in the kitchen but the beautifully elegant Pass The Merlot offers a muted red that is the perfect combination of style and comfort,' explains Hayley, at Magnet (opens in new tab). 'By pairing Pass The Merlot with neutral greys, truffles and cashmeres, families can experiment with daring colour without it being overpowering'.
2. Decorate walls with warming reds
Painting walls is far less of a commitment to colour than painting the cabinets, but it still achieves the desired look. Farrow & Ball's (opens in new tab) colour curator Joa Studholme reveals how red is the unexpected pigment set to be the next big trend in our homes.
'In 2021 we have moved away from dark charcoals and blues and towards the warmer tones of nature, like Deep Reddish Brown and Tanner’s Brown, which are strong and subdued but achingly fashionable,' Joa explains.
'Incredibly chic by day and cosy by night, they bring a grounded but luxurious atmosphere that is thought-provoking as well as soothing, particularly when paired with other hues found in the natural world.' This is demonstrated perfectly by this inviting small kitchen idea.
3. Embrace burgundy
Burgundy red is a deep, mature shade that's especially suited to a country kitchen. It looks fabulous in combination with warmer taupe-grey units, and can be paired with worktops in black granite, white composite or warm timber.
In this Shaker-style kitchen idea, a feature wall is painted in the same colour as the island to draw the colour through the wall. A white range cooker, walls and ceilings lets the furniture take centre stage.
4. Create character with contrasting colours
Add splashes of contrasting colour to create a scheme that shows your individual tastes, and breaks away from the norm.
In this country kitchen, an otherwise all-neutral kitchen space is lifted by a warming red on the walls. The earthy tone of the red is in-keeping with the tonal colour palette of muted stone and oyster hues, but adds aplomb and personality to the overall look. Rich copper accents, on the handles and cookware, helps to set the scene for a more colourful story, too.
‘As we have spent the most amount of time in our homes in the past year, many have started to re-think their interiors, seeking to add their own individual style to suit their ‘new’ needs and desires,’ says Optiplan Kitchens (opens in new tab)’ interior designer, Andy Briggs.
'This includes really adding personality and colour to walls, units and accessories. Colour-blocking is a great way to add colour, contrasting wall colours to those used in cabinets.’
5. Add statement accent pieces
Red doesn't have to feature on walls or cabinetry to make instant impact in a kitchen. Smart freestanding kitchens with storage units, such as this dresser, is more than enough to inject a splash of bold accent colour into the space, alongside thoughtfully selected accessories and fabrics to establish a red theme for the decor.
6. Take red to new levels
‘Red is set to be a big colour of 2021. More than ever before, people are bravely choosing bolder colours for their home décor’ says Sinead Trainor, Kitchen Category Manager, LochAnna Kitchens (opens in new tab).
As a result the Tavole Collection is available in a brand new 'Deep Cherry' colour, which takes a soft but stylish approach to red. We say it's more of a terracotta, which has been big news in the paint world recently.
Sinead goes on to say, 'Red is best paired with lighter, cooler tones like beige, white or grey. But for those willing to make some bolder design choices, it can be beautifully and elegantly suited to black.'
7. Create a focal point with a vibrant splashback
Use a vibrant splash of red centrally within your kitchen to make a statement, like in the grey kitchen idea shown above.
‘Coloured splashbacks are a very popular option for bringing energy into the kitchen, especially when combined with cabinetry in neutral colours,’ explains Melissa Klink, Head of Design at Harvey Jones.
‘The expanding market has allowed customers to bring block shades of oranges and reds into the kitchen as accent colours, helping you to create a bold pop of colour without dominating the space.’
8. Mix on-trend colour combinations
Can't decide on whether you want an of-the-moment red kitchen or an on-trend grey kitchen? Why not mix and match, to embrace the qualities of both. A darker crimson red is the perfect shade to sit alongside a lead grey colour, complimenting each other without overpowering the look.
This open-plan kitchen space allows the dominant colours to create a clearly defined kitchen along along one wall. The floating kitchen shelving on the far side, in a brighter shade of red, helps to incorporate the colour further.
9. Paint a feature wall
Let your decorating scheme determine red as the most dominant shade, rather than choosing coloured cabinetry. Painting a feature wall in a vibrant shade of red will ensure the colour will stand out, as shown in this alternative red kitchen idea.
This glorious painted kitchen idea in orange red uses Spice Jar by Crown, drawing on spicy paprika for inspiration. Red is best suited to more muted colours, as demonstrated here with cream units and Toffee Apple coloured walls.
10. Go for gloriously glossy red cabinets
For those looking for a real colour fix, go for high-gloss cabinetry in cherry red alongside built-in appliances for a streamlined feel. The sheen on this modern kitchen helps to reflect the light, adding depth to the colour during different times of the day. Pristine white worktops and splashbacks keep the colour scheme feeling fresh and contemporary.
11. Complement monochrome for a modern look
This ultra-modern kitchen certainly has the wow-factor! If you love this primary shade in all its glorious beauty then you'll love the colourful red cabinetry, curved island unit and sleek built-in appliances in this modern set up.
12. Ground the look with a terracotta red floor
Terracotta red is a popular choice for many a country kitchen. This example demonstrates that terracotta red is not just for farmhouse tiled floors either. These days vinyl solutions offer a wealth of alternative kitchen flooring ideas to suit tastes and requirements.
The earthy red shade of this floor provides a grounded canvas on which to build a country-inspired kitchen scheme with French grey cabinetry. A selection of well-chosen country-style accessories incorporating the same shade would help to tie to the look together.
13. Make a bold statement with a bright red island
This striking pillar-box red kitchen island idea is the dramatic centrepiece to this traditional country kitchen. Balance out the strong colour with dark granite worktops. Echo the colour throughout the rest of the kitchen, with coordinating blinds and curtains.
14. Add a simple splashback to reflect colour choice
Sometimes less is more. A slither of crimson red goes a long way to inject a touch of personality to this otherwise 'safe' kitchen space. The two-tone kitchen is broken up with a hit of intense red with the addition of a practical splashback.
This effect would work well in any seemingly plain kitchen, because the use of a minimal accent colour isn't at risk of overpowering the look.
15. Invest in uplifting red worktops
Commit to colour. Go for bright and bold like this red kitchen worktop idea if you wish to make a colourful statement. Just be sure you won't get bored of the shade before you make the investment.
Keep everything else pared back and neutral in tone, to allow the work surface to shine. On a practical note, red will be easier to keep clean than lighter alternatives.
16. Add pops of red with accessories
If you love red but are not feeling brave enough to use it on fixable kitchen fittings, go for accent pieces. Small pops of red can lend personality to a neutral colour scheme, stopping a largely plain area from looking clinical and washed out.
The chilli red fridge and leather barstools help to perk up this white kitchen. The matching red shades of the barstools and fridge link the prep and seating areas, and create a cohesive scheme with almost no effort.
What shade of red is best for my kitchen?
Like all dominant colours there's a whole spectrum of different depths and tones of red. It's not all about attention-grabbing pillar box reds.
Finding the right shade is vitally important to consider how red will work with the rest of your scheme. Think about whether cooler (more blue) or warmer (more orange) tones will work in your space. And consider the amount of light you have.
Don't despair if your kitchen naturally receives little daylight, where a largely red decor could risk seeming heavy. The colour can still be incorporated in clever ways, such as a dramatic backdrop colour on shelving to highlight your crockery.
Otherwise, colour can be used on walls to create warmth, as a bold cabinetry colour or as an accent colour in a paler scheme to highlight features.
What colour goes with red in a kitchen?
Depending on style, modern or traditional, there's a colour combination to suit all red kitchen ideas.
Red is often a popular choice in country kitchens, and it looks beautiful in sage green kitchens and cream kitchens, too. Red also pairs perfectly with the traditional warmer wooden worktops, such as honeyed pine and walnut.
In a more contemporary-style kitchen, red is best suited to starker colours. These offset the shade to make it more striking. Use brilliant white on walls and on cabinets to create a real style statement. Red is the perfect accent for a monochrome scheme, where it creates balance between the two extremes of black and white.
Red traditionally represents heat, passion, love and even danger. It's also indelibly associated with food, from strawberries and plump tomatoes, to rich pasta sauce and fiery chillis, making it a natural choice in a kitchen.
Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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