Kitchen Decor – The Importance of Contrast

Are you in the process of designing you kitchen? Do you really know which colours will match?

Kitchen decor – Are you concerned about colour clashing?

These questions regarding kitchen decor are posed by almost every person who wants to create a beautiful kitchen, and yet has no notion how to begin that process. Colour matching can either be the first step we complete on our journey to interior design, or the last one.

I, myself, like to start at the beginning – for me visual experience means everything, and colours stimulate vast other ideas – which cabinets? what carpet? what worktops? For me, personally, it all stems from the colours I chose. Perhaps this thinking is odd to some, but it’s just my preference. It’s a bit like with Tarantino, who makes glorious, iconic films – believe it or not, he actually begins his filming process by choosing the soundtrack. Indeed, he first creates a music playlist, and according to that he creates the script, and then the film itself. Unusual, somewhat eccentric, but all artists work differently.

But believe me when I say this, a good-looking kitchen needs a good colour scheme – without the latter you won’t achieve the former. And if you are one of the struggling people, who don’t possess any experience in interior design, perhaps try out my technique? Before you sit down and start contemplating what floor to get, or what appliances to purchase – consider the colours you want in your kitchen. Because that just might influence your other kitchen decor decision making, and enhance your overall vision. Everyone has a preference – some like light hues, others like darker shades; someone might adore the colour purple, whereas others detest it.

Start by choosing your favourite colours 

But don’t just jot down your favourite colours of all time, and stop there. No, choose your favourite colours that are right for the kitchen or that environment. For example, if your favourite colour is red . . . it will be difficult to implement this colour for the whole kitchen. So, be  reasonable – that’s not to say you won’t like it, but you’ll be going against the trend, and if your kitchen is full of blood-red elements, your eyes will soon get tired; your visitors will avoid your kitchen at all cost. It’s not something you want to achieve. Red is a powerful colour which should be used sparingly, and with moderation, especially in communal areas like kitchens. That’s not to say you should fully exclude the reds, oranges, yellows and other neonic, potent colours from kitchen decor. Include them, but perhaps leave them to one side – a potential list – accessories.

If you’re struggling with finding the right colours, be sure to seek out some inspiration. A good place to start is IKEA. Their gallery is abundant with vast images of kitchens containing different shades, patterns and colours. That’s not to say you should go for one of these designs, but at least a proper visualisation will introduce you to interesting concepts, which could broaden your mind.

Another solution is to visit their store in real life, or any kitchen showroom for that matter. Feast your eyes to the real deal. Perhaps even simple tasks like visiting your friends and sharing ideas, will help you obtain some ideas? The possibilities are truly limitless, so it’s best to get start exploring – not only the web, but also the real life!

Once the list is finished, consult the following: 

Light & Dark 

This is a simple, standard yet reliable contrast, and probably the most common of all. It’s because it never leaves the trend – light and dark contrasts are always in the style. This includes any colours: White & Black / White & Dark Grey / Light Grey & Black / Creme & Brown / Beige & Dark Blue etc.kitchen decor - colour contrast

And the good thing is, you can implement the two colours in any fashion. You can make pronounced contrasts e.g. dark cabinets and light worktops and light flooring, or more subtle contrasting designs: black primary elements (cabinets & flooring) contrasted with white appliances or utensils. As you can see, you can play around with these motives, and what you ultimately opt for, remains solely up to you and your style. Once again, if you have some dark & light colours on your list, be sure to check out the vast IKEA and Pinterest galleries to find the perfect colour combinations.

 

Pink/Beige & White 

Or anything along those lines. Any light brown, light red, or light grey will also work. I really like that combination, and I truly think it’s the epitome of a contemporary kitchen decor colouring. But to make this work, you cannot do a 50/50 split mix and match. There are certain rules to follow. White has to be more overpowering, it has to dominate the other light (pink/beige/brown/red) hue. Kitchen decor - colour contrastTo make this one work, you will want to implement the white to your walls, cabinets and flooring – and then add a dash of the other colour. A perfect colour contrast scheme will emerge if, for example you implement the other less-dominant colour into the worktops and full splashback, OR only the splashback/appliances.

The ratio you should be going for is roughly 80:20 – for best results don’t go below 70:30 or above 90:10. This point brings me back to the red/orange colour that I’ve mentioned above. Light red is a perfect implementation into this scheme. Regardless, you should still be careful with red and limit it at all cost. When it comes to the white & red combination, I would probably stick to the 90:10 ratio. For others, e.g. grey/brown 70:30, and pink 80:20.

Green & White 

This isn’t a usual option, but nonetheless it’s quite a contemporary look, that more and more architects and interior designers apply to complete their kitchen decor. This is especially the case if you live in an urban environment, where greenery is seldom found. It’s a calming colour – it’s been proven by scientist. The more we gaze at a green colour, the more relaxed we remain. And when implemented into a kitchen space, where we spend 40% of our daily time – it’s beneficial, to say the least. Combined with white, it truly creates a lovely opposition.

But it’s not clashing, as many would imagine, and green is not an overpowering colour. It actually works very well. In fact, if you visit the gallery link we attached above, and scroll to the bottom, you will notice that IKEA presents one kitchen in that design. What I love about this is how it reflects the organic environments – green, lush plants and a white, sun-glazed sky. I can guarantee that every time you’ll enter your kitchen you’ll envision yourself spending time out there in fresh air. It’s a healthy contrast. It’s a healing kitchen decor contrast.

I cannot stress enough how incredible this blend is. After all, we can never get sick of seeing too much green – unless you live in a cave and love winter, and parks, summer or spring are your repellents! Indeed, it’s an unusual one but it really works and it not only adds light, gleam and spaciousness to your kitchen, it imbues it with vibrancy and a touch of nature. So, if your kitchen is already dark or sun-deprived, to the point that you struggle to grow any plants, go for this design. Combined with bulbs that emit natural, white light, you’ll genuinely feel like your kitchen is located in the middle of a jungle or a countryside.

In terms of the pairing ratio, with this contrast design you can virtually go for anything. I recommend roughly 50:50, but if you tip the scale either side, it really won’t matter. It also doesn’t matter which elements you’ll embellish with green or white – in this case everything works. However, if I was to do it myself, I would probably do White walls, White quartz worktops, green cabinets and light, tiled flooring.

Why always White? 

As you can see, in almost all cases, white is the most frequently implemented colour. Why is that?

Because it’s a neutral colour, and offers a fantastic colour-contrast possibility. I choose this colour often, because when you use it to contrast another shade, your eyes don’t get tired, and you don’t get bored. Compared that to something like black & yellow – yes, these colours contrast well, but they’re just too much and over time are painful to watch. On clothing – not a problem! But on a kitchen, that we visit every day and spend out time there, we want something more mellow. White allows for a perfect contrasting balance – a balance that doesn’t get dull or boring; it’s not an eyesore.

So try to stick to White – of course, in many cases other contrasts work, but you can’t guarantee that such contrast will go out of fashion in a few years; you can’t guarantee yourself that it won’t bore you after a while. White is a safe, everlasting option – maybe that’s why it’s been used as a primary contrasting colour for centuries . . .kitchen decor - colour contrast

If you’ve worked out your colours, I commend you! It’s not an easy task, but once you get that perfect vibe going, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved a lot. We created a blog last year Colourful Walls which also discusses important modern colour-matching methods for your home. Feel free to read that one if you find some time to embellish your knowledge on colour-matching techniques for your home.

I hope this blog article has been helpful. Feel free to comment below which contrasting colours you’d like to implement in your kitchen, and in what ratios. Do you agree with my opinion on White as a primary contrast colour? Do you think there are any other colour contrasts out there that perfectly suit a kitchen decor? Share your thoughts below!