(notice the succulent and juicy pop the vermilion drum shades give to this elegant, clean lined kitchen)
We are surrounded by colour in every moment, of every day of our lives in all of its varying shades, intensities and tones. The power of colour lays in its direct relationship to our emotions and in turn effect how we see and feel about a space (as well as ourselves and each-other . This is because each colour has its own meaning (each shade or tone of each colour in fact has its own meaning and impact) and this intertwines with our perception of every environment. This is WHY colour is one of the most powerful tools a Designer or Homeowner can wield when it comes to Interior Design. This is especially true when we aren’t gutting the entire space but simply looking to re-freshen our home (in this case our Kitchen) and add some life and vitality. Many of us fall into the trap of the all white box…. while an all white kitchen (or any room in fact) can be stunning, fresh and powerful … it is NOT for everyone and totally depends on your lighting, your architecture, your lifestyle and your personality. This is why I am such an advocate of adding a new fresh and sexy pop of colour to your home, ESPECIALLY your kitchen when you want to mix things up a bit to give a current and fresh feeling to your kitchen does not always mean you need to gut and start over. Sometimes it is simply a matter of adding a fresh, juicy colour to a wall or ceiling, adding some coloured accessories or switching out your light fixtures or appliances. Here are a few of my favourite adding Colour solutions to a Kitchen:
Add a fabric wrap drum shade light fixture or add fabric shade lamps
This one is simple, effective and inexpensive to do, yet has a BIG impact in your space. Check out Jonathan Adler’s design above to see how effective this concept can be to create a punch in your kitchen (as well as the top photo in the article with the vermilion drum shades in the more classic design kitchen). You can either swap out your existing hanging light fixtures for a Drum Light and then cover it in a bold and sexy fabric or if you don’t have the space for hanging drums then try using chunky table lamps and cover the lampshade with fabric (again shown in the photo above). In addition, by adding the table lamps to the counter it gives the space a more relaxed, lived in and almost library quality. HINT: buy the best quality fabric you can afford for this (you just need a small amount) and make sure to test out how the fabric looks back lit before you purchase it.
Paint a Colour FEATURE Wall
Colour blocking is a powerful and EASY tool to add drama, intrigue and zest to your kitchen. As we have discussed before, paint is the easiest and often most powerful tool we have to completely change a space and totally give it an updated and polished edge. The key is to add a colour that complements your design but does not blend in to it… the goal is to create a dramatic pop that transforms the wall into a work of Art. In the kitchen above, Benjamin Moore’s Merlot Red was used giving both the needed colour depth to make the wall to make it recede and visually expand the space, but as well the colour totally warms the space and adds the needed energy to the kitchen, transforming it into an inspiring space you WANT to cook and entertain in. HINT: Try using a colour from your wardrobe…something strong and punchy like a deep red, a crisp blue or a stunning yellow-orange, remember it is to be a colour FEATURE wall NOT tone on tone.
The POWER of a dramatic tile backsplash
A simple yet elegant subway tile in a bold and glossy colour can totally change the feeling and impact of your kitchen, as seen in this stunning example by Marshall Watson in the photo above. The key to making it current and innovative is to take the tile ALL the way to the ceiling. The glossy turquoise tiles here in the brick pattern add a wonderful punch to the white kitchen and light filled open space. HINT: you don’t need to opt for a crazy or dramatic tile…simply a rich colour that works with your space in a simple subway tile will work beautifully. As well, this is a project you can do yourself (take a class at a Home Depot workshop).
(Notice the colour inside the cabinets AND on the ceiling … the 5th wall … I also LOVE the usage of the mirrors on the cabinet doors to give it a sophisticated and spacious feeling)
Paint the Insides of Cabinets or your Ceiling
Sometimes it is all in the details… so why not try a subtle yet VERY effective trick of adding glamour, drama and style to your kitchen by painting the interior of kitchen cabinets a contrasting color to your kitchen. This works especially well if you have glass front cabinets…however if you don’t you can always remove some of your doors for a more open style feeling or swap out the door fronts with ones with glass so that the colour pops against both your wall colour AND your dishes and glassware. In the top of the two photos above the apple green tone acts like both a style injection but as well adds a sense of nostalgia and retro elegance. In the second photo, the pale sky blue tone is matched with the ceiling being painted the same colour. This gives the space a fresh, light filled feeling while at the same time giving it a completely updated, current effect. While it is bold, it works beautifully and elegantly and will work in modern, traditional or eclectic style kitchens. HINT: Pick a tone for the inside of the cabinets that completely punches up your design while if you are going to paint the ceiling as well, try one that has a bit more subtle elegance and drama.
Try painting some of your cabinets in an Accent colour or BLACK
Again getting back to the power of paint Design law…try painting out either your island or upper cabinets OR lower cabinets in a rich colour that complements and accents your Kitchen design. As well, you can try painting out a section in BLACK… it will transform old cabinetry to a look that’s modern, sexy, current and sleek. This works for older solid wood cabinetry BUT can be achieved with more modern cabinetry as long as you properly clean, prime and prepare the cabinets before you paint them.
Add some vintage chairs and paint them in a BOLD & intense Colour
Sometimes the best way to add a bit of sizzle is with a subtle splash of colour… In the photo above this was achieved with vintage flee market chairs painted in an intense and powerful yellow colour. This works so well and gives the space a more French eclectic appeal because of the tension between the modern cabinets/amenities and the vintage farmhouse-style kitchen chairs (this theme is further picked up on by the rustic pendant light fixtures and zinc counter tops). The glorious coloured chairs add a sense of joy while still being completely utilitarian and the great thing is that since they are vintage…if they get scuffed up it will simply add to their patina.
Add colour with Bright bursts of coloured accessories
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best… in this case the basic bones of the kitchens worked beautifully so by simply creating a bold colour accent plan with the kitchen accessories was all that was needed. Notice the bold carpet and cushions in the lower Kitchen image and then imagine the same space without them …see the power of colour and pattern. Then in the upper photo the same effect is achieved simply through coloured mixing bowls, books, accessories, flowers and fruit (the last 2 are something we can all do very easily). The little pops of colour humanizes the space and gives it a loved and lived in feeling. HINT: Try using fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables in your design and see how it livens up your entire room.
The Beeswax by Benjamin Moore colour in this kitchen gives both a sense of history as well as a juicy visual pop of colour that brings together all the elements to create a unified Design