New hues for kitchens: five colours to try on your cupboards

Open your eyes, and kitchen units, to new colour combinations

Colour can bring personality and depth to a room, especially in a kitchen were too many built-in units can make the space look like a thousand others. Install a sense of vibrancy that will make your friends kick up their heels, sit atop the counters and hang loose.

Nicotine and blue

Make sure the interiors of your presses look as good as their exterior counterparts by paying them as much attention. One traditional look is to wallpaper the inside but a more contemporary way to work it is to paint it. British cupboard maker Plain English has a great history in playing with colour but its new collaboration with London-based writer and decorator Rita Konig, Colour Collection No 3 brings a fresh sense of depth to its colour palette.

Her 12 shades include a sickly green that will have the good taste brigade running for the hills. When applied to a cupboard Candied Peel, a bleached-out off-tone orange, “looks like a lollipop, you want to like it”, she told Architectural Digest recently.

Nicotine, seen here on the firm's Bath dresser, a far sleeker shade to the stained ceilings of yesteryear pubs. On the walls and main cupboards is Mouldy Plum, a multitasking mink that will change personality from breakfast to dinner depending on whether it is seen in natural or artificial light.


The larder cupboard exterior is painted a rich espresso brown called Burnt Toast and equal attention has been paid to its interior, which wears Tea Caddy – a celadon blue that will make you want to frequently open and close the cupboard doors.

Plain English kitchens start from about €28,600. And while there is no Irish stockist the company sells its units here on a supply-only basis, meaning you’ll have to find someone to install it for you.

If you like the idea of going wild with colour but lack the courage to go it alone then then invest in a consultancy with colour expert Olha Kelly. She will do Dublin house calls and suggest a whole new palette to you. A one-hour session costs from €500.

Curator Paints Falling Light is a good substitute for Nicotine while Teal Crest is a slightly less intense version of Tea Caddy.;;

Think pink

Jane Rockett and Lucy St George opened their online interiors store in 2007 and its rock and roll aesthetic offer distinct accessories, furniture and furnishings, a look that has now been much copied on Instagram.

The pair have just launched their second book, Extraordinary Interiors in Colour published by Ryland Peters & Small. It's filled with smart practical advice sections as well as plenty of pretty pictures.

Nudes and pale pinks make you feel nurtured and safe, say the pair, showing off a dramatic take on the colour in an apartment in Oslo where owners Synne and Vermund colour-matched the pink background of artworks in the living room to use as a shade to cover the walls, ceilings and architectural detailing in a rich warm backdrop.

It's a deep shade of pink inspired by the rose city, Morocco's Marrakech, that allows the simple, below-counter kitchen cabinetry with its timber countertops to become a hot stuff detail of mustard yellow that you can see peeking through the double doors. The kitchen walls are painted a chalky sober grey to better make the mustard pop. For a similar effect try Benjamin Moore's Mixed Fruit, €89.95 for about one gallon in an eggshell finish from MRCB or mix Crown Paint's Toffee Apple with about 10 to 15 per cent more white – a soft white to get this shade.

While colour confident it is also worth noting that the rainbow riot has been excluded from the slumber quarters. The property's bedrooms are bedecked in a restful sage green. The book costs €27.99.;;;

Plum lines

We've had inky blues and every shade of grey from pale dove to dark night anthracite. Now it's plum's turn to step into the spotlight. It's a tone that has great range and works well with overcast Irish skies, sitting pretty in sleek contemporary settings like the Kungsbacka design from Ikea as well as on classically traditional, in-frame carcasses.

There is a vast range of door and drawer fronts to choose from and they’re made from recycled materials. The panel, pictured, 62cm by 80cm, costs €24, and is just one part of a jigsaw of unit options available. Plum is a flattering shade that won’t look weird under artificial lighting, as long as you opt for warm white task lights and amber-esque mood lighting.

You can also bring in other textures to make the space look more tactile. Terracotta tiling and Venetian plaster are possible floor and wall options. Warm honeyed timber tones, like the herringbone parquet underfoot and the stained timber countertops, pictured, are others.

Blonde wood planters for herbs and/or wooden serving dishes and serving spoons, like the Helen James new range for Dunnes Stores, will also work well.

Emerald islands

Jewel shades will enrich your kitchen space. The palette of ruby reds, sapphire blues, amethyst purples and citrine golds, will all flatter but it is emerald green that is, this season, the crowning colour.

It is one of Farrow & Ball's new Colour by Nature collection, a range of colours in association with Britain's Natural History Museum inspired by entries in Werner's Nomenclature of Colours – an 1814 classification of colour in nature that was used heavily by scientists and artists of the time. Werner aided Charles Darwin on his voyage aboard HMS Beagle and an edition of this famous tome is in the Museum's rare book library.

The 16 shades extends the 132-strong shades on Farrow & Ball's core colour card and includes the talking point Brocoli Brown, a soft fudge that may well become as popular as Elephant's Breath; an imperial purple that is as dark and intense as chard as well as multiple shades of green from the earthy sap to the emerald, pictured. A 2.5 litre tin of W53 modern eggshell costs €81 while a five litre tin costs €130 from Stillorgan Decor. Dublin-based kitchen cabinetmaker Patrick McKenna recently worked on an emerald island and units for a south country kitchen.;;

Colour up the all-white kitchen

If you're bored with your once so hip all-white kitchen but are slightly afraid by all the intense shades, pictured, here then take a baby step forward and mix it up, says Dulux colour consultant Jane Witter

“Homeowners can follow the latest trends within interiors with some slick choices in paint shades. The units to the right of shot have been left as they were while the countertops on the units on the far wall have been changed to make the room feel less matchy matchy. These units are painted in a romantic dark neutral, Bluebird Skies. The terrazzo-topped stool and rich brick red tabletop help to bring in warmth and make the room feel more casually put together.”

The fashion addition is the brand's colour of the year, Tranquil Dawn, on the left and right walls. The colours have been selected in hardwearing diamond eggshell finish, an effect that works best is professionally sprayed on to existing unit doors allowing the colour intensity by applying several coats. Prices for 2½ litres start from €47.95, five litres from €79.95.