Warm KitchensPeople are always asking me for advice on warm kitchen colors.

There’s the obvious answers: toasty almond, butter yellow, pine greens — accented with chocolates, plums and tart reds.

But what, they ask, if you don’t want to go bold? How do you make a unique statement using warm kitchen colors and yet, create a basic enough palate to continually change your mind with the statement colors/pieces?

I get this. My wife loves to change her statement pieces all the time. A lot of people do. So, this is a great question.

I think it starts with the materials that you use. To create a warm kitchen, I say go natural wood finish. Knotty Alder is a fantastic wood for cabinets. It’s rustic and beautiful — and homey without reminding you of 70’s era Oak.

I also like to use a lot of Brick in my kitchens: barrel vaults, backsplashes, art niches — brick is a warm material by nature.

State-of-the-art kitchen by Jess Alway Inc.
State-of-the-art kitchen by Jess Alway Inc.

A wood floor just fits in a kitchen, don’t you think?

And it really doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. I have been putting down a lot of reclaimed barn wood flooring lately — and despite the fact that the wood cabinets and wood floors are different, people seem to love them BOTH.

The key there is to make the floor as special as you made the cabinets. I play around with different washes, stains and pegs. In the kitchen above, the pegs in the flooring are square.

Color.

Color in the KitchenIf you do have the audacity to add real color to your kitchen, all the more power to you. There are a million ways to spice up this area of the home. One of my favorite kitchens in the past year has been this pine green one, in Salem Oregon. The green (painted and distressed) cabinets pair perfectly with the red brick and ebony black and copper French stove.

Pronghorn 012Or how about this deep Tuscan butter yellow wall? It is Venetian Plaster — and practically glows from the inside.

Pronghorn 011