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Standing as the heart of the home for millennia, the kitchen’s function serves more than just feeding the masses. A space to entertain, relax, create and dine the kitchen is a versatile space whose reach extends beyond its conventional purpose. Acting as a central hub to unite individuals, ensuring this multi-functional space is welcoming is essential. Melbourne Kitchen + Bathroom Design’s Emma Warner Allen discusses how one can create a spectacular kitchen utilising unique and bold colours with Rex G Hirst, managing director of the acclaimed Let’s Talk Kitchens & Interiors.


Written by Emma Warner Allen.

Sign Off on the Design

When it comes to kitchens, just like us, each design is unique – influenced by a variety of factors. Everyone’s requirements and circumstances will differ, impacting the kitchen that can be created. Many considerations need to be made before embarking on your kitchen build or renovation and given that, as Hirst puts it, “kitchens now form part of the main living zone and are no longer a shut-off room, hidden from view”, homeowners should contemplate exactly what they would like the space to achieve.

Questions to ask yourself include: how long do you envision staying in the home? What is the style, interior décor and structure of the rest of the home? Will you want a gas stove or an induction cooktop? How does the positioning of the oven and storage solutions need to account for your age and physical capabilities? “The list is endless!” Hirst notes.

Given the kitchen’s status as one of the most lived-in areas of the home, it is only natural that you would want to make this space as inviting as possible. Being surrounded by nature has a myriad of proven mental and health benefits. Though immersing yourself in the great outdoors may be more difficult in metropolises and suburbia, turning to nature for design inspiration is an excellent way to encapsulate and replicate its positive effects within your home. Attesting to this, “It’s proven that utilising biophilic design principles creates relaxing living and working spaces.” Hirst elaborates, “This means using forms, colours and textures from nature and bringing them indoors. Therefore, earth tones, greens and blues are all colours that can help you create a relaxing space.”

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Colours of the Rainbow

As with fashion, “Colours have their time in the sun through certain design periods and then they make way for the latest trends.” Hirst explains. As with most things in life, this follows a cyclical pattern where the colours of decades past return with gusto many years down the line. “The colours we are seeing emerge in today’s trends, particularly the earthy and terracotta tones, were big back in the ‘80s and are seeing a resurgence now.” The kitchen expert elaborates, “The cool, minimalism of the early 2000s is far behind us but I’m sure [it] will reappear at some time in the future too.”

Given the kitchen takes pride of place at the home’s heart, it is important to ensure your colour selection achieves the purpose you would like it to. As “kitchens are the central, most used space in the modern home”, “the colours and feel of the kitchen set the precedent for the aesthetic of the rest of the home.” For those wanting a warm, welcoming space, “utilise warm colours and tactile textures”, Hirst advises. “The sort of colour palette you could consider to achieve an inviting space would be timber grain laminates and wood veneers paired with off-whites, deep reds, pink tones, dusty earth colours or terracottas.” Standing at the opposite end of the spectrum, “Greens and blues are very big at the moment and I think these colours are popular choices because they give a calming effect and help to bring the outdoors in.” Hirst attests.

Overall, Hirst notes that “it is important for a home to have a consistent aesthetic throughout and for the individual spaces to have a flow to them, however, you don’t need to use the exact same colours in every space.” Simply adhering to a cohesive colour palette and design style will make a home feel more refined and considered.

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Redeeming Feature

For those seeking to add colour to their home, typically the walls are painted a bold shade. However, slightly more freedom is granted to intrepid home designers when it comes to the kitchen. Armed with cabinetry, countertops, splashbacks, floors and walls, there tends to be slightly more room to incorporate a pop of colour into the framework of your home. Having said that, “Coloured cabinetry in a kitchen always makes a bigger statement in a kitchen than a coloured wall.” Hirst explains.

For those not wanting to go the whole nine yards, adding a feature area within the kitchen – similar to a feature wall – can create interest and depth without being overwhelming. Most commonly, island benches, rangehoods and overhead cupboards are those frequently targeted to stand as a point of difference. The reasoning for this stands that, “Kitchens are generally large spaces with a lot of cabinetry and they can be overwhelming if all in the one colour or texture.” Hirst asserts. The expert advises that, “bright colours add personality to a space, but they can fall flat if texture and contrast aren’t carefully considered also. Differences in colour and texture will develop an interesting and attractive space that colour alone cannot.”

When selecting colours and textures, it is also important to consider your benchtop selection. A flat surface below eye-level, the benchtops will arguably be seen more than the cabinetry when you are in the kitchen. Rather than working with the colour of your kitchen first, Hirst recommends “selecting stone first, as there are limited choices there”. “It’s much easier to match a cabinet colour to stone than it is to do it the other way around. The stone should feature the tones you want to use in the rest of the space and act as a bridge to bring everything together.” Hirst affirms.

Overall, there are a range of different colours, textures and styles available to homeowners seeking to welcome colour into their home. Given the increased risk of creating an overwhelming space, which is often the opposite of the desired look, it is always best to speak to an industry professional who can help guide you with their expertise.

Images courtesy of Let’s Talk Kitchens