Paint my kitchen!
January 16, 2013 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Not literally. But I'm stuck on picking a color. Special snowflake details inside. (Possible triggers for mental health issues)

Hello beautiful people of AskMefi. Thank you in advance for you help.

Due to a very contentious divorce, a beloved relative with a home business and large pets needed a place to live/work with no notice. I moved in with my parents, and let relative have my home for a year. (Not really a hardship, parents and I get along well. And they were very grateful that I was in a position to help.)

My relative fell into a major depression, culminating in a week of involuntary in-patient treatment, and my home turned into a place that could have starred on "Hoarders".

I had to throw out ninety percent of everything in my home and scrub it down ceiling to floor. I had to buy a new fridge and tear out all the kitchen cabinets. This was traumatic for me. I was redoing it step by step and only when I could afford to pay cash for it.

But it's all been worth it because the relative is doing very well now, is very appreciative of the help I gave and has been helping me fix my home back up.

So, the reason for my question. We've installed a new kitchen and I seem to be having a mental block about picking a paint color and backsplash for it. I'm usually pretty decisive, but cannot seem even narrow down ideas. Also budget is limited as I was still paying mortgage/bills for that year and relative's business has (understandably) not brought in recently what it has in past years. The total for paint and backsplash will hopefully be under $1000.

On to the kitchen:
My kitchen is a galley with a tall 34" wide window at one end and a door to a laundry closet at the end. It is just off the entry and has a pass-through to the dining/living over the stainless sink.
(Dining/living is painted a deep, deep gray with large white baseboards and maple laminate floors.)

The kitchen appliances are black.

The ceiling light looks like an old school light. This, but light gray:

The floor is a black faux-marble tile.

The base cabinets are Ikea Nexxus brown black with white Ikea counter top and stainless sink. (10th from top)

The top cabinets are the Ikea horizontal uppers with frosted glass fronts, also in the Nexxus brown black.

The living room is dark for movie watching. I like things to look neutral, with minimal visual distractions, but not cold. I usually reserve colors for things that can be thrifty to change out, dishes, towels, etc.

posted by 1066 to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of pale yellow for kitchens.

It might contrast nicely with the dark cabinets, too.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:32 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Dulux Water Meadow is a lovely pale green in person or if you want something outside of neutrals, Film Noir!
posted by DarlingBri at 10:36 AM on January 16, 2013

That's a lot of dark... I'd probably go with something like an Ivory for the walls and have Pale Purple or Wine colored accent accessories...
posted by Jacob G at 10:38 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Another vote for a nice buttery pale yellow.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:46 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seems like a very pale gray would be a safe default choice.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:47 AM on January 16, 2013

Since you want to keep things neutral I would suggest a very pale, pearly gray (lighter to not make the galley feel small) and then let your accessories be bright and bold (the towels and dishes, etc that you mentioned) to give pops of color.
posted by midnightstorms at 10:47 AM on January 16, 2013

Benjamin Moore "revere pewter" is a lovely light neutral that a lot of designers and decorators use and suggest. It should work with the cabinets and flow nicely from your living room.

What color are your counters? There are DIY backsplash kits in nice glass mosaics that you could use to tie the counters and cabinets together and maybe add a splash of color.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:50 AM on January 16, 2013

Well, my solution is, if in doubt, go white.

White or cream is also my suggestion because the other aspects of the room sound very dark. You could also potentially go a very subtle dove gray, to tie in with the gray living/dining area.

If the Ikea frosted glass fronts are that sort of blue/grey smoky color I'm thinking of, you should probably go for a colder white or gray rather than a warm taupe or cream. But go pull a bunch of samples and see what looks good in the room.

For "accents", I would probably keep it white, or pick a metal that goes with the room.
posted by Sara C. at 10:51 AM on January 16, 2013

We just painted our kitchen Behr's Bicycle Yellow color (used the kind with paint + primer in one). It is very warm and happy without being 'ouch my eyes' bright.

We have a similar layout -- longer kitchen with window at the end. It helps keep things bright. Our accents are pale green and we used a very dark (almost black) to paint a pipe and a couple of built in doors. Love it.
posted by effigy at 10:57 AM on January 16, 2013

My kitchen seems much the same as yours. Sorta like the Water Meadow linked above, I went with English Meadow, a pale green with a bit of grey to it. It's fresh and clean and it works well with the white and black and grey that was already in there. Changes colour slightly throughout the day, which is nice.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love yellow for kitchens as well.

One way to help decide is to look at your closet. The colors you wear most should be ones you like a lot.
posted by dawkins_7 at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pale yellow. But be careful, yellows can easily turn neon in different light. Yellow is most certainly one of those colors that you pick the one you want and then go one shade lighter. When we say pale, buttery yellow, we mean a very light creamy color that won't hurt your eyes when you turn on the lights.
posted by raisingsand at 11:11 AM on January 16, 2013

I know this is cliché, but I'd suggest Sherwin Williams (Superpaint, if you're looking for a recommendation) "antique white". It's kind of halfway between pale butter yellow and cream-white. Should be an excellent background for other pops of color.

If you like the arts and crafts look/colors, I've also been very happy with their "torchlight" color. It's creamier than gold, darker than yellow, and looks good with darker natural wood. I've trimmed it with "napery", which is an off-white, but more lemony than creamy (and very pale - the color name refers to table linens).
posted by amtho at 11:19 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tip for picking a pale yellow if you go that way - look in the beige section, not the yellow section of the paint chips and pick one with a yellowish tone. It will be much softer and easy on the eyes. Often when people pick yellows from the yellow section it becomes like lemons burning your retinas.
posted by cecic at 11:37 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

We did our downstairs (including the kitchen) in Benjamin Moore's Pebble Beach and really loved it.
posted by dabug at 11:57 AM on January 16, 2013

I'm not sure what the backstory has to do with the actual question. If you meant to include that because you thought you needed to justify your difficulty in selecting paint color somehow, then fret not - I think everyone on the planet has trouble narrowing down paint colors for house projects. (My parents recently remodled their own kitchen, and even though their mental and emotional health is top-notch, and even though my mother was a fine arts major with a concentration in painting to boot, I swear to God that all my mother could talk about for seven months was the comparative merits of various paint colors. Everyone goes through this.)

That being said: if you're looking for neutral-but-not-cold, nthing a warm-ish off-white. Lighter colors can also make a room feel more roomy, which could be a good way to offset things with all the dark paneling.

If you want to look at some actual kitchen ideas, too, have a look at the "inspiring kitchens" entries on the Apartment Therapy collection of websites. They often show off different design/color ideas for actual kitchens that real human beings use, and that can give you some ideas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I like Dunn-Edwards Vanilla Shake. It's a nice warm, bright white.
posted by exceptinsects at 12:10 PM on January 16, 2013

I have painted two kitchens in Glidden's Cool Cucumber. It's almost white, with just enough green to set it off against other white stuff (like the trim and my fridge), so it feels as clean as white, but not as stark.
posted by xingcat at 12:17 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Brown and black, plexi cabinet covers (interior cupboard lights would be nice, as well as under cabinet lights). I like brown with a medium blue, not bright but pretty grayed down. If you like orange, a soft apricot would be warm. I like warm gray/ taupe with most other colors, and it's very calm. The site has some nifty tools.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on January 16, 2013

Work backwards to get your wall color. Do you plan to have a patterned curtain for your kitchen window? Pick a fabric you like and use one of those colors. If no cutain, pick a patterned dish towel you like and use it.
Or, pick up a color from your dining/living room. Since you see into that room from your kitchen, it will feel harmonious.
posted by natasha_k at 12:29 PM on January 16, 2013

My parents hired an interior designer for just this one task. She looked at what they have elsewhere, talked to them about what colours they like etc, then (with their input) chose paint colours for the walls and trim, tile for the backsplash and left them with a couple of options for flooring for when they got around to that in the future. It was totally worth it, the kitchen and dining room looks amazing. It's clearly my parent's taste (my Mum loves purple) but also looks big and airy (when it's really dark and pokey) and is a step up in classiness than they would have come up with on their own. Plus it wasn't expensive at all.
posted by shelleycat at 12:29 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

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