Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

5 Tips for Choosing a Kitchen Color Scheme

by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

We have all seen kitchens whose owners started with good intentions, yet veered off course when it came to the color scheme. Perhaps the bold colors and patterns produced a headache-inducing clash, or the tranquil green oasis ended up more seasick than sea foam. If you are redoing your kitchen or refacing your kitchen cabinets and you want to redo your kitchen color scheme, check out these tips.

Five Tips for a Successful Kitchen Color Scheme

  1. Research design and color wheel basics. Monochromatic, triadic, complementary color schemes--do you know the definitions of these terms, or which you're most likely to want in your kitchen? A color wheel can be a very useful tool if you're not certain which colors are likely to match--and clash.
  2. Reface your cabinets first. Think you're going to want to replace or reface your kitchen cabinets? Do that before you choose a color scheme. If your kitchen is typical, the cabinets take up the most visual space. Choose cabinets and countertops that you like, and build your kitchen color scheme around those. Paint colors should be warm or cool, depending on the tone of your cabinets, to keep the walls from clashing.
  3. Don't use too much or too many. Limit yourself to three basic colors for your kitchen. You could get away with additional colors but they should be subtle shades of the first three. Once you've chosen three basic colors, follow the 60-30-10 rule, which suggests that the primary color should take up approximately 60 percent of the space, the secondary color about 30 percent, and the third is limited to accents.
  4. Don't be too trendy. Color trends change from year to year, so if you don't want a kitchen that needs to be repainted often, choose more timeless colors and let small accents carry the trends.
  5. Find examples and analyze them. The planning stages of your paint job are the best time to leaf through decorating magazine and websites. Tear out pages and print pictures of kitchen color schemes that appeal to you. However, your house is bound to be somewhat different from the magazines. So ask yourself what it is you like about each room. Then figure out whether what appeals to you can be duplicated with your kitchen's lighting, architecture, appliances, and other features. You might not be able to pull off the same look.

Design isn't necessarily easy, but by following some simple suggestions, you're much more likely to end up with a kitchen color scheme that soars rather than falls flat.

About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre

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