Making the right color choices for your home can sometimes be intimidating, especially if those color choices are attached to large price tags. In the kitchen and bathroom, most color selections, from floor to ceiling, can seem very permanent (tile) and very expensive (cabinets).
As most MH&B readers have noticed, color inspiration can come from anywhere but not all colors work everywhere. The trick is finding the right colors for you and for your room. We’ve put together a list of tips to consider when choosing a “no regrets” color scheme for your kitchen or bathroom.
1. Pick colors that you love and that you respond to emotionally. Juicy yellow in the kitchen might be invigorating for one person and crazy-making for another (like the character in Gilman’s Yellow Wallpaper).
2. Don’t be afraid to go with brighter or more saturated paint colors in the kitchen or bathroom. Usually, there is very little empty wall space and the paint color becomes a border around the cabinets, appliances, and woodwork. The right paint color can make these items pop, like the right frame for artwork.
3. Be prepared to be flexible and make compromises. As you go through the process of selecting all the colors and finishes, your plan will be constantly revised.
4. Choose one element to launch your color palette, but don’t buy that item until all accompanying selections have been fully researched. For example, use hand-painted tiles as an inspiration but don’t purchase them until you know you have coordinating countertops and flooring.
5. Start with the least flexible element of your bathroom or kitchen and match others to it. It’s much easier to adjust stains and paints on cabinets or walls to harmonize with granite or tile.
6. Do not underestimate lighting. Look at all your color and finish choices in daylight and in the artificial light that will be in that particular room. Soft blues and greens might look fresh in the morning light, but dull in incandescent light. Color-corrected fluorescent lighting can be helpful.
7. For granite and other countertops, the safest approach is to keep it neutral and versatile. This is a big ticket item that you don’t want to replace when the trends shift again.
8. When choosing cabinets, consider the undertones of the wood. Some woods are warmer (like pine) or cooler (like walnut) and a stain can accentuate this even more. In addition, woods like maple can be glazed, tinted or painted for even greater variety.
9. Backsplashes can, well. . . make a color splash in a big way. In a kitchen, choose the countertop first and then match the backsplash. This follows our rule about selecting the least adaptable element first. There are zillions of tile choices out there, but not quite as many countertops.
10. Reverse the order for the bathroom. Here we go contradicting ourselves… .but in the bathroom, the tile should be selected first. That makes sense if you think about the area tile covers.
There are no rules about what colors are appropriate or not in a kitchen or bathroom, but there are some generalizations. Pink or peach is more flattering to skin tones than green, so a soft coral is lovely in a bathroom. On the other hand, green contrasts well with wood tones and is a versatile choice for a kitchen. Finally, when nothing else seems to make sense, there’s always crisp, clean white.
What are your best color suggestions for kitchens and bathrooms? Do you have any helpful “rules” for selecting colors in these spaces?