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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help updating a 90's kitchen!

BrandyFebruary 22, 2013
Ok, so we moved in to this quaint little town home over a year ago, painted and that's it. Yellow was the wrong color for the kitchen! Wondering where to go from here... Color suggestions, countertop/backsplash. Don't want to make the same mistake twice.Thanks!
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Concrete Kings
All white would look good if you had some contrast on your counter area, maybe a nice marble in beige area. Backsplash you can go a off white/beige also.
    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:17PM
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White... Hmmm not a bad idea! Thanks
1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Jayme H.
Here are some colors I think could work. Ben Moore Neutrals.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Jayme H.
Some more colors
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Transform Your Home
White cabinets leaves your counter top and wall color choices wide open. I'd suggest deciding on the counter top first, Doesn't look like you have too much counter space so granite, if you're steering in that direction, wouldn't cost you that much. I always let the counter top dictate the color scheme.
8 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Jennie Wilson
I like the idea of granite too, and that window calls for some over the top treatment.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:33PM
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new counter tops and new cabinet hardware, stainless appliances...a nice window treatment...the possibilities are endless with white
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Definitely needs stainless appliances & window treatment over the existing blind. I'd recommend a brown/black countertop to give you a stark contrast. I'd go with the green tone 2nd row, far right from Jamye Hobbs' samples for the wall colour.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:57PM
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Rena Ogle Benfield
Add some glass tile back splash in blue and green- and some of the same color in items here and there.Then take all the STUFF off the cabinets- the colors would give it a lot of pop without changinh anything- add shades of fabric with the same blue/green- and it have a nice area.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:01PM
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I think a soft grayish/green color on the walls and the coffered ceiling would look wonderful! A soapstone countertop in the "Aged" variation, and marble backsplash in a modern version would really look amazing in your kitchen! http://www.soapstones.com/soapstone_countertops.html http://www.marbleville.com/Italian-White-Carrara-Marble-Split-Face-1x2-Mosaic-p/310158.htm And you didn't ask about this, so I kinda hate to mention it, but a new light fixture and a new faucet wood really add so much in here too.
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Definitely go light. Room is tight. All white will feel clean and fresh. Love above backsplash. No dark countertop. All light. If you tire you change color of walls. I think gray,green walls sounds beautiful.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Signature Designs Kitchen & Bath
My advice is to figure out what color you like, the color that will draw you, A color that you can not grow tired of because you love it. That could come from a passion for blue or green. You could have those colors in your wardrobe, your clothing says a lot about who you are.

Once you have figured out what colors excite you then go for it! Be bold!!!
You have White Cabinets so you have plenty of options but keep this in mind. You will want a neutral base so instead of the dark counter tops I would go for brighter more brilliant white.

Take a look at this kitchen, it is colorful, bold and bright and as long as you love blue this would be a great kitchen concept for you.

You can accent your back wall where the window is and keep everything neutral? It will pull you into the kitchen, with a strong accent wall either from paint or tile the rest of the palette needs to fall right into line as to not over power it.

Its your home, make it yours you have to be in your home everyday...

Bonnie Bagley Catlin, CID
Certified Interior Designer
Member of ASID, NKBA
10 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Hilary Lindsey
We went with an all white look in our bathroom. The color we used was recommended by a long time friend and decorator. Benjamin Moore Cloud White. It is the color of melted marshmallows:) It looks GREAT with both neutrals and bright colors.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Just changing out the lighting will give you a new look. Poor lighting makes overall feel of this kitchen spotty - where the eyes do not flow well. Just that and making all the appliances match - either all white or all stainless - will improve the look.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:25PM
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I have a white kitchen with hardwood floors and Ikea butcher block counter tops. These counter tops are very inexpensive, neutral and easy to care for. This scheme allows me to add any colour accents I like, which I've brought in with some open shelving. I have coloured mixing bowls and teapots on the shelves, all things that I use often. I have a light back splash to which I've added a few accent tiles in a slightly darker colour but still fairly neutral. I agree with the above comment too, it does look like you could benefit from more lighting.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:38PM
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I forgot...yes, Lighting, some under cabinet lighting and new light fixtures would look great too!!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Mike Wilson Custom Carpentry & Design llc
1st off, get rid of the soffits, then have a kitchen designer work up some overhead & 3d options of the space and surrounding areas for us to review.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 4:44AM
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I really like something like the picture I attached and I think it is modern and will work well for your area.
11 Likes    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I think adding a bar and table will be good for entertaining guests if you want it to be designed as party central. I think sleek and modern gray cabinets will work well with a subtle gray tiled backsplash and then your silverware and plates could be bright and add some color to the kitchen.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:43AM
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I think wood floors will make this place look fantastic. Here is a sample, hope this gives you some ideas.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Terri Maines_Theisen
First decide if you want to replace the floor which really looks fine & the dining set. If not, base your counter top, paint color & back splash colors on something that will go with the floor & dining set. Stainless appliances, new hardware & new light fixtures would really update the space. I would either leave the window the way it is or get very creative. Color suggestions if you're keeping the floor & dining set greys, a glass back splash with or 4 colors ( grey, black, white & a jewel color of your choice for a pop of color) use that color for added pops of color in the room. Have fun & good luck.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Carolyn Garvie
Don't forget the sink. Under mount a granite composite one while you are at it!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Love the blue on the walls in the one pic. Love the look danduna but they did not mention new cabinets. Just a top and backsplash. I would love the kitchen you had a pic of!!
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:40PM
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We are definitely considering re-facing our cabinets but not completely replacing them for financial reasons, so we'll have to stick with white. Just looking to make the biggest impact for a reasonable price as this is our starter home. So far I think painting, countertops, backsplash, hardware, appliances and light fixtures seem to be priority, to name a few lol! I think flooring will have to stay as well. Would like to see more picture examples of design ideas! Thanks for the help thus far.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:48PM
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I don't know if there is anything on the other side of your refrigerator, but, if you turn it in the other direction it would open up the kitchen more. Iff you are in to bold colors, take a look at the patent/ lacquered walls on this site. They are unbelievable and would be amazing for an all white kitchen! Also, to save money if you did want to redo the cabinets, since the kitchen is pretty much a stock shaped kitchen, take a look on eBay for display kitchen cabinets or even on one of the high end recycling places. Chances are, you could get pretty much everything you are looking to replace at such a store, and at times for the same price you'd pay for new middle to high end appliances alone! If you want an elegant look, try painting just one accent wall a dark color, such as black or purple. Throw in a pretty chandelier and some of the glass tiles as back splash in gray. With stainless appliances it would look beautiful. As for the countertop, depending on price I'd go with a granite (also available at times at the recycling places) in a color complementary to the tiles or pure white. Soapstone, etc.for the less expensive version. Good luck!
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:19AM
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New cabinet hardware, funky recycled glass countertops, undercount stainless sink with stainless faucet and a little paint and you are good to go. Lucky you!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:34AM
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Renee Witmer
New Counter/backsplash
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:39AM
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Whatever you, when replacing appliances go with a counter-depth refrigerator if you can't afford a true built in. Those big, boxy things that stick way beyond the counters are so, so dated.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Are your cabinets are more shallow than normal because all your appliances seem to stick out and so they take away from a stream lined look. If you replace your counter tops you could have them made an inch or two deeper, or you could have the cabs pulled away from the wall a bit. I did this in my old kitchen and now I have more counter surface and the appliances are flush with the cabs. This is especially easy to do if you are using pre-made cabs. Could you find a less obtrusive microwave? It's hard to ignore. Maybe replace it with a regular hood fan. I also would recommend a slide-in stove (with no dials on the back), and if you can swing it, try a counter depth fridge. As for colours you could look at the Martha Stewart selection in the kitchen dept of Home Depot. That big window looks beautiful, could use a fancy molding or something to draw the eye.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:31PM
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I would paint the walls Benjamin Moore Horizon, a light grey which has blue and green undertones. I would change out the gold knobs on the cabinets to something else and pick out some new light fixtures. Other than that I really like it.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Anne Pratt
First put in under-counter lights. They change the whole feeling of your kitchen! Others' suggestions are great; keep it light.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Cindy M
I always like to use blue neutrals in my kitchen for a light mood.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Urban Design & Build Limited
I think the cabinet should make it simple and more minimal. CLEAN and SHARP is the key. If budget is possible, those appliance should be build-in. If you want to be a bit personal feeling, add some fun into your kitchen, BLACKBOARD or cork-board is good. Here is the sample:
Puzzle Box · More Info

Hope it helps. if you like our kitchen design, please give us a like to support :-)
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:12PM
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It looks like the room just need some contrast. Find a colorful counter and backsplash combination that you like and do from there. Then pick a paint color similar, maybe a little lighter. You could also replace the sink with a farm sink and replace the range with a slide in. I think that would really make it look more professional. I think the white appliances are fine since you have white cabinets. They have been showing more white this year, and stainless steel has to go out of style sometime!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Small changes like faucet, sink and hardware make a big difference. Also, just to try to add in colorful accessories like a bowl for fruit or something else that would show your personality and things you love to look at :) Someone else mentioned your fridge, it looks awkward. Could there be better placement? Paint may seem time consuming but very little money goes into it for the difference that it makes. Take your time...Benjamin Moore has large paint swatches you can hang on the wall and look at in all different light. Speaking of light...Light fixtures!! Good luck and have fun with it!!!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Rhonda Clemente Terranova
Oh Boy...I have the same kitchen cabinets in my 90's kitchen.....To update it I changed all the knobs, pulls and faucet to brushed pewter, painted my walls a honeydew green, I do have all stainless updated appliances, which kind of save the 90's look.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 11:50AM
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A Direct Cabinet Distributor Corp
I'd change the top- so you can get an undermount sink in there along with a new faucet. Also never under estimate the power of hardware. The are the jewlry for cabinets. I'd defintely update there, along with the paint and lighting fixture.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:05PM
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We replaced the kitchen backsplash tiles with mirror and added under counter lighting and achieved a much brighter look as well as seemingly increasing the size of our kitchen.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:07PM
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My parents have white cupboards and they put in a countertop in a butter yellow colour, backsplash is white/beige/butter yellow natural stone. It looks fantastic! Nice and warm and would keep with your floor tile as well. Why paint your cupboards they look great just add some new handles in brushed nickel. Lower the light over the kitchen table and perhaps a new light in the workspace.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Colour could make all the difference without costing very much. I'd even consider a yellow on the walls and a window treatment with a few contrasting (or varied shades) on benches- removing clutter. Timber floors and benches can make it warmer if you're keeping the white and definitely change your microwave unless you go black and white
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:52AM
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Be careful of putting an expensive countertop on entry level cabinetry. The doors look as if they may be thermo-foil, which means they could yellow over time and the quality of the cabinet is usually comensurate with the quality of the door. You wouldn't want to risk having to have to remove the tops to replace the cabinets at a later date. I can't really tell what the color of the floor is, but it looks as if it might look good with some of the new gray stains on wood that have recently hit the market. They are very warm. Pick a countertop that works with the floor and the cabinets. There is not a big enough difference in the performance of granite and quartz to drive your decision....if it catches your eye, it's your heart talking to you.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Beckie Watts
I've always loved the dark cabinets in a kitchen with white quartz counters and a battleship grey on the walls :)
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Eco-Chic Interiors
If you have the budget (around 2000) you can always change out the door fronts in a nice lacquered door, try Ikea. Replace countertops with a different laminate top in a nice creamy white with tiny dots that imitate the look of quartz for a fraction of the cost. A new sink and faucet (or just faucet) will update the look of the kitchen for sure. And, please paint the beige walls for something more modern like a light grey.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:24PM
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David Stallworth
Frankly, if it were I, I'd keep the white cabinets for the bottom and re-face the upper cabinet faces and side veneers in a charcoal black for the top. I'd use an Indian Calcutta marble for the counters and replace the appliances with stainelss steel. I'd also use white subway tiles for the backsplash for a classic look which should keep your kitchen looking good for at least twenty years. I'd change the light fixture as well to something more frosted glass and stainless steel.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:32PM
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I would also keep the cabinets, change out the appliances and work on the lighting. Maybe overhead, canned lighting would help. Put some color on the window and draw that color onto the floor (fun rug,), and some fun things to set around on the countertops. I love the idea of marble. So classic!
Find your rug, and go from those colors. The floor is okay, but wood-like tiles are a wonderful option, too!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:13AM
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Signature Kitchen & Bath Design
Your cabinets look in good shape but if you want to change the look, cut the center panel out of the wall cabinet doors to the left of the sink and insert a satin glass. This adds interest while the satin glass will hide items so dishware doesn't have to be perfectly arranged. Change out the hardware to a sparkling chrome.
Marble is pretty but be careful, it stains easily. Since you seem to be keeping the dark tile floor I would go light with the top. It doesn't have to be granite, a quartz top would work well too. I like the idea of white on white. Look for quartz tops with a white toned background with "specks" of another white tone. Caesarstone has 9 shades of white to choose from.
A linear back splash of white glass mixed with a dark slate or neutral stone/marble would look nice. Try Emser.com and take a look at the glass series called FLASH™in the color-Ablaze. You could also go ultra contemporary and use a stainless steel mosaic for the splash.
Installing can lights would be best but if you don't want to invest in that option right now just change out your current fixture for a larger serpentine version. Try UniversalLighting.com, they carry a version where you can choose different fixtures that fit on the same track and the serpentine shape will add interest too.
Wall color will depend on what you do with the tops and splash. If you go white on white with a slate and glass mix a pretty gray on the wall would look great. For a pale and subtle gray, choose Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl OC-52.
Alternately you can go with a neutral beige palette on the walls, it would still work well with the dark floors, white tops, and white glass/neutral stone mix splash. Try this light neutral wall color by Benjamin Moore Abalone 2108-60.

Good Luck!
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Keep the cupboards. Replace the splashback (something that pops - red or orange) keep the floor tiles. Black countertop, new appliances. Classic colour scheme, will last you for years. Oh, replace the lights with down;light
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Since you only mentioned color, counter and backsplashes it appears that you intend to keep your flooring, which is fine. I agree with the comments above regarding picking something that goes well with your flooring. It doesn't need to be dark but just pick up hues and shades from it in other elements. I would pick out the countertop first as was suggested, since it will cost the most.

I would suggest a quartz product, since I see you make your own wine. Quartz is the hardest product and won’t stain as easily as other materials, but you still must wipe up possible staining agents quickly. It is NOT stain-proof but is stain-resistant. Here are a few brands and their colour pages.


or Silestone



LG Viatera

If quartz is out of your price range, you could also inquire from a fabricator what the cost would be for a laboratory grade laminate. There are 432 laminate fabricators in listed on HOUZZ.

COUNTERTOP COLOR: Since your cabinets are white, you could go with a dark or a light countertop. Either way, I wouldn’t recommend a solid but something with a very light shade of your flooring with dark mixed in or a dark with a very light shade mixed in.

BACKSPLASH: I would not go with a dark counter and dark backsplash. The kitchen is too small and would be overpowered. You could try to go with a thin glass subway tile or small round tiles. If you want to introduce another subtle color on the wall and accents, as the colors that were suggested, this would be a great place to tie the colors together.

To make sure the colors all blend well, I would call a professional interior decorator in your area. She/he could also make sure the colors tie in with the rest of your house. You can click on “Find Local Pros” on the black bar at the top and find a professional in your area.
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:45PM
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Carolina Girl
If your not afraid of color go with coral/orange. It really lights up the area and pops the white cabinets. It would also brighten up your eating area.
    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 4:07PM
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We just launched a new line of ultra thin LED under cabinet lighting that would really help to upgrade your space as well. All of the lights have built in diffusers too so you won't get a glare on the tiles or countertops. And best of all, it's very user friendly to install so you might not even need an electrician's help if you wanted to install the lighting yourself.

It has interchangeable LED light bars and LED puck lights that you can choose from, in two colors of white (soft or neutral). Soft white is definitely preferred in kitchen lighting - and since they're dimmable too you can create a any atmosphere you want.

Complimentary design advice from our lighting specialists at (888) 880-1880 if you need any help!

1 Like    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Your cabinets are fine. The smallish amount of counter top, different paint and backsplash would work wonders. I do think a new sink and faucet could make a big impact. I just got both for well under $500--Vigo faucet and Water Creation sink--at Overstock.com.

You could probably go for less, as you have a small kitchen and need comparably smaller sink and faucet.
    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Last post was a year ago. This discussion probably mute.
    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:52AM
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