Color and texture aren’t there just to make your kitchen look pretty. Used effectively, these elements of design can have a drastic effect not only on the appearance of your kitchen, but to its general vibe and atmosphere as well. The right color choices can even make a space look bigger or smaller. Here are a few pointers on the different colors and textures and their effects on a space.
The psychology of color
There’s a three-color rule of thumb that says a space should be colored at a 60-30-10 split. That is, use one color for 60% of the space, another for 30%, and finally an accent color for the remaining 10%. Merely by manipulating the contrast between these three colors you can make your kitchen appear bigger or smaller.
Using cool, light, or dull colors with the contrast kept at a minimum can trick the eyes into thinking that your kitchen is more expansive than it actually is. Conversely, using warm, dark, or bright colors with high contrast between them can make your kitchen seem smaller and cozier.
Similarly, you can use color to make it appear as if your kitchen’s ceiling is either higher or lower. Warm colors and dark tones appear to advance toward the eye and can make a ceiling seem closer. Cool colors and light tints, on the other hand, are considered as receding colors and trick the eyes into placing it at a further distance than it really is.
Some specific colors also have distinct psychological effects on us. Ever wonder why KFC, McDonalds, Popeye’s, and other food chains all seem to have a lot of red in their logos and interiors? That’s because red is said to stimulate the appetite. Blue, on the other hand, curbs the appetite and is most often seen as a “productive” color. That’s why it’s a favorite for offices.
The effects of texture
An object’s texture will affect how its color appears. Rough textures, for example, absorb light and color rather than reflect it. This makes them appear darker compared to smooth and shiny surfaces.
Beyond the visual, texture also adds tactile interest to a space and keeps it from feeling flat and dull. Some textures such as wood and stone, for example, yield a lot of visual interest from their inherent grain (and in the latter’s case, patina) alone.
Tiles are also good examples as they typically create both visual and tactile interest. Unglazed tile is a tactile marvel and can supplement this with interesting patterns and designs. Smooth glazed tile can make up for the lack of tactile interest by being very visually arresting.
Choosing a color scheme
Unless you have a very clear vision of what you want, one of the hardest parts of designing a kitchen can be deciding on a color scheme. Perhaps the most important step is choosing a main color. Once you’ve got one, it’s just a matter of deciding whether you go monochromatic, complementary, or analogous.
A monochromatic color scheme is basically the same color at different values. Color value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Monochromatic color schemes tend to have a soothing and peaceful effect especially when you have a cool or light base color since the contrast between the different values is softer.
A complementary color scheme, meanwhile, involves colors that are situated directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Prime examples of complementary colors are red and green. Complementary colors always involve mixing a cool color and a warm color. This leads to a dynamic and stimulating contrast.
In the former, instead of the direct opposite of your base color, use the ones immediately to the right and left of the opposite color in the color wheel. In the color wheel to the right, a split complementary color scheme based on red would include blue green and yellow green.
In the latter, you use the base color and the colors situated two steps to the left and right of the color directly opposite. In the color wheel we used before, a triad complementary color scheme would be red, blue, and yellow.
Finally, you can also use an analogous color scheme. This uses two or three related colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel. If we take red as the base color in the color wheel above, we’d end up with an analogous color scheme made of red, red violet, and red orange. The moderate contrast in analogous color schemes can help you create pleasant combinations that are colorful yet comforting.