Kitchen Design Series #2 Gathering the Palette

Colors and style are the most fun to pull together.  Consulting a designer is always an option.  Choosing finishing materials up front prevents waste and conflict later on.  What do you want a main feature of the kitchen design to be?  The back splashes, the counters, or cabinets, maybe your dishes, or cookware, or a particular style reflecting the rest of the home’s style.  Deciding that “main feature” for the design allows you to develop a color plan with a goal in mind.

Start with any appliances you intend to keep.  What are those color tones?  Most appliances available on the market fall into three basic color collections, black, white, and brushed stainless steel/aluminum.  Refrigerator fronts may be custom made, however it is more involved to find custom fronts for other appliances.  We had been planning our remodel for a number of years so when we could not put off replacing old appliances the new ones were chosen with an eye on coordinating with future appliances.  Real Estate agents often advise that matching appliances are far better in a resale showing.  We had a combination of black accents with the brushed metal look.  I found choices in completely brushed metal or completely black or a balance of the two.  I laid out photos in the kitchen near the appliances we were keeping to compare and that allowed me to make some good choices. The goal was to balance the metal and the black tastefully.  The black dishwasher we owned was balanced with a black trash compactor so it was not the only all black appliance in the room.  The black and metal refrigerator we owned was matched with the microwave/oven combo and large lower over by choosing black glass inserts with the brushed metal.  The old white microwave we used during the remodel was replaced.  The choice in a warming drawer was limited to brushed metal but blended in well. 

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As a wood worker, choosing my wood for cabinets was a process.  The big choice is whether to go light or dark for cabinets.  My husband prefers light colors over dark.  Light cabinets enlarge the space in many instances. Dark colors are more formal in appearance. I wanted a look and feel somewhere in the middle of casual and formal.  I wanted the “main feature” to be the wood and took a chance on a very figured (busy) curly maple.  Ask for, buy or rent samples of the cabinet finishes you like to display in your space over the course of several days to a week.  Seeing those in the different lighting over time will help in the decision.  

Finding a counter to coordinate with the maple was a huge challenge.  I did not want a solid color for the counter because any little thing out of place stands out making the kitchen look messy.  A figured counter can camouflage wayward drips or a few utensils out without that messy look.  If a bright clean slick look is what you want aim for the solid counter color choices.  Because of the figure in the wood I could not add a definite pattern, especially small dots, as many of the quartz counters offer.  I think quartz is one of the best materials for kitchen counters in terms of lasting performance.   The counters can produce a pop of color or blend away.  They cut the room in half vertically so choose carefully.   Samples help even though the actual stone may change from the show room to the stone yard.  Photos are important.  I found a granite with an organic look and strong pattern that did not clash with wood.  It has both black and metallic accents and tones of the wood.  Image   

 

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Our low 8 foot ceilings look higher because the counter blends well and minimizes the vertical visual cut off a prominent counter would present.  If you have huge ceiling heights go for a feature counter.

With those major choices out of the way the color palette will fall together easily.  I pulled tones from appliances, wood and granite to coordinate the back splashes and flooring.  

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