Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kitchen Brainstorming - HELP!

I'm having a really difficult time making a decision about paint colors for the kitchen.  Seth and I certainly can't afford our dream kitchen right now as this would include new cabinets, new countertops, a new floor, all new stainless appliances, you get the picture.  And besides all of that, the major issue is the current kitchen layout.  I'm pretty sure it would need some tweaking for functional reasons and to accommodate larger appliances (and changing a kitchen layout costs some serious dough).  Apparently everything is larger now.  Our fridge is tiny compared to newer models and I'm pretty sure they don't even make wall ovens as narrow as the one we currently have (I can only put a cookie sheet in it one way).

Also, we may try to move the laundry out of the kitchen one day which would definitely require a new layout.

I just had to include this picture of the washer and dryer that came with the house.  Isn't that dryer amazing?  It was the most inefficient energy sucker, but it did its job.  I kinda felt like it should be in a museum somewhere (yes, yes...I am spoiled and used to newer dryers).

We used it a few times after moving in before we purchased our new washer/dryer set.  I had been using an LG front loader washer and matching dryer for the past 3 years (a generous present from my parents when I graduated from vet school) but the buyers of our house asked for the washer/dryer to convey when they made their offer.  So, we settled on a "price" for them (by increasing our counter offer) and they were willing to pay it to keep them in the house.  So, we sadly left Henry and Henrietta behind.  (Yes - I had named my washer and dryer.  I'm weird like that.)  We now have the Maytag Bravos XL set which I absolutely love and recommend (I hope it doesn't break down after I post this).  Lowe's was having a 10% off appliance sale and I had a 20% off coupon that we could apply on top of that - woohoo!  I've found that I much prefer the top loader design.  My back is in much better shape now and there is no fighting the mildew that builds up around that rubber piece in the front loaders.  Anyway, back to the kitchen brainstorming.

Bottom line is that knocking down walls and cabinets and reconfiguring our kitchen ($$$) is going to have to wait.  For the short term (to hopefully last us about 5 years), we want to:

  • paint the cabinets
  • update the cabinet hardware
  • paint the walls
  • purchase some super cheap peel and stick vinyl flooring
  • say goodbye to the fluorescent light over the sink and install a pendant

As much as I would love to get rid of our laminate counters, it just isn't worth the expense for our short term update (even Ikea butcher block would cost us over $400 - trust me, I measured and would it really be worth it to buy nicer laminate?).  Ditto for our current almond colored fridge.  The fridge has some issues: it's small, it has a mild odor, the ice it makes doesn't taste quite right, there is scotch tape on one door handle (we aren't quite sure why but I'm hesitant to remove it), and the fruit and veggie bins do not slide in and out without a fight.  BUT, purchasing a new one would involve removing cabinets and enlarging the opening for the fridge.

The recessed area for the fridge actually backs into the living room a bit (see the orange rectangle in pic below) so if we purchased a larger fridge we would somehow have to reconfigure the built-ins in the living room.  That is a bit out of our comfort zone for right now.  So, we will live with the fridge until we get some expert advice and help or until it dies and we're forced to purchase a new one.

Thankfully, the dishwasher is a standard size (yay!!!).  I constantly have my eye out for a cheap stainless version and make a point to walk through the appliance clearance section at Lowe's when I'm there.  But we are in no rush to purchase a new one since ours works well (despite part of the lower rack being rusted out - haha).  So, I will hold out for a great deal as long as I can.  

Enough about our kitchen and what doesn't work for us.  On to more exciting things like choosing a paint color for the cabinets.  There are a couple of factors to consider.  The new cabinet color needs to look good next to our almond colored dishwasher and fridge, our black wall oven, and also next to our new white washer and dryer (named Wanda and Walter in case you were wondering).  It should be something we can live with for the next 5 years.  Really, that is about it.  

Now, I L.O.V.E white kitchens like these.

I have dreamt of white kitchen cabinets for years.  The light, airy feel is so refreshing and clean-looking (and shouldn't a kitchen be clean?).  Naturally, I wanted to paint the cabinets white...until I reminded myself that a stainless fridge and dishwasher might not be happening for awhile.  And I do NOT think that white cabinets and almond appliances look good next to each other.  So, white was out.  :(  On to the other colors of the rainbow.  
  • Red?  I'm just not a huge fan of it.  It's slowly growing on me as I age, but I'm not sure I could handle it on all of the cabinets.  
  • Orange?  Maybe.  But not UT orange.  Still possibly a bit bold.
  • Yellow?  Nah.
  • Green?  The sesame color from the office?  Maybe.
  • Blue?  Maybe.  Would navy be too dark?  Maybe one shade lighter or one shade darker than the dining room?
  • Purple?  Um, probably not.
  • Gray?  Same as white - I don't think it would look good with the almond appliances.

Here is some eye candy for inspiration.  (All images are from

I am also toying with the idea of doing two cabinet colors: the upper cabinets in white and the base cabinets in one of the other fun colors above.  I'm having trouble figuring out how to "divide them up" between the two colors though because of the wall oven (I don't know how you would pick a place to "stop" each color since the wall oven is surrounded by trim that connects the upper and lower cabinets), the cabinets around the fridge (because they should probably be all one color), and the cabinets above the washer/dryer (because they are on the same wall as the fridge).  I think I would paint the base cabinets, the cabinets surrounding the wall oven, and the cabinets surrounding the fridge the fun color and paint the upper cabinets white.  I am just not sure what to do with the cabinets above the washer/dryer.  Since they are on the same wall as the fridge should they all be the same color?  But they are also uppers so maybe they should be white?  I have no idea.  This is one reason I'm not sure two cabinet colors would work in our kitchen.  Here are some pics to give you an idea of the layout and how I might divvy them up.

The cabinets with the green box around them would be the only white ones in the kitchen.

The fridge is on the wall opposite the sink (seen in the previous photo).   

The washer and dryer are on the same wall as the fridge separated only by the door to the living room.

Now I need your feedback.  I want to hear your cabinet color suggestions and your opinions about painting the cabinets all one color or two different colors.  And if two different colors, how would you decide which ones to paint which color?  Here are the rest of the colors in the house so far to remind you and help with the brainstorming.

After the cabinet color decision will come the wall color decision.  I think I might be reaching my paint color decision limit.  The whole house might end up gray or tan if you don't help me out.  :)  


  1. I saw this solution for countertops on Pinterest after reading the blog and thought of you. Not sure if it's something you'd be interested in, but it's an idea! Click on picture #6

    1. Interesting, Heather. I'll have to look into it - thanks!

  2. I really like that blue/grey color in the last idea picture. I also love the color you used in the dining room. But I know you are only wanting so many colors, and I didn't know if you would want to repeat that color in kitchen, if it is really close to the dining room. I am partial to the cool colors of blue and green as well. So I am really liking your paint choices so far.
    I would go with the upper cabinets white, and lowers color- like you have it- if you decide to split them up. I have a picture I am going to e-mail you, from a magazine I was looking through the today at Lowe's. It is a kitchen where the cabinets are different colors, one color upper- white and lower is a blue/grayish, with the wall color behind the white cabinets being a light yellowy green. Didn't know if there was actually wall space around them or not, if if the cabinets completely covered the walls.

    1. Thanks, Halie! We are actually leaning towards using the next (darker) color on the dining room wall color paint card. It'll be darker than that last picture, but then we'll go light on the walls. I'm still not sure about white uppers. I think Seth would prefer that all the cabinets be the same color so we'll see. Are you talking about in the Lowe's creative ideas magazing? I just saw that when we were in the store the other day and thought it looked great! :) It would fit in our color scheme perfectly, too. Something to think about for sure. I'll let you know when we take the plunge and start painting.

    2. Yeah, it was that Lowe's idea magazine. I just picked it up off of the end of an aisle. I should have figured being the professional Lowe's shopper that you already saw it. Can't wait to see what ya'll decide!


Thoughts, ideas, suggestions...