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what colour should I paint my open concept home!
kennadysmama
November 27, 2012 in Design Dilemma
My husband and I are really struggling with choosing colours for our open concept main floor. We are getting new countertops next month (they will be a dark Caledonia granite) and now we cant decide what colour to choose for the walls. we want to do an accent wall behind the tv. Some ideas we were considering were "Soho" by Ralph Lauren, but I am afraid it may be too dark for the space. We are really stuggling with choosing a colour that compliments the oak (which we do not love and have decided to keep and live with) Any help would be appreciated.
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pmorganii
Go white or shades of white with earth or grey tones in it...of course contingent you paint those honey cabinets a white shade too...with the dark countertops...this will blast your open concept wide open...best of luck!
November 27, 2012 at 7:50PM     
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PRO
November 27, 2012 at 7:59PM   
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EB Interiors
i think you should brighten up the space with a fresh blue or celery green...
November 27, 2012 at 8:13PM   
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Painting Services By Steve

Look at the colors of the downstairs of this house in the video. Sherwin-Williams colors, entry- Latte, family room-Nomadic Desert, accents in family room- Hopsack, upstairs halls seen from all the rooms-Kilim Beige, rotunda ceiling- Sturdy Brown
November 27, 2012 at 8:27PM   
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Painting Services By Steve
The cabinets don't need to be painted, a white wash faux will work
November 27, 2012 at 8:28PM     
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pmorganii
Not sure you're up for it...but a dark hardwood would be a killer addition
November 27, 2012 at 8:31PM     
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houssaon
I like you choice of Soho, the cabinets will look great with it.
November 27, 2012 at 8:33PM   
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kennadysmama
Here is the actual granite we selected. Sorry, I should have included this photo initially. As for the suggestions so fat, thanks so much. We were hoping to stay in the brown/grey tones for paint, but there are so many hues, shades, brands, etc we are finding it overwhelming. (plus it doesn't help my husband and I are horrible at putting colours together :) ).

As for the cabinets, I couldn't agree more. A darker wood would be so much nicer, but we have made the decision to just work with the oak because the entire house is oak an we felt we would be fighting a loosing battle. This home is a two story home and is oak from top to bottom. We have no carpet in the home, all floors (except small kitchen area and 2 upstairs bathrooms) are oak hardwood, our trim, mantel, cabinets, all interior doors, mouldings and both staircases - all this golden oak. So we are trying to embrace it, but paint colour is one battle we are really struggling with.
November 28, 2012 at 4:08AM     
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EvVie Hargrove
I feel there is already too much brown going on between the two spaces. PLEASE DON'T PAINT THE WALLS ANOTHER SHADE OF BROWN. All the dark colors in the flooring, area rug, and leather seem to weigh down the spaces. I think you should go for something fresh, like a sage or celadon in the family room, and use a shade or two lighter for the kitchen. Then go with some bold colored artwork for the walls in the family room, and bright, cheery accent pieces for the countertops. The tv seems like it's too high up and small for the mantlepiece, and would make you strain your neck to watch it from a sideways position. You may also consider rearranging the furniture. It's unfortunate the tv can't be viewed from the chair.
November 28, 2012 at 4:40AM     
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Shawn Lagemann
If you are trying to embrace the golden oak color of the wood, the paint colors you have chosen have very strong gray undertones. The best way to work with the gold undertones is to compliment the color. Also, the tile on the fireplace has a lot of pink hue to it. I am going to say to look at Sherwin Williams Latte SW6108 and Sherwin Williams Hopsack SW6109. They are a little muddier golden/brown tones to work with the golden oak and tone down the pinkish tone of the tile on the fireplace. I would put in some addtional lighting, change out central fixture, add undercabinet and maybe overcabinet light source, as well as inside lighting in glass cabinet. I'd change out the cabinet hardware to bronze. The addition of a backsplash would make a striking difference. You can use very simple tile with accents of black or bronze, to compliment the granite. The granite does have strong gray undertones, but the brown hues in the paint should pull out the brown in the granite, and the gold tones in the paint should play well with the golden oak.
November 28, 2012 at 4:48AM     
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EvVie Hargrove
Using anymore brown in the spaces would make the woodwork visually fade away and get swallowed up into the space. Step outside of the monochromatic, comfort zone and put a color other than brown/beige/tan on the fireplace wall. I'm all for neutrals, but they can also be in shades of grey mixed with a tinge of green, blue or purple. These walls are not speaking "paint me bold" to me. This is what I did with my bedroom, by incorporating two kinds of purple with a green. I custom mixed the dark purple and the green. I'm not suggesting you use my color choices, but I'm suggesting that you not be afraid to use color - or more than one color.
November 28, 2012 at 4:50AM     
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lizaf
I'm sorry there is just too much oak. You don't have to keep the whole lot! Repaint the fireplace or change those pink tiles for starters. The kitchen could so easily be lacquered and completely lift the whole space. This is one of the main areas of your home - be brave. The new tops you've chosen are Ok but a little dated. They would look more up to date with lighter or even dark cabinets. Evie is right about the TV and those cables and all that brown. Add some duck egg blue ,to soften the chocolate, in a feature wall and patterned cushions perhaps. The pink tiles would have to go.
November 28, 2012 at 5:03AM   
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kennadysmama
EvVie, it is funny that you say "NO MORE BROWN" because that is exactly what my best friend told me (and I consider her to to have a great eye for design.... I guess thats why we are best friends; opposites attract?) :)
And it is also ironic you pointed out that chair in the corner. This is a sticking point our home. That chair (As silly as this is about to sound) is for our dog. lol No one (human) sits in it. When we moved from our old home to this home, we also had a new baby (our first)- leaving the dog having a rough time with the transition. This was "his" old chair from the basement and we brought it to the new home just so he would have some familiarity....6 months later, I am still looking at that chewed up ugly chair! So long story short, we are getting a new piece of furniture in the new year! :)
November 28, 2012 at 5:21AM   
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kennadysmama
EvVie, I also really like the idea of using colour (ps your bedroom colour is beautiful, I love it)- but I think you are exactly right. I am very nervous to step out of the neutrals because I am not confident in my design ability. We were originally thinking a dark red wall behind the tv/fireplace, and I wimped out. But maybe we will go back to discussing something bold, I think that would really be nice.
November 28, 2012 at 5:25AM   
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feeny
kennadysmama,
Just have to say how sweet it is that you've kept your dog's favorite old chair to help him through the transition to a new baby and new home. While I agree it eventually needs replacing, I think that is a lovely gesture and the sign of a devoted pet owner. You have a lucky dog!
November 28, 2012 at 5:28AM     
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tntoolgirl
Try painting a nice shade of burgandy, or a sage green, just depending on your personal preferences. I believe that the color you have chosen will just blend in, and make the whole kitchen look the same. The cabinets are already beautiful, so don't touch them. The good thing about paint is it can be redone easily on the sheetrock, its almost permanent on cabinets. If you paint one wall look and see if that's what you want if not change it up. Be patient, you will find the right color. Good luck.
November 28, 2012 at 5:28AM     
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kennadysmama
Lizaf, I could not agree with you more regarding the pink tiles. When we purchased the home a few months ago, that was the first thing I pointed out to my husband and said "had to go". Only problem is it is more expensive to replace than we can afford right now, so we were looking into alternatives. We found this product called "StoneEffect" - has anyone heard of this? It looks like it would be a great alternative to get rid of the pink tile for now, as we don't want to paint the tile because we feel it would just look like a mess afterwards.
November 28, 2012 at 5:35AM   
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kennadysmama
And ThankYou feeny! :) We consider our dog a very important part of our family...I love him dearly....I just don't love his chair! haha :) But lucky for us my daughter is 6 months now and he has decided he doesn't mind the new addition and is doing much better. Therefore: the chair is on its way out! :)
November 28, 2012 at 5:43AM     
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jherman59
I too have oak cabinets and picked a similar granite - it's the Santa Cecilia light. I also had a difficult time picking out paint colors - and that usually comes easy to me. I chose a Sherwin Williams Aqua Smoke. I was worried it would be too dark - but it looks awesome! I get so many compliments on it and it definitely warms up the space. I painted the living room, dining area and kitchen all the same color. In the first picture I didn't get the top cabinets, but hopefully you can see the color and how it looks against the granite and oak cupboards. Since this picture was taken, I replaced the stove and microwave with stainless/black appliances. I initially painted the kitchen a grey - but against this Aqua Smoke - it looked very dull, so I changed it!
November 28, 2012 at 5:45AM     
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feeny
Wait until your daughter starts dropping (and throwing!) food off of her high chair for the dog to clean up. She is going to be your dog's best friend, and no comfy security-chair needed! Our two dogs are insanely jealous of our teenage son's attention to them. They are willing to share everyone and everything else in the house, but they are completely competitive and possessive about who gets to sit in our son's lap or gets the first cuddle when he comes home from school. I'm going to predict that your dog will soon become convinced that your daughter is his most prized possession. ;-)
November 28, 2012 at 6:40AM     
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njhm
I've heard that Oak does not take paint well so please do not try to paint the cabinets without further research. You can try to stain them a darker color (away from the golden color).

I agree with Evvie Hargrove...No brown tones. Try different shades of whites with grey or green undertones. Dark colors will make the room closed in and claustrophobic.
November 28, 2012 at 6:41AM   
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Kim D
jherman59 your kitchen looks great, I'm curios what color the floor is I can only see a small bit in the first pic.
November 28, 2012 at 6:51AM   
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slewisoh
I feel your pain. When we moved into this house 12 years ago, it was orangy-oak from top to bottom. Cabinets, flooring, bookcases, trim - everything. We too decided to work with the cabinets and wood floors. Some things we learned along the way...

1) The name of the game is eliminating as much surrounding orange as possible so that the cabinets become secondary design elements rather than the dominant design element. Cheapest way to accomplish this is with paint. You might consider:

Painting all of the trim white. We found it was easier to install new, beefier poplar trim and paint it white than it was to paint over the oak..and our oak was builder's grade junk so we didn't mind replacing it.

Painting all interior doors white. Just painting the door to your deck/patio and to the dining room would eliminate big chunks of orange.

Adding beadboard to the kitchen bar base area that faces the family room and then paint it either the white trim color or new wall color

Adding glass to your upper cabinets

Adding an area rug (not dark brown) to the family room and drawing a complementary color from that for pillows, throws, curtains, etc I too have a brown leather sofa and it needs colorful pillows and a throw to keep it from looking muddy. Great neutral though.

Painting your fireplace mantle a complementary color (not oak or white) - easy to change every few years. Mine has been brick red, mossy green, black...now contemplating navy. This all assumes you ditch the pink tile for something more neutral.

Refinish the wood floors. I only mention it because our guest room floor was damaged recently and had to be sanded down and refinished. The medium brown tone we chose looks so much better than the orange tone. So we know we will eventually make that change throughout the house.

2) Educate yourself on color undertones. I learned a lot by reading Maria Killam's "Color Me Happy" blog. The most harmonious spaces have consistent undertones in the major design elements (flooring, wall color, countertops, sofa).

You can save yourself a lot of headaches by figuring out the undertones in your kitchen tile, countertop, and family room rug. If those elements have pink undertones, you will be fighting the same battle we fought. Basically, what looks good with the flooring will not work with the cabinets and what looks good with the cabinets will not look good with the floor. After spending 12 years trying to find the "right" kitchen wall color, we now realize the pinky-beige floor tile must go! Good riddance!

3) Save yourself time and money by getting help. Our local Sherwin Williams store has a color consultant on staff. For $75 she came to our home and made color recommendations. Her $75 fee was then credited toward paint purchases. The color in our newly renovated bathroom is PERFECT and I would have never chosen it myself.

When I think about the time I've spent painting and re-painting this kitchen - OY!
November 28, 2012 at 6:54AM     
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jherman59
rivers300 - thanks! The tile is from Home Depot - and is the 18" squares. I've attached another picture of the same tile in my foyer that may be easier to see. Not sure of the name... but it's one they keep in stock.
November 28, 2012 at 7:02AM   
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jherman59
slewisoh - I have the oak part of my cupboards/bar facing the dining room, and really don't care for it - adding beadboard is a great idea!
November 28, 2012 at 7:20AM   
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slewisoh
If the tile in your foyer matches your kitchen tile - Hallelujah! Looks like gold tones to me, so you won't have that awful pink beige clash I spoke of previously. I would experiment with either green undertone beiges such as Benjamin Moore's Manchester Tan and Bleeker Beige or yellow undertone beiges such as BM's Monroe Bisque or Powell Buff

Neutral doesn't have to be boring. The right neutral will enhance your space and make it easy for you to add bolder or seasonal color choices in areas that are easy to change.
November 28, 2012 at 8:27AM     
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kennadysmama
I really appreciate everyones ideas! It has given me a lot to think about!! I have never posted a question on here before, but will definently do it again when need be, it is so nice to get an unbiased opinion and hear from others with the same issues (Like Slewisoh and jherman59 and so many others- you sharing your experince and great ideas, is super helpful!) I think what I should do at this point is wait until the countertops are installed and really see how they look in my space. We have a big bay window area as part of the "eat in kitchen" not pictured in my photos that gets in tons of light, so it will be interesting to see how the countertops look outside of the drab warehouse and in my space. Then maybe I can make a better decision about the colour. I also will probably do the backsplash before paint too! I will definently post pictures once I decide. Thanks again everyone!
November 28, 2012 at 1:48PM     
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Painting Services By Steve
Just so you know, Oak isn't any different than any other surface when it comes to painting, if you prepare it correctly, there WILL NOT be a problem. Wipe down and clean with a degreaser, scuff the finish with some 180 or 220 sand paper and you're good to go. More prep must be done of course, I'm just explaining how to not have problem with varnished wood no matter the wood(within reason). Good Luck
November 29, 2012 at 9:59PM     
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greenthumb2
keep the chair for the dog. that's it's only real space in the home where it can be out of the way. will help it continue to adjust to baby, as well as the remodel and strangers coming in and out. :=)
November 29, 2012 at 11:46PM     
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juniperjo
It shouldn't cost that much to replace the fireplace surround with different tile. You're looking at less than 20 sf of tile, and even to get decent tile ($15/sf) that's only $300 worth of tile, plus labor -- well under $1000, especially if you can do it yourselves. Tile installation is really not that hard!
November 30, 2012 at 2:17AM   
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rosiegabby
I agree with slewich's comments on undertones. If you have undertones that don't work together to begin or that you don't like you should get rid of what you can as was recommended - fireplace tile, oak trim, doors etc. Also when picking a paint consider how it will look under incandescent or other light sources.
November 30, 2012 at 4:41AM   
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yytcm
Rosigabby and the other commenters who talked about undertones are right on. If you don't do it right, you'll never be happy with your home. Slewisch recommended checking out Maria Killam's Color Me Happy blog - Maria is a master at undertones and, even though she's in Vancouver, she does phone consults and it might be worthwhile to check it out. Even reading her blogs and throwing out search words can get you a lot of information. The suggestion to get a paint consultant to come to your house is good EXCEPT you really have to find out the qualifications. Our local Sherwin Williams "color expert" has no formal training, just many years of "doing it". When we bought our home 9 years ago, before I had learned anything formal about color, she made some terrible suggestions. Nine years later, after I've learned a lot about color, she still didn't get it. Don't let anyone tell you that the only way to get it together is to paint all your cabinets (obviously that would be better, BUT...); do consider, as suggested, painting any oak trim and doors in a lovely white - this will instantly improve things at relatively little cost. Don't let anyone convince you that a particular wall color (or color of anything) is the only way to go if you don't love or even like that color. Do change the tile around the fireplace - paint or new tile - because it is way too pink (if it's overwhelming to do it yourself, get it done professionally - shouldn't be a humongous expense). The granite for the countertop looks as though it has pink undertones as well (in the picture) but if it's on it's way, you can't change it. I think I'd wait with the wall color until I had the countertop installed though because you have to see color in context (and do use sample jars painted on poster board - I recently learned that even the larger paint samples you pick up in the stores are ink-printed, not actual paint, and this makes a huge difference in how light reflects. In the meantime, I'd concentrate on changing the fireplace and the trim/doors and spend the rest of my time checking out Maria's blogs (I've learned so very much from doing so over the last four years ). Once you get your countertops installed and the other changes made, you'll have a much better vision of what could work wall color-wise. AND WHATEVER YOU DO, please don't choose a backsplash NOW. Definitely read Maria's blogs on making that choice. And believe in yourself - you're going to end up with a beautiful kitchen and a beautiful home! Good luck and definitely post your end results.
December 2, 2012 at 8:15AM     
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greenthumb2
Yes to Maria Killam. I second that emotion. :=)
December 2, 2012 at 8:21AM   
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Jayme H.
idk but I do think that accent walls can be very distracting and throw the balance of a room off. I have similarly colored cabinets and have a lighter beige-grey color which looks good. I am considering white washing and/or painting ours white. You could paint that island/bar and/or wrap it with a different material for contrast/a lot of people are doing things like that. I think Soho is too dark/the next shade up would look better. It seems like the fireplace tiles are a different color family than the paint samples...hard to tell by the pics. But I thik a nice neutral greyish beige like (not too dark) will look nice. Best wishes.
December 2, 2012 at 8:29AM   
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karen paul interiors
To kennadysmama, It is never a good idea to spend any amount of money working around something you don't like.....i.e., the oak cabinets. I would definitely paint them to your liking with an intention of selecting a color you will want to live with forever. That said, oak can be painted as Steve stated. It just takes an excellent prep and base coat. Open gain oak (which you have) has a heavy graining effect and that never completely goes away. However, the end result will justify the time, effort and expense of painting. I would recommend you have a professional painter accomplish this task as the results will be far superior to any DIY efforts. The exception is the homeowner who has done this before. Same with floors, don't change them out until you have decided the look you want long-term and then when the budget allows, that is the time to do it. It is human nature to think they will sometime down the road make the ultimate change after having painted, replaced or whatever has been done as a stop-gap or quick fix. More often than not, by doing so (quick fixes) then it becomes impossible to work up the energy and allot the time and money to what your ultimate intention was....and so it goes with compromise over time.
December 2, 2012 at 9:06AM   
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slewisoh
If your countertop has pink undertones, you must avoid paint with yellow undertones. Pink undertones will always make yellow look dirty. So by all means wait for the granite and then look for a backsplash that isn't what Maria Killam refers to as "bossy".
December 2, 2012 at 9:10AM   
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wmpj
Benjamin Moore's Dry Sage is a shade of green that looks really good with your shade of oak.
December 2, 2012 at 11:01AM   
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kennadysmama
I will def have to check out her blog! Thanks :) And I agree with everyone - I am going to wait until the countertops are installed and see how they really look in the space before we pick a paint colour. Actually, my husband and I have decided to get rid of the 'bar top' area- we find that it just collects clutter and we never use it. We have decided to have it cut off and make that countertop area into a large peninsula (with over hang). This should really expand our useable counter-space (which I am very excited about!). We also have talked a bit more about colour. We are def going to stay away from browns...everyone was right...too many browns on my main floor. I have attached a picture of the colour we have been thinking about. 'Deserted Island' (Green) for the family room and eat in kitchen area, "Baja" for the area around the cabinets and the main hallway and up the staircase, and "Spiced Plum" for accents (curtains, a rug, throw pillows, etc.) as well as maybe a wall (or the whole room) in our big formal family room and formal dining area. No final decisions have been made yet, like i said, we are going to wait for the countertop, but this is what we were thinking. :)
December 3, 2012 at 7:27AM   
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kennadysmama
Oh and here is the Baja with the trim and a shot of the Spiced Plum! I also included a picture of the formal living/dining area so you could see the furniture in that room. I was thinking the purple may play off of the white couches well? :) I also noticed that the two pictures of the "spiced plum" look completely different because of the lighting...but they are the same paint chips. All colours are Behr- so you can check out their website if you want a better idea of the colour! Thanks!! :)
December 3, 2012 at 7:39AM   
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kennadysmama
Oh and here is the Baja with the trim and a shot of the Spiced Plum! I also included a picture of the formal living/dining area so you could see the furniture in that room. I was thinking the purple may play off of the white couches well? :) I also noticed that the two pictures of the "spiced plum" look completely different because of the lighting (actually so does my trim- the Baja picture is a more accurate picture of the trim)...but they are the same paint chips. All colours are Behr- so you can check out their website if you want a better idea of the colour! Thanks!! :)
December 3, 2012 at 7:42AM   
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katrenco
Personally, I definitely would NOT paint the cupboards, but if you do, hiring a pro will save you from a possible nightmare, not easily recovered from. Painting cupboards is a whole different ball game than walls. They must have a super hard, super smooth finish, resistant to wear, chips, etc., etc. Cupboards take ALOT of use and abuse, so I'm with you....learn to like the cupboards the way they are. I already do.....They look to be in great shape, so shouldn't be hard. Once you get your new counter top and the right color(s) on the walls, your cupboards will look much different than they do now. I had oak EVERYTHING with the same orangey undertone stain for 20 yrs. and, believe me, if the budget, the desire or the willingness to change don't allow for new cabinets, you can definitely make what you have look BEAUTIFUL without touching them. Hardware, surrounding wall paint, backsplash, counter tops, accessories, window treatments, etc. can make a HUGE difference in how your cupboards look! People seem to have a turn-off about oak right now, mostly because it's considered "dated", I think....was very popular in its day. I still think it's a beautiful, durable wood with a character that allows it to age beautifully. Besides, we can be sure that the day will come when people will tire of the light grained woods in vogue now, and oak will come back with a bang! ;-)

As was stated by others, I would get my counter top installed first, then move onto paint.....taking a couple weeks or more to live with your paint samples before making a decision. BTW, I think a medium shade of whatever green you like would be very nice in the kitchen....Medium green tones can really give that lighter/honey colored wood a "rich" look.

First and foremost, stick to the budget you and your husband have already decided on and don't let anyone sway you into thinking you can't make it work and can't make it nice....YOU CAN. Embrace what you've decided to keep and work with whatever your budget and ambition allow to tie everything together into a cohesive, warm and inviting home. Anyone can throw money at something and make it nice. You'll feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment knowing you were able to do that and do it within your budget, with your work, your effort, your TLC, your willingness and your budding talent! You wait and see (I sure wish I could see it when you're done), IT WILL BE GREAT! Good luck, enjoy your new home and love the journey! :-)
February 8, 2013 at 5:40AM   
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