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Living Space: '90s white kitchen redux has balanced, timeless appeal

Sept. 8, 2011 at 4:08 a.m.

If it's time for a change in your kitchen, consider going back to white. The style is timelessly classic and comforting at the same time -- and a smart choice if you're selling your home, too.

By Kathryn Weber

Whether in a farmhouse, contemporary, or traditional style, the white kitchen has an elegance and appeal that defies time. Two decades ago, the stark white kitchen seemed more suited to surgery than cooking and family togetherness. Today's designs do away with sterility and embrace a warm, welcoming white tone.

CLEAN, CRISP WHITE

Creating a white kitchen starts with choosing the right shade of white. Not all white defines a kitchen as both crisp and cozy. The bright, clear white that was so common pre-Internet is decidedly out. Today's whites have a tinge of color that can range from blue to yellow, green or umber. This small amount of color makes today's white warmer and more accessible.

THE RIGHT BALANCE

What makes a comfortable, white kitchen and separates it from those of the past is the blending of wood and stainless steel. Whereas bright white kitchens formerly had white appliances, today's ovens and refrigerators are stainless. Set against a backdrop of warm white cabinets, stainless appliances seem less clinical.

Another important element for warming up white kitchens is wood. The contrast of the wood against white color makes the wood tones stand out more. Also, the organic quality of a wood floor makes a white kitchen more friendly and approachable, compared to the same kitchen with a tile floor. Wood countertops pop against white cabinets and make a white kitchen more inviting and timeless, too.

COLOR CHAMELEON

White makes the most of every design opportunity. Whether you're trying to match dishes or select a wall color, a white kitchen is adaptable. Much like white jeans, a white kitchen makes everything set against it look better. It's an easy, clean backdrop for almost any kind of design or style. A white kitchen is a huge plus if your kitchen is small, too. Better still, if you're looking to renovate or want to sell your home, a white kitchen is the natural choice. The look is crisp and classic, and homebuyers can easily see putting their own stamp on the kitchen.

Adding a coat of white paint on your kitchen cabinets is an easy update that's both cost- and space-effective, making the most of a renovation budget while creating an open, fresh-looking space. If you're ready to tackle the project, select a high quality, semi-gloss paint. Because cabinets take a beating, a good quality paint will stand up to the wear and tear.

A white kitchen conjures up images of charming country farmhouses and seaside cottages, places people love to get together. If it's time to refresh this key gathering spot in your home, consider going back to white.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her web site, www.redlotusletter.com.

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