Wall Color That Works with Open Kitchen?

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Q: My husband and I just bought our first apartment, and after years of renting I am dying to paint the walls any color but rental white. I've been envisioning painting the living room light grey, but I'm concerned that it won't work with the kitchen, which is part of the living room.
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The issue is the beige kitchen countertops and backsplash, and the cabinets, which are a dated cherrywood that I would not have chosen, but which we don't have time or budget to update. What color would you suggest that would work in the living room as well as the kitchen area?

Attached are two photos, one showing the kitchen area and one showing the living room area. The backsplash wall from the kitchen flows into the living room wall. This is not our furniture, but a "staged" version of the current owner's.

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son 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.

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