Lauren’s Color Conundrum

When we saw Lauren’s wallpapered and faux-marbled kitchen, we knew this would be one of the most dramatic color makeovers to date. Here’s her letter:

I’ve seen some of the “before and after” photos on your blog and I’m certain you can help my awful kitchen! The previous owners mixed a very busy, fruity and flowery wallpaper with the original marble-look countertops. Yuck! I’ll be replacing the countertops – probably just with new formica and I’d also like to do a backsplash. Since I want to keep the white appliances, I was thinking of going with a gray/white type of look in the kitchen, with brushed nickel hardware, charcoal countertops and I guess white walls. But as you can tell from my vibrant adjoining living room (which has a honeydew green accent wall), I like color- but I don’t want to be too bold in the kitchen. I prefer the kitchen to have warm tones, but I don’t want it to clash too much with my living room’s green accent wall. I’m basically unsure about how to coordinate everything in the kitchen and make it work with the nearby living room. I don’t want it to all match identically, but I’m terrible at judging what hues work well together. I’m really excited to see what you come up with! -Lauren

Well, sprucing up this kitchen will be no sweat once that wallpaper’s history and those counters are replaced. Here are three color scheme ideas for Lauren to choose from:

Of course here’s our usual disclaimer that the colors depicted above are only as accurate as your monitor and are a lot more rich and true-to-life in person, so Lauren should snag some actual paint swatches and hold them up in her kitchen before actually making a decision. But on with the show.

Here’s the color scheme breakdown.

1. Lauren wanted some warmth in the kitchen, along with some tones that will work with the existing white appliances (and that pale green accent wall in the adjoining living room), so we dug up a warm honey yellow with a dash of gold that will look great on the walls (try Glidden’s Blanched Almond) and on the backsplash (bring the color swatch to the tile store and look for warm honey toned mosaic tiles or even glass subway tiles that coordinate). Then for the counters we’d go with a medium brown to keep things warm and welcoming (try for something close to Potter’s Clay by Glidden). The white swatch represents the existing white cabinets, and the small swatch in the bottom right corner of the palette is our accent color, a brilliant tomato red that Lauren could introduce with small accessories like bowls, vases, candlesticks and flowers. And for those who have a hard time picturing how the honeydew green accent wall in the living room will work with a pale golden yellow kitchen walls and backsplash, just imagine a white porcelain bowl of honeydew melon along with some cantalope (which has similar orangy-gold undertones to our wall/backsplash color). Yummy. Toss in a couple of cherry tomatoes and set it on a rich wooden cutting board and you’ll have our first palette in a nutshell.

2. Our second scheme is a bit more subdued, although we still have a pop of warm color for Lauren. We’d love to see a classic light tan on the cabinets (Glidden’s Basic Beige), white walls along with a white subway tile backsplash, and medium brown counters (again try a tone close to Potter’s Clay by Glidden). And then for some fun we think bringing in a few accessories in a punchy mango hue will add interest and vibrancy while still working beautifully with the honeydew wall in the adjoining room. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering why we recommend coordinating the walls and the backsplash in each scheme here, we believe that in a small space a backsplash should blend in and add sparkle instead of standing out and screaming at you when you walk into the room (which can make it seem smaller and more chaotic). They don’t have to match perfectly in all cases, but keeping them within a certain range will guarantee a seamless, polished space in a snap.

3. This palette is actually very similar to the one Lauren mentioned in her letter (white walls, white cabinets, and charcoal counters). We dug up a great charcoal tone for the counter (Glidden’s Obsidian Glass) and paired it with crisp glossy white (Glidden’s Ready-Mix White) for the walls, cabinets and backsplash but it still looked pretty stark and industrial. So we decided to introduce a soft sunflower yellow tone for the walls instead (and also in the backsplash of course, which we’d love to see done in pale glass mosaic or subway tile) for some warm and inviting ambiance which will still work with the soft green honeydew in the next room (try Glidden’s Moonscape).

So there you have it. Three ways for Lauren to totally transform her kitchen in a snap. We can’t wait to see which palette she’ll choose- and which one you guys favor. Do tell!


  1. courtney says

    anything will help that kitchen! interesting choices, I like them all! I will be curious to hear what she chooses, then of course, to see the transformation.

  2. Lauren says

    I love all three! Now the trouble is deciding. I’ll be hitting up Home Depot this weekend for some swatches and hope to complete the kitchen over the holiday break. Thanks!!

  3. caligurl says

    what a shame she never came back with an after…. if any of you make over recommendations thus far screamed for after photos…. it was definitely this one!

    i’m hoping she chose #1…. nice little pop of color in there!

  4. says

    This counter top wall paper combo looks too much like my bathroom’s current paneling wallpaper combo. Oh what a time it must have been when that was the style – Yikes!

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