Your kitchen may be the most used room in your house (especially if you have small children). And it's easy to see why when you consider how much time we spend there on a daily basis. That means that your kitchen should not only be functional but visually appealing as well. The right colors can help you do both.
But what exactly does this mean? What about all those different shades of green or blue? How will they improve my cooking experience? Can I use them? Is it worth it?
We're here to answer these questions and many others. Below are some simple ways to start thinking about your kitchen through the lens of color. You'll find tips on picking out specific colors as well as how to use them effectively. The final section offers some additional resources for finding accessories that will bring everything together.
Pick A Theme
One of the simplest approaches to making your kitchen more colorful without breaking the bank is to pick one main theme and run with it. This approach works especially well if you already own certain pieces of furniture that work within the same aesthetic.
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For example, let's say you love yellow and want to incorporate that into your kitchen. One option would be to purchase a few yellow appliances, like a yellow stove and yellow dishwasher. Another possibility would be to buy yellow countertops and paint cabinets white.
For a classic look that never goes out of style, you could go with a butcher block countertop and white cabinets as shown below.
This particular kitchen has been decorated in warm tones with a brick accent wall. However, instead of going overboard with bright colors, the owners chose to keep things relatively muted. They've even added some splashes of modem style in unexpected places, such as the stainless overhead light.
Using a single dominant color helps create harmony between each piece. Not only does it tie everything together, but it also makes rooms appear larger than they actually are. Plus, since the elements don't compete with one another, you can mix up other colors freely throughout the rest of the home.
If you'd rather stick with neutral colors, try choosing a dominant hue and then accenting other areas with complementary hues. Keep in mind that you could always go with neutrals if you prefer.
Another great way to add personality to your kitchen with color is by using contrasting colors. This approach can be a little more difficult to pull off since it requires a bit more thought and planning. But if done correctly, it can be really effective in making a space stand out.
While a lot of people might think of whites as cold, grayed-out tones, there are plenty of vibrant blacks available nowadays. If you choose a dark wood panelling, you can still add pops of color by painting cabinet doors black. Try using lighter woods for counters, drawers or walls.
You could also opt for darker grays and tans if you prefer. There are some fantastic options out there! Of course, if you're looking for something less conventional, you can always hit up any number of custom cabinetry shops. Just remember that the right material for your kitchen is often determined by its intended function.
Regardless of whether you decide to go bold with a dominant color, complementary hues, or stay neutral, it's important to keep in mind that colors can affect moods. So before you begin shopping around, figure out which ones you want to emphasize.
Use Colors To Create Moods
Once you know which colors you want to feature, it's time to determine which ones will best enhance them. Once again, it's helpful to consider how you usually feel in various situations. Do you tend to feel energized after being outdoors? Maybe you need to sit down immediately once you walk inside. Or maybe you want to relax by reading a book while listening to music.
In general, warmer colors tend to stimulate us whereas cooler colors tend to soothe us. For instance, brighter blues are stimulating because they seem cool and refreshing. On the other hand, yellows and greens are calming because they're warm and inviting.
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So, if you want to encourage interaction or focus, select cooler colors. If you want to promote relaxation, go with warmer ones.
As mentioned previously, the goal is to create balance. When you do this correctly, you end up with a cohesive design that doesn't overwhelm.
What kinds of colors should you avoid?
Black and white are typically considered neutral. Gray isn't necessarily bad either, but too much of it can become drab. Brown tends to be seen as outdated, unless paired with yellow, which is generally thought of as happy. Finally, brown combined with purple and/or pink is said to represent passion.
These colors aren't inherently good or bad, but they can easily clash with others. As such, it's important to be mindful of them.
Choosing complementary colors is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. Complementary colors lie directly across from one another on the color wheel. For example, red and green are complementary colors because they lie opposite each other on the spectrum.
When you pair two colors that are directly across from each other, the result is a harmony and peacefulness. This is perfect for kitchens where serenity is sought after.
A quick note on color theory: Don't fall into the trap of buying products just because they happen to match existing furnishings. While similar colors can blend nicely together, this doesn't necessarily mean that the colors were chosen specifically for this purpose.
Instead, ask yourself what effect you want the color to have. If you're trying to inspire energy, go with light blues and greens. If you're trying to convey calm, go with darker blues and greens. Remember that even though these colors are called complimentary, they aren't always completely complimentary.
Some examples include:
Red + Orange = Energy
Orange + Green = Happiness
Blue + Yellow = Inspiration
Green + Red = Love
Yellow + Blue = Peacefulness
Remember that color combinations change depending on the person involved. For example, someone who's prone to headaches might steer clear of red altogether due to sensitivity to pain. On the contrary, someone who feels relaxed after spending time outside might wear a red shirt despite feeling fine indoors.
It's vital to understand how colors can impact our emotions. But how else can we ensure that our kitchens reflect our personal tastes?
Choose Colors For Functionality
Now that you've got a better sense of how colors can affect moods, it's time to consider how they can influence functionality. Think about how you currently cook and eat. Are you a gourmet chef who needs lots of prep space? Perhaps you enjoy eating from paper plates and plastic forks.
No matter what your style is, there are colors that will work better for you than others. For example, if you're the type of person who likes to cook multiple dishes at once, a light blue or green kitchen might not be the best choice. These colors tend to reflect off of surfaces and make them look smaller. This can be especially frustrating when trying to read recipes.
On the other hand, someone who enjoys quick and easy meals might find a brightly lit kitchen to be more inviting. This is because it makes it easier to see what you're doing.
The key is to select colors that will help you accomplish your goals. If you want a functional kitchen, go with colors that are easy to see. If you want a kitchen that feels like home, choose colors that make you feel relaxed.
There's no right or wrong answer, but it's important to be honest with yourself about what you want.
Accessorize With Personality
One of the best ways to add personality to your kitchen is by using accessories. These can be anything from dish towels to place mats.
Dish towels are a great way to add color to your kitchen without going overboard. You can find them in just about any color imaginable, which makes it easy to find a set that goes with your existing kitchen decor.
Place mats are another great way to add personality. They come in a variety of colors and styles, which means you can find a set that fits your unique taste.
Another great way to add personality to your kitchen is by hanging artwork on the walls. This is a great way to show off your personal style and make the space feel more like home.
Add Contrast & Add Texture
There's no denying that color is extremely versatile. We can use it to manipulate objects, surfaces, and experiences. Sometimes it can even alter our perceptions.
One of the biggest ways that color affects our perception is contrast. Let's consider two chairs sitting side by side. One is painted white, while the other is painted a deep blue. Which chair appears taller?
Both chairs are equally tall, yet the one painted blue looks significantly longer. Why? Because it stands out against the background. This is true even when contrasting colors are placed next to one another.
Contrast is one of the key components of art history. Artists utilize it frequently, and now it's becoming increasingly commonplace in everyday life. Consider the contrast created by the color combination behind billboards, public transit shelters, and advertisements.
Another element that contributes to personality is texture. When selecting accessories for your kitchen, try to find pieces that have interesting textures. This can be done by looking for materials that are unique or by looking for shapes that are different from the norm.
For example, a bowl that's made out of wood will add warmth and character to your kitchen. If you're looking for something with a bit more personality, try a bowl that's been carved out of stone.
You can also add texture by mixing and matching different materials. For example, you might pair a wooden cutting board with a metal knife block. Or you might use a glass vase filled with pebbles as a paperweight.
No matter what textures you choose, be sure to mix and match them. This will add visual interest and make your kitchen feel like your own.
As you can see, there are many different ways to add personality to your kitchen. It all comes down to selecting colors and accessories that reflect your personal style. So be creative and have fun with it!