#44 - The Opoponax's Happy Kitchen

Name: The Opoponax
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Type: 1.5 bedroom rental apartment

Why I use color:

I use color to pull a space together. It's important to take what is
already in the space into account, as well as how the space is used,
when you make choices about color for a particular room. The kitchen's only window lets in very stark light, and unfortunately I'm stuck with the classic renter's wooden cabinetry.

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The formica countertop is worn and stained from years of use, and a lack of space means lots of open storage. I choose a paint color that would work with the finish on the cupboards and the odd light and which wouldn't clash with any of the exposed elements. I also wanted to create an inviting space with a sense of humor. I don't love cooking or kitchen chores, so I figured an attractive space would help me enjoy my time in there more. So far it's definitely worked!

2 Good color tips:

1. Never choose a color outside the room in question. Light, furniture, and the colors of the floor and any other permanent features will really affect the way a shade of paint looks in a particular space. Originally I wanted this kitchen to be bright yellow. I pulled a lot of swatches and came home to find that every single one clashed horribly with the cabinets and looked like macaroni and cheez in the strange light. Consider your choice against every existing element and in every possible kind of light.

2. Throw the rules about color out the window. 'They' say to paint kitchens only in warm colors. 'They' say pale or neutral colors are best for small spaces. "They're" not you and they don't live in your aparment. This isn't to say that you should take complete leave of your senses, but it's much more important to look at the elements of a space and what you're trying to accomplish rather than blindly following the advice of your mother or Martha Stewart or whoever.

2 good color resources:

1. Graphic design, especially from places and times you'd like to
evoke in the space. My apartment was built in the 40's and last renovated in the 70's. I pulled my palette from the Elvis record that now hangs over the stove and postwar movie posters (especially that of Breakfast At Tiffany's).

2. Everyday items you really love, especially things that are already in your home or even in the room in question. It's my belief that people naturally gravitate to a certain color palette. Better to draw from things you already love than to venture out on some strange whim just because you saw it in Elle Decor.

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2006, Room for Color

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.