If your kitchen has good bones but simply looks tired, painting your cabinets can be just what the doctor ordered. Mix up colors on upper and lower cabinets, or on cabinets and islands as shown here, to add richness. These cabinets are painted in Windsurf from Behr Paints; the island is done in Snowy Pine and the walls are Spice Garden. Behr recommends using semi-gloss enamel for painting cabinets.
When decorator Nick Olsen moved into his 525-square-foot studio in New York City, the walls were painted white, in keeping with small-space convention. "But the place just looked gray and dingy," says Olsen. And so, rather than just slapping on a newer, brighter coat of white, he painted the apartment's main room Oregano Green (Benjamin Moore 2147-10), in an oil-based metal enamel, to resemble lacquer.
"Although the apartment is small," says Olsen, "it's actually rather grand with 12-foot ceilings, huge windows and a high-relief fireplace. So I felt it would be a shame to tone it down with a pale color or white." For even more impact, he painted the doors glossy black and the trim white, and added a deep teal velvet sofa. Olsen didn't shy away from bright color in the 35- (yes, 35!) square-foot kitchen either, wallpapering the fridge in a bright spring pattern and painting the walls and the ceiling Sea Mist Green (Benjamin Moore #2041-50). "To make color work in a really tiny room like this kitchen," Olsen suggests, "paint the walls and ceilings the same color so you're eye doesn't stop at the ceiling line."