Kitchen Karma: Porcelain Paired With Blue Paint

Abbas Youssefi
Abbas Youssefi
19th August 2020

One of the most effective ways to introduce colour into your home is via the kitchen cabinets. Over the past few years, interior designers have convinced more and more clients to be braver in this vital room; eschewing natural wood, white melamine, and neutral tones in favour of something a little bolder. At Porcelain Superstore we really love the current use of Pantone’s colour of the year, Blue. From playful and fun through to daring and dramatic, blue cabinets can create diverse styles and moods, and yet are very, very livable.

This makes blue a reliable choice. While some home owners may be wary of moving away from traditional white, grey, or wood cabinets, blue is versatile enough to work with so many common materials and finishes. It's a complementary colour to orange, including the warm orangey tones found in many metal finishes and wood tones.

This means that if you choose blue cabinets, you can be confident that accents like brass plumbing and feature lighting, as well as wooden floors and worktops, will sit together harmoniously.

Boldly Restrained

When it comes to making a bold statement but maintaining design restraint, a blue/grey colour is a great choice. For instance, this 15 sq. metre Chicago kitchen has benefitted from a radical redesign using Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball.

“The kitchen was original to the home, which was built in the early 2000s, and the clients wanted a big change but one that didn’t take their entire budget,” explains designer Kelsey Haywood of haywoodmade interiors. “The solution was to replace the cabinet fronts with a simple Shaker panel, paint the existing cabinet bases, and add a quartz countertop that continues as the backsplash to draw your eye up. The result was spending a fraction of what gutting the kitchen would have entailed.”

“My clients wanted to use a bold colour on the cabinetry,” says Haywood. “When we landed on Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue, they loved it so much, they wanted it on all of the kitchen cabinetry, including the butler’s pantry around the corner. Inchyra Blue has the ability to transform in different types of light. At night the deepness of the hue is almost unrecognizable from the brightness it has in the daytime. It was the perfect choice.”

When it comes to finding the perfect tile pairings for these blue-grey cabinets, Porcelain Superstore has a number of great matches. We really think a rich floor tile is perfect, and so we would suggest our fabulous Madison Cherry 20 by 120 cm porcelain planks. Incredible value at £50 per sq. metre, they combine rich warm tones with an ‘oiled’ finish that still achieves a practical R9 slip performance: a true touch of class.

For the walls, look no further than Sofia White. This 300 by 600mm Calacatta marble effect comes in at just £35 per sq. metre: a jaw-dropping low price for such a refined design. Highly polished, it has the veining detail of tiles that cost twice as much: magnificent.

Royal Reverberations

If you want to add just a touch more drama and impact to your home, then kitchen cabinets in a deep royal blue are well worth considering. They were the choice of Rhona Griffin-McShane of Milieu Interior Design for this 21 sq. metre kitchen upgrade in San Francisco. Working with Amber-Tru Construction, she turned to Deep Royal by Benjamin Moore; which was effectively paired with Calacatta Oro marble worktops and splashbacks; a metal cooker hood with brass detailing; brass light fixtures; and black handles. It is a great look: powerful yet quite timeless.

“We wanted to create an elegant traditional kitchen, while also making a statement with colours and materials,” states Griffin-McShane. We think that she pulled this off with some style!

If we were looking to pair tiles from our portfolio with Deep Royal cabinets by Benjamin Moore, we would be minded to try Ascot Oak on the floor. Ludicrously good value at just £20 per sq. metre, these 250 by 1,000mm Spanish porcelain tiles are immensely practical as well as good looking. Highly resistant to water or stains, they will stay looking fabulous for years. The print quality is astounding, while the slightly textured finish mimics the tactile softness of natural oak. Normally tiles with a grain pattern this realistic would cost £60 and upwards. Awesome.

On the walls we would use our Arcade Crackle White. These rich blue cabinets need a neutral background to really pop, and these 75 by 150mm Spanish ceramic tiles are perfect. The craquelle surface adds just enough character while letting the blue cabinets sing. Together they represent the epitome of great design: subtle, sophisticated, but with just enough detailing to hold your attention.

Family Fortunes

As in so many homes today, the kitchen is the hub of this Los Angeles home. With three young children, the owners needed a functional and practical space. This has been achieved by Gina Holz Designs, working with contractor Shain Development; and blue is once again to the fore. Here the cabinets were painted deep blue-grey, using the stunning Ocean Floor tone from Benjamin Moore.

“When choosing paint for kitchen cabinets, you have to consider the floors, tile, and stone materials, plumbing fixtures, finishes, the colour of the appliances, and the amount of natural light in the space,” says Gina Holz. “Since the wood floors were a light golden white oak colour, we really wanted to have a punch with the cabinet colour.”

In this home the blue cabinetry was paired with unlacquered brass hardware; and Calacatta worktops and splashbacks.

“The marble has some golds and blues in it,” explains Holz. “The Ocean Floor paint really made this stone material pop, and the brass accents drove it home. When we showed the owner the cabinet paint sample along with all of the materials selected for her kitchen, she saw it come to life and became as excited as we were. It’s really important to have all your materials selected and to get samples together before finalizing the paint. It’s the only way to make sure that everything connects and tells the same story.”

“We made a last-minute design change to all of the upper door cabinets in the kitchen. We cut the amount of doors in half and made them wider. This was a massive improvement both to the form and function of the space.”

Our perfect pair for Ocean Floor is Essence Honey. This 20 x 120 cm porcelain floor tile, just £40 per sq. metre, has a warm shading and incredible detail. The rectified edges deliver a more contemporary finish, while the in-build anti-microbial shield eliminates up to 99.9% of bacteria around the clock. So, great news if - like these homeowners - you've got young children around!

On the walls we are tempted to use Bistrot Calacatta. These marble-effect tiles have an easy going elegance. The four different colours are almost indistinguishable from natural marble and offer the same timeless appeal. The pared-back colour, and the two large formats, make this an ideal choice for modern, open plan living spaces.

Italian elegance in a box: bellissimo!

These kitchen projects first appeared on Houzz.