If you choose a light paint for walls or cabinetry, select a dark floor stain to up the cozy factor of the room. Mix one-half Ebony and one-half Jacobean from Minwax.
Bonus idea: The addition of furniture-like “feet” gives cabinetry a softer, more custom feel.
Think Beyond “Greige”
Gray undertones lend a timeless, totally livable vibe to most paint colors — not just beige — whether it’s a sophisticated blue-gray seen in this photo (Oyster Bay by Sherwin-Williams), or a purple-gray (like Grayish by Sherwin-Williams )and green-gray (like Dry Sage by Benjamin Moore).
Heavy Up the Metal
The open shelving trend isn’t going anywhere and in a kitchen void of upper cabinetry, the hood is inevitably the centerpiece. Dress it accordingly! Copper sheeting, with coordinating straps and rivets, adds age-old warmth.
Design from the Ground Up
Rugs, however durable, aren’t practical for a heavy-use kitchen. Enter statement floor tile. It’s a more subtle way to add impact than, say, a bold eye-level backsplash.
Bonus idea: Tired of the same old subway tile? This on-trend square shape has a charming shingle-like effect.
Pecky Cypress Finishes
If you can’t get enough of the reclaimed-wood look, here are two words you’ll be hearing a lot: pecky cypress. Seen here on the hood and island, it’s a type of wood that has a grainy texture thanks to long, narrow burrows or cavities.
Bonus idea: From boxy appliances and islands to linear shelves, kitchens tend to have a lot of straight lines. Soften the room with orb lights.
Look Across the Pond
The (addictive!) Instagram feed of Britain’s deVOL kitchens (@devolkitchens) offers an endless stream of age-old, English inspiration, from decorative “spot cutouts” to painted wooden knobs. Take a cue from the kitchen experts and hide modern appliances such as microwaves in cabinetry that runs flush with the countertops.
Bonus idea: Hide modern appliances such as microwaves in cabinetry that runs flush with the countertops
Embrace Black Appliances
Plain old stainless steel has its merits, but in a small kitchen, a giant swath of silvery metal can quickly dominate the room. Appliance manufacturers such as GE, Samsung, and Whirlpool have wised up to this dilemma, introducing refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves in sophisticated shades of black and slate. We’re particularly fond of the new LG “Black Stainless Steel” series, a collaboration with designer Nate Berkus.
Now, Get Decorating!
The kitchen is the most utilitarian room in the house, which is why you obsess over the appliances, the backsplash, the sink…but it’s also the heart of the home. Subtle touches such as slipcovers, decorative hardware, and prized collections serve up a little softness.
Bonus idea: Save the top shelf for precious collectibles and leave the lower ones to everyday items.