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How to Decorate a Warm, Stylish Kitchen

Updated on December 7, 2012
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A Kitchen to Last Through the Years- Go with White

I've built new homes and renovated many houses over the years- seven homes to be exact. I have found that white lacquered cabinets go with everything, and transcend any trend. They fit well within historic homes (unless the house woodwork was never painted) and go back with many colors on the walls, as well as granite or marble colors. Of late, there is a trend of going with "White Ice" on the appliances, rather than stainless steel. It hasn't yet reared its ugly head down here in the tasteful South. Better to cover up your appliances with hidden panels or just keep the stainless steel look. I'm not a fan.

While some families may prefer warm wood-stained brown cabinets for their ability to hide nicks and dings, with a little care most families can have the white lacquered cabinets without mishap. I am not a fan of pickled cabinets or of glazed cabinets. These are trends that will fade away in time, if they are even popular. I am not much of a fan of painted color finishes, either, but I feel less intense about this design choice than the prior two. I do like a black or a grey stain, though. If you want stained cabinets, please, please, PLEASE really research your stain and the artist doing it. Most stains you love in the magazine have been worked on for many hours to get that rich, brown color. Also, I believe the granite choice is pretty limiting if you decide on stained cabinets. I truly believe those "in your face" granites like Baltic Brown are going to be the first to look dated. Go with something more subtle; you'll be happier with it for longer and it will appeal to more people should you have to sell your home.

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Countertop Considerations

There is a reason you are seeing white Carrera marble in all the kitchen magazines. It's timeless and classic, and no granite stone type can get anywhere near it. If you are an extremely messy person, by all means, go with granite, but there is a sealer that can keep the smaller oil molecules out with a little care. However, you will have to decide for yourself if you are okay with a little ruining of the marble here and there. You will have to choose between honed (a matte finish with no shine) or a shiny finish. If you choose shiny, keep in mind that acids such as cutting lemons will wear it right away. White Carrera marble will match back to pretty much any wall color you can think of. If you like a darker color for your granite color, consider Venetian Gold. It's not too dark and goes back well to darker wall colors, like browns and greys.

With any granite/marble countertop company, be careful where you put your deposit money. Here in Alabama, they go out of business every week. Don't pay the deposit too far ahead.

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Wall Paint Colors

I say start with the cabinets first, then the countertops, THEN the paint. Some might say start with the paint. I am not a fan of wallpaper. When I first started out as a young bride, I spent much time finding the perfect wallpaper to go all over my house. I will never wallpaper anything again, unless it is a small room. Paint is just so much easier.

Paint colors are vast. You may love peach, but if it's not the color du jour (and it isn't), you will have a very hard time finding compatible fabrics for your curtains or any other fabrics you bring in. To decide what color you should go for, look at magazines and also go to a couple of large fabric vendors. Go to fabric places that make custom curtains, not like a Hancock fabrics type of place. They can also come to your house and measure windows for a very small fee ($50 or under) and suggest patterns. I find that I can easily visualize at the fabric store what colors are in. Right now, chocolate brown has been ruling the color waves for many years, as well as that beautiful spa blue, a pale blue. Various shades of grey are beginning to make inroads now, but if it brings you down a bit, consider pairing it with sunny yellow. However, deep chocolate brown goes with so many ready made items you can find in all the big box stores.

If you have a hard time deciding, look at Pottery Barn's hand-picked colors from Benjamin Moore. If all else fails, make it all white, even the walls. We have had a good 15 years of HGTV telling EVERYONE to paint their white walls any color their heart desires...it was only a matter of time before color backlash would start.

The Art of Arranging

Sample of White Plates Arranged

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Accessorize with White & Rich Rugs

An easy decor trick is to begin looking for large white serving pieces, like soup tureens, gravy boats, or pitchers, to accessorize the tops of your cabinets or countertops. I found most of mine at a huge discount at Tuesday Morning or T.J. Maxx. I like to look for white ones with detail to them. If you have stainless steel accents, buy large, shiny pewter serving pieces as well. Consider using vintage looking bin pulls for your drawer pulls. Finally, if you need something for a large wall space, use white plates in groupings. It will be less expensive than buying most artwork. Save your pennies for a real oil with gilt frame or several pencil drawings grouped together.

Rugs in deep reds are always right. Look for handmade Oriental rugs in antique shops or on Ebay. Aubusson rugs, which have a finely-done hand-hooked look, lend an easy elegance to your floors.

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I'm a big fan of white in the kitchen. I too like wallpaper but my husband hates it with a capital "H". Your suggestions and photos are helpful and interesting.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • DemiMonde profile image
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      Demi 4 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      No, mine's being redone right now! I will try to post my old ones, when I find them (still unpacking from the move). These are from various Pinterest pics I've collected.

    • mpoche4 profile image

      Michal 4 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Beautiful kitchen! is this yours?