Options for Painting the Kitchen
Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update your kitchen, but if you're not an experienced painter, it can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to painting kitchens.
When it comes to the kitchen, unless you're up for a major project and a big expense, you're pretty much stuck with your layout and appliances, explains Dona Rosene, ASID, the owner of Dona Rosene Interiors in Dallas, Texas. "If you have windows that you can put fabric on," she notes "it softens and finishes the kitchen in a really nice way." In terms of fabric selection, Rosene says a pattern is the best way to make a big impact and tie things together. For short windows like these, go for a valance that's about 15 to 18 inches long. Hang the treatment above the window so that it just covers the top molding — this visually elongates the window.
While the saying "If you've got it, flaunt it," isn't typically used regarding kitchens, the sentiment is true. If you're lucky enough to have a breakfast nook, do what San Francisco interior designer Cristin Bisbee Priest of Simplified Bee did and call attention to it. "I wanted this space to have an impact," explains Priest. In order to set the space apart from the kitchen but still have the two flow together, she chose a wallpaper in one of the accent colors used in the kitchen. Whenever you paper a room, the wallpaper has to be the launching point for the rest of the design choices, so choose a paper with fresh contrast and a bold motif, she advises.
We're not pretending that this stunning kitchen designed by Lucy Earl co-owner of the Michigan design firm Jones Keena & Co is anything other than the highest end, but the pairing of elegant white cabinetry with vintage-inspired hardware is a lesson any homeowner can learn. "When the hardware is as big as this," explains Earl, "it becomes an important detail." The long polished nickel handles add a dramatic and glamorous touch to the kitchen. "We were going for a 1920s icebox look," notes Earl when discussing her choice of cabinet hardware from Christopher Peacock, "you can get a similar feeling by buying the small latch hardware they used in the 1920s," she adds.
Finding yourself with a large kitchen is hardly something to complain about, that is, unless you really want to tile around the range but the cost to do so is prohibitive. That's the situation that Karla Barton, founder and president of McBurnery Junction in Langley, British Columbia, found herself in when designing the kitchen above. "We chose to wallpaper around the range because it was a money-saving idea," she explains. By choosing a "bossy" pattern, Barton was able to keep the rest of the enclosure simple, including the millwork and trim. Barton's best advice for pulling this off yourself: Let the wallpaper be the focal point and choose a soft barely there wall color.
Painted window mullions: Well if this isn't the most straightforward idea that we'd never have thought of ourselves! "It's a good trick," explains New York designer Katie Ridder, "to add a little color without painting the entire kitchen." The punch of green gives the kitchen architectural structure and defines the space, she adds. The same technique works with a lighter color, such as a dove gray, and has a more subtle effect — you can tell the window frame is a different color but it doesn't jump out at you in the same way. Ideally you should paint trim with an oil-based paint, but if you live in a state where oil paints aren't available, Ridder recommends Benjamin Moore's Satin Impervo line and, of course, always test the color out first before painting all of the mullions.
You'd never guess it but on the wall behind this chicly painted Union Jack motif is a tile backsplash. "We were stuck with a narrow and dark space and we wanted to brighten it up," Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design says of the kitchen pantry she and Tinsley Hutson-Wiley designed for the 2012 San Francisco Decorators' Showcase. The designers decided to use the flag design on the wall as a way to expand the space and draw the eye up. "The hardest part," explains Hutson-Wiley, "was mapping out the dimension of the Union Jack. It's slightly distorted to account for the space being more of a square than a rectangle." To create the plank look for the wall, eight sheets of high-grade oak finish plywood were sawed into 6-inch boards and nailed to the wall. Then, a combination of paints and stains were applied to complete the design.
The right lighting, like the pendants that Tobi Fairley chose for this kitchen, can help to unify different elements in the room. "I chose [these lights] because they add an unexpected industrial element to the kitchen," notes Fairley. "They are showstoppers, yet they are balanced by the very soft color palette and traditional architecture." The pendants also visually draw together the coffered ceilings and kitchen island. To update your own kitchen lighting, look for something with a bit of contrast. As Fairley puts it: It's the contrast that makes a room more dynamic and visually exciting.
Skip boring white and add some pizzazz to your kitchen with a colored tile backsplash. "We knew that the client wanted to have black countertops," says Los Angeles-based architect William Hefner of his kitchen design above, "and we thought that white tile would be too stark of a contrast. The colored tile helps to give the kitchen character and was chosen to be soothing and not so strong that the homeowner would tire of it quickly." To pick a tile that will work for your kitchen, think of an overall feeling that the room is part of, advises Hefner, and choose a color that will compliment. In a room that doesn't get a lot of light, Hefner suggests choosing a tile with a glossy surface that will bounce the light around. And most importantly, he says, select a color you really love and can live with and enjoy for many years to come.
Sometimes a fast update can actually take the form of an artifact from the past, as was the case in this kitchen designed by Harry Bates a partner at Bates Masi Architecture in Sag Harbor, NY, in which a center island was sided with reclaimed wood. "Aged patinated wood," explains Bates, "has a character and history that is not easily obtained through stains and paints. It brings a warmth to the room and compliments the other material selections throughout the house." When looking for reclaimed wood, Jim Morgan, owner of Tall Cotton Supply, advises to "go see the pile of wood in its entirety before you sign off on it — don't just buy it off one sample piece." Working with the wood can be tricky too. "Don't just spring it on your installer that you'll be using reclaimed wood," he says, "discuss it ahead of time and make sure your installer has experience working with old wood."
Stencil It In
Not-so-perfect floors are easy to hide with area or scatter rugs but for a really fresh looking update, stencil on a bold motif. "This kitchen was part of a whole house remodel," explains Laura Zeck founder of Zinc Interior Concepts, a Seattle-based design collective. "We used a bold flower motif wallpaper in the adjacent hall and we wanted to echo that by using a large pattern in the kitchen. The floor was the perfect area since the original fir floors had some damage and were being refinished anyway." Zeck found an inspiration image online and with a little Photoshop magic and then a trip to Kinkos to print it out on YUPO (a plastic-like paper sold at art supply stores) she had a custom stencil for the floor. To stencil your own floors, sand them first then apply two coats of finish. When the finish is set, paint on the stencil and then apply a final coat of finish when the paint has thoroughly dried. Because scale can be hard to get right, Zeck suggests getting several sizes of stencils and laying them out on the floor to see which one works best before starting any painting.
If you're armed with the proper materials and a lot of patience, it can even be a manageable experience.
First, you'll need to select one or a few colors for your kitchen. Popular kitchen paint colors include yellow, red, blue, white, green and gray. Yellow is a sunny shade that can brighten a dark room while red is intense; both are believed to stimulate the appetite. If you prefer a more serene space, consider blue, white, green and gray.
You'll also need to select the proper finish. Flat paint can make walls look very smooth and elegant, but since it's not easy to clean, this finish doesn't work well in kitchens. Instead, opt for an eggshell or semi-gloss finish; both of these are scrubbable, an important trait when it comes to kitchens.
Once you've figured out the colors and finishes you plan to use, it's time to start gathering all your materials. To paint your kitchen, you'll need painter's tape, rollers, brushes for each color if you're using more than one, paint trays, plastic tarps to protect your appliances and floors, and paint.
Prepare your walls with painter's tape before you begin painting. This is a long, tedious process, but it's a necessary one if you want to have even lines throughout your kitchen. Use the tape as a frame for the area you're painting. That way, if you go beyond the tape (and you will), you'll be painting over tape instead of creating uneven lines. Make sure to apply the tape to doors, window frames and moldings that won't be painted as well. Do not use masking tape; it can dry out quickly and be difficult to remove.
Before you begin painting your kitchen, it's important to clear off your countertops. You'll also want to cover your floor, appliances and cabinets with plastic so the paint doesn't drip on anything. In addition, you should clean your kitchen walls before painting them to remove any food or grease that has collected over time. Wipe down moldings and windowsills as well.
To ensure your paint colors really adhere to your walls, you'll need to prime them. You may want to use a tinted primer to reduce the number of coats of paint needed. Once you've finished priming, you can paint all of the trim throughout the room. Many experts also believe it's important to "cut in" when painting in order to ensure clean lines at the corners and edges. Once you've finished cutting in, you can begin painting your ceiling. It's best to use a roller with an extension pole and to move the paint quickly in one direction to ensure a smooth finish. Once you've completed the ceiling, you can move on to the walls.
As soon as the paint feels dry to the touch, peel off the painter's tape slowly. You may need to score along the edge of the tape to prevent it from accidentally pulling up any nearby paint.
After the painter's tape is off, you can finally sit back and enjoy your hard work!
- Painting Kitchen Appliances
- Paint Colors for Small Kitchens
- Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets
- Painting Kitchen Walls
- Painting Kitchen Backsplashes
- How to Paint Color-Blocked Canisters