Mellow yellow. If you're looking for a take on a French Normandy country home yellow might be your color. "This room was designed to emulate what a kitchen might look like in the countryside of France" says Jo Ann Alston principal at J. Stephens Interiors. "The mustard yellow is very indicative of a French color palette and the hand‐done plaster technique on the walls with the overglaze of a faux‐finish technique makes the walls look aged".
By contrast this classic kitchen with walnut cabinets and a marble tile backsplash has less ornamentation than the previous one but it's still all about the series of small choices: the simplicity of one cabinet finish and wood species the decision to run the marble tile all the way to the ceiling and match the same marble on the countertops. By way of a series of small choices this kitchen reveals its personality and says "This is who I am: I'm classic warm and earthy".
Glossy uniformly painted cabinets can appear fresh clean and modern. If you're trying to create a more French country look distressed cabinets are a great place to start. There's no reason not to experiment with color on your distressed cabinets. Tans whites and creams are always a safe bet but a light French gray is a new neutral. Grays can be cold on occasion but distressing them so the wood peeks through warms them right up.
There are several ways to create the distressed look. You could start with a few layers of paint then add a spatter of glaze in areas where wear would naturally occur. Or try light sanding or hitting with a chain to reveal colors below; this creates the look of a piece that has been painted multiple times and years of use have worn away some layers. If you're looking for a simpler process painting only one coat and lightly sanding in spots to reveal the wood below also works.
Play with the unexpected. "I love a little bit of surprise in a room and of course hanging a chandelier gives me just that" says Robin Denker of Kitchens By Design. "A little bit of bling something unexpected like using clear prism lightbulbs in a chandelier".
Accent the cabinets. "Our homeowners wanted a hint of sophistication yet wanted to play up the farmhouse look in the kitchen" says Amy Krieger of Oakley Home Builders. "The white cabinetry is accentuated with the use of crystal chandeliers. These glamorous fixtures add elegance while keeping with the theme of the kitchen".
Layer your lighting. "In the last five years we've seen a huge change in the way that our clients look at kitchen lighting" notes Heather Moe of Design Moe Kitchen & Bath. "While function is still important we now layer the lighting to give homeowners an extraordinary flexibility of effect. We routinely have seven levels of illumination: countertop and general lighting under‐cabinet task lighting over‐cabinet up lighting accent cabinet lighting some supporting sconce fixtures (mounted on walls or on cabinets) ceiling lighting and – to top it all off – a central accent fixture usually something pretty and eye catching at the room's focal point".
Details like shaped cabinet doors niches for spices and oils and decorative lighting should all be considered while working on the design development and finish/fixture selection.
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