It's Input, It's Input Time
Monday Open Caption, Non-Kitchen Edition For the Love of God FINALLY

Input Time, Expanded & Annotated

Never let it be said that the Internet doesn't take a request for advice seriously. Serious Internet iz serious! Serious Internet iz in ur kitchen, comparing ur paint chipz!

In fact, since you guys took the assignment so seriously, I must apologize for setting y'all up for COLOR FAIL with just that little picture of a little corner. I think the lack of full room perspective is why red ended up being such a popular suggestion.

Let's...back up from that angle a little bit.


See, I just can't get behind the idea of painting THAT MUCH wall red. Or any of it red, honestly, what with that wide expanse of reddish floor. As someone mentioned yesterday, I think it might feel like we "slaughtered a steer in a bordello."

We actually painted part of our bedroom dark red in our old DC condo -- way back in 2001, like a couple of paint-trend VISIONARIES -- and at first we loved it. How bold! How deep and lovely and different! And then six months later...hmm. Yeah. It looks kinda like a whorehouse up in here. Also, small. Very, very small.

We moved our bedroom to the (yellow!) upstairs loft and eventually had to paint over the red to create Noah's nursery. And people? I wanted to fucking. Kill. My. Self. And I was the pregnant one who was only BARELY KIND OF HELPING. Jason and his dad did most of the priming and the priming and the painting and oh, dammit, more priming and painting, and I think its pretty safe to say that Jason will never, ever let me paint anything red ever again.

(Next up on the recession-makeover-by-paint-alone list: the adjacent dining room, which is halfway red. Deep, dark red up to a white chair rail, another freaking shade of goddamn beige up to the ceiling. This WOULD work, except that the room has 1) no windows and 2) an unusually low ceiling. Thus, the red gives you the sensation that bottom half of the room is slowly closing in on you and about to eat your legs off.)

(After that, it's time for our bedroom. Holy paint nuggets, but you people are in for some hella boring entries.)

So...I'm sorry. I am. But no red. NO RED. Let's take a look at another angle.


These people LOVED their recessed blackhead-zit-lighting, obviously.

We've been wanting to paint the house ever since we moved in, really, but just...haven't. Our condo buyers* demanded an incredibly tight closing date (which they would subsequently forget to ask for the day off from work for, which was awesome of them) so we only barely got our crap from one place into the other in time. So there was no time to paint while the place was nice and empty, though you can see from the shoe rack that's leaning in a corner instead of being attached to the wall that we TOTALLY INTENDED TO PAINT. I mean, don't MOUNT the shoe rack; we'll just have to take it down when we paint! Which we're totally going to do soon! Along with window coverings! And stuff on the wall! AS SOON AS WE PAINT.

That shoe rack has been sitting there for...what? Two-and-a-half years now? Thank God we didn't waste any energy on THAT, then.

*We also had to accept a below-list offer because they wanted to paint over all the bold, gorgeous colors (terra cotta and yellow and green and faux-crumbling-brick murals climbing up the loft) we'd chosen. We've since seen through the windows that they painted the entire place...white.

That table is going to be replaced, as we NEVER USE IT (obviously, if you can see that we use it for sprouting seedlings for the vegetable garden), with one of those counter-height workstation things, with storage and stools and maybe some butcher block. This kitchen, blah as it might be aesthetically, at least DOES get put to good, extensive use. And since I'm prone to taking up all the counter space while cooking seventeen different batches of baby food and preschooler snacks with a side of Mama Brownies, I've been eyeballing that useless half of the room for awhile now. Usually while drooling. And eating.


Yes, the dishwasher is actually stainless. know, the fake stainless. The horrible GE dishwasher that was here when we moved in was recalled, and we used the provided rebate to replace it with a possibly MORE horrible GE dishwasher. Scratch that. This is definitely a more horrible dishwasher. Terrible. (It's basically the cheapest GE Profile model you can buy. WE RUE THE DAY.) Its days are numbered and I believe we're going to go back to white, since if we DO fall ass-backwards into some free money, it'll go towards the horrible counter and cabinets. The range and microwave are perfectly fine, and we were able to get the not-great-but-serviceable refrigerator repaired and save ourselves a couple grand. That we've already spent on Noah's OT summer camp. GOD.

Hmm. I am looking at that grey bin/basket we use for paper recyling there and thinking. THINKING OF THINGS. PAINT IDEA THINGS.


That bit up by the WTF is not a trick of the camera -- the wall is weirdly uneven there, thus complicating any ideas of using different colors on the two halves of the room. I think that one wall by the little table would make a nice accent -- I bought rows of little photo/artwork display things at Ikea awhile ago with this wall in mind, but of course never hung them up because WE ARE GOING TO PAINT.

(We did not have Guns n' Roses over. We did not actually have any guests over.)

So...we've been basically going back and forth about this room for ages. We absolutely cannot afford to *do* anything major to it right now. But I'm sick to death of not doing *anything.* I think that's why I finally seized upon the FUCK IT, WE'RE PAINTING IT WHITE AND THAT'S THE END OF IT thing.

(Well, that, and AB Chao's kitchen. I know y'all came down HARD on the all-white kitchen, but dude. Duuuuude. Hers is insanely gorgeous, though clearly not something we could replicate in a boring 70s suburban townhouse kitchen. But still. Waaaaannnnnt, duuuuuuuuuuuude.) Etc.

(Oh! And for the tough-to-clean paint complaints, I cannot believe that I, knower of exactly nothing, know a possible solution to that. My mother-in-law was a professional decorative painter [she did our old condo, but I have been unable to spark her interest in doing ANYTHING at the new house except for the boys' rooms] and after she would do any type of faux finish or mural, she'd slap a thin coat of polyurethane over it. Seals and protects completely so you can wipe ANYTHING off with a wet rag. HIGHLY recommended for any special painted details you might put around your baby boy's changing table. Just saying. From experience.)

Now that you have some added perspective on the space, what do you think? Warm grey? Avocado or olive or grass green? (Not big on sage, since our one bathroom is sage and our LAST bathroom was sage, so basically: sage makes me think I have to pee.) Tiffany or robin's egg blue? Canteloupe? Yellow but like, a different yellow? WHITE? Pink with little red hearts stenciled all over the place? Hunter green plaid and a ton of duck decoys?

(Oh, and the boring door pulls are as good as gone. As soon as I find something that I like. And, you know, ASSOONASWEPAINT.)



I don't really have an opinion about the paint color (I am overwhelmed by my own indecisiveness, thank you) but I am just so happy to see Max! Kitty cat!


More photos help ... and, yes, you have lots o' wall. I'm sticking with my vote for a medium olive green. Fairly subdued without being blah ... and still lets the white cabinets and trim "pop." I think a gray-green (resto silver sage) would be nice, too. Oh, but run far, far away from cantaloupe or any orangey colors. That could be possibly worse than red. And Tiffany blue would be *way* too bold IMO.


I would paint it white if it were me. If you change your mind in 12 months it will be easier for you to then paint it a different colour...

Plus you won't have to paint your cabinets if you go white.


The white kitchen IS good. Cantaloupe would make a great accent color with white. Creamsicle-y.


I'm voting for green or grey. But no wishy-washy colours here; pick something with a bit of depth. Not necessarily dark, but nothing washed out.
See my celery green (Sanderson, which maybe you can only get in the UK, but never mind, you get the idea) for details.


I love the idea of a very pale seaglass green, and for a "contrast wall" the chalkboard paint idea (which I also saw martha stewart rock on the today show) seems really cool and useful to me.
Also, thank you for the thin coat of polyurethane idea. This is my first year owning a townhouse (in Rockville, versus our old condo in Dupont) and the idea is genius, simple and sounds effective. And, I adore the all-white kitchen. I love love it. Mine is terracotta and faux finish walls and murals, which is great, but not what we would have chosen. Gooood luck! PS, home improvement posts attract an insane number of comments!!!! We do love our homes...


I don't know if you will actually get to this comment, since you have SO many....but Robin's Egg blue with those white cabinets would be so incredibly awesome. If I can find the link to some pictures of rooms online I saw that were painted that way, I think it would totally convince you. It may be a tad bit on the "girly" side....but with the right accents, I really don't think anyone would think that. Besides, it's blue. And isn't blue the universal color of boy? So really it's a compromise. *off to look for those links*


Ok, there it is. Hope that helps!


Ok, it seems like everyone else is making the same suggestion, but I recommend a stainless-y grey-ish blue or green. Benjamin Moore makes a beautiful color called Ocean Air, or Gossamer Blue is one shade darker if you want more contrast. I do love that all-white kitchen too, but I think the white floors make it, and it would be a shame to paint your beautiful new floors.


I like sky blue. Of course that's what I want for my kitchen, too, but I think it might look lovely with the seascape photos in that first picture.

Plus, the floors remind me of the teak in my FIL's sailboat.

Sorry, haven't read the rest of the comments (maybe later? 205 sounds daunting right now)


Yeah... well now I have no idea. So.... good luck with that! :)

Kim Brown

Grass green! Or apple green...or some other green. There are some great greens in the Pottery Barn color deck at Benjamin Moore. Just stay pretty light on the green color so it's not "all Christmas all the time" in your kitchen.


Whew. You have a lot of input already, but I have to say gray was my first thought when I looked at the room. I think it's a nice space, BTW. Good luck!!


crescent moon or killington traverse would look good if you're going for white-with-a-little-color.

Greens are really going to be the best thing to go with your floor, i think.

if you want to go grey-er, my bedroom is polaris ( and i'm in love with it. see:

Average Jane

We recently painted a room a light apricot color and we're loving it. The trim is reddish, which makes me think that apricot would look nice with the color of your hardwood floor.


Yes a warm grey would rock. With all the natural light it will not close in the room.


How about red?

okay, kidding.
I now change my vote to the green family - apple green or olive green.



What about a chocolate milk brown?


I kind of prefer the Dharma Initiative yellow. Namaste.


I'm sticking with the warm gray. Also, the accent wall is an awesome idea. Go to the Benjamin Moore personal color viewer and put in Eclipse as the body color, Gentleman's Gray as the accent (actually more of a gray tinged dark turquoise blue and way beautiful) and Feathered Violet for trim. This is the color combo I am imagining for your kitchen. Or something very similar. Then bold red, bright blue, and even some grassy green accents will work. And the gray and blue will complement the rich red color of your floor without turning your kitchen into a bordello parlour.


I love the idea of green or some kind of a neutralish brownish color. I tend to lean towards darker colors...From Duron: Mossy Gold, Eminent Bronze, Best Bronze, Umber for neutrals... Garden Gate, Secret Garden, Relentless Olive, Rural Green for greens.

Of course I'm only going by the 1/2" swatch of each I see on my computer screen. :)


Gray/green, but not too dark. I think the artichoke at Sherwin Williams is what I have in mind, but its hard to tell on the computer. I've also learned the hard way to always buy a small sample and try it on the wall. You can paint laminate counters, you know. But, it takes sanding, painting, sealing and not touching. So, I'm thinking this is something you hire someone to do when you go on vacation after you fall ass backwards in to that money.


Urgh, I totally suck at the whole "picture this paint color" thing, but I will tell you that we recently painted our kitchen from a very similar shade of yellow to a Ralph Lauren color called Raffia. Yes, it's a shade of beige, but in certain lights it has a green tint to it. I'm totally in love and I highly recommend.

(Try not to judge it by the swatch too much -- you can't see the cool green undertones from that. I think it would look great with the reddish floor.)


Behr paint chips:

520D Tropical Tide
510B Jamaican Sea

(inspired by the colors in sea/boat pics you have in the kitchen)


I like the gray idea best. But I may be biased because I recently painted my kitchen a very gray blue color (I had a similar problem. The walls were red when we moved in and the wood of the cabinets was very reddish. TOO MUCH RED! It had to go. So we promptly repainted, uh, 18 months after we moved in...)

Mommy Joy

I'm all for a bright cheery yellow. I'm thinking a mix between lemon yellow and a pastel yellow. BRIGHT! With bright white trim/accents. Yellow is an amazing color. It makes any room "happy" which is always a great thing in a kitchen.


There's so many walls, so many corners, so many segments. Could I suggest a really great dark colour - perhaps marine blue/green, or brick red in the alcove section that leads into the other rooms. Then a lovely antique white/cream but definitely not yellow in most other places. To tie the dark accent in perhaps use that colour over the windows and doors on the other sides. or if too many colours offend, what about some of those gorgeous cafe latte colours that are around? these colours are often great as a foil to enhance whatever you put with them - colours that come from your photos and other hung objects.


One last thought how about an accent wall using one of these:


And I say it again: paint just one or two walls with a bright color and make the rest white. And something like apple-green or lime-green. It will make you happy!


We have the same color wood floors, but our cabinets are also that color and our countertops are a muted black/tan swirl. The color we painted our kitchen looks wonderful against the white baseboards and cherry floors. It is called Bungalow Gold, at Hope Depot. It is a mix of a medium khaki and a muted gold and it is perfect, we ended up extending it through the entire main floor because it is such a great warm, neutral color. Please check it out! I think it would be beautiful in your kitchen.


Oops, that should be HOME Depot!


I'm thinking more along the lines of a café au lait with white accents on the little "nook" walls. I've always thought grey on walls was cloudy day looking unless you have LOTS of natural light– IMHO. Good luck! Color picking is hard work!

Sugared Harpy

I like a dove grey, I'd also think maybe a pale, neutrally aqua might be pretty.


What about a cinnamon-ish color? It would play off the red of your floor without being, well, RED. An olive green would probably be pretty too.


In my old house I had a family room that was Ralph Lauren Caspian Sea and I LOVED it- I'm looking for a room in my new house that would fit that color. It would go great with your floors and counters.


To go with that intense red floor I'd go with a pale version of the robin's egg blue... maybe even very pale to lose some of that intensity, you don't want things to glow against each other!


My kitchen is also gray (as is the rest of my house, which gets booooooring) and it IS a really easy color to have in the kitchen. Still, if you could find a fantastic lime or apple green to match on an accent wall, I think that would look fantastic with the gray counter tops and the white everything else.


Don't hate me, but lilac would be perfect with the counters and the cabinets. You could use a lilac with a grey undertone.


'Bamboo shoot' green from Sherwin Williams (we took the paint swatch to HD and they matched it...b/c we're cheap). Looks AWESOME with wood floors. Looks nice against white. As for the drawer pulls...spray paint. Not kidding, it works awesome. Just rough them up with some sand paper and spray away. Very cheap (which I obviously am).


I'll stick with my original choice...BLUE! ;)


I was thinking maybe you could do one wall in that wallpaper that feels/looks like grass/bamboo. The olive colored paint would go good with that. But then again, I'm still waiting for a gay interior designer to come do something with the crap in my house. That, or a hurricane come along and wipe it all out so that I could start with something new instead of dealing with the shit already in my house. Got any suggestions cause yours is so far ahead of mine right now, LOL!?


sorry if this is a repeat of others' suggestions. we've been painting every room in our house so i've been obsessing over paint splotches. we've used almost all blue and gray. my favorites are: benjamin moore palladian blue, and seattle mist. glidden fossil grey, and toasty grey. valspar (martha stewart) handkerchief, bedford gray, midlands gray, araucana blue. valspar woodlawn colonial gray. benjamin moore/pottery barn wish. have fun!


OK, here's why you can't do white. Did you notice that in her kitchen your eye is drawn to the cute backsplash tile and cabinets? Also to the one splash of color which is the flowers? Look at your kitchen accents--do you want people's eyes drawn to that? (I'm talking about the piles of stuff you were moving around, the wine glasses, cabinets, etc. IMO white just looks undone, unless the space is truly decorated, like, by a real designer. Which I've really only seen in magazines. In friend's houses with white walls it just looks like they forgot something. Someone had the idea of sea colors--doesn't that sound nice?


242 comments, huh? I'm sure you were just waiting for that 243rd one to take your decision...
Also, I've never posted a comment here before (although I've been reading and enjoying your blog for quite a while now), you don't know me from Adam, which makes me even more certain that you are JUST DYING to hear what my opinion is on this. Right? Of course, right.
So, anyhoo, I'm French and all so it's quite possible our influences are not the same, and we may not like the same thing. I think white is not such a bad idea actually (please, don't throw stuff, Internets); plus, it has the advantage of allowing you to paint that wall any colour you like, bold or not bold (you'd still have those red floors to keep in mind I guess).
Another suggestion I would have would be to go for a taupe colour all around (because of those taupish flakes on your countertop; and also 'cause it'a nice colour), and paint that wall near the small table in a pale blue.
And if you're changing the door pulls, I'd try and find some wooden ones that might go well with the floor. If that's not possible, then perhaps get some plain wooden ones and paint them the same colour as your lone coloured wall.
Am I making any sense here?
Wishing you more fun than headaches on this project.
And BRAVO for your wonderful writing!!


Green green green! Somewhere between a more muted celery or a brighter spring green, depending on your tolerance for brightness. I had a small breakfast area I did in bright spring green with black table, white and black curtains, etc, and it was really nice. You might want something more subtle than that, but definitely not sage-y...stay away from the grayed-out greens.

tracey in toronto

i'm thinking a modern take on light a grey-green would look lovely. like maybe "jade frost" (either by CIL or Behr).

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