• Snag a bold rug to guard the sink or park beneath the breakfast table. Paint the walls a spicy color like cinnamon or terra-cotta pulled from the rug.
• Paint trim and cabinetry glossy white to amplify your wall color, bounce light around the room and aid daily clean-up.
• Award pattern a prominent role. Scattered about the room, seat cushions, pillows or curtains in the same pattern—or different patterns in the same color tone—act like eye-catching sparks.
• Line open shelves with color-coordinated keepsakes or consignment store treasures: bowls, bottles or ceramic cookie jars.
• Accessorize with discounted linens—tablecloths, dish towels and napkins—in hues that mimic your scheme.
• Mount an exhibit of lively cookbook covers in matching, inexpensive frames.
The Homeowners Story
Housemates Gloria Flower and Janet Gifford have numerous interests that take them into the kitchen, among them jam-making and bread-baking. Even their orchids are bathed in the kitchen sink. When the disjointed galley space with crumbling cabinets began making tasks difficult, the women knew a remodel was in order.
After recruiting Portland, Oregon–based interior designer Donna DuFresne, the owners set about creating a pretty, practical hub that would complement their 1927 city house—which is "part bungalow, part cape," says Gloria— and not devastate their budget.
To avoid pricey construction costs, DuFresne gutted the room and designed an efficient layout within the existing footprint. White beadboard, creamy yellow walls and affordable ready-made cabinets set the tone for the overall decor. "Yellow cabinets topped my client's wish list, so I searched for them first," DuFresne explains.
A honey-colored beam—purchased from a salvage yard for $125—cleverly serves as a structural support and adds character, while oatmeal-hued granite counters inject subtle warmth. "When stone counters don't have much detailing, they don't cost a fortune," DuFresne claims. Instead, a deep farmhouse sink, a stainless steel range and a gleaming refrigerator/freezer were splurges. A Marmoleum floor and schoolhouse lights give the finished picture a fetching vintage feel. Sweet café curtains and antique tole trays lend personality. "Now, our kitchen is wonderful for cooking or just rela in with a cup of coffee," adds Gloria.