The Color of Kitchens

The Color of Kitchens

For many people, the kitchen is the center of the house. Home is where the food is, after all, and the kitchen is the source of Saturday-morning pancake preparation, Mom's casseroles and late-night noshing. But the kitchen can be even more inviting with a color scheme that warms hearts while the microwave warms the leftovers.

For those with small spaces, choosing a light or neutral shade can make the kitchen appear much larger than it is.

Interior designer Ruthie Alan, in the business since 1994, says that when clients use food terms to describe what they want, it helps the process tremendously - and what better room to describe in a "foodie-way" than the kitchen?

"I think that a good way of relating to color are colors that exist in nature," says the Chicago-based designer. "Grass, tree bark. If you're talking to a client and they say, 'I want coffee brown or banana yellow,' you automatically know what they're saying. Using foods to describe color is a universal color language."

Alan adds that trends and "hot" color schemes come and go - the best color for a kitchen is the one that pleases the person who will be in that room the most. That's you.

"I stay away from 'hot colors,' she says. "I tend to work with a client's color sensibility. You just have to steer them clear of color no-no's."

Are there things one should never do in a kitchen? It's been scientifically proven that colors do tend to arouse emotion in people, however subtly (i.e., you'll be much more relaxed in a bedroom painted robin's egg blue than one that's chartreuse). Some people feel strongly that a kitchen shouldn't be painted red, pink, or purple, as these colors can encourage lack of harmony and can even inspire arguments. Since the kitchen is ideally a place of comfort, pistachio green, light camel or eggshell white may be slightly more soothing shades to choose. Plus, these color schemes create a neutral backdrop if you have great kitchen appliances or art you want to show off.


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