When deciding what to do with your walls, you need to think about all the materials first. Put them all together like a designer would. Put your countertops, flooring, cabinet, hardware, backsplash, and paint samples all together to make sure they all blend. Notice I didn’t say match. They don’t have to completely match to look great. But they should be similar styles…all modern, all contemporary, all traditional. The colors should look good together. Don’t have all one color or all bold colors. Ground things with some neutrals or wood tones. Don’t just use color to add variety, use texture. Think about what mood your colors will invoke. See my blog on being your own designer for what moods different colors will bring out.
I’ve seen some episodes on HGTV where designers used fun wallpapers in rooms to jazz things up. Check out my Pinterest board of fun wallpapers for some ideas. You have to pick a paper that has style, so watch a few episodes of Property Brothers for some ideas. I’ve seen this in living rooms, entry ways, and bedrooms, not necessarily kitchens, though. And when I did see it, it was typically on one accent wall. But another idea for using wallpaper that I tried was paintable wallpaper. The nice thing about this was that the wall then provided some nice texture, but the look of the wall was all one color. I mimicked the texture of the wall paper with the pattern on the floor, and then made it more subtle by painting it a medium shade of gray. See picture below for how it turned out.
It seems like yellow was once the color of choice for most kitchens. I’d prefer something a little more neutral, like white, cream, beige, taupe, or gray. These days you can paint the cabinets. Most are painted white or gray, but I’ve seen some royal blue or kelly green even. So, you can have fun with more than just the wall color. When renovating my kitchen, I chose a soft gray (painted on paintable wallpaper with a texture). My cabinets were painted white already, which I wanted to keep, and then I pulled both together with a gray and white tile on the floor. Altogether, it had a soft, calming effect.
Splashes of Color in Other Places
Just because you’ve kept the walls and cabinets neutral, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with color in other ways. I brought in splashes of turquoise…which is a color I used in the rest of the house, to build unity. I did this through the window treatments, the tray and pitcher on the counter, the flower pots on the window sill, and the dish cloths on the stove. You can also bring in splashes of color with small area rugs next to the kitchen sink. I also brought in some medium, natural wood tones in the cutting boards and baskets I use to hold onions and garlic on the counter.
Don’t forget to add some texture on the backsplash. These days you can use pressed aluminum, beadboard, tile, granite, brick, or reclaimed wood for the backsplash on the wall. See my pinterest board for pictures of all these materials and how they look in various kitchens.
The walls can really be dressed up through wallpaper, textured backsplashes, color, or window treatments. Just remember to put everything together to see how the palette looks as a whole. It should blend and have unity. Don’t be afraid to add color, but splashes of color can be even more effective than busy color choices throughout. Have fun and make those walls shine.