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The Yellow Kitchen

By Marsha Fottler –

In the early days of kitchen design, yellow was one of the standard colors to paint a kitchen. The other was white. The reasons are obvious, the color yellow denotes sunshine, cheerfulness, optimism and various hues and shades of yellow call to mind foods that generally end up in a kitchen – banana, pineapple, lemon, egg yolks, butter, squash. Bowls of fresh fruit and veggies on the kitchen counter could make up a harmonizing color palette for the room.

Gradually, American homeowners turned away from yellow in favor of trendy wallpapers and more dramatic and original colors that were usually reserved for other more formal areas of the home. In the past few years I’ve seen a lot of kitchens that were aubergine, Asian red, tangerine, caramel, blue and even black.

Well, in interior design as in many other areas of life, what goes around comes around and yellow is back once again. Yellow one of the strong trend colors for the upcoming year and yellow is not only overtaking every room in the house, but once again it’s reigning supreme in the kitchen. If you’ve never had a yellow kitchen and your room needs painting or refurbishing, this is the year to go yellow. There have never been so many different colors of yellow and just about all of them look delicious.

When going yellow for the kitchen, here are a few tips. Select a low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint for a healthy environment in the kitchen. Up until recently these environmentally-friendly blends were more expensive than regular paint, but not so any more. They are easy to find and come in all colors. Use satin or semi-gloss finish for your walls, because it means easy clean up. A flat finish will cause you nothing but trouble (the paint generally comes off when you wipe with cleaner) and a high gloss finish is perhaps too reflective. But, maybe not, I’ve seen gloss work in a super-modern installation. High-gloss can be terrifically sophisticated, but if your walls are not pristine and smooth, a high-gloss finish will highlight every imperfection.

When you’ve narrowed your ideal yellow paint color down to two or three choices, bring a quart of each home (stores usually make you buy a quart but if they will sell you a smaller amount take it), and paint a large square on your walls of your top choices. Observe the colors in natural and artificial light, see which color matches best with your counters, cabinets and floors. Remember that the light bulbs in the room can affect the color of the paint. Need to switch out those bulbs?  In a day or two and you’ll know for sure which color you want to live with. For the runner-up paints, save the quarts to repurpose small pieces of furniture, baskets, picture frames and other accessories that can coordinate with your new yellow kitchen.

Bring in some art work that has yellow in the scene and consider a throw rug that has shades of yellow along with the other colors in the room. Most important, look up and do something with the ceiling. Determine if you want a white canopy or if you want to take some of that yellow overhead. Paint the ceiling either one shade darker or lighter than the walls so that you have some contrast but not too strong. Most people use flat paint for a ceiling treatment, but for the kitchen go with the satin finish or even semi-gloss if you want a bit of reflection or you’d enjoy a glow over the room. With either of these finishes, you’ll be able to wipe down the ceiling because no matter how beautiful your new yellow kitchen looks, cooking accidents do happen.

One Response to “The Yellow Kitchen”

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