Light Bright and Less

Kitchen cabinets can be a huge conundrum for many. Do we decorate them? Do we leave them bare? Do we use greens? How much is too much and so on and so on? I will hear one client tell me, “I don’t like a lot of stuff above my cabinets”, and the next client I meet will say, “We should put some stuff up there above the cabinets, what do you think?” they will ask with great expectation. While there are no real “rules to follow”, we can still lean on design principles to guide us in decorating above kitchen cabinets. Let’s take a peek into a Begonia kitchen to solve the mysteries of decorating above the cabinets, somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

• Lighten and BrightenLight-Bright-and-Less
The homeowner loved her kitchen for many years but she wanted a lighter and brighter look for the kitchen. The kitchen color was a nice gold but it did absorb some light so we definitely needed to re-paint. The art that was hanging in the kitchen was from the homeowner’s travels and she liked them but she wanted something different. We needed to address above the cabinets because they looked a bit heavy and lacked clear focus.

• Paint
Even though the homeowner had solar tubes installed, the space still looked darker than she wanted. We decided to repaint using a color called Patience SW 7555. This color is the perfect balance of crème, tan, and gold. It has life and adds light at the same time. It looked amazing in the space. Notice in the before picture that the lights are out in the kitchen because we were picking paint color. When picking paint color always use natural light only. Electric lights cast shadow and don’t allow the true color to be seen in the space. So then, paint should only be chosen in the daylight with lights out and blinds open.

• Arched mirror
In the before picture you can see that the large tapestry, though it is pretty, it absorbs light and is dark in the space. In the Begonia model, there is one small window in the kitchen on the side wall of the eat-in nook. The large wall opposing the dining room wall has no window because there is a golf cart garage. We add the window back into the space by hanging a large arched mirror. This mirror is 72” high by 48” wide and looks like a Palladian window. In the Begonia model we hang a mirror in the eat-in nook and then hang the exact mirror in the dining room so that they may oppose one another and reflect light into each space. They look like windows and it looks amazing!

• Art in Nook
We decided that the plates from their travels could be stored away and art should take its place. The homeowner chose a watercolor picture of palm trees by a local artist to replace the plates. This added a great focal point and a strong pop of color. The homeowner wanted art that depicted nature and the great Florida outdoors.

• Above the cabinets
The original decorations above the cabinets had some very nice things and we reused many of those things. However, above the cabinets lacked a focal point and had too many greens. Since the eye moves toward the largest wall naturally, we placed a large framed photograph of a palm lined walkway looking into a sunset. This highlights the natural focal point. In a Begonia or Gardenia this space is a great place to display artwork. We placed a large hammered copper pot full of Boston Ferns above the pantry; this complemented the picture the other hammered objects in the space. The stair step cabinets beside the focal point are symmetrical. I like to mimic the symmetry because in design symmetry is very pleasing to the eye and does not conflict with the focal point. We placed on large hammered circle on the center of the highest cabinet. Luckily, the homeowner had two matching succulent pots and we placed them on each side of the highest cabinet. So we went from lots of small stuff to five items above the cabinets; these worked because the items were larger but provide more visual impact. We were able to reuse the other hammered circles and some of the homeowners greens on the other side of the cabinets above the refrigerator.

• Lighting
LED lighting above the cabinet’s highlights all the pretty things so be sure to have it installed if you do not. Also, installing the LED lighting is an update to the hot puck lights that have been used by some people before LED was popular. Also, lighting below the cabinets provides amazing task lighting for cooking and food prep and a nice low light at night.

P.S. –Attention, club presidents! I give free decorating programs! It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today or call Ruth your full service decorator at 352-804-2056.

Before and After Pics Below