Laura’s Color Conundrum

As soon as we laid eyes on Laura’s kitchen we knew it was primed for a major transformation. Here’s her letter:

We purchased a “fixer upper” that we plan to update and use as a long-term rental property and need your help in the kitchen. The basic improvements that we have planned include fresh paint, new flooring, and new lighting & hardware. We want to freshen things up and do what we can to make it look open and airy yet keep it neutral enough that it will appeal to a majority of people. We want it to be bright and cheery, but not bold or garish. Since this will be a rental, we want to keep our immediate expenses lower by working with the countertop and the white appliances for now. We will be replacing the flooring (most likely with a ceramic tile or Pergo-type wood laminate), and we are open to your color suggestions there, too. Likes: ivory, creams, tans, grays, blues, greens, yellows and golds, reds. Dislikes: pastels, purples, pink, anything “fleshy”. Neutrals, warm tones and muted colors appeal to us. Thanks!  – Laura


This cozy and functional kitchen will look like a million bucks with a little bit of love. Here are three potential color palettes for Laura to choose from.


And now for the disclaimer: the color depictions above are only as accurate as your monitor (and not nearly as rich as the real thing) so Laura should grab each of the paint chips and bring ’em into her kitchen before picking a favorite palette. Here’s the color scheme breakdown.

Color Scheme #1:

Floors: dark wood laminate carried throughout the entire floor will look more open and updated

Cabinets: a subtle tan tone will look crisp and new (Sand White by Glidden)

Walls: a pale creamy yellow will be cheerful and warm (Delicate Yellow by Glidden)

Appliances: remain white (although this palette will also work when the time comes to replace them with stainless steel for an even more crisp and current appearance)

Color Scheme #2:

Floors: a creamy sand ceramic tile will work particularly well with the current cream counters (try for something close in color to Bone White by Glidden)

Cabinets: will remain their current wooden hue, which will look a lot more updated with some paint on the wall and fresh new flooring

Walls: a moody gray-green will balance out all the warm tones with some crisp cool ones (try Glidden’s China Rain)

Appliances: remain white (although this palette will also work  when the time comes to replace ’em with stainless steel for an even more crisp and current appearance)

Color Scheme #3:

Floors: dark wood laminate carried throughout the entire floor will look more open and updated

Cabinets: a crisp clean white (always a classic choice) will make the current white appliances blend seamlessly with the look of the rest of the room (try Glidden’s Ready-Mix White)

Walls: a soft blue-gray tone with a hint of a green undertone will add subtle color with universal appeal (Glidden’s Gentle Tide)

Accent color: adding hints of a greeny-gray tone with a few dish towels, trivets and storage tins throughout the space will make this kitchen even more inviting (use Glidden’s Seaside Village)

So there you have it. Three ways for Laura to cheer up her kitchen in a flash. Add stainless steel cabinet hardware, updated lighting and stainless steel appliances (sometime in the future) and Laura will have a completely remodeled kitchen on her hands. We can’t wait to see what you guys think- especially you Laura!


  1. Sara says

    I like either #1 or #2. #2 would be a quick solution and all those cabinets would really need is some nickel hardware.

    John & Sherry~ I like the way you laid out the color schemes in this post. It was (for me anyways) much easier to follow! Hope to see more color conundrums like this! Keep up the great work!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Sara,

      So glad you’re diggin’ the new color conundrum layout. Music to our ears! We certainly plan to stick to the simpler list explanation. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Sherry (& John)

  2. Lisa says

    You may want to update your paint directory. We went looking for “Gentle Tide” a couple of weeks ago, since you recommend it so often, and couldn’t find it. The paint specialist said that Glidden had changed their line.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Lisa,

      Thanks so much for the tip! We actually were just at our local Home Depot and saw Gentle Tide so maybe it’s a regional thing? Or perhaps our store didn’t update their swatches yet? Either way of course we recommend comparable colors from other lines (or the same line) if anyone has trouble finding the hues that we suggest! But thanks again for the tip!


  3. says

    Personally, I like choice #3, but if your ultimate goal is to convert this to a rental then stick with the most neutral choices–probably #1. Will we get to see an “after” photo?

  4. says

    Hi guys– I love the new layout for color consultations as well. Personally, I love combo #3.

    One question though (and perhaps this has been answered many times), but have you guys had good experiences using Glidden? That’s the one brand my contractor dad always forbid use of, and it’s stuck!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Meredith,

      We’ve actually painted many rooms of our own home with Glidden paint (it’s not mindblowing stuff, but two coats totally does the job) as well as had it color matched to Benjamin Moore paint (which of course has great coverage and goes on like butter- usually in just one coat). But we keep coming back to Glidden’s extremely wide range of rich and deep colors (which can always be color matched if anyone prefers a higher grade paint). We have over 15 paint decks (literally) from nearly every brand in existence and in most cases we just haven’t found better colors- even from Benjamin Moore or Ralph Lauren (of course there are exceptions- we adore Benjamin Moore’s Hawthorne Yellow), so we keep coming back to Glidden. Hope that explains our paint picks!

      Oh and Cindy, we will definitely share an after as soon as we get one. Sometimes these things take a little while, but they’re totally worth the wait!


  5. Rowan says

    i like option #3 as it has more life to it.

    one of the things i love about the condo i am renting is that it has some of the rooms were painted with subtle colour hues, not completely beige or whites. it feels more like a home to me than a rental because of that.

  6. Carrie says

    For sure 3. I like the cherry cabinet with the blue. It will make the cherry pop! White will look nice, but the cherry will be nice with blue…..

  7. Laura says

    Hi Sherry & John,

    Thanks so much for the great color suggestions!! I spent the bulk of today looking at flooring, which I think will drive our final color decisions. I’ll let you know what we decide and how it turns out! :)

    FYI…we tried your free labor “experiment” and posted a full disclosure ad (free carpet and pad from smoker’s home) on Craigslist. Basically, if you pulled it, you could have it — and it was gone in less than 24 hours!

    We were believers before, and now we’re true believers! In Craigslist…and Young House Love!

    Thanks again!

  8. Courtney says

    Hey Guys!

    I love love love your site! I just can’t get enough of it :) So, did we ever get after pics? I would love to see how this one turned out, probably because the before pictures look alot like my much-needing-an-update kitchen. HaHa I really hope they went with #3!!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Courtney,

      No after pics yet but you know we’ll share ’em if they ever roll in!


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