Modern kitchen colours: a guide for your new kitchen design

4th September 2023

Display Homes Design Tips & Tricks

The colour of your kitchen plays a key role in the look and feel of the space. After all, the kitchen is the busiest place in the family home. It's the room where families create meals and share conversations.

The kitchen brings everyone together at the beginning and end of each day. That’s why the colour choice needs to reflect your design style.

And while the white kitchen has a timeless appeal, bolder colour selections for kitchens are also becoming popular.

We asked colour and design consultant Natalia Manion which colours are getting hearts racing. And why a pop of colour may be just the feature your new kitchen and home needs.

Natalia's top kitchen colour trends are:

  • White
  • Black
  • Dark (navy blue and charcoal)
  • Earthy (olive, sage, and dark green)
  • Neutral (light greys, beige, and taupe)
  • Natural timbers

The classic white kitchen

Timeless and versatile

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White makes a space feel light, bright and clean. White is a safe choice that can work well in an older home or a brand-new build.When asked if the all-white kitchen was on the way out, Natalia answered an eager “no!”

"White kitchens are classic and never date but they don't have to be plain or boring. An ideal place to start with white is the benchtop and kitchen cabinet colours. For inspiration, check out Laminex® whites and neutrals."

"If you're going for a classic Hamptons look, choose shaker profile cabinet doors in white. For a contemporary kitchen, go with sleek designs in matte or smooth gloss white," says Natalia.

To avoid a white kitchen looking bland or cold, choose a feature to highlight in a different colour. There's plenty to choose from, like brass cabinet handles, a bright tiled splashback or matte black sinks. Adding a splash of colour can make the kitchen more interesting.

“Some people fear the use of white as there is a fine line between a colour palette that is fresh and clean and one that feels cold and clinical," Natalia says.

"When deciding on a soothing shade of white, consider the undertone. Whites can have a yellow, red, blue or grey undertone.”

“No matter which white you select, all the whites don’t have to match exactly. Slight variations in colour won't matter if the whites have the same undertone."

The key to creating a white-on-white kitchen is to include accents in different textures and finishes. This makes the entire room more interesting and creates a visually appealing space.

The luxurious black kitchen

Sophisticated and bold

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The matte black kitchen trend continues to be popular in Australia. Black typically evokes a sense of high-end luxury and bold style. Think black sports cars and black suits or dresses.

In recent years, minimal interior design has made way for a more elaborate style. Homeowners are seeking innovative ways to incorporate black details into their kitchens.

Natalia notes that the use of black has expanded beyond appliances or a black countertop. The trend now includes black cabinetry, paint, flooring and walls.

“Black and natural wood kitchen cabinets offer a stylish option that can contrast beautifully with lighter-coloured walls. Black can also be paired with different materials like stainless steel appliances or stone countertops for a statement look,” Natalia explains.

A common concern for homeowners leaning towards black for kitchen cabinetry is fingerprints. Using a material like AbsoluteMatte® results in a fingerprint-resistant surface, suitable for benchtops and kitchen cabinetry.

“Dark colours can make small spaces seem smaller," Natalia says. "If you're going with black, consider whether your kitchen has enough natural light to soften the overall impact."

The navy blue and charcoal kitchen

Moody and elegant

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According to Natalia, there has been a shift towards matte finishes and coloured kitchen cabinets.

“Dark colours like navy blue and charcoal grey continue to appeal. They're bold, daring and dramatic. The use of these striking colours can produce a moody and confident atmosphere,” she said.

Consider Laminex® Stormcloud, Terril, Winter Sky or French Navy for that bold colour and guaranteed head-turning factor.

If you're keen to take a walk on the dark side, try dark blue for statement cabinets, partnered with lighter countertops for contrast. Or choose a midnight blue accent wall to define the kitchen area and create a focal point.

Alternatively, try combining colour with texture. Laminex® Burnished Wood, Blackened Legno or even Black Birchply Chalk finish will add depth and interest.

“Adding gold or copper to the tapware or finishes of lower cabinets adds another elegant touch to the darker kitchen,” said Natalia.

The neutral or natural kitchen

Earthy greens and vintage shades

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Earthy colours like olive and sage green, eucalyptus, light greys, latte, beige and pastel tones are becoming favoured alternatives to the classic white kitchen.

Colours that draw inspiration from nature bring a sense of tranquillity and warmth. The subdued tones create a soothing atmosphere, inviting and comfortable atmosphere.

Natural and softer colours work exceptionally well with timber and matte finishes for an organic aesthetic that will never go out of style.

Sage green has a light, greyish-green hue suggestive of the leaves of the sage plant. This soft, calming colour pairs beautifully with natural materials like wood and stone.

Eucalyptus or sage green kitchen cabinets, accent colours or walls can bring a relaxing and revitalising touch to what can otherwise be a hectic space.

"Laminex® colours like Possum, Spinifex, Seed, Lava Grey or Green Slate are great alternatives to white that offer an ideal building block for a botanical style kitchen,” Natalia says.

The timber kitchen

A warm and welcoming atmosphere

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Combining bright colours with timber elements can achieve a unique kitchen colour palette that balances natural warmth with a vibrant personality.

“Timber adds a welcoming feel to any space,” Natalia says. "The mix-and-match style of timber with a plain colour for kitchen cabinetry and benchtops is still on trend."

This wonderful look can be achieved in a variety of ways. Use bright colours for a handful of accent cabinets while keeping the majority in timber. Install a colourful, eye-catching splashback that complements the timber elements. Or use colours to accessorise - vibrant coloured pendant lights, bar stools and appliances can all contribute to a cheerful vibe.

Another option is two-tone kitchen cabinets with highly contrasting colours. The sharp contrast between dark and light colours is distinct and dramatic.

Tips for choosing kitchen cabinet colours

Regardless of what colour kitchen you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing cabinet colours. It's important to consider the following.

The overall style

Are you aiming for a traditional, modern, farmhouse, or Hamptons look? The cabinet colours should align with the overall style to create a cohesive and harmonious design. If using vibrant colours, use a visualiser first to check out how the colours work together.

Lighting considerations

Natural and artificial lighting can significantly impact how cabinet colours appear. Neglecting lighting considerations can lead to cabinet colours appearing too dark or washed out. It's important to evaluate the lighting conditions in the kitchen and consider how the cabinet colours will interact with natural and artificial light sources.

Long-term appeal

Trendy or bold cabinet colours may be appealing at first but they may go out of style or become overwhelming. Avoid choosing cabinet colours based on current trends and instead opt for timeless or versatile colours with long-term appeal.

Contrasting colours

Choosing cabinet colours that blend too closely with other elements in the kitchen, such as countertops or splashback, can result in a lack of visual interest. It's important to create contrast and depth in the design by selecting cabinet colours that complement or stand out from other elements.

Continuity between spaces

Choose cabinetry styles and colours that support the effective transition of the kitchen into the living room, dining area and butler's pantry.

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Discover your dream kitchen with Henley Homes

Whether you know exactly what you’re after or need expert guidance, the team at Henley Homes is here to help you design your dream kitchen. Check out the Henley Homes Visualiser Tool to create your signature look.

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