Decorating & Furniture/kitchen paint color

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Question
I live in a contemporary house and have a small kitchen that I have just updated with bright-white semi-gloss panel-front cabinets and Corian countertops that are charcoal/black (with a bit of white spattering).

The floor is covered with a white Armstrong no-wax rolled sheeting; the pattern has square "tile" with a subtle almost unnoticeable blue spatter.  The room has a cathedral ceiling and a wide window.  The amount of sunlight during the day is limited, because the house is nestled in the woods.  In fact, the reason we selected white cabinets was to brighten the room.  My question concerns the color of the walls and whether they should be painted or covered with wallpaper.  

I should start out by telling you that 1) my husband and I have tailored taste, and 2) all of the walls in the entire house have always been painted white.  On entering the house, one can see the kitchen straight ahead.  And inside the kitchen, there is an open doorway that leads into a dining area that is a part of the living room, which is decorated with fall colors (brown, orange, bronze).  
My thought was to paint the kitchen walls a pale gray to tie into the blackish countertops.  I've been advised by some that gray would be appropriate, and by others that it would make the room appear cold and institutional.  They suggested either a bright red or a sunny yellow.  We're reluctant to introduce a color, because we have no idea which color would be a good choice, and also are afraid of being locked into it.

I also had considered using wallpaper, perhaps a narrow black and white stripe, but was told by others said it would be "dizzyfying."  We were also thinking a textured wallpaper in a light color - gray or off-white - but were unable to find anything we thought suitable.

So, I'm now at a complete standstill and don't know what to do.  Should I paint? If so, what color?
Or should I wallpaper? If so, what color or pattern?
Or should I leave the walls the way they are now, which is "examining-room" white?
Can you please help me out and steer me in the right direction?  

Answer
Jane,

For all the reasons you mentioned above, use a neutral color for your walls; but that does NOT mean white.  Every single color has a neutral shade, but if you are in doubt about selecting one, and want me to do that for you, I'd have to select taupe.  It's the new white, goes with virtually everything (especially black and white) and is a very sophisticated yet safe color.  My favorite is by Glidden, and is called Toasty Grey.  Glidden stores are throughout the country; Home Depot also carries the brand.  

Opt for a satin/eggshell finish for the walls.

Wallpaper is fine for some people and in some areas of the home, but it is labor intensive, hard to remove if you change your mind, and there are a zillion patterns and colors to choose from.

Paint -- and color specifically -- is the easiest, most economical way to re-do your home.  I personally think the taupe I've recommended would be good for every room in your home, and an excellent way to get you out of your sterile environment.  (Check out the color!)

Regards,
Jenny

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik

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Visit my web site at: http://www.jennifertaylorwojcik.com Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.

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College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

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"From Day One" and "Day After Day" available nationwide via bookstores and Amazon.com. HTTP://www.seasoned.com (HomeStyle articles beginning in 1998) Visit me at http://www.jennifertaylorwojcik.com

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BA, Psychology

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