Bored With White Kitchens? Let’s Go Bold!

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Kitchens generally aren’t the place where people take design risks. They’re the most expensive renovation in the home, and therefore people tend to play it safe.  But now more than ever, kitchens are the heart of the home. They are where we spend the most time with our friends and family. We believe that space should be lively and inviting. When a client with colorful tastes approached me, we agreed that we were bored with the same old white kitchen and went a completely different direction.

Big Risk, Big Reward

This was a small galley kitchen. We didn’t have much wiggle room to change the layout or expand that space, so we decided to go bold with color. We poured through several paint samples and identified the perfect green, Benjamin Moore Jade Green.

Standard design instinct tells us to work by this formula: color for walls, white for trim, cabinets and doors. We decided to flip that thought on its head.

This color on the lower cabinets injects just the right amount of energy into the cozy space. Going bold and dark with a portion of the cabinets allowed us to go bright white with other finishes without the space feeling unimaginative or bland.

Dark architectural elements like window casings and doors also help introduce drama and fun without overwhelming the tiny room.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Mix it Up

The vibrant base cabinets were a great starting point for pleasing design. But we didn’t want to stop there. In the built-in seating area we mixed a horizontal black-and-white stripe with a fun, blue tribal-inspired pattern.

Shhhh, want to know a designer secret!?  We always like to work with a two-to three-color scheme, and then mix in one non-conforming color.  For example in this kitchen, we pulled materials (cabinet color, countertop, wall paint, hardware) that all coordinate with a black + white + green scheme, and then added in a bright blue pattern. Mixing in something outside of the scheme helps give you that designer edge: it creates a space that looks curated and custom versus bought in a package deal.

Simple Details

When selecting strong or unexpected choices for a small space, it’s easy to get carried away. We decided that after all the color and pattern, we wanted to keep the installed fixtures simple and classic.

We chose this pendant from Rejuventation because we like how the size and finish brings interest to our snug dining area. The lines and overall design keep it feeling understated and light.

Sleek floating shelves on the fully tiled wall allow us to provide some visual interest and weight to this side of the kitchen. We opted for clean-lined accessories and uncomplicated styling to complete the space.

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-Allison H.

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Allison is the newest addition to TME Home. She started her own business, Curio Design Studio , in 2012 so expect to see practical, affordable and accessible designs straight from her expert eye.

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7 Comments

  1. What an incredible transformation! Love not only the color but the way you reimagined the wall where the laundry appliances were. Did you use the original cabinets on the sink wall and paint/add glass, or were they all replaced? Was the window above the former laundry there or did you add it? The table area is brilliant. Such a great design–thanks for sharing!

  2. Allison Harlow on

    Hey Camille! This was a total gut job! We took out everything (cabinets, flooring, windows, doors etc.). Window above fomer laundry was there but we replaced with new black framed windows to add that architectural pop.

  3. I love the nook you created and would love to know more about how it was built! We’re looking to do something similar in our tiny galley kitchen too.

  4. Allison Harlow on

    We worked with our custom cabinet builder to create the built-in seating. The base of the benches is the same depth as a standard base cabinet ( 24″) we just had to modify it to make it seat height. Sometimes this can be acheived with standard off the shelf cabinets from a home improvement store. You don’t want the overall seat height to be higher than 18-19″ though–including foam for a cushion!

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