Best Paint Colors

June 19, 2011

Ask A Designer: Painting An Open-Concept Kitchen

Q. The wall between my kitchen and living room does not reach the ceiling. If I paint the rooms different colours, where do I stop? The dining room is open to the kitchen, so should they be the same colour? I’d also like a new dining set and will replace the fish tanks with a buffet.

— M.P., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. My rule for painting an open-concept space is simple: paint it all the same colour and you can’t go wrong! There’s a lot going on with angled walls and ceiling heights, so it’s best to unify the space. Even though I bet you’re tired of your white walls, I think they’re light and bright. You should stay on the light side, but if you do want a change, go a bit warmer with Horseradish (C15-1) or cooler with Whispering Wind (D16-1) (both shown) from Olympic Paints.

I find the right mix of materials always adds interest to a space. In the dining room, start with a solid wood dining table, like the G5601X pedestal table (shown) from Geovin Furniture. Its rich, warm wood will ground the area and be a nice upgrade from the dark green pedestal table you have now.

Using a set of woven chairs, as in our inspiration shot, will keep the look from feeling too formal. Ikea’s Majby chair (shown) is made from rattan, so it has great texture — and an affordable $90 price tag! I’d like to see the chair with seat cushions made from Company C’s Poplar in Robin’s Egg or Imperial Paisley in Sun (both shown) to bring pattern to the dining area and brighten up the table and chairs.

Now, on to lighting: I’d suggest a chandelier with a simple profile. The six-light iron chandelier (shown) from Ethan Allen is classic and unfussy and will add a much-needed punctuation of black in the light space.

Replace your kitchen barstools with a pair of factory-inspired ones, like the Flint barstools (shown) from CB2. The light metal will complement your new table and chandelier and your existing cabinets.

Together, these new pieces will add refinement to your kitchen and will have staying power for years to come.

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1. Six-light chandelier, Ethan Allen. 2. Flint barstool, CB2. 3. Majby chair, Ikea. 4. G5601X table, Geovin Furniture. 5. Fabric, from left: Imperial Paisley in Sun, Poplar in Robin’s Egg, Company C. 6. Paint, from top: Horseradish (C15-1), Whispering Wind (D16-1), Olympic.