Three Ways to Add Verve to a Neutral Kitchen

Check out these ideas for adding life to a client’s lovely, but lackluster, kitchen

Help your clients look at their nice, neutral kitchens in a new way. Once upon a time they chose cabinets and surfaces understanding that “an all-white kitchen is timeless.” Or they learned that “it will be easier to sell your house with a taupe kitchen.” Or “gray is so chic, and it goes perfectly with stainless steel.”

Now they’ve come to you for help in adding personality to the room where they and their family and friends love to spend time. The thing is: Their kitchen’s size is right and the layout works, so they don’t want to start from scratch. They’re looking for an easier solution to their style dilemma. We’re maybe preaching to the choir, but here are three ideas to help transform that kitchen from dull to dramatic without breaking a sweat.

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Brushed hardware gives plain white cabinetry an upscale look, while the contrast ties in small appliances and countertop canisters.

1. Upgrade the Cabinet Hardware

You can accomplish a lot in a little time with new decorative hardware. Colorless, all-white kitchens gets some major bling from new brushed hardware. A deep metallic finish adds drama to stark white cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Hardware Resources has a wide selection of styles like the Leyton pulls from Jeffrey Alexander used on this neutral kitchen cabinet. Combined with choices from the Elements Collections and the range of sizes offered, your clients can get a lot of remodeling bang for their buck without dipping very deep into their budget.

BTW: See how our hardware looks on different cabinet options by clicking on our Cabinet Hardware Selector. Choose between a flat and raised panel door, as well as the paint or stain color. Then scroll down to the hardware that speaks to you and choose the finish option you like. You’ll see how they look together.

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Leyton 128 mm center-to-center cabinet pull in Brushed Pewter from Hardware Resources’ Jeffrey Alexander Collections.
Kitchen in the magnificent house
Furniture-style embellishments (brackets and faux feet) and a bright blue finish give this kitchen island an eye-catching aura.

2. Add or Create a Contrasting Island

This kitchen’s neutral color scheme starts with white Shaker-style cabinets adorned with crown molding and muntin-style windows. Damask-pattern wallpaper features warm shades of beige. Even the hardwood floor says “class.” But it’s the bright-blue island that makes the biggest statement with its bold blast of color. Seriously, who can look away?

Another great idea: The neutral Roman shade at the far window injects a geometric pattern that intrigues the eye without detracting from the island’s powerful presence.

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Distinct Hardware Co. | Cabinet Solutions USA
 Classic white Shaker-style cabinets wear Anwick knobs and pulls in Polished Nickel from Hardware Resources’ Jeffrey Alexander Collections.

3. Pump Up the Volume with Pattern

Like the previous kitchen, this one is outfitted with white Shaker-style cabinetry. But this time the doors and drawer fronts are wearing stylish rectilinear hardware. (Its metallic finish plays off the contrasting color of the island.) What takes this room all the way to the top is the herringbone pattern of the hardwood floor. The honeyed browns enhanced with a distinctive grain boost the warmth and interest of the room as a whole.

BTW: Look carefully: The backsplash boasts the subtle pattern of a neutral-color tile mosaic.

Anwick (867L-NI) 1 1/8-inch-square cabinet knob in Polished Nickel from the Jeffrey Alexander Collections (left).  Anwick (867-128NI) 128 mm center-to-center rectangle cabinet pull in Polished Nickel from the Jeffrey Alexander Collections (right).

There you have it. Three great ideas for upgrading a neutral kitchen, ranging from the easiest (changing out hardware) to the most labor-intensive (installing a herringbone-pattern hardwood floor). The contrasting island comes in-between; it could be ordered in a specific color and finish, or an existing island could be painted right where it stands.

Which idea do you think makes the biggest difference? What have you done in the past to upgrade a new or remodeled kitchen? Share your inspiration!

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