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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help blending kitchen and livingrroom

twallacetcbNovember 15, 2012
I want to change the colour scheme of my livingroom and kitchen. I would like the two spaces to blend. Getting new cupboards is an option and changing the lighting as well. I have a lot of darker furniture as you can see. Black hutch is not staying. My house is very old and has many older features, like the oversized barn door inspired doors. Building in a new frame and replacing doors is something we would like to do as well. I like the contemporary look and need advice on what colours to use to compliment the furniture,what colour for flooring and cupboards and what kind of lighting. Thanks so much.
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Okay. It's late so I'm going to laser some suggestions. FOrgive me if I sound blunt.

To begin with, all the spaces look incredibly cluttered. There's papers, knick-nacks, laptop, "stuff" everywhere. There's a water dispenser in the living room (or is that the kitchen?). Kitchen counters are cluttered to the point of chaos. Take it all down. Pack it up. Once you've done that, take a long time to look at the space.

Kitchen: THere's a lot of wasted space above those cabinets, and the space below them is restrictively narrow. If you're going to get new upper cabinets, have them go to the ceiling. Paint the inside of the cabinets and have some fitted with glass doors. I don't like where the fridge is, and the door opens the wrong way. It's hard to tell what's going on with your kitchen. Is that a mirror to the right of the sink? WIndow? With all the clutter, I can't tell.

Until you get it cleared out, it won't matter what you do, it won't look any better or be contemporary. Contemporary is highly simple, plain, smooth, uncluttered, organized. Painting it won't help unless you let go of chaos. It will just be a different color of chaos.

What colors do you love? Find a tone/shade that you like, that works with your furniture, and use it in both rooms, perhaps the kitchen a lighter or darker tone. Remove the chair rail. Get a rug to anchor the living room and the furniture. The rug under the dining table is too small. Use only one sofa or loveseat and one chair. There's too much furniture lining hte walls. The chair can float. Draw the floor plan and arrange the furniture on paper as many ways as you can before you move it physically. Saves on the back.

Can't tell what's going on with that ceiling fixture, but don't depend on that for your lighting. Ceiling fixtures no longer function as light but as decorative additions to the overall decor. If it isn't in a good location, remove it altogether. Coffee table is good, but you need at least one end table with a lamp. Floor lamps are handy where there's no table.

Art is hung too high. It should be eye level when you're sitting down. There's an ideabook that houzz did about hanging art. Search it out.

You have a lot of work to do before beginning. Declutter and take more photos. Repost them and it will be easier to tell what can be done. Good luck!
5 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:43PM
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I wasn't looking for a critique on my cleanliness i was simply looking for some advice on color that would compliment my furniture and blend the two spaces. Not entirely sure how insulting me was supposed to help. Forget it!
4 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:08PM
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I'm assuming this is your house and you actually live there! I have paper too unless the in-laws are coming over. You must be normal! What about an arch between the rooms? That might soften the transition. I have a similar set up with my dining room but no arch...it goes from tile to carpet which separates the rooms. Please don't mind the magazine my husband left on the table....
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Aggie Purvinska
The reddish color you have on the walls in the kitchen is not bad, paint the entire kitchen in it, I think if you continued in the living room with a color that is the same tonality and maybe a slightly different hue, but still in the reddish brown family, you could really pull the two rooms together. What's breaking things up more is the white chair rail, I suggest painting it the wall color right now. The rooms could also benefit from a large crown. Get rid of the green altogether except if you wanna keep it for accents,

This is the color I would pick for the living room,[houzz=
brownberry CSP-1125 · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:27PM
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As for colors my sister taught me a trick...pick a color you like from a paint store strip and paint the dining area that and then the kitchen lighter and the living room darker from the same paint strip. They will all compliment and when you look from one area to the next it's an amazing effect.
3 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:28PM
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All that observation is really meant to be contructive criticism. Many, many people comment on the clutter in the rooms. Please don't take it personally. The comment are meant to help. You don't notice the clutter, but it effects the way the space looks and functions.

Aside from the clutter, inkwitch gave some good advice.

You have a large space for your kitchen, but the layout looks bad. Are you planing on redoing the entire kitchen? I would start with laying out a new kitchen and decide what cabinets you want. I can see these in the space:
Black Kitchen Cabinets | Dayton Door Style | CliqStudios · More Info
Richens Designs - Residential: Kitchen Design · More Info
I like the light wood floor to go from your kitchen and dining area right into the living area. I also like the colors on the wall of the second kitchen.

How about some more photos just of the kitchen?
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Manon Floreat
I like the green color in your living room and how it looks with your furniture. You could think about that same color with a bit more grey in it if you're looking for a change.

You have an open concept lving/kitchen/dining space. What will blend the spaces together the most is having the flooring material be the same through out as well as the trim. It may not be in budget, but it's something to think about for the future. The below photo is a good example of how well consistent flooring works in open concept spaces. Note how the white trim lends a crisp and classic touch.

Converted Carriage House · More Info

Converted Carriage House · More Info

I agree with Aggie, that the chair rail could be addressed for a more seamless look. I'd even consider white cabinets and trim throughout. Oh, one more thing - the drum chandeliers have a nice clean look you might like.

Turning Pendant, White/Natural · More Info

Keep us posted of what you decide to do. Enjoy!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I apologize. No insult intended. People live in different ways, but it's hard to offer suggestions when I can't see the room. Mea culpa.
    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:44AM
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Vintage Uniques
Firstly let me say its your home not a show room and its nice to see a lived in house with real stuff about! I think that you do not need new cupboards or need to get rid of the hutch just paint them a nice soft cream it will fill the house with light. I have just done my old oak units in Annie Sloan chalk paint and its given a new life to it. So for little cost you could paint units, the hutch and pick out a few more items such as tv unit to give a soft look to all the dark furniture and tie it all in together. On my fb page (vintage uniques - painted furniture) there are pics of my kitchen and if you want to give it a go and need some tips then just inbox me and I'll help you along the way.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:02AM
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There was a good suggestion from reginacpa above. Choose a color you love and use the color strip it came from to paint all of the space. If removing the chair rail and making repairs after removal is not something you're interested in, then use the darkest color on the strip for the wainscot. Move up to the middle shade on the strip and paint above the chair rail, and then take two or more steps further into the light end of the strip for the kitchen. Consider removing the crown molding from the top of your cabinetry and installing lighted cabinets with glass doors on top of all of them. I would paint them all white to match your trim, since the entire space is already trimmed out that way and they can all be seen from the living room. You might think about reducing the size of the opening between the rooms, so you don't look straight into the kitchen/dining area from the living room. A couple of ideas on that are below. One is to put a ventless fireplace in the opening so you have a focal point. Of course you'd have to do it in scale with your space.
Kitchen 005 · More Info

Crisp Architects · More Info

Great Neighborhood Homes · More Info

Dining Room · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:14AM
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I refinish and re-purpose antique and vintage furniture/collectibles( Vintage Uniques i will be in touch) and i often have finished pieces temp in my home so buyers can see them in the right setting so some of those pieces in the kitchen won't be there. I have a fairly good idea of what i need to do to achieve a Contemporary look. My home was built in 1860 and so when we renovate we often run into all sorts of structural/ old material issues but i believe and after reading many of your suggestions, replacing the cupboards is my best option. Thank you for all for your advice. I will take it all into consideration. Removing chair rail or painting it is something i didn't think of and it totally makes sense. You have given me so many wonderful new possibilities to think about and i'm really feeling inspired now. I'm a busy mom with 3 teenagers and keeping a home devoid of clutter and chaos is virtually impossible and to be honest it has kinda grown on me but a little makeover here and there doesn't hurt anyone right!! At least that's what i tell my husband ;)
1 Like    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:19AM
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Sherry Mau
I actually like some of the complaints you had mentioned such as the barn inspired doors, cabinets, hutch, etc. I would just DIY it up by painting and such. As far as wall color, over at Tealandlime.com she suggested using the Martha Stewart living paint line at Home Depot. the paint chips have color key symbols in the right hand corner that you just match up, start with one color that you like and look for the same symbol on other colors and apparently they all compliment each other.(seems like a good idea and simple to do.)

My suggestion for you is to use the "contemporary" style as a template but pick out colors and decor that you like to make it work. I tried to make my house "modern" but ended up more eclectic because of budget, lack of items in my area, etc. but you know what? I love the way my house turned out because i picked things that I liked not because it was "modern." Good luck with your decorating, and post pics of your progress.
    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:42AM
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I actually LOVE your barn doors and have always thought 'rustic' and 'contemporary' are two styles that blend together beautifully.

Your windows and doors have large, clean-lined trim around them, which I think is great for a rustic/contemporary style. Look at the photos below, they are all a blend of contemporary with rustic elements. If you like this, you could easily achieve it:

I would remove your crown and chair rail moulding completely. Replace your base boards with 6-8" trim that is the same clean lines as your window / doors.
I would paint the walls a soft white (but contrasting with the white trim), or a very light neutral like BM Revere Pewter or BM Apparition.
You could put vintage hardware on your barn doors that is black if you have enough contemporary elements to suit you, or you could us contemporary SS hardware (I personally love the vintage you have, just darker)
Kitchen cabinets could be white shaker style or flat panel.
Countertops could be soapstone, concrete, solid surface, SS, wood, even "oiled soapstone" or concrete-look formica if the others aren't in the budget (see a photo below of "oiled soapstone" formica). Just keep the edges clean.
Matte black, ORB or SS hardware and fixtures can accessorize and warm up all the white
Your backsplash can be subway with contrasting grout for warmth as well as a potential opportunity for additional color (white with gray grout, bone with white grout, bray/blue with white grout, etc), or whatever speaks to you in inspiration pics you find
Not sure what your floor is now, but hardwood would be ideal IMO, or you could do concrete in the kichen and hardwood in living area
And with your talent, you could distress your kitchen table, paint your chairs (black, dark brown, white).
I would change out the living room furniture for some super affordable white-slipcovered Ikea seating, and use some distressed pieces (a bench?) for a coffee table.

Main Cabin · More Info
My Houzz: Contemporary Country Style in the Netherlands · More Info
    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:03PM
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