How Colour Theory Can Help You Design a Perfect Painted Kitchen

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Although you may argue that there is no right and wrong, or that there is no accounting for the taste when it comes to interior design, there is a reason why some kitchen design examples inspire you while others simply make you want to avert your eyes.

It's not about the use of bold textures or bold colours. In fact, the last few years have seen interior designers step away from the traditional magnolia/white themes and introduce daring colours. It is a question of using colours in a clever way - in a way that is based on knowledge and colour theory.

You will have heard about things like colour wheels, complementary colours, clashing colours and other things that are taught at the art school. You don't need to be an artist or a colour theory teacher to make the right choices for your own painted kitchen design.

It's not always the case of beauty being in the eye of beholder. A human eye processes light and colour in a certain way and once you learn the colour theory basics, you're almost as good as any interior designer out there. When you walk into a kitchen, the way your eyes process colour combinations will determine how you interpret what's in front of your eyes.

Your point of reference is what type of a feeling you want to convey with your painted kitchen. Is it a busy urban person's kitchen where people spend minimum amount of time? Is it a large family kitchen or is it a "feeder's" kitchen where you entertain your family and friends? Do you want your kitchen to be confined to neutral colours or can you afford to be bold?

If you're reading this article, chances are you're passionate about kitchen design and you spend a significant amount of time there. Maybe it's even the hub of your house - the room that everything else revolves around. Colour theory can help you during the planning process and as a result help us deliver a kitchen that you and your friends will love.

The basis of colour theory - the Colour Wheel - has been allegedly introduced by Sir Isaac Newton. Ever since that, many scientists and artists have contributed to the science. We won't bore you with the details. Let's have a look at how a Colour Wheel works and how you can use it when planning a kitchen.

The foundation of any colour wheel is three primary colours - red, yellow and blue. By mixing those three primary colours, you can theoretically create any hue imaginable - endless millions of combinations.

Then, the colour wheel also contains secondary colours that are created by mixing primary colours. For example, mixing red and yellow will create an orange colour. Mixing red and blue will result in purple while mixing blue and yellow gives us green.

Tertiary colours are made by mixing a secondary colour with a primary colour. For example, a yellowish green is a tertiary colour.

The relationship between two colours is determined by polarities. Looking at the colour wheel, any two colours that are opposite to each other are a good match. They are called complementary colours. For example, orange and blue are poles apart, that's why according to the colour theory they should work well together.

When you start planning your painted kitchen, settle on two main colours (complementary) and then if that still doesn't feel enough, add tertiary colours that are situated next to your choice of main colours. If you go for 3 or more colours that are located far apart on the colour wheel, you're risking ending up with a disharmonious kitchen.

Although this is a widely accepted truth, you get interior designers who are opposing the classical colour wheel theory completely. They claim that complementary colours don't work as well as we are being told and that you're better off exploring contrasting colours to get your message across. If you want to do that, you would pick two colours that are located close to each other, for example, blue and purple.

Finally, another noteworthy trend in painted kitchen design is the use of monochrome colour scheme. You pick just one colour and use various shades of the same colour throughout the painted kitchen. For example, orange cabinets, light orange worktops and mild peach walls. Although it sounds simple, it may be a risky approach as it's easier to get a monochrome scheme wrong than it is with bold contrasting colours. If you do go for a monochrome painted kitchen, at least make sure you introduce other colours with design objects and appliances.


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