Owners are throwing caution to the wind. They have concluded that they’re going to be in their house for the foreseeable future and they’ve stopped worrying about resale. Instead, they want to kick up and have fun, especially in their kitchens, the center of family life in most households.
“These days, all kitchens are not beige,” said McLean kitchen designer Jim Bingnear. “Owners want some self-expression and they’re not worried about resale. They say, ‘I want to enjoy my kitchen and have it the way I want.’ ” And this often means some to a lot of color.
In choosing colors for their kitchen walls, Bingnear said most owners want something lively, but they also want colors that complement the style in the rest of their house. If it’s contemporary with shades of white and gray, the kitchen will have this, too. If the house is more traditional, the range of color in the rest of the house will usually be broader, so they’ll have more choices for their kitchen. Artwork can also influence wall color selections, Bingnear said, as many households want to hang a piece of art in their kitchen eating area.
Generally, Bingnear suggests an accent wall with a more saturated color (it could be steel blue) and softer colors for the other walls (they could be sea foam, gray green or a soft mouse gray). Some owners want soft colors for all the walls and they add in saturated colors with fabrics for drapes and upholstery, he said.
With cabinetry, homeowners tend to be more conservative because it’s the biggest expense in any kitchen renovation and the costliest to change. They’re staying with neutral colors, but they don’t want a uniform look; they want a mix, Bingnear said. For example, the wall cabinets might be white or cream and some might have glass doors, while the base cabinets below would be maple, dark cherry or even walnut.
Granite is still the preferred countertop material in the Washington area, Bingnear said, but now owners want something unusual. Ten or 15 years ago, everyone wanted a stone that was consistent in its patterning and neutral in its coloration. Today, owners want a stone that’s colorful with red, blue or gold streaks and imperfections that add character. They’re willing to make a trip out to the stone yard, even if it’s 50 miles away to pick out “something that looks like art and not like everyone else’s house,” he said.
Backsplashes have become areas for experimentation because they’re a relatively small area in a kitchen and easy to tear out. In fact, Bingnear said, many homeowners are so eager for something jazzy they’re ready to compromise on their cabinetry choices in order to afford a full backsplash that runs from the counter to the underside of the wall cabinets.