9 ways to add colour to a dark kitchen

Liven up the hub of your home with these transformative tips from interiors experts…

Whether or not you’re a keen cook, the likelihood is that the kitchen is the hub of your home.

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But if yours is looking a little lacklustre, there’s plenty a splash of colour can do to liven the space. Here, a range of interior experts offer their suggestions for adding colour to your kitchen.

1. Add colour

Kate Williams Founder of Handpicked by Kate says: “Most people are told to paint a small room a light colour to allow the light to reflect and make the room brighter. However, when you introduce a darker colour to a wall, it can actually make a room appear larger than it actually is and brighten up a dull kitchen.”

2. But don’t overdo it

Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising for Magnet says: “While using bold colours is a great way to make your kitchen stand out, you shouldn’t use more than three different shades – incorporate any more than this and the room will look cluttered rather than themed. Applying the 70/20/10 rule will help to keep you on track. Go for 70% of the lightest shade, 20% of the second lightest and 10% for the darkest shade.”

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3. Bring outside in

Anne-Laure Couplet, Global Brand Director at Maisons du Monde, says: “Add a touch of greenery to your kitchen to bring the fresh feeling of being outside. This can be anything from hanging wall plants, to terrariums hanging above the kitchen table to a few potted plants dotted around counter tops.”

4. Think about what to place on your shelves

Martin Holland, 2015 winner of BBC Two’s Great Interior Design Challenge says: “Instead of hiding everything away behind cupboard doors, create some open shelving and fill it with lots of colourful objects, such as jars, mugs and plates. If you're an 'all white' kind of person when it comes to kitchenware, consider painting the back of the shelves in a striking colour to make everything pop.”

5. Consider your windows

Martin continues: “A simple trick for adding a pop of colour to any kitchen is to paint the window frame in a bold hue that distinguishes it from the rest of the space. Chances are your kitchen sink is in front of the window so it will give you something bright and cheery to look at when doing the dishes!”

6. Lighten up

David Tetlow, Ecommerce Manager at Lightbulbs Direct, says: “Having the right lighting in your kitchen will add brightness to the space and make existing colours pop. If your kitchen doesn't see much sunlight, using halogen bulbs in your overhead light fittings will emit the most natural-looking light and brighten up dull, dark rooms.”

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7. Consider your accessories

Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice says: “If you’re lucky enough to have a dining kitchen, another option is to invest in some contemporary dining furniture. Opting for a clean white table with some statement chairs in a bright red or purple can work really well in a modern kitchen. A fairly low cost, option is to set the table with colourful placemats, plates and glassware and a vase of fresh flowers.” 

8. Think about your floors

Martin says: “Floors are a great excuse to go bold with colour and pattern in kitchens. Encaustic tiles are everywhere now and come in a huge collection of colours and styles to brighten even the dullest of spaces. If you're budget won't stretch to tiles, consider vinyl as a much cheaper, but equally colourful and effective option.”

9. Add some metal

Anne-Laure says: “Metallic accessories are a great way to brighten up darker spaces. Gold and copper accessories, such as mirrors, lanterns and statuettes or figurines, are ideal for catching the light in the room.”

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