Light versus dark – it’s not just a heroic struggle between good and evil, but also a really tough choice to make when designing your dream kitchen. As any interior designer will tell you, light – artificial and natural – is a complex tricky element that requires careful management. You might be surprised at what a dramatic effect light alone can have on a room! So, exactly how can light and dark colour schemes affect the look and atmosphere of your kitchen?
A lighter colour palette is a key ingredient in almost any contemporary design, and it’s easy to see why. It lends the room a clean, bright aesthetic which reflects and enhances colours and natural light alike. It also has a great talent for making rooms feel more expansive, making it a great option if you have a smaller kitchen that you want to gift with a more contemporary feel. A lighter colour scheme can also pave the way for other innovative design choices – white or cream walls provide a neutral backdrop that can be beautifully complemented with bolder statement colours or a vibrant splashback. For example, appliances are often fantastic vehicles for these sorts of striking shades – a light kitchen can be vividly accented with oven in a deep, sumptuous red for that extra dash of eye-catching colour.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that lighter colour palettes are not without their weaknesses. They will show dirt and smudges more starkly, especially from spilled food – likewise for cracks or discolouration. For these reasons, it’s wise to carefully consider your decision if you have small children or pets in the house, especially if the kitchen is going to be a high-traffic area.
On the other hand, darker colour palettes give your kitchen a completely separate but equally distinctive atmosphere. Shades of grey can give your kitchen a formal, sophisticated look, whereas the darkest tones of black make it feel rich and luxurious; at once cosy and elegant.
As long as it’s handled properly, both types of light – both natural and artificial – can be in your favour on this one. Natural light can make the deeper shades feel warm and inviting, whereas the natural elegance can be even further enhanced with artificial lighting, provided it’s of a suitably warm shade.
Warmth is an overarching theme of a darker colour scheme. In fact, it’s one of its primary strengths, and one of the things that make the overall look so perfect for traditional design schemes. That warmth and traditional feel can be further enhanced by various wood species – for example in your cabinets or flooring – that naturally and effortlessly complement the look of the room.
As ever, though, light is a crucial component. Mismanaged or poor lighting can make darker colours in a small kitchen look heavy and claustrophobic, and bright artificial lights can make them look ugly or dull.
Of course, there’s no reason to go all one way or all the other. It’s your kitchen, after all, and there are some fantastic designs out there that strike a masterful balance between light and darker tones, to create a stunning final impression. Feel free to take a look at some of our most beautiful finished examples or book a free design visit to get started on building your own dream kitchen!
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