While contemporary styles for 2012 have been very much about minimalist design – using simple black and white cabinetry and integrated appliances – 2013 is definitely going to be the year we see a burst of colour return to modern kitchens. As more people opt to entertain at home, kitchens have become social hubs as well as working rooms. Bright, bold designs highlight an aim to turn the kitchen into as much of a living area as the rest of the home, making it pleasurable to both cook and relax in.

The most popular way to inject an element of colour into a kitchen is on the walls and back splashes. A glossy finish contributes more to the contemporary style, which is focused on creating bright environments with shine and finish. Glass panels or tiles have the same effect, and are often easier to keep clean, making them a common option behind stoves. A bold colour on one wall is an excellent way to do this in a small kitchen, leaving the other walls white to give the impression of spaciousness. Wren Kitchens employ this use of colour frequently, using splashes of warm hues to brighten contemporary designs.

Colourful cabinetry can be hard to pull off in a modern kitchen scheme, but pastel colours appear to be an up and coming trend, bringing the traditional country kitchen look up to date with modern appliances and the more minimal use of decorative ornaments often found in traditional design. Work surfaces in bright, sunny colours are used to create a fun, friendly atmosphere, brightening the room and softening the effect of stainless steel appliances.

Subtle uses of colour can be introduced to those kitchens which benefit from a simpler theme, in order to bring them up to date with current trends. Natural sources of colour achieve this without deviating from the eco-friendly focus on minimalist design, using green house plants or large, seasonal flowers such as December’s poinsettias to create loud splashes of colour. Exposed fruit baskets are a popular way to stack lemons and limes, bringing springtime colours to the room in a more elegant, understated way.

More opulent contributions have also proven to be successful, with striking effect – an ambitious project by top designer Mick De Giulio even saw a pure white kitchen completed with a painted blue ceiling, embellished with gilded iron lights to create a “jewel box” effect.