The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Kitchen Color Chat - With Jill Clarkson

Jill was kind enough to lend her expertise in a kitchen chat (say that three times fast) about color. Jill Clarkson is an architectural color consultant and muralist located just minutes north of the Golden Gate bridge in beautiful Marin County. Jill Clarkson Color + Design service offerings include residential and commercial color consultations, custom designed and painted artwork, murals and wallpapers, home staging and redesign. Online color and design consultations are now available. On site consultations are available through out the San Francisco Bay area. See her blog www.jillclarksoncoloranddesign.blogspot.com or call 415 924 4204, for further information.

"Color in the Kitchen"

Kitchens today are becoming more and more colorful, most anything goes, which makes it a fun and exciting proposition to come up with a new color scheme. With so many surfaces to consider, such as the cabinets, the counter tops, the backsplash, the appliances and the walls, it may be a bit overwhelming but nonetheless the perfect place to express your creative vision. Warm colors can be used to create an inviting and convivial environment, fit for friends, feasts and conversation.

I'm sure you've noticed how when entertaining friends and family that there is a natural tendency for people to gather in the kitchen. It's the communal zone and the perfect place to add cheerful, friendly colors which will enhance the kitchen experience. For those that prefer a soothing and elegant space, a monochromatic scheme (see picture below.)

monochromatic kitchen

Using different intensities of the same color will provide interest without raising your pulse. For those a bit more daring, a complementary color scheme such as blue and orange or black and white will create a lively and pleasing space.

blue hutch yellow background


white kitchen blue background

When working with wood cabinetry the color of the finish needs to be considered. For darker, warm cherry finishes, a contrasting cool color such as celadon green will look fresh and clean. For cool white cabinetry you may want to add warm colors such as yellow, almond or biscotti. I think white cabinetry also looks fabulous with sage green and blues.

You can add warm colors with your textiles and accessories. For lighter wood cabinetry such as Maple or Pine you might want to consider going for a mid to darker shade that will really make the cabinetry pop. If you've invested a pretty penny on appliances, cabinetry or tile work then those things should take center stage. Use neutral paint colors that will allow the true stars of the kitchen shine.

red orange tan kitchenReds and oranges stimulate the appetite and will offer a luminous glow under candle light. If you want to lose weight you may not want to paint your kitchen apricot or salmon. Blues and greens are calming and can actually suppress the appetite. Complimentary colors, those found on the opposite sides of the color wheel, are always successful combinations when used in the right ratios.

A great rule of thumb is the 60/30/10 rule and stay away from using 50/50. Assign each color one of these percentages of kitchen real estate and be sure your colors work in harmony with your exisiting finishes and appliances. You'll be on your way to a great looking space! : )

Thanks Jill! I'm more conflicted than ever now, too many great combinations!


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Reader Comments (11)

Wow, what a fantastic post! Very insightful, and inspiring! Thanks to the both of you... (:

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter*Terramia*

Our dining room in our old house was a great color... Cajun Spice. Maybe that is why I had trouble losing the baby weight back then :)
Great post. Very informative!

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Thanks! There's so much more to say about color too....don't we all want to use several colors when we can only use on on the walls? I know I do!

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersusan

Great post! I too love white cabinets with green and blue. Do you think having a butler panty adjacent to the white kichen in one of these colors would feel disjointed? Should I perhaps make my island green or blue for better flow between the spaces. Also, I'm using honed granite in the kitchen and hone carrera marble in the pantry? Maybe too much going on huh???

July 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLonni

In the white kitchen photo above..can you tell me the name and seller of the blue / grey backsplash tile? It'e very pretty


November 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMonica N

Very nice rooms... great!

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAva

Hi! I really hope that you will be able to help me with this. My husband and I just bought our first home and I love the Tuscany/Italian kitchen looks. But the kitchen in our new home has the perfect color laminate flooring, the down side of it all is o am clueless about wall color considering that our kitchen cabinets and appliances are white
. We have a very tight budget after buying the new home and having two c
Kids. So I need some advice on wall color that would match the theme I want to go for but not look horrible with white cabinets.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

My husband and I LOVE the picture of the white kitchen with blue tiles. Do you have any other pictures of this kitchen or know where I might be able to find them?


September 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren C

My kitchen is too white and I need some color! The blue/grey tiles look perfect. Can you give me more information about them?
Thanks! Beautiful work!

October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn F

I also love the white kitchen with the blue/gray tiles. Could you please share with me where they came from. I love your website.

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJcm

Was there ever a response to the color/brand of the blue/gray tiles? I have been looking at this picture for months now and would love to know what they are.

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

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