Monday, August 6, 2012

Kitchen Color: 1970, Here We Come

Do you like choosing paint colors?

I do. And I don't.

When I need to pick out a color, and I mean a COLOR, I can always find what I want. Yes, sometimes I get myself in debates about what's best (do I want a lipstick red, or do I want one with a bit more orange?), but those sorts of decisions are not about the color itself, it's about figuring out what I would most like.

Neutrals, however, give me fits. It seems beyond stupid to me that I would agonize for weeks over 20 different kinds of taupe or ivory paint, but it's those decisions that hang me up time and time again. Does that beige look too pink next to this color? Too gray? Why does this look too yellow when I hold it up next to this color?

I also get myself attached to certain neutrals after I've used them once and liked them, but I'm realizing that doesn't always work, depending on the colors that you want to put with them.

And that's what hung me up forever trying to decide what how I wanted to paint my kitchen. Trying to find the right neutrals.

Let's take a look at what I've got so far. The cabinets, which are from the late '60s/early '70s dark medium brown birch:

And my countertops, which are Formica Sand Crystall, which are a little warmer in color than appears on the monitor:

I've decided I'm putting avocado green on two end walls of the kitchen and the soffits, and to make sure that the color doesn't end up too unrelenting, I decided to put a neutral paint on the backsplash and other walls. The whole thing will be punched up with a really busy, brightly colored 1970s fabric made into valances for the windows.

In previous houses I've been a big fan of Valspar's National Trust for Historic Preservation Color Oatbran (6006-1B) as a taupe-y beige that works well with a lot of other shades. But it wasn't working with the color green I'd chosen.

I finally realized the Oatbran looks pinkish next to avocado green, which is awful. I have an aversion to "fleshy" beiges (like the color the exterior of my house is painted, for instance) It looks like someone painted with liquid make-up. Eew. So Oatbran, despite looking great with things like deep red and navy blue, and even sage green (which has a lot of blue), it looked gross with avocado. Back to the drawing board.

It took a trip to a local Sherwin Williams to realize I needed to get over my usual aversion to yellow. There's a LOT of yellow in avocado green, and so I needed a neutral that reflected that.

So, here's what will start going on the walls starting next Saturday (Woo-hoo! Progress!):

Left: Cream Delight by Valspar
Middle: Homestead Resort Olive, by Valspar
Right: Buff, by Sherwin Williams
The left color is Valspar Cream Delight, and it's going on the ceiling, because a stark white ceiling in combination with the other colors would be too jarring. It's also the color I've chosen to be the trim color in the rest of the house. A drop of yellow along with a drop of gray means it seems to marry well with cool colors as well as warm ones, and puts a vintage, aged hue on the woodwork. It appears nearly white in person, not as nearly yellow/green as it is showing on the computer monitor.

The middle color is Valspar National Trust for Historic Preservation Homestead Resort Olive. It has the lovely rich green hue that we associate with 1960s and 1970s kitchens, but isn't too jarringly bright. It's a slightly more subdued version of a green I've painted some of my second hand furniture pieces, Valspar Candied Lime.

The right color is the neutral for the walls, which is Sherwin Williams Buff (7683). It is a light yellow with a very slight greenish hue, and a drop of gray. It's a cozy color, with no hint of red undertones show up as Cover Girl Liquid Makeup shades next to green. It picks up the lightest color fleck in the laminate countertops. It also is a near match to an antique painted cabinet I have in the kitchen, so bonus!

And this is the vintage fabric going on the windows:

It's a vintage Etsy find and there were several yards. It's a sturdier upholstery fabric, so it'll need to be made into very tailored valances rather than drapey-type curtains, which will look great with the brown woven blinds that I'm using in the windows.

The kitchen painting adventure begins on Saturday!


  1. Oooohhhhh, this is exciting! I cannot wait to see your kitchen come together, I just know it will look awesome!

    And yeah, I get it about having problems choosing neutrals. I don't know if you saw my post on that when we were picking paints for Mom's condo - but the original "neutral" we chose was WAY too pink and just looked horrible.

    1. I'll have to go look for that post, Sara. It's good to know I'm not alone. It just seems like it should be easy, and then you notice your "neutral" looking too pink. Or too green. Or too whatever. And though the experts say "it's only paint, you can do it again" I tend to like to avoid extra painting projects! :)