How to choose the best colour scheme for your kitchen
Deciding on a colour scheme for your kitchen is as much about the size and shape of the room as it is your preferred palette.
In this guide, we'll explore how to choose a colour scheme that flatters and enhances your kitchen, as well as being in line with your personal style.
Understanding how colour palettes work
The first step in developing a colour scheme is understanding how and why certain colours complement one another. Don't worry, it's not as tricky as it sounds.
The biggest secret of great design is pretty simple – a colour wheel. You might think they're only for primary school classrooms, but colour wheels are great for helping you to understand what shades sit well together.
Two basic ways to use a colour wheel to decide on a colour scheme are as follows:
A straight forward way to use a colour wheel is by choosing two colours that sit opposite one another, as these are known to complement each other. Outside of the primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and the secondary colours (purple, green and orange) there are a limitless number of complementary colours to choose between.
Three sections of the colour wheel sat together are called analogous colours. This may mean that the scheme contains various shades of one primary colour (such as dark red, medium red, and light red), or a colour that bleeds into another (such as yellow, yellow-green and green).
There are many more ways to choose a colour scheme using a colour wheel, such as triadic and split complement, which results in a diverse palette.
Another tried and true way of selecting a colour palette is by using an image from nature. A natural image, perhaps of something close up like a leaf, or a wide angle shot of a shoreline, will usually produce five or six colours that will suit one another, and that will work in one room together.
The image above includes shades of blue, grey, violet, white and even soft yellow, to create a diverse palette.
How to work with the space you have
Essentially any colour scheme can be applied to any room, but you should carefully consider the size, shape and natural lighting in your kitchen before committing.
If you have a small, narrow or low-ceilinged kitchen with little natural light, any dark shades will make the room feel oppressive and unwelcoming. Therefore, you should choose a colour scheme that incorporates a light 'tint', as this introduces elements of white within the colour, making it brighter, even when there are touches of darker shades included.
Those with a large kitchen, which features lots of natural light and has a high ceiling, can experiment with darker shades, as the amount of light and space the kitchen has will ensure the room still feels airy. In fact, applying too much white to a kitchen of this size may make it feel sparse, meaning light shades should be balanced with warmer and darker tones.
Choosing a theme
While you don't need to commit fully to a themed kitchen with this route, knowing the styles and trends you'd like to emulate will help you to determine the colours you should use.
There are endless themes to choose from, but some popular choices include farmhouse, Italian, Art Deco, Scandinavian and French. Each has colours associated with them, which can either be directly applied to your kitchen, or used as a starting point for influence.
Wren Kitchens has a full range of Design & Decor guides that explain how to create a theme-inspired kitchen, for further inspiration.
Once you've determined the palette you'd like to emulate, the shades and tones that will work in your kitchen space, and a theme that gives you some guidance, you're ready to apply your colour scheme to the room!
The walls, floor and appliances you choose to include in your kitchen are just as important as the units and worktops, and can help to flatter your chosen scheme.
Many people choose to have white or cream walls, as these work well as a neutral backdrop to the kitchen. Other ideas include a statement wall in a colour that flatters the kitchen; a bright splashback on the wall to add a pop of colour, or even chalkboard paint to create a quirky finish.
Flooring is a big influencing factor in determining how your colour scheme will appear. Wooden floors add warmth to the room, which is ideal for those who prefer either traditional or natural designs. Meanwhile, both gloss and matt tiles are more modern, and will help to give the room a contemporary finish.
Appliances and accessories can be a fantastic way to add colour to an otherwise plain room. If you've chosen a primarily white kitchen, a bright red oven will create impact, and transform the room from simply white into a more modernist design.
Ideas and inspiration
In case you're struggling to decide on the colour scheme for you, here we've compiled a selection of example kitchen colour schemes to help inspiration strike.
This kitchen has a low ceiling, so the generally white colour scheme helps the room feel larger. Including an accent colour on the kitchen island makes the room feel fun and fresh, without overwhelming the design.
This colour scheme includes a sophisticated shade of grey, which is balanced against light worktops and wall cabinets, so the room remains airy rather than dark.
This bright white kitchen feels clean and fresh, while the dark worktops, accent walls and vivid red oven add warmth and depth.
Finally, this wide open kitchen has plenty of natural light, which make these deep shades feel warm and welcoming, rather than dark and oppressive.
Now you know how to choose a colour scheme – and even have a few ideas to get you started – it's time to start work on your kitchen!