How to choose colour and finishes for a traditional kitchen

Choose subtle colour schemes for a vintage look.

Clever use of colour can really bring a room to life. Discover our traditional kitchen colour ideas and get inspired.

Think of your kitchen as one large colour palette

In a traditional kitchen, the trick is to balance the impact of the shade you choose with the objects on display. Floors, cupboards and worktops should work together to create an overall impact, rather than fighting for attention with one another. Think of your kitchen as a single palette to create a space that is both balanced and individual.

Why neutrals feature in traditional kitchen colour schemes

Most traditional kitchens have a large number of items on display (read more on storage in a traditional kitchen), with a subtle colour scheme working as a suitably understated backdrop. Paler shades can make any space seem bigger, and less vibrant hues seem more fitting to a traditional look, giving a timeless feel. The word backdrop is key though; you can add splashes of colour and still keep things traditional.

Many paint companies offer a ‘heritage’ range of colours which are particularly useful if you are looking for a bolder shade to use as an accent.

Three ways to introduce colour:

  • Try painting an alcove or reviving a tired table or a group of mismatched chairs to add a touch of individuality.
  • Painted kitchen doors are another simple way to add colour. Consider a pale cream kitchen rather than bright white, particularly if your kitchen is north facing, as it will help warm up the space and prevent it from looking cold and stark. Greys, often with a hint of blue or green, are a popular choice, too, making a sophisticated style statement. Choose tiles or a splashback in a similar or complementary shade, and use a matching shade of grouting for a more uniform finish. To get more inspiration for introducing blue, take a look at our blue kitchen ideas
  • If you have a multi-functional kitchen, you may wish to include soft furnishings in the space. A patterned cushion will provide an interesting hit of colour within a simple setting of smooth oak and rugged stone, working well with their natural beauty.