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Decorating & Furniture/Furniture and wall color for open kitchen/family room



I have an open space family/kitchen combo (no half wall separating the family/kitchen.

1) My first question is, what can you suggest for wall color, and should I use one color for both rooms? Also, if I want to use 2 different colors, should I build a half wall between the family room and kitchen to create a division or that would still be considered 1 room? The other thing is the flooring. My family room flooring is carpet and kitchen is vinyl but both are taupe color. Given this should I separate the 2 rooms and should I then build a half wall between 2 rooms to create 2 different spaces. what colors then you would recommend for these. I have attached an image.

2) My kitchen cabinets are orangee oak and the countertop has flecks of black, taupe and orange. But you cannot really notice the orange flecks. My appliances are black/stainless steel combo. I have silver finish on my accent lights and chandelier lights on my kitchen nook which looks more contemporary.

My family room has khaki/green colors on the sofa and the entertainment center/bookcases and accent table are orangee as well (same color as kitchen cabinets). This leads to my second question, if I want to change the color of my furniture in my family room into dark walnut by staining my existing furniture, would the entire space still be unified since kitchen cabinets and breakfast nook dining table/chairs are lighter and orangee? . Do I still have to keep them unified if I paint 2 different colors in the 2 rooms?

The third question is, I am not sure if I have traditional kitchen and a comtemporary family room. Can you mix both if they are an open space or it would only be okay to do this if I create a half wall between 2 rooms. I'm thinking of going contemporary on my family room with the furniture pieces since my existing sofa and the 1 1/2 chair I have are reclining and have a geometric pattern. so I would think they are more contemporary than traditional.

Hopefuly, I didn't confuse you or overwhelm you with my questions.

Thank you very much and I appreciate any help you can give me.

ANSWER: Wow Cindy,

I'm really only confused about one thing, and that is that it appears that you "want" to separate the spaces even though they are open to one another.  If that's the case, then build the half-wall and choose two colors for the newly divided spaces.  

Your kitchen is Traditional, and it appears the adjoining rooms are Traditionally decorated as well.  

Changing the color of your furniture in any room - dining or living, does not necessitate a change in your built-ins.  

Now, let me make some suggestions.  First of all, the open concept is a great one in making a home have more visual space.  Open concepts typically dictate that wall colors be similar if not the same for that very reason.  

If you want a more contemporary look, change out the furniture to more sleek, tailored lines.  Paint the walls a much darker color and take your color cues from what you currently have.  Green seems to be a good choice, given the Golden Oak cabinets and furniture.  In the kitchen, contemporary means that less is more.  Remove clutter from surfaces and rely on just a few decorative pieces to make the space come alive.  If you prefer a tone-on-tone look (monochromatic) then opt for a golden yellow shade for painting, and add black accessories.

Bottom line is that if you want to change styles, you're going to have to make some furniture changes, window covering changes, new art etc. which can be costly.  If you're content with your living area style, keep what you have and paint those walls a warm vibrant color.  You're fighting with the white walls now, and until you give them some color, you're not going to be satisfied.  

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but your photo was descriptive of what you have going on.  I think your home would be wonderfully beautiful with some nice color on the walls and some punches of color where you now have white (curtains, pillows etc.).


PS:  Color...choose one that you love and use it on your walls.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for the immediate response and the suggestions you've made. Actually, my husband doesn't like to divide the space. It's only me because I thought the flooring for the 2 rooms are different anyway. But I think, we'll do what you suggested to create one big open space for the 2 rooms and since we're alrealdy leaning towards a subtle yellow greenish color and you've suggested it as well, then that's we will do. I guess we'll also stick with the current style for both rooms which you said was traditional. My follow-up question is, can we still change the entertainment center/bookcases to a dark walnut or brown color if it's an open space or every furniture piece has to be all either light or dark? If I have golden oak cabinets in kitchen, and brown/dark walnut entertainment/bookcases in the family, would that clash?

Also, the light fixtures in the kitchen with stainless finish and frosted white pendants/lamps, are they contemporary? They are to me becuase I somewhat match my stainless steel appliances. Should we change it to a more traditional style or it's okay to mix contemporary and traditional?

The last question I have is the flooring, later on, we would like to unify the space more by making the flooring the same. I already have (natural color)hardwood floors in my foyer which lead to the kitchen. The family room is on the left of the kitchen which is carpeted. I'm not sure if hardwood floors are okay to use in my kitchen because we do a lot of frying, so oil splashes everywhere. But I want to have some kind of continuity or flow in the rooms. I don't know if I should put hardwood floors for the family/kitchen room or just use a vinyl-wax flooring with a hardwood floor pattern for both kitchen/family. Will this look funny? What can you suggest?

Thank you very much again for all your suggestions and tips. I appreciate all your help.

You're very welcome.  

As for mixing woods, it's perfectly fine.  Adding some darker pieces of furniture into the mix is good and it creates more interest in the space when everything isn't so "matchy".  

Consider continuing the hardwood flooring throughout the space.  Hardwood will hold up well in your kitchen, and by using the same flooring throughout, you've unified your space even more.   You can warm up the living area with a large rug (if you choose).  

Your lighting fixtures probably are a bit more contemporary in the kitchen than elsewhere which is perfectly fine.  Life would be boring if everything were the same everywhere.  

Best of luck.

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


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