Oct 14, 2020
In this episode of the Kitchen Design Essentials Season, Frances
chats through how to choose your colours for your kitchen – and
she’s certainly encouraging you to use colour – if you love it!
She walks you through how to determine ‘what comes first’ when
creating your design scheme and runs through popular combinations.
Finally, she gives some great advice and tips on decorating your
kitchen, and how to make it your own and give it some
Your kitchen does not have to match everything else in the home.
For instance, if you are using a particular tile in the bathroom,
you don’t necessarily have to bring that across to the kitchen.
Make your kitchen a unique space!
- Have a consistent colour tone to create continuity and flow.
For example, if you have a warm home, you need to make sure that
you also use warm coloured materials.
- Warm tones = Beige
- Cool tones= Greys
- When thinking about the tone for your home, think about the
colors you naturally gravitate to and often it’s the colours you
- For Open plan, you need to coordinate the style of your Kitchen
and colour with the rest of the home. For example, a country style
kitchen in a modern home will not work.
- If there isn’t consistency throughout the whole home, it will
not feel or look right.
Choosing material and their colours
- Start with the floor – Everything gets built
up from the floor. For instance, if you’ve got a timber floor, are
you going to have timber cabinetry that matches the floor or
are you going to create a contrast?
- Choose your leading piece and select other materials
around that piece
- You can choose the colour and design of your kitchen based on
your Splashback tile, cabinetry colour (eg. apple green) or natural
- Don’t start with your paint colour! There’s over 10,000 to
- Choose something that you love. Everything will go out of date
except the things that you love the most- material, tile, colour or
- When building her Forever Home, Frances used Patricia Urquiola
tiles that she had loved for years, for her splashback. It then
became her leading piece and she designed her kitchen around
- Dark or light cabinetry? An all white kitchen
can be clinical – A safe option when you are not sure what goes
with what, but it is uninteresting unless you're going to brighten
it up with something else.
- Choose off white or warm grey. We have our go-to – not quite
grey and not yellow based either. Work with warm and cool
- Add texture, shape or colour to break it up – generally in the
splashback or benchtop that has movement in it.
- Create contrast – with benchtop and cabinetry,
or with splashback.
- Eg. Light cabinetry and dark benchtop or vice versa
- Sleek and sophisticated – less is more. For
instance, Dark or timber cabinetry with the benchtop and splashback
- Use Maximum of 3 materials.
- Timber in a kitchen
- Timber is a sustainable material which is quite popular at the
- Gives an organic feeling which is difficult to replace.
- Natural timber comes with a premium price compared to
- If you have timber cabinetry overhead, then you may want to use
a contrasting material such as aa plain cabinetry underneath or
vice versa. Keep in mind that the timber underneath needs to work
with any timber floor.
- All timber finish can be paired with light or dark benchtop,
just make sure that the benchtop coordinates back to the
- Can also have a timber benchtop with plain cabinetry or a
timber benchtop with coloured cabinetry.
- Use timber handles as an accent
- Timber floating shelves as an accent.
- Avoid grey based timbers – They are artificial and don’t
look real. It will date because it’s not a natural
- Combine cool tones using other materials, rather than
using grey in the timber. Avoid mixing different
types of timber because it will become too busy. Stick with
- My preference is to contrast the timber floor with any timber
cabinetry – if in doubt, have the timber cabinetry overhead.
- Maximum 3-4 different materials.
- Eg benchtop, cabinetry, splashback and accent material or
2nd cabinetry colour instead of accent colour.
- How to bring in colour
- An easy and obvious way is adding it in the Splashback– able to
change relatively easily
- Cabinetry – Avoid trends and choose the color that you really
love. If you stick with the colour that you gravitate into, you
will never get tired of it.
- Benchtop – natural stone or otherwise
- Use tonal changes. If all white, but with a slight tonal
change, and texture can make such a difference.
- Coloured appliances – Dolce and Gabbana Fridge. Smeg coloured
- Also counter appliances eg. Coffee maker, mix master, blender,
toaster, kettle etc
- Consider appliance colours
- Are they going to be a Stainless steel, black, white,
- Do you want them to recede and blend in or are you okay with
contrast? (eg stainless steel fridge)
- Dealing with oven walls and fridges areas
- Create a block of one material and colour with these placed
- Consider how they will work with overhead cupboards and under
- run the same colour overhead or contrast against it
- Some popular combination choices;
- Timber and plain coloured cabinetry.
- Timber goes with everything, so you are open to colour
options--- Cool or warm
- Dark timber cabinetry only with a lighter coloured benchtop and
- Dark overhead and light underneath with light benchtop
- Light overhead and dark underneath with light benchtop
- Dark benchtop and light cabinetry, above or below or both
- All light cabinetry (above and below), light benchtop and
- All light cabinetry with dark benchtop and coloured
- Monochromatic – different tones from same colour family
- Eg, greys – dark and light grey and white (charcoal and light
The kitchen can be decorated beautifully. You can make something
rather bland into something lived in and special.
- Don’t overdo it. Don’t clutter your benchtop.
You may use a few things that you use daily as for a decorating
element. A few things is all you need to make it feel lived
in,personable and homey.
- Best to display items that you use too;
- Timber chopping boards and cheese boards
- Salt & pepper shakers- You can have them in different
- Oil canisters- stainless steel or ceramic
- Salt dish
- Floating shelves – add trailing plants (eg devil’s ivy ), cook
books, jug, heirloom/special cup and saucer
- Herb pots- Adds green in the kitchen and
it’s easy to access for cooking
- Place them on a board or a tray or on the window sill
- Coloured tea towels/hand towels- Another way
to inject colour – some great designs around
- Artwork- Can be used to fill a bare wall
- Large decorative clock- not only useful but
beautiful too. Particularly good for a Hampton style
- Centrepiece (or not centred) on one end of bench or
dining table in same space
- Fruit bowl/ tiered platter
- Tray with a few items together
- Decorative dish/platter/bowl
- Proportion important for it to look right
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