Return to Sodor
Input Time, Expanded & Annotated

It's Input, It's Input Time

Okay, so a lot of you demanded to see photos of the headband. A lot of you do not have much goin' on for you, these days, I'm guessin'. Anyway, I wasn't intentionally holding out on you, I't been washing my hair much this week, in order to test out some new dry shampoo and various oily-scalp things for the Advice Smackdown. Results have been...mixed. Helmet-head-ish, with a side of Ye Olde Timey Powdered Wig. You know, REALLY PRETTY. Really ready for a close-up self-portrait to be published across the land.


I bought it at H&M after watching entirely too much Top Chef, because that one girl always wore double headbands like this one, only not really like this one at all, as you can see close up:


Even the girl on Top Chef had re-thought the headbands by the reunion show. I should have learned a similar lesson, including the fact that this fucker HURTS MY HEAD.

Anyway. The glittery headband is just all around Bad Idea Jeans, I realize that now. Moving on! It is now time to talk about how ugly my kitchen is.

See, when we moved into this house, we were completely thrilled with the kitchen layout. The previous owners had knocked down walls! Installed a breakfast bar! Extra cabinets, lazy susans, built-in wine racks, A SPONGE CUBBY! Huzzah!

As for the actual look of the kitchen...well. The previous owners had also used the cheapest, crappiest cabinets and countertops possible. We planned on eventually replacing the counters and at least refacing the cabinets, but...well, again. That's not going to happen for awhile, what with our current state of brokeassness. We've also (obviously) scrapped any talk of moving back to the city, since Noah (obviously) needs to stay here in this school district. Thus, we're trying to do that whole "make the best of things" (uh) THING. So while I can't afford to really change the kitchen, I believe we can afford a couple gallons of paint.

But I am TERRIBLE at this stuff, Internet. Seriously. I read those design/decorating blogs and it's like there is a hole in my genetic code where that sort of talent should be. I mean, I can look at a photo and be like, THAT, RIGHT THERE! I LOVE! But then I have no idea how to make my actual house look like that. I go for "eclectic" and the result is "cluttered mish-mosh." I go for "modern" and the result is "Ikea." I go for anything else and the result is "Amy got this because it was on sale, and it was on sale because HOLY GOD, LOOK AT IT."

So. Here. Help me. I know this is spectacularly boring, but I am clueless.


We have your typical plain white laminate cabinets and a black-and-white-and-grey laminate countertop. There's kind of a tiny bit of a brownish-putty color in the counters as well, but it's really nothing I'd want on the walls. The current paint is a really terribly blah shade of yellow that doesn't look good with the white AT ALL in real life (it looks oddly more neutral in photos, not so much in person). Besides, I've pretty much utterly destroyed the paint job anyway.

I can't really judge the chooser of this color though, because I know EXACTLY how it came to me: the stark cabinets and black counters and modern handles ended up looking a little cold and boring, so yellow was chosen to "warm the room up," or some other great idea that only works if you have any real eye for color. Which they didn't. (400 different shades of beige! Every wall a slightly different shade of beige! That's not a color scheme, that's an obessive compulsive disorder!).

So my ideas begin and end with: Let's paint it white. At least white won't actively clash and bug me so much. But then there are the floors, which are a darkish reddish hardwood, and ALSO kind of clash with the modern black and white. We installed the floors back when we were so sure that a kitchen makeover was next on our to-do list. Back before everything went, you know, BOOM.


(We also wanted floors that matched our dog, just so she could camouflage herself for maximum Getting Stepped On. Success!)

So there you have it. We need a new paint color. The appliances are all white, and will likely be staying that way (see: BOOM, etc.). Would you paint the walls white? White with an accent wall? Totally not white but some other awesome color that I'm too stupid to think off? (And one that we also wouldn't have to paint over in the unlikely even that we DO move in a couple years, like the crazy bright blue we had in our old kitchen that we thought was SO AWESOME until we painted it white before listing our condo and then were all, "Oh. This looks much better. Huh.")

Also, please know that I am not handy enough to attempt anything like a tile backsplash or really, anything other than paint. Although I AM incredibly tempted by shit like this, which seems cheap and easy and thus guaranteed to end in disaster.

Thank you, dear one Internet, for any help you can provide in this clearly very important matter.




Another thought if you want to go BRIGHTER! and BOLDER! is a burnt orangey, paprika red. It will look less 80s than a true red against the grey/black/white counters and cupboards.


I third the suggestion. I always learn something new there.


Your floor has a lot of orange in it and I think your walls would look fantastic painted the color of the inside of a cantelope, or a little darker, if you want. It would work, beautifully.


My sister is an artist and she understands the things that confuse me, like "color theory" and whatnow. But two things she's said that made sense to me. First, I would go look at your floors, since they're the thing you're probably going to think about most; white cabinets will go with anything, and the counter is pretty neutral, plus you may change it (since it wasn't your choice). It looks like they're a lovely red-brown.

So the first thing she told me was to look at the color I want to go with, then make sure the color I use has elements of that color in it. So if you go with a blue, for example, go with one that has just a hint of red or brown in it; it will make the colors look like they belong together.

The other thing she said to consider was using too much of one kind of color; since your floors are very "warm," consider using a "cool" color for the walls so they balance one another.

I don't get color, but those were rules I could handle. That being said, I would recommend a lovely deep, grayish blue. Take thousands of paint chips home and tape them up all over your kitchen. Then, when you've lost all hope of finding the "right" choice, choose one at random. That's my approach!


This color, please. Oh, please. Would look beautiful with your floors, cabinets, AND countertop. Please don't do red. I agree with those who say it will drive you nuts trying to get the color on evenly. Plus, with white cabinets, I say you need a cool color, not warm... like this:


I'm no good for color suggestions, but I'd think about changing the door handles/drawer pulls.
Good luck!


No! No red! besides having a huge pain in the butt time trying to pick the right red to go with your floor, red, white and black always reminds me of bad high school colors. I think a green would be a great color for the room, specifically the color pallette that has Sage in it from Sherwin Williams.


Testing because comments are apparently being a bitch to people. Stop being a bitch, comments!

(Not that anyone is reading this far, but NO RED. Tell you why tomorrow, but NO RED.)


I agree with the suggestion to send the picture and question to apartment therapy. They have great advice and people LOVE to hand out paint color advice.
Personally I would suggest a sort of robin-egg blue. But that is me.


I'd go with a soft blue or a soft green. White would end up making your cabinets look weird (or it would look weird itself).

And I say this as someone who LOVES red kitchens (and painted my own that color ALL BY MYSELF, thankyouverymuch), but I'm not quite sure what all the red suggestions are about, I don't think red would play nicely with your pretty floors. ;)

I've been wrong before though, so if you DO decide to go with red - one coat of medium gray primer and three (or so) coats of good quality red paint. Not super fun, but not NEARLY the big deal the internet would have you believe that red paint is. :)


In my unprofessional and unqualified (but, I like to think, solicited) opinion: I think your floors are too warm and red to go red. I say that a gray/blue/green -- something oceany and calm is your best bet. But I did an accent wall in my kitchen in a Behr paint called Hallowed Hush so it could be that I am biased. It also could be that I like to choose paint colors based entirely on their names rather than their actual color...


Red would be fun because it pops against black and white. Word of advice, go to home depot and talk to the paint guys. Make sure you get the right primer, it could save you one two or a thousand coats. I would take some swatches home FIRST and then hold them up to see what you think. Get three or four so you can tape them together to get a bigger swatch to look at. I had to learn on the fly when I wanted to get all Southern Living on my bedroom last summer.


While red would be lovely, please be aware that it is a VERY hard colour to paint. We are talking dark primer and multiple coats. Costly and time consuming. Try the greyish family; grey-green would be good.


With all of these suggestions, I'm sure this has already been said, but I would do something bold like red. It will really make your white cabinets pop and still look good with your countertops. Bold is just more fun!


I actually think it's a totally adorable headband...but I wear a lot of color-coordinated clothing and accessories, so my judgment may not be overly reliable.

This input time is OOOVERR, BAA-A-AABY!

Fairly Odd Mother

That missing genetic code issue? Yeah, I have that too.

And, we bought our home 10 years ago and said, "UGH! Wallpaper kitchen with matchy-matchy curtains! We will get rid of you soon!". 10 years later I am still looking at ugly wallpaper and curtains. Sigh. Maybe we'll get to it in the next 10.


Laura Ashley Green Apple #4. Best color ever. Check it out!


ditto the red!!! I love love love red kitchens! hmm...My kitchen is blue.


a spicy orange color. It can be warm and wonderful, and would pull great color from the floor.


You need these people:

They gave my sister awesome advice!

(I am in no way affiliated with the site, they just saved my sister's kitchen!)


I would try a red will give the white cabinets a bold background, and might help the brownish bits in your countertop....and a least it probably won't CLASH with the floors...
P.S.=That backsplash you SUPER EASY....Even I managed to do it......and now I don't have to worry about grease splatter on the wall behind my stove.


I second or third or twenty-fifth the red idea for the kitchen. The old incarnation of our kitchen had horrible, crookedly hung cheap plywood cabinets that were white, horrible, cheap yellowish laminate countertops, and bad vinyl floors. A bright red distracted everyone from all of these sins and made people think we actually had a nice-looking kitchen. I even kept the red color for the newly renovated kitchen, I liked it so much. It rocks. Check out the old one:


Blue. Like Benjamin Moore Niagara Falls here -


I wouldn't do white (too sterile with those cabinets and countertops) or red (too clashy with the reddish hardwood floor). I would do a medium olive green. I think it would be a great complement to your reddish floors (green and red are complementary colors on the color wheel) -- and it would make your white cabinets "pop." Based on the little glimpse of cabinet hardware in the photo, I would replace that too. That doesn't have to cost a lot, but can have a big impact. Maybe something with a pewter-ish finish. Good luck!


This is hard to do because I'm not actually standing in your kitchen, but I'll go ahead and contribute my opinions, too.

I would NOT go with white for the walls. One, your kitchen would have no color in it and would be horribly boring. Two, you have white cabinets. Trying to match the white of the cabinets to one of the five gazillion colors of white paint will drive you nuts.

I agree that the yellow you have now may not be QUITE right, but what about a different yellow? I love it when kitchens are done in a bright, sunny, cheerful yellow- would that work?

If it were me, I would go the bold route and paint the walls a bright turquoise, but that may be a little bolder than you're looking for.

Good luck!


Your cabinets and floor can be blended together with a tomato red color (a red with lots of orange, a deeper "harvest red"). Look at the picture on the left for reference;


I got a little depressed seeing all the other comments and seeing that there is really no consensus on your walls. I dunno about wall colors, but I can say with much authority that you should change your drawer pulls/handles. I think. If you get some that fit the existing template, it's a really easy switch (easier than painting - I always see the spots I missed a week later) and makes a huuuuge difference.


I vote for deep red/burgundy.

And I would like to thank you for getting that song stuck back in my head. I sang it for months and it finally went away about a month ago.


Pick a color that will work with the counter tops and change the handles on your cabinets. Use a liner/contempary look and use bold splashy color accents.


I love the idea of a warm red, with orange undertones to pull the red hue from your floors. Rather than a red with blue undertones... If you paint your cabinets, you could fill in the upper cabinet hardware holes and then put single knobs on them to update them a bit. If they're solid wood, you could also strip the paint, sand the doors/boxes down and apply a stain for quite a dramatic, yet cheap, change. Good luck withatever you do! I LIVE for projects like this! :-)


I think the people saying red forgot to see the floor. If I were picking I'd pick in the greens or blues.


Blue is a "no no" color for kitchens. There are very few blue foods (as discussed in The Lightning Thief series), so you're supposed to stay away from it in kitchens. And bathrooms, too, but I have no idea why not in bathrooms.

I would go for a cranberry-ish red, if it looked okay with your floors. Otherwise, a dark green if you're kitchen gets a lot of natural light, a more medium green if it doesn't.

We put up a chair rail in our kitchen, and it was a disaster - good idea but poorly executed due to lack of skill. In hindsight, I wish I had found a matching wallpaper border, and just used that as a chair rail. Still, I like the idea of a dark color above and a light color below.

I suck at home improvements (despite a father who can fix/build anything), but even I can change hardware on a cabinet. As long as the holes match up.

yet another from the legions of Amys

Definitely a bold color. Like a primary color. In one apartment I had a small kitchen with similar cabinets and we painted the walls bright Crayola yellow. We had some b/w pieces of art in black frames in there and I LOVED the black/white/primary color combo. The people who moved in after us painted it mint green and it looked like ass.

I like the idea above of using the colors of food as inspiration. Eggplant! Peppers! Tomatoes! Bananas! So many wonderful colors!

Also, that fake backsplash is, um, terrible. Sorry. But I am an architectural purist. I live in an all-original 1720 house that we moved. We even moved the bricks and rebuilt the fireplaces. So of course I would cringe at the thought of a plastic backsplash.


Gah, you asked for advice and you got tons...but of course, I must get my assvice in as well.
Don't do white (will look dirty fast) and don't do grey (my sister redid her kitchen in grey and it is awful...nothing looks appetizing with grey walls). I vote for red. I had a kitchen similar to yours (same countertops, white cabinets) and I had a deep red accent wall and it looked good. But maybe you should paint the entire room red. I like someone else's idea of chalkboard paint...maybe you could do that on a wall or a door. And you already know this, but...headbands are definitely a Glamour Don't.


Ryegrass green. Seriously. It will be beautiful next to your red floors.


Ha! I almost suggested that you do what we did when we were "on the cheap" with our kitchen remodel... 20% off entire kitchen purchase (including GRANITE countertops... whole 10x10 kitchen for about $6000) at... IKEA, but then I remembered your love/hate relationship with Ikea... So... I, too, have white cabinets with gray/white/specks of tan countertop and we painted the walls light gray. Sounds so boring, I know, but with the mismatchy floor and all it looks really good. Also, Dear Genevieve (HGTV)redid a kitchen with the exact same colors, so professionals agree! You can accent with (because of the wall photos in the post)brighter nautical colors. Gray also goes great with the stainless accents!


I highly recommend:


Red! But not fire engine, not tomato soup. You want a red that's got just a little bit of brown in it - so it will tone in with your floor. Maybe like, the color of organic ketchup? Trust me, red will be good, even with the floor. White would be verrrry bad. It will make you feel depressed. My kitchen is red, with cherry cabinets & cherry flooring, & I love it. Warmth. Yum.

Plano Mom

Either a silvery blue-gray or a blue that you take from the neat boat photos on the wall.


That kitchen needs to be red. Nuff said.


The color you want is called Sanderling. It's by Sherwin Williams paint. It will be warm but neutral and look good in any light.


Deep, deep orange - like a 50-50 bar from the olden days at school.
Will look good when you peer out to the many shades of beige in the other rooms.
- Or - the deepest, most intense red that you can stand.
Either choice - Keep the ceiling and all moldings around doors and windows plus the ones at the floor WHITE, change out the cabinet pulls to BLACK.
I love bossing you around.


Oh, we are so poor!
Let's get a 2009 car!
Oh, we are so poor!
Let's redesign our kitchen!
I see that you are a nice person, but look at what you write sequentially at some point.


We just installed that thermoplastic backsplash stuff in our kitchen (different pattern than what's in the picture and not the chrome finish) precisely because it was cheap, fast and easy to do- we're selling the house and had to do something quick to replace the horrible harvest gold laminate backsplash that harkened back to 1976. I was a bit iffy on it initially because, like someone else said, the one at the store didn't look so hot. But it turned out really good at home and we've actually gotten a lot of compliments on it and people asking where we got it, etc. My realtor even wants to put it in her own home. The stuff is/was $2 a panel cheaper at Lowe's btw.


Robin's egg blue? Or maybe a cheery green apple?


Delurking to vote no red! It's hard to pull off. All white will make it look like a bathroom, unless its off white with an accent wall.

With white cabinets you will want to avoid the country look. Your brown/cherry floor overpowers the black in the granite, that is why the black picture frame doesn't work on the yellow, the yellow is a warm color, that matches more with the floor.

Yellow on the wall is not a bad idea, but this yellow looks too harsh. Maybe a softer yellow (see the Behr Clarion kitchen, Calm Air color?). Accent colors can be green and brown. (Brown picture frames, maybe a glass vase with lemons and limes. Bamboo bowls and cutting board.)

If you want to go red, then pick an olive green for the walls, and pick brick red accessories. You can also pick up a lighter shade of brown off your floor, with orange, yellow and green accents.

If you like the black accents, yellow is still the best option, I think, or a soft olive green, like your website color! They key is in the accents and lighting, I bet with the right accents you can make your current yellow look good too.


im design challenged myself, but what about painting the cabinets? yes crazy, but my dining table has the same color floor as yours for legs and top and a brownish/cherryish accent color(would tell you the name of the wood and stain, but don't know, I just point and say that one looks good!).

Or not, cuz seriously, cannot decorate, my kitchen is blue from a failed country chic attempt when I decided to buy contemporary furniture 6 mos after I painted it blue.


Tomato red-orangey or a deep terracotta color (like the color of a wet flower pot). It goes with the floor, it will add warmth to the cabinets and counter and it is a forgiving color in a house with small children.


We live in a rental an the kitchen is the cheapest white surface IKEA has to offer, The countertops are grey, the floor is grey, it's like a dull office. We went with bold color to fight the dullness. We painted the two walls with cabinets lime-green and it looks great! Makes the kitchen fresh! I'm a big fan of lime, colorful but not dark. We also put a big wooden table in there to add some natural tones but you don't need that with your pretty floor, I love it!
Lime-green, I'm telling you! Go for it!


I like the idea of a dark red. But if you don't want to go so bold, I like the light blue idea. Maybe robin's egg blue, maybe, but lighter. I like the IDEA of light green, as others have suggested, but actually, when I SEE rooms that are light green, I'm usually reminded of hospitals, so personally, I'd avoid that.


What about pale green walls? and then a warm chocolate brown as a feature? I think that could blend quite nicely with all that white.

I wouldn't go for a white wall. Not with with appliances and with cupboards.


don't go with white! I would suggest a light gray. Very chic.


I'd go with a grass green, ala Ina Garten. Whenever I see her food show, I always comment on how nice her walls look with the white cabinets. Clean and bright, but not overly bold.

idea girl

I haven't read through your 200+ comments, but feel your pain about your kitchen. You could go with a cool pastel (blue! green! lavender) or if it was me, I'd go for bold, maybe a terra cotta-y kind of color for the walls. It would look great with your floors and probably with your counters. I would avoid white. You will have one big washout of a room. More ideas to make your head explode


I agree with the other comments to stay away from the whites..since your flooring is the part of the kitchen you've redone and like, I'd select colors that compliment it. On Sherwin-Williams site you can try out different colors
There's a kitchen that has flooring similar to yours and you can try out colors..I'd start with Crispy Gold (6699), Curry (6671), and Jalepeno (6629)..I think they'd look awesome with your flooring and are modern enough to go with existing neutral cabinets and counter. Play with them and get samples to paint on your walls too see if they work...good luck!


What about a light bluish gray? And for your cabinets, have you looked at Ikea? We did our cabinets from there and the sticker shock wasn't quite SO shocking. We also got a metal backsplash from there and it looks way better than the HD one.


And I totally checked out these comments being like, wow, a lot of people named June read this blog. Gah.


I agree with the green/blue/seafoam. Or the color of the background of this site (not the pink, the other one). I'm also in favor of the red but only a brickish red or maroonish red. I think WHITE would work too, but only if you and the rest of the family *always* wear bright orange jumpsuits in the kitchen. That's the only the WHITE works in my head.


I got nothing on decor...IEPs and therapies are more my territory. LOL.

Becky aka StinkyLemsky

Take a look at the Restoration Hardware paint colors - they have some really nice neutrals. (their paint isn't that great, though - I recommend just having a hardware store match it in a brand of paint you trust. I always use Behr).


Definitely not white. White is boring and looks unfinished. I say a grey ro blue grey to go with the counters.


Can I just tell you how much I appreciate the Bad Idea Jeans reference? People look at me strangely when I say that...


Count me in for red. I say take the dog to the paint store and have them match her.

Kidding... Sort of. A brick red color would look nice with the floors.

I know you said you were opposed to the putty color, but I think it would be appropriate given the counter top situation. Honestly, though, I'm not sure that there's any color that you will like (based on what you've written) that will dress up that cabinetry enough. I'm not to be mean, but you're right about it looking like cheap materials and I'm afraid that rather than the paint dressing up the cabinetry, the cabinetry will ugly down the paint.

By the way, I'm not a decorator, nor do I play one on TV, so my opinion isn't worth much. Feel free to disregard it entirely.

I return to my original thought, match the dog!


Many of the points I've read are good - white can be a problem if the various shaded don't work. The very 1st comment about a light spring green might be nice - if you can get it to play well with your counter. It would look good with the floor. A better yellow might be the best solution. I used Benjamin Moore Early Dawn #322 in my kitchen, and its light and airy and works well with the brown door, while appliances, oddball floor, 70s muddled counter top. (When I look at this color online it looks like a mushy dull squash soup, nothing like reality.) You need to go and get a stack of swatches and then bring them home and look at them in all light AND take them with you for when you see a color in another kitchen that you like to figure out what it is.

How big is this kitchen? I'm thinking 11-12'wide by maybe 20 ft long or so?

If it were me, I'd get rid of that peninsula - it is causing so much waster space - Could you take everything out from that corner and put the fridge where that unused wall cabinet is and then get a big (maybe even moveable) island for the center - you could even orient it the long way.

Then you might be able to utilize the far end as a little family room with some comfy chairs or even a couch. Those french doors are really nice. It could be a really nice place to play and relax.

One last idea: how about an old fashioned wood framed black board for that big blank wall above the little table? You could even frame it out with molding (painted white or stained wood) framing wall painted with blackboard paint.

If you want to separate the 2 halves of the room, you can install some molding to make a separation - and then you can paint that side a different color. (oh joy - then you get to pick yet another color)


Go burgundy on the walls. Get some wine-themed accessories like framed prints of French wine, Absinthe, cafe's, etc. Get some nice classy things to live on the counter in deep colors, black, dark green, burgundy, green marble. Do some faux brick or keystones painted around doorways to warm things up. One thing I've seen that is totally modern and cool and 180 degrees from the idea I just put down is getting aluminum powder mixed into glossy clear varnish and redo the cabinets in streaky aluminum paint. Way modern, way industrial. Just a wild thought thrown out there.

The comments to this entry are closed.