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June 20, 2011

One Great Color Decision Lends Balance and Proportion to an All-White Kitchen

Lucianna Samu

My all white kitchen in the making is turning out to be a great example of how one great color can harmonize and balance a room.  Balance and proportion, form and function--we're all learning to consider these design essentials in our room makeovers.  But whenever I get stuck and a room appears lopsided, or some element feels foreboding or, worse yet, tentative, more often than not I find the solution is in a paint can.


I solved the messy pantry thing 1,2,3, when I painted and stenciled the glass door with what's turning out to be my go-to color for this project, Stonecutter-2135-20 Form+function!


Moving on to the minor proportional issues, the vertical proportions in my kitchen are bold, because of the wall, ceiling and cabinet heights.  Bold proportions need to be supported by bold strokes of color if they're to make any kind of statement.  So while I'm happy with what's happening so far with my cool neutral whites and very soothing shale grey walls, the room still feels to me like it's a combination of two rooms stuck together.  The high ceiling seems like an opportunity waiting for color, but that would exacerbate the disconnected feeling which already exists in the room because of the differing ceiling heights.


The reinvented pantry cabinet defines the edge of the kitchen as clearly as any color could on one side of the kitchen.  So the task is to somehow bring that same weight to the other side of my super sunny kitchen.  The dark copper sink is helping, as is the black and gold fabric behind the upper refrigerator cabinet.  (This hides the compressor!)  This picture was taken pre-white backsplash, which is now all white and beautiful.  What to do, what to do . . .


I settled on an idea that appears to be a trend in the making: very dark colored window sashes.  I could easily find myself getting carried away with the idea of dark window sashes.  I've painted windows, trim and all, bright colors in the past with great results.  We're all familiar with the impact a lively accent wall will create in a room, and if I had a place to hang a gigantic piece of art or cared to have a fussy fabric surrounding the window they would have created a similarly bold color effect.  But my freshly painted Stonecutter window sashes complete the picture with style.


The color continues the line of dark and deliberate color which begins with my sink and creates a vertical swath of drama in the kitchen that's equally as striking as the painted pantry cabinet door.  Mission accomplished.  A great color decision = instant balance and proportion.



More than a trick, using a very strong color to define a singular element or architectural feature is what a designer might call a design device.  If you look around your house there are sure to be at least one or two sleepy features you might like to call attention to with a very deliberate color choice.  Consider the line and proportion of your "thing," keeping in mind that very dark color recedes.  Black, nearly black and all colors with a very low light reflective value will instantly add weight, contrast and strength to a surface or object.  If you worry a very strong color decision could overpower your room (or you!), hang a sheet or a blanket over the area you're considering painting a dark or striking color and live with it for a while.  Your friends will think you're either a little odd, or very clever, while your rooms are draped in color tests.  But your results will speak for themselves once you get the paintbrushes out.

Stay colorful!


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These quick change ideas are my favorites! Great way to jazz up the palette in a room you're not in the mood to tackle the walls in, and it sure was easier (for me) than trying to sew a curtain. :)

So glad you're inspired Toni. Hope you'll share a colorful picture of your door project when you're done

Hi Theresa. You're so right. Makes you think we might do well to find a spot for a sofa in there and really call it done!

Great idea...easy with a big payoff.

What a difference it made by painting the window!!!! Wow! I'm painting my front door today!!!

Lu nice job on the kitchen. I love the end result. I can never get our guests and family out of my kitchen so it had better look good! Right?

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