Homes & Gardens

PERFECT PALETTES Expert advice on the latest colours for your cook space




‘Taking the plunge with dark colours needn’t plunge the whole kitchen into darkness. The cabinetry is rarely anywhere near the largest surface area. You’ll see far more floor, ceiling, wall and worktop, and keeping those areas light will provide contrast and a brightenin­g effect. Reflective surfaces, such as metallics and mirrors, bounce more light into the kitchen. Mostly you need a little courage. If you love dark colours, and follow these steps, the results will be fabulous.’

Mioko Fujisaki, director, Kitchen Bee Design

Shaker-style kitchen in Farrow & Ball’s Black Blue, from around £35,000, Kitchen Bee Design


‘The impact of sunlight levels on paint colours is well documented and I’m often asked which shades work best in north-facing kitchens with colder light levels. One approach is to seek out neutrals with yellow undertones that will knock back cooler northern light. I also love the warmth of pink, but nothing too sugary. Dirty pinks resonate well in moodier light – try Plain English’s Mash, which is a warm, creamy hue with a hint of pink that is just the right side of muddy. Mix in copper and aged brass accents for extra warmth. Another favourite approach is to work with the poor light and go for cosseting dark shades. In my own kitchen, the cabinets and window frames are in Farrow & Ball’s Railings, a deep inky blue. Paired with All White on the walls, it feels enveloping and cosy.’

Anna Haines, director, Anna Haines Design

Bespoke kitchen in Mash, from £50,000, Plain English →


‘The way paint is applied can noticeably impact your kitchen colour, especially when using darker shades. Hand-painting with a brush creates subtle texture, reflects shadows and light, and allows unique and more personalis­ed effects, as seen in this kitchen, which was the work of an artisan painter. The results are very natural and look beautiful on the classic in-frame cabinetry. The exact same colour applied using a spray gun would be densely saturated and appear more contempora­ry. It’s always worth having samples made up using your preferred applicatio­n to ensure the final shade is precisely what you’re seeking.’

Irene Gunter, director, Gunter & Co

Bespoke kitchen hand-painted in a custom colour similar to Farrow & Ball’s Bothy Blue, from £70,000, Gunter & Co


‘A two-tone scheme allows extra definition and interest without overcompli­cating. Most paint charts are arranged in families of colours, making it easy to find two shades that work together or contrast. Remember that dark colours take up more space visually. Use the darker shade below eyeline, and a lighter shade that’s closer to the wall colour above; it will help break up expanses of cabinetry and feel calmer and less blocky than a high-contrast scheme. Try not to be too clever when choosing kitchen paint colours. Instead, take inspiratio­n from decorative items you intend to include, such as art or upholstery, and see the paint as a backdrop, rather than the main event.’

Nicola Harding, director, Nicola Harding & Co

Bespoke kitchen in Little Greene’s Sage Green (island) and Pea Green (main cabinetry), designed by Nicola Harding & Co; made by DEVOL, kitchens from £12,000 →


‘Location can inspire colour choices. When designing a townhouse interior, we aim to reflect much of the elegance associated with city living. A sophistica­ted darker shade, such as Farrow & Ball’s De Nimes or Neptune’s Navy, works well in urban settings. For a country home, we tend to select more earthy tones that reference the property’s natural surroundin­gs. Neptune’s

Olive is a great choice, injecting a hint of colour into the room while keeping it rooted in nature. Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon is a flexible option that doesn’t look out of place in the city, but its soft bluish undertones lend themselves well to the natural surroundin­gs of a country home too.’

Emma Sims-hilditch, director, Sims Hilditch

Suffolk Kitchen in Neptune’s Olive, from £8,000, Neptune


‘Playing it safe with colour on a long-term investment like a kitchen is entirely understand­able. But first, ask yourself: will it ever really make an impact, and will you end up wishing you’d been braver? Committing to a bright colour requires time, effort, and a whole lot of tester pots. Bear in mind that you’re looking for a shade that will make your heart sing every time you’re in the kitchen. Once you’ve narrowed it down, put your chosen colour on a trial door or very large sample and live with it for a few days to make sure it’s the one.’

Fiona Duke, director, Fiona Duke Interiors

Bespoke cabinetry in Savannah Clay by Benjamin Moore, from £25,000, Fiona Duke Interiors

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