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Food & Entertaining

Cooking Up Color

Author: Carly Scholl
Issue: August, 2016, Page 22
The Chateau 150 range from Suzanne Kasler’s Couleur Collection wows in blushing pink. Starting at $42,300. (
Striking, subtle and nostalgic palettes bring big flavor to the most popular room in the house

The kitchen is a place where energy, creativity and community converge, so this epicurean epicenter should be given all the design attention it deserves. We homed in on the hottest hues for the kitchen and determined three classy color trends that are spicing up the scene.

Outfit your kitchen counter with a slab of hypnotic amethyst stone and instantly upgrade your space to new levels of elegance. (

Not for the faint of heart, this trend requires liberal use of such vivid shades as dazzling purples, juicy reds and Caribbean blues to enliven the kitchen. Generous applications of these hues in appliances, cabinetry and furniture make a bold statement, while glamorous tones used on serving utensils, seating and semiprecious stone countertops bring unexpected vibrancy to all corners of the kitchen. According to Marisa Urquides, director of marketing at Monark Premium Appliance Co., “Homeowners want to create colorful, eclectic spaces, and when run-of-the-mill is not an option, unexpected combinations such as red accents against bright whites or dark stained cabinetry create surprising though pleasing pairings.”

Photos - From left: Simple form and a fabulous turquoise hue make this stool stand out at a bar or island. $35 (

Ceramic tiles applied in an Escher-like geometric pattern flow seamlessly in a streamlined kitchen, while providing a beautiful burst of Martinique blue to offset neutral fixtures and furnishings. $45/square foot. (

Incorporating more color goes beyond fixtures and furnishings. Paint can be used to give a drab area a needed boost.“Since most of the kitchen is typically cabinetry and tile with little wall surface, try out a bold color on one wall,” says Sara McLean, professional color advisor for Dunn-Edwards Paints. “For example, if you have a breakfast nook, paint the walls in a cheerful orange. Or, if you have space around your sink, highlight it with a bright accent such as aqua or lime green.” If a striking color palette appeals to you, make sure to balance it with calming tints that harmonize nicely alongside more playful shades. “While most if not all neutrals pair well with these fresh choices, opt for a variety of whites and tinted whites to really put the color on center stage,” McLean adds.

Jamie Young’s olive green “Lafitte” pendant light gives off a soft glow. $190 (

If a technicolored kitchen isn’t really your style, you can still punch up your cooking and dining areas with subtle tones. Employ an understated color theme throughout your space with strategic placement and unexpected splashes of hues. Pastels are perfect for adding quiet character to a room without overdoing it; more vibrant tints can have a similar effect when used sparingly. “Light lemon yellows, sky blues and earthy lime greens bring a fresh look to the kitchen, adding life but not overwhelming the senses,” notes McLean. “Also, tinted whites and off-whites add character without pushing the color commitment too far.”

Choose one appliance to customize in a classic tint, or utilize fun accessories to show off your favorite palettes. A pair of graphic dish towels draped near the kitchen sink is an instant way to incorporate color, while a set of cookware coated in cheery enamels will look beautiful both on display or on the stove. “A subtle color palette will allow you to easily change out accessories and seasonal decor without worrying too much about clashing with the bolder hues,” says McLean. “Likewise, toned-down shades allow other bold statements, such as a favorite piece of art, backsplash detail, vase collection or whatever else you want to highlight, to stand out in the kitchen.”
Photos - From left: A sun-drenched kitchen boasts cheery cabinets painted in a warm yellow tint called Madera. About $30/gallon. (

Chromatic steel legs peek out from beneath the minimalistic Bonaldo Big Table by Alain Gilles. Available in four sizes and eight finishes. Starting at $4,950. (

Utilize color in your dining areas as well, embellishing a run-of-the-mill table and chairs with a pop of unexpected pigment. If you’re ready to take a more permanent plunge, install one-of-a-kind tile work in cool Mediterranean blues, or invest in a lighting fixture that will draw the eye upwards towards a pleasant glow. “Adding a colorful lighting fixture to the subdued tones of a kitchen is a great way to incorporate your unique personal style, and bring character and creativity to the heart of your home,” says Christine Rhodes, marketing assistant for Premier Lighting. “A well-lit kitchen, while a necessity, can be both functional and fun.”

With French doors, 20 cubic feet of storage space and a streamlined midcentury aesthetic, this Northstar 1959 Model refrigerator in Candy Red will feel right at home in your vintage-inspired kitchen. $5,595 (

Time-tested and ultratrendy, midcentury colors and stylings are reclaiming their space in today’s kitchens. Nostalgic details and retro-inspired appliances pay homage to the good ol’ days in shades of Thunderbird blue, cherry red and buttery yellow that instantly bring to mind images of sock hops, soda fountains and pristine, June Cleaver-esque checkered floors.

“The 1950s were a very creative period,” says Vittorio Bertazzoni, CEO of Italian appliance brand SMEG. “Sinuous and smooth shapes in pastels and bright colors are the main characteristics of this style.” Choose an anchor piece such as a refrigerator, dishwasher or range to assert plenty of retro character into your kitchen, and leave room for personal style to merge with vintage sensibilities.

But while ’50s furnishings are a delightful blast from the past, this trend calls for some caution. Going overboard with a retro theme will quickly make your space feel out of date rather than stylishly on point. “With kitchens, there a few things you can do to make it feel ‘of the era’ but not feel like a vintage shop,” advises McLean. “First, choose just one color as an accent or highlight. Light colors such as minty green look great with white or light wood cabinets and pale backsplashes. Then pull in a few accessories, such as light fixtures and barstools, that have the midcentury look. Keep the accessories spare, as the more collectibles of that era you have, the more it turns into kitsch.” Choose small appliances styled after their old-fashioned predecessors or, McLean adds, “if you’re ready to splurge on a new appliance, perhaps buy a Modern-style fridge in a fun color.” 

A little—or a lot—of tonal tweaking works wonders for any area in the house, and now it’s your kitchen’s turn to feel the love. No matter how you splash color around the room, do it with confidence and creativity, and you’ll find your space rejuvenated and ready to impress.

Photos - From left: Little details, such as this charming dish towel by Kate Spade, add both personality and color to your kitchen. $10 (

SMEG’s retro stand mixer in Pastel Blue blends the functionality of a modern appliance with tons of old-fashioned style. $460 (

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