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Theory of Combining Colours in the Kitchen

By Philippa Baker, 5th July, 2015

Used by interior designers and amateurs alike, colour combining is a popular method that uses the colour wheel to find harmonious combinations that will enhance any interior space. Split into three different types - monochromatic, analogous and complementary - we show you how to find the ideal one for you and your kitchen.

Colour Theory

It’s undeniable that colour sets the mood of a room. Just as there are cheerful and upbeat colours, there are also more muted shades that exude a calm and relaxing vibe. Whilst some shades will warm a room up, others will cool it down. Some will make a room appear larger, whilst others do the opposite in creating a darker and more enclosed space.

It stands to reason then that some colours will work better than others in the kitchen. Due to the nature of the room, a social hub in the centre of the home, it pays to use not just colours you can live with, but those that will boost your mood and start your day off right.

Colour Wheel


Simple yet stylish, a monochromatic palette uses one unifying colour in various tints and shades. The use of only one key hue means opposing colours won’t compete for attention, typically creating a less distracting and more balanced aesthetic. Nevertheless, the hue you choose is ultimately what will dictate the feel of the room, and as there is a rainbow of choice out there, each delivers its own look.

For example, zesty orange used in the kitchen will produce a dynamic, energising space with an upbeat and tropical vibe - our collection of orange kitchen stools proving ideal. Conversely, blue will cool things down, lending a relaxing, soothing and oceanic ambience.

Alternatively, the kitchen pictured below uses a cream palette to create a clean, crisp, yet welcoming space. Smart and sophisticated, similar shades are utilised on the cabinets, flooring, and walls, with our divine Rochelle Brushed Steel Stool Cream providing the unifying hue that holds it all together.

Rochelle Stools In Cream Monochromatic Kitchen

Rochelle Brushed Steel Stool


If you’re wary about being too daring with your colour scheme, but find the monochromatic approach a little boring, then an analogous palette provides the perfect halfway house. Utilising shades found directly next to each other on the colour wheel, this method creates attractive spaces that are undeniably pleasing to the eye.

Popular colour combinations include warm and cool palettes. The first draws on yellows, oranges, reds and pinks to lend a bold, bright and exotic vibe. The latter can utilise blues, purples, whites and greys to create a kitchen with a more subdued and peaceful tone. For example you could pair purple dining chairs with blue painted walls and white accent pieces, as seen in the image below – it all depends on the look you prefer for your home.

Analogous Kitchen Colours

Candy Chair

The most successful colour combinations are often found in nature and can be drawn upon to give your kitchen a real natural beauty. Earthy tones such as greens, browns, greys, and creams will create an organic and grounded space with that back-to-nature feel.

If you like this rustic look then choose wooden kitchen cabinets and matching furniture, such as our popular wooden kitchen stools, which are great for adding texture and depth. Plus, extra green can be added through floral centrepieces, bowls of fresh fruit or some vibrant green dining chairs.

Drift Oak And Grey Bar Stool In Kitchen With Natural Colours

Drift Oak & Grey Bar Stool


Arguably the most striking of the three types, complementary draws on contrasting colours found opposite each other on the colour wheel for an engaging and dynamic look. Whilst some designers tend to stick to two key shades, others prefer triads or multiples for eye-catching appeal.

A sophisticated purple and grey combination is ideal for a modern kitchen space with a luxurious and elegant flair. Conversely, a trendy turquoise and coral palette boasts a more playful and zesty radiance that is sure to catch the eye. Lime green and pastel pink can lend a fresh springtime feel and soft feminine aesthetic, whilst deep red and emerald green is another striking combo with subtle hints of Christmas.

Complementary Colours In The Kitchen

Candy Dining Chair & Crescent Bar Stool

By far one of the most popular colour combinations we see when it comes to our kitchen stools is a walnut finished frame with cream upholstered seats. As seen on our much-loved Alicia, the deep richness of the wood strikes a divine contrast against the soft shade of the cream upholstery.

Also well-liked is the combination of a neutral black or white base tone, used on walls, cabinets and flooring, with pops of vibrantly coloured furniture and bright appliances scattered around the room for attention grabbing effect. Pictured below, our Drift Oak Stool is perfect for enhancing any breakfast bar or kitchen space with its crimson charm.

Drift Oak & Red Bar Stool

Drift Oak & Red Bar Stool

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to use colour in the kitchen – it all comes down to the look you want to create. So whether you intend to go bold or prefer a more subtle approach, the colour wheel will help you produce a harmonious and welcoming space that is sure to impress your guests.


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