Decorating & Design

Ask A Designer: Cottage Kitchen

Q. I’m planning to take out the linoleum floor in my cottage kitchen. Can you recommend a colour to paint the plywood underneath? I’m painting the wall panelling white. And I’m going to replace the light fixtures; what style of fixtures do you think will work here? The ceiling is only 8′, so something that hangs too low may not work.

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

A. Paint it all.

Although the ceiling is a little on the low side, your kitchen looks very spacious. Enhance that by painting the walls, doors, trim, cabinets and ceiling a soft green, like Beauti-Tone’s Stone Massage (5K1-2) (shown) to brighten the space and add more interest than white. Painting your plywood floor is a great idea — it’s an easy and inexpensive way to give it a casual, rustic feel that’s perfect for a cottage. Beauti-Tone’s Innocent Eyes (4K3-4) (shown) is a few shades darker than the new wall and cabinet colour and will add subtle contrast on the floor.

And try to have fun with the space! Paint one of the doors with Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint (shown) as a place to post weekend menus or for guests to leave messages.

In with the old.

I love schoolhouse pendants, like the one from Sescolite (shown), because of the vintage-industrial quality they add. If you’re able to install new electrical boxes, suspend a pair of them over your island, as in our Inspiration shot. They’ll suit the slightly unfitted look of your kitchen. If you can’t easily install new boxes, replace your current fixtures with low-profile flush-mount ones like the Roderick in Deep Patina Bronze by Robert Abbey (shown) to clean up the ceiling.

Increase storage.

Right now, it looks like your range hood is just floating on the wall. Replace it with a more substantial model, like Broan’s RM52000 chimney hood (shown), then install two rows of Ikea’s Ekby Järpen shelves and Valter brackets (shown) on either side for storage.

Finishing touch.

The soft green and grey tones and classic stripe of the Neema table linens from Danica Studio (shown) will tie in with your new palette and look great on your island.

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1. Schoolhouse pendant, Sescolite. 2. RM52000 chimney hood, Broan. 3. Roderick fixture, Robert Abbey. 4. Neema table linens, Danica Studio. 5. Paint: Stone Massage, (5K1-2) (left), Innocent Eyes (4K3-4), Beauti-Tone. 6. Chalkboard paint, Rust-Oleum. 7. Ekby Järpen shelf, Ekby Valter brackets, Ikea.

Author: Cameron MacNeil

Virginia Macdonald (inspiration room); Kim Jeffery (paint can); John Cullen (paint pools).