Ideas for Making Kitchen Wall with Flat Paint Finish More Durable?

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Q: We moved into a condo this spring. The building was an old apartment building that was gutted and turned into condos by a developer who did a great job with most things. His choice of paint, though, is questionable. It's a benign shade of beigey-taupe, but the problem is with the finish. It's flat paint that doesn't wear well.

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We've repainted all of the bathrooms and bedrooms, but the open floor plan kitchen-living-dining room presents a bit of a challenge. It flows into the stairs and loft area up to the 2nd floor. So painting the kitchen means we also have to paint the rest of the living space — something we just aren't ready to do:

The wall at the end of the kitchen is taking quite a hit from kitchen splashes and flings. We can't put shelves or anything 3-D there because the trash and cabinet door open into the space. We've contemplated framing it out somehow and putting some chalkboard paint there, but it's not my favorite idea and I'm not sure how well it would wear. We tiled the backsplash and front of the counter/bar with white subway tile and are afraid that tiling that area will be too much. The difference in height of the bottom of the window and the top of the counter makes it a little challenging to delineate that lower part of the wall as some sort of separate space.

Any ideas on what we can do to that wall to make the kitchen durable without having to redo the whole living space?

Sent by Heather

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(Image: provided by Heather)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.