There are certain color schemes that are utterly timeless. Consider the two-tone classic combination of black and white. Everyone knows these are elegant, simple choices when choosing a color palette. But in this post today, we will focus on a close cousin to the dark color family: red. Reds evoke passion, they evoke appetite, they curry up feelings of desire, intimacy and a natural, eye-catching warmth that when found in nature is strikingly memorable. Deeper reds often contain shadows of rich mahoganies and even blacks. Lighter, brighter shades – think candy apple or fire engine, boast hidden hues of yellow or magenta. When red shades are paired with any series of whites – ivory, eggshell, linen, stark – this incorporation plays off each other, it’s a visual symphony.
What better place to integrate the warmth of reds and the coolness of whites than the kitchen? The kitchen is the hearth and that is where the idea of home truly exists. Cooking, eating, reading, talking, making memories with family, lovers and friends, kitchens are just as worthy of a special interior touch than any other room in the house, if not more. Today’s homeowners often spend extraordinary amounts on the technology of their kitchen or exquisite, modern appliances. And by all means – especially if you have the means! – a kitchen is only as good as the cook who uses it well. Appliances alone are one matter, but taking the kitchen and turning the décor and mood from subpar, bland restaurant kitchen to five-star Better Homes and Gardens award-winning style kitchen can be accomplished with a few simple touches and even on a reasonable budget.
Decorators can look back at the evolving style of the home and remember well when most every kitchen in America (and maybe even safe to say, world-wide) were colored with calming pastel or neutral tones. Vivacity and audacious style was left to flatware, which until the more popular use of glass cabinets or open cabinets, was largely hidden away.
But bold choices are growing ever more commonplace. Mosaic backsplashes, colored crown molding, accent walls, you name it, and the modern decorator has come up with ways to turn drab kitchens into dynamic kitchens. Here is where the idea of the visually stunning red and white combination comes to play.
The contemporary combination is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves a functional purpose, believe it or not. Yes, color can provide function. How, you ask? Spatial dynamics, By using dark reds as a focal point, be it a wall or counter island, you can minimize large kitchens. Use dark reds on a ceiling and overly high ceilings – if you believe in that sort of thing – and find them immediately lowered through illusion of color. Adding white crown molding to these spaces, or white checker or white stripe overlays allow you counter the color and effectively minimalize without overdoing it or cutting yourself off at the knees, decorating-wise.
The same principle can be applied inversely. If your kitchen is closer to something cozy than more cathedral-esque, open up the space by keeping the walls, ceiling or large counters and cabinets whiter shades. But, this rule doesn’t necessarily need to be followed exactly either. When we suggest this, what you will assume is that a pop of color – a single piece, a statement piece, an attractively placed accent – will be where our red hues can be found. And you would assume correctly; however, though a well-placed red blender, toaster or microwave alongside cool colored appliances can be that pop of color, you can still maximize your color effort in a minimized space. A solid red cabinet with black hardware, a bold large appliance like a refrigerator – extra points if it’s of the throw back variety; rounded edges and big chrome handles – these maximized, bold selections do more than pop – they work for your room and make you feel like you’re walking to a photo shoot for Town and Country every time.
As aforementioned, there are hundreds, if not thousands of shades of red that can be paired with just as many – or at least half as many! – shades of white. But what this post also seeks to achieve is what can be found in our accompanying photographs. Historically, one of the most popular pairing selections to our chosen palate of red and white is the classic: black. High gloss, semi-gloss, matte, whatever the finish, whatever variation on the color, black is used to complement and make any space just that much more tasteful.
The art deco inspired black and white checkerboard tile floor can be a dramatic choice but as pictured here, a marble slab style charcoal black tile can add texture and intensity to the kitchen floor. There is something about the texture in this flooring that seems perfect for the kitchen – it’s cleanliness and utility, it’s reminiscence of an elegant restaurant inspires late night discussions over large glasses of – you guessed it! – red wine.
You may also notice in some of our pictures that there are variations on black accents: think slate gray, lighter or darker versions of charcoal, silver, chrome and steel. These are easy choices against the red and white palette.
The idea is to be inspired and if you think that this color selection would mesh well with your personality, your home and most of all, your kitchen, go for it!