7 Effective Ways to Inject Color Into a Contemporary Kitchen
Modern kitchens, with their sleek, streamlined designs, are essentially a blank canvas waiting for color inspiration. Here are a few no-fail strategies to incorporate color successfully.
As one of the most common kitchen styles, contemporary kitchens prohibit visual noise and embrace clean lines. Because of this, all colors pop — from subdued neutrals to bold shades — as there aren’t any other architectural features for them to compete with. That’s why choosing colors for a modern kitchen is such a weighty decision.
To begin adding color to your modern kitchen, go right to two major principles of contemporary kitchen design: balance and contrast. From there, allow yourself to get creative.
1. Add Contrast
When it comes to modern kitchen design, contrast is one of the characteristics that define it. Elements like countertops, cabinets, appliances and lighting impact the appearance of modern kitchens the most, so it makes sense to look to these areas when trying to incorporate contrast. The most common contemporary kitchen colors? Neutral with contrast. For example, dark counters with white cupboards. Just keep in mind that not every surface in the kitchen needs to be different. It’s fine to use the same color on your walls and cabinets, for instance, and then have your countertop material stand out against it. Another effective option is to pick different colors for your upper cabinets and lower cabinets.
2. Find a Balance
Color can easily be used as the most eye-catching feature in a contemporary kitchen. That’s why following the 70/20/10 rule — 70/30 for two-colored palettes — is helpful. When adhering to this guideline, choose a main color (70-percent of the kitchen), identify a dramatic accent color (10-percent), and then round out the look with a third hue that serves as a balance for the other two shades (20-percent).
Another thing to consider: Where the colors will be used. For this, simply apply the guideline to surfaces and other visual items. For instance, split up the room by walls, cabinets and backsplash or walls, cabinets, island and decor. Modify this depending on your space. Items like lighting, appliances, and bar stools should also be included when planning your palette.
Not sure where to begin? Start with cabinet colors since they carry a heavy visual weight and are typically a huge chunk of the project budget.
3. Follow Psychology
What feeling do you want to get when you spend time in your kitchen? Would you like to feel energized? Or do you cook to relax? The chosen shades for your space will impact more than just its appearance — they’ll also help set the tone.
Kitchens continue to serve as more than just a space to cook. How you intend to use the room will help narrow down the colors you include in your palette. Warm colors (think yellows and reds) can help you wake up, while cool greens and blues can encourage rest and focus. The specific shade of the color is also important. For example, more saturated hues like Kelly green can be invigorating, while a more subdued tone is more nurturing. In addition, lighter shades generally tend to be more cheerful and uplifting.
4. Go Monochromatic
An all-white color scheme is quite popular in modern kitchens, much like every other kitchen style. In fact, about half of modern kitchens were off-white or white in 2019 according to a trend report. That being said, neutrals are not the only choice for a monochromatic kitchen. Single-color palettes, such as all blue, all yellow, and all red, are becoming more popular, but the difference is that they vary in tonal value — light, mid-tone, and dark blue. The key to an effective monochromatic scheme is contrast, so be sure to incorporate lots of finishes and textures throughout. For example, mix a sleek backsplash with matte walls, or textured tiles with lacquered cupboards.
5. Spin the Color Wheel
Blues, blacks, beiges, whites, greys and sepia tones are the among the most popular colors for contemporary kitchens, but because of the flexibility modern kitchen designs offer, just about any color is an option. Schemes with complementary colors, like yellow and purple or orange and blue, are ones that embrace the less traditional spirit of modern kitchens. However, you may not want to employ the 70/30 rule when dealing with these pairings. Instead, try using them for small decorative items and accents.
6. Try Saturated Colors
Crisp, clean colors are customary in modern kitchens — for instance, go with bright red over a murky burn orange. Don’t be afraid to choose the richer, more saturated hue when looking at paint colors. Jewel tones especially are popular, but black, deep blue, violets and even pastels have been making some noise. While pastels don’t typically play well when it comes to contemporary designs, softer shades can actually bring an unexpected element that works with the dark contrasts and clean lines found in modern designs.
7. Embrace the Natural
Wood and faux wood cabinets are common in contemporary kitchens due to their ability to bring warmth to the cool finishes typically present in modern styles. If adding wood cabinets, re-commit to elegant natural elements such as rattan, minerals, stone, leather and animal hides. One example is to pair dark, moody kitchen cupboards with crisp white walls, accented by fresh greenery.