Contrast cabinetry

Your kitchen cabinetry doesn’t have to stay as one colour. By using two shades, not only does it give you opportunity to reference two colours from your palette, but it lets you change the pace of your scheme. For example, the barn-door kitchen pictured puts two high-contrast, rich tones side by side – a look that’s confident and dynamic. Whereas the Teal-coloured kitchen uses a steady white neutral as its secondary colour. The contrast is still strong, but incorporating a more familiar, unexpected shade like white helps you to be braver with your accent colour. This kitchen is still lively, but the central white island harmonises and balances the use of colour.

All-over colour

If two colours feel too much for your taste, and you’d rather keep to a more subtle palette in your kitchen, paint all of your cabinets in the one shade. This is the more classic approach to painted kitchens. What makes this effect more impactful is when you carry that shade to other parts of the room. The Charcoal-coloured kitchen belongs to Juliet, and she used the same colour on her French doors and on the frame of her glass roof. This helps to bind the palette and to make more of a statement with your core colour.

Beyond cabinetry

Remember that paint isn’t the only way to apply colour in your kitchen. Wall and cabinet colours are the starting points, followed by your flooring, but the hardware, lighting, furniture and accessories – and any window treatments such as Roman blinds – you use are key to your palette. So, be sure to pick ones that are part of it, or at least a tonal extension of one of your key colours.

If you look back at Juliet’s Suffolk kitchen, she has a palette of grey-blue (from our Charcoal paint), brown (from the timber), white (from the walls) and brass (from the lighting and hardware). All of the other elements of her room come back to that palette, from the Matilda armchair in our Isla Kingfisher velvet, which is a tonal blend of grey-blue, to the Emma Mustard pattern on her cushion, which links with the brown and brass in the room.

Equally, in Pip McCormac’s Suffolk kitchen, he wanted showstopper brass to be the clear colour, and so chose to have the cabinetry in muted Sage with pockets of brass throughout the room, from taps to handles.

Appliances count

An extension of thinking above and beyond cabinetry is considering whether your appliances can provide a flash of colour. In the Limehouse kitchen pictured that belongs to Jonathan, he chose a vibrant orange stove so that colour is felt in their kitchen but in one bright burst rather than a long ribbon. And because he’s linked it with other orange-based tones in the room, like the warm wood flooring and terracotta pots, it doesn’t feel remotely out of place.

Think of its neighbours

Maybe you don’t want a big dose of colour in your kitchen. Maybe, for you, it feels too wired and, actually, your kitchen is a place of calm cooking and gentle activity. Know that you can build on the presence of colour in your kitchen by looking at what room neighbours it. Take Sue Crewe’s bespoke kitchen pictured, where she wanted a soothing neutral colour in her kitchen. The energy from the red gloss dining room that adjoins her kitchen still has presence, especially by using red on her casserole pot and saucepan, which she keeps permanently out on the hob to visually link the two rooms.

Harmonise your colour  

Painting the cabinets in two opposing shades, or the cabinets in one colour and the walls in another, aren’t the only approaches for having a kitchen with two dominant colours. Our final kitchen scheme is evidence to that. Flax Blue may be on every cabinet, but the window is another strong feature in the room. By highlighting it with a Roman blind, and choosing a saturated colour that’s contrasting yet harmonious with Flax Blue (look at a colour wheel and pick a shade that’s directly opposite), like earthy, orange-hued Mustard, both colours stand up clearly in the scheme. Neither tries to steal attention away from the other, and instead they share it and keep each other perfectly mellow.