Introduce some striking contrast to your kitchen to achieve a modern, covetable look
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Pale coloured and wood kitchens suit many people as they are attractive, easy to live with and available in a huge range of styles, from traditional farmhouse to sleekly modern. But when planning your kitchen, it’s important to mix in elements that add an individual feel, and using black is a great way to do this. Like white, it goes with everything, and you can use as little or as much of it as you like. So when it comes to choosing the fixture and fittings, rather than automatically going for the standard white, stop for a moment and check out the black option too – as well as these other striking black-accent ideas.
Look to your lights
A large island is a useful addition in any kitchen if you have the space, and how it’s lit can make a big difference. Instead of spotlights that would disappear into nothingness, these three black pendants illuminate the space beautifully, as well as adding character to the room. They also act as a border to zone off the kitchen of this open-plan space.
Had these pendants been white they’d hardly be visible against the wall, but these black ones stand out, and also echo the other black elements in the room, giving the scheme a balanced look.
Opt for black white goods
Most people have white or stainless-steel fridges, so that’s what we expect to see. Do something different and choose a design in bold black to make a statement in a small space. See how this fridge gives this compact room real personality – a white version would have fallen into the background making a much more ordinary set up. Some fridges, especially those with a retro vibe are available in an array of bright colours so if you like this look, do some research and check out the other options – you may be surprised at what you like!
Sit in style
Bar stools are a great way to add a dash of black if you’re wary of adding too much. These slim-legged examples echo the lighting cord above for a cohesive look, and their delicate shape doesn’t dominate the scheme, as so much white is visible through and around them.
A great way to try black stools is to paint some old ones picked up cheaply secondhand – spray paint is quick and hardwearing, just make sure you prepare properly (read the can for details) for a beautiful finish.
Use on a splashback
The space behind a sink is a very limited area, so it’s a good place to introduce a bold element to a kitchen because it’s fenced in and won’t take over. This pale kitchen with smooth, handleless doors could support lots of different types of splashbacks, but this choice is all about opposites. Black against white, texture against smooth. It’s strong and dramatic yet restrained. Use tiles to create this effect, or if you can’t quite commit to black, look at other contrasting materials, such as copper or antiqued glass.
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Surprise with ornate accents
The overall feel of this kitchen is light and airy with acres of gloss white, punctuated with a bold stripy wood. But look up – there, hanging from the ceiling is a great design decision – a black chandelier. This contrasts with the rest of the room in both colour and style and that’s why it’s successful. If you have a really sleekly designed kitchen, the obvious choice is a really sleek light. But go bold and black and it stands its ground quietly, without being a distraction. Sometimes doing something unexpected is the best way.
Darken your seat covers
Recovering stool or chair pads is an easy way to try the look. Buy some fabric (you can get faux leather or water-resistant fabrics – ideal if you have small children and need to clean the seats regularly) and use a staple gun to attach it to the seat. Turn your stool/chair upside down to see if the seat can be unscrewed to make the process even easier. Start along one side, pull taut and staple the opposite side. Make folds at the corners and trim excess fabric close to the staples.
For a finish with pleating and tucking as shown on the seats here, your best bet is going to an upholsterer, unless you’re nifty with a tack hammer and webbing stretcher.
Punctuate pure white
A completely white kitchen needs some other colours to ground it and stop it looking like the inside of a cloud. Add black and chrome in small amounts for a sparkly, high-end finish that will always look neat – monochrome has timeless appeal. Group items together rather than dotting them about to achieve a defined look (rather than a Dalmatian one).
Focus on your cooking zone
In a kitchen with a pale colour palette like this, a dark, glossy range-cooker looks grown up, especially when it’s teamed with a matching extractor. It becomes the focal point in the centre of a wall. By doing this, you bring the eye to this area, so only do this if you have an attractive stove you want to draw attention to!
Do a double-colour whammy
A red range-cooker adds a bright contrast in this pale kitchen, but it really needs the black accents, too. Without the black, red and white (or, as here, near-white), can be an uncomfortable pairing, but slabs of glossy marble ground the scheme and stop it looking garish. If you live in a hard-water area, do be aware that black marble like this needs to be polished regularly to keep it looking good – it tends to gather limescale, making it appear dull.
How to add black without it overpowering your space
Work the industrial vibe
Oversized matt-finish pendant lights add an immediate industrial feel to a kitchen. Some have a metallic interior which adds a subtle yet luxurious element, but they all look the business. This style of pendant with an enclosed shade projects all the light downwards, rather than filling the area, so you’ll often need several for a practical work zone – take the tip from this kitchen and always place them in a row so you can see what you’re doing.
Do you have black accents in your kitchen? How have you styled them? Share your pictures and ideas in the Comments section.