Inspired Question: Color in Sandhya's Kitchen
Jul 12, 2012
When time allows, I like to answer simple design questions from readers on the blog. Sandhya sent me a couple of photos of her kitchen and wonders:
"We have just put in new granite and have a very small area for backsplash. I do not have a clue of a direction. Can you please kindly suggest a wall color and backsplash idea for the space? Many Thanks, Sandhya"
This is a good question to feature here because it will give you a peek into how my color consultations work. I have a system, and there are right and wrong answers. For me, it's not at all about choosing what's in or what "pops." It's not even about choosing your favorite color most of the time. My primary goal is to use color as a tool to make your existing fixed elements look their best, and secondly to express your personality.
Below is Sandhya's kitchen with new granite countertops. The first thing I do when analyzing color in a room is isolate the fixed elements. Here we have a quite neutral granite with some hints of red, oak cabinetry with an orange undertone, and cool gray tile flooring. Remember that metals have color, too. The stainless appliances add a pretty heavy dose of cool gray to the room as well, although with the current yellow wall color, they look warmer by reflection.
All of that is to say that yellow is the wrong color for the walls in this room. But let's tackle the tile backsplash first. Paint is easy to coordinate.
Backsplashes tend to really trip people up. I think the reason is because they border countertops, which often are busy and full of many different flecks of color. My general rule is: The busier the countertop, the simpler the tile should be. Colors should be very harmonious or intentionally and beautifully contrasted. That means that getting professional advice is a smart thing to do. Tile is a pretty permanent fixture—best to get it right the first time.
I would begin by looking at porcelain tile in tones of taupe that are fairly balanced between gray and brown. I would also look for a tile available in a large rectangular shape. Why? The brick on the fireplace is a proportion cue. Putting obvious squares or diagonal tile design on the backsplash would feel "off" from this vantage point. Don't match the size of the brick, but pay attention to its shape. Look for a 6-by-12-inch tile and lay it in the same fashion as the brick. Or go smaller, like a 1-by2-inch mosaic tile.
Here's my solution, shown with your cabinetry and countertops.
- A porcelain field tile with a balance of brown and gray, in a rectangular brick-style arrangement. (The photo shows it with edges aligned, but follow the layout sketch.) Castle de Verre Porcelain Tile in Regal Rouge from DalTile.
- An accent is not necessary, but it can add interest and is a nice way to bring in more of the orangey tones in the wood. MS International Luxor Mixed Tile Mosaic from Home Depot.
- On walls, go with a medium shade of warm taupe. Try Sherwin-Williams Reticence (SW6064)
- Update your cabinets with stainless, nickel, or pewter-finished pulls. Richelieu Village Expression in Pewter has a curve to blend with the panel design but is simple enough to go with the linear look of the backsplash.
Always check samples in person. I would recommend working with a color expert in your local area for best results. Good luck, Sandhya! —Diane Kolak
TAGS: kitchen with oak cabinets granite counters how to choose backsplash tile taupe color consultation online electing tile daltile
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