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Please help! New to me home needs a refresh. Dark cabinet dilemma

2 years ago

Hi, I am purchasing a new home and need some help with the interior decoration. It is a newer, fairly basic tract home typical in the suburbs here. It is move-in ready, but I would like to do some updates including new carpet, paint, countertops and lighting. Some of these updates can wait until after I move in, however the paint and carpet must be done beforehand and the other updates sort of influence what all of my choices will be and I keep getting stuck.

The entire downstairs has a tile floor that is rather distinct and doesn't photograph well. It has a mottled stone-look appearance with warm gray and a clay color. I wasn't sure about the tile at first, but it has grown on me and actually I was wanting to incorporate a clay color and move to a bit of a southwestern look even before seeing this home so I'm inclined to leave the tile flooring.

All the cabinets in the house are a dark java/espresso color. They are in good condition and have some decent upgrades (42", soft close, dovetail joints, crown molding). If I was building a new home I would go with a grayish stained wood cabinet, but I'm not building and these java cabinets are what I've got. I could paint them and that was my initial thought, but they are in good shape and my family is really tough on surfaces and even with professional painting I'm not sure it will hold up. That said, I haven't ruled painting out completely and I plan to have the bathroom cabinets in the master bath painted white or a light grey.

I think the current lack of wall color (ceilings, walls, trim, doors, etc. are all the same white) makes the cabinets look even more dominating than they are. The house does get good light and while the cabinets are dark, I think they would be improved with a lighter countertop (looking at quartz samples this week). But let's say I do stick with the java cabinets and go with a white quartz- will the contrast be too strong? Will a wall color mitigate this?

In terms of wall color, I would like to put an actual color on the wall. My last house was neutral on top of neutral and I'm ready for a change. The problem is the downstairs is one big room. The entry is down a short, narrow hallway and then it opens into a kitchen/living/dining space. There are no casings or doorways to help separate the space. This isn't my ideal floorplan, but it extremely common in new construction here, at least on the lower end of things. How can I make color work in this setup? Everything I read about open concept discusses neutrals and more neutrals. I want some color! I would love a rich terracotta, with perhaps some blue accents. I'm not opposed to neutral colors, I can deal with some greige/beige colors and whites. Should I try a bold color like SW Cavern Clay on one wall as an accent color? It would be too much I think do have throughout the main floor. I also like SW Distance and perhaps SW Oragami. Those colors do seem to work together and I think would work with the tile.

My existing furniture that is coming into this home includes seagrass chairs and a fireplace/console in a greywash stain, bright white dining table and accent tables. I also have a dark denim blue slipcovered sofa and a tan slipcovered armchair. I'm not married to the sofa or armchair, and would be willing to replace. I do have some blue plates of sentimental value that I previously hung on the wall. I mixed those plates with some newer blue and white plates. I would like to keep the blue accents and would be open to adding additional plates in more of a talvera look to tie things in if necessary. I also have a growing collection of houseplants.

So I know that's a lot. My two main questions:

1. Will keeping the dark cabinets be a mistake? Will a white countertop improve things or will it be too much contrast with the very dark cabinetry?

2. Wall color? I really don't want neutral walls with colorful accessories. How can I use the bold colors I love in what is a featureless box of a room?

Here are some photos of the house- remember the tile doesn't photograph well. These are the listing photos and I'm sure they were edited to look brighter with more contrast. The tile has a softer appearance color-wise IRL- but it is a warm tan with a rusty/clay color.

Standing at front door

Wall color and overall look I love- it works really well with the warm gray furniture which I already have

This color does seem to work well with grayish wood tones as well as dark- look at the flooring. Works with blue too.

Other colors I like- general color palate- especially the blues

Here's the furniture and items that I own and I want to work into this new house.

Any suggestions? Thanks for reading all of this!

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