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Design Recipe for Kitchen Color
Designing Dilemmas May 2007 - Second Edition

Recipe for Kitchen Color

Dear Debbie: I am in need of paint color advice. We are remodeling our kitchen. We will now have" Champagne Maple" cabinets with a black glaze. Molding and bead board will be black. Appliances are cream. Countertops will be black granite with splash of tan and light. Help! I need a wall color and window and door trim color. I am at a loss to figure out how to bring in another color. Pam

Dear Pam: The best way to add in more color in your kitchen is to choose what you love. What's in your clothes closet? Take a quick inventory of color to zero in on the one or two that you really love to use over and over again. With such a consistent two-color palette in black and cream, you really need to mix it up. If you're stumped, I would recommend using a green or terracotta to add depth, contrast and warmth. The following are some great Benjamin Moore colors to consider:

  1. Tea Light 471
  2. Par Four 470
  3. Spiced Apple Cider 1201
  4. Baked Terra Cotta 1202

Go shopping for new kitchen gadgets too! You'll see small countertop appliances and coffee makers in aqua, gold, blue and red. Perhaps choosing some new kitchen items will help you narrow down your color choice. Whichever paint color you finally choose, repeat it in your accessories, dish towels, artwork and any fabric you may add as a window valance or chair cushion. For the trim, continue the off-white/cream.

Step up Home Safety with Step Downs

Dear Debbie: I have a 70's style living room. When people come into the rather large foyer (large by 70's standards) the living room is off the foyer and you must take one step down into it and then one step up into the dining room. People are constantly missing the step. Any ideas about what to do? Mara

Dear Mara: Step down living rooms sound great in theory, but wherever you just have one step, people are bound to trip. It's hard to perceive the one step down and short of adding a neon warning sign, here are options for calling attention to your flooring transition.

  1. Change the hardwood, rug or carpeting in the living room to create a strong contrast from the elevated flooring and call attention to the step down. The sunken living room floor should stand out to help make the step down automatic.
  2. Depending on the style of the home and your furnishings, add a pair of columns in the opening of the foyer and the dining room areas. This will distinguish the living room from other spaces without closing it in. The base of the column should be on top of the step. You can use round or squared-off columns in drywall or in wood moulding.
  3. Add a short railing on the right and left side of each step down. Whether you do it in wood or metal, a visible railing will call attention to the step and serve a functional as well as decorative role in the room.
  4. Last but not least, add recessed safety lights in the drywall flanking the step down. These small rectangular recessed lights are made just for this purpose. Resembling a traditional heat/ac wall vent, they are subtle, with louvers to focus the light and your attention on the step. Clearly, they work best at night and can also function as overnight security lighting if set on a timer switch.

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