Any thoughts on new kitchen cabinetry colours/finish?

June 9, 2014
Hi, this is a solid, but dated 1985 double brick house with stained beams & Stramit (honey coloured) 2.4m ceilings. The lighting is very dated and the terracotta type floor tiles, along with the ceiling give the feeling of darkness. We will be moving into this house for a few years and then hopefully sell it so we need to liven it up but still be mindful of not overcapitalising.

Im thinking LED track lights in white in the kitchen and in the living space to replace the old fluros. The 2nd pic Ive attached shows the casual living space that connects to the kitchen/dining space. . The bricks have some white, deep mauve/grey in them, should I stick with a soft white kitchen or maybe go white benchtops with woodgrain/teak cupboards? Any suggestions appreciated. (NB furniture not ours, in the formal lounge room pic attached you can see the colours in the brick a bit easier) Anyone had experience with this type of ceiling, Im hoping that if I lighten curtains/blinds, kitchen cabinetry and add some good lighting the ceiling and floor being neutrals will disappear, am I right? Appreciate any input. Cheers MM
PS We have just tried painting the laundry ceiling and not happy with the Stramit, the beams were fine, but the straw type texture of the Stramit ceiling is tricky to cover well.

Comments (20)

  • PRO
    flair lighting
    just make sure what ever LED you buy can be dimmed and is a warm color temp. if you are leaving the ceiling color alone then go with bronze or sating white is outdated.
    modernistmaude thanked flair lighting
  • hayley
    I would be worried that LED track lights are a passing trend while your home is more traditional and based on earthy colours and raw materials. Are ytou sure you want to go that way?
  • chookchook2
    Take the valance down from the window and start looking up paint/lime wash finishes for the ceiling. Then I would paint the pine cupboards.
    modernistmaude thanked chookchook2
  • chookchook2
    LED is a great money saving idea.
  • modernistmaude
    Hi misshayley - the house was built in mid 80's and is very energy inefficient - hence us looking at LED tracklights -
    chookchook2 - Valance and furnishings were previous owners - valance "gone":) We tried painting the ceiling in the laundry - as it is straw it doesnt look very good, so we will leave the ceilings. - yes we are big fans of LED for money saving:)/energy efficiency
  • boundsgreener
    Have you thought about leaving the ceilings and painting the brick walls instead? See if it is still too dark but I think those ceilings would then look modern and architectural, especially if you put mid-century pieces in there.

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    modernistmaude thanked boundsgreener
  • modernistmaude
    Thx boundsgreener for those pics and suggestion. That was our initial thought to paint the bricks white (love those pics you have added too thanksomuch - someone pointed out because the mortar is raked that it would collect lots of dust? But would be a nice solution - do you have any thoughts about the type of kitchen cabinetry - my thoughts were white top and teak cabinetry or something into the french grey (which the bricks contain)? Cheers H
  • sjkingston
    Go to the Houzz picture section, type in "brick wall ceiling beam" and after the pictures come up, click on Kitchen on the side bar. That will get you pictures of kitchen with brick walls and ceiling beams like these. The coffered ceiling in the living room is wonderful, the ceiling texture not so much. What comes to mind is an ivory color smooth or paneled surface installed up against the flat portion of the ceiling. That and whitewashing the bricks would really lighten it up. If you have high ceilings, the panels installed between the beams could even be dropped just enough to install better lighting if there is no room above the ceiling. The beams could also be whitewashed.
    modernistmaude thanked sjkingston
  • boundsgreener
    If you are going to completely redo the kitchen cabinets, make the wall hung units go to the ceiling. Or better yet, have open shelves over there. Do you have any other photos of the kitchen and breakfast area? It would be nice to see some other angles.

    I would have flat cabinets, with no panelling. Here are a couple of examples, but none are quite right!

    Too country:
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    Too sleek:
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    This is good for style of cabinets that you could do in wood instead:
    Modern Kitchen · More Info

    I think this is the best I've found:
    Sandy Down Refurbishment · More Info

    Yes yes on the white bricks. I use a vacuum on my walls. And if you have flat cabinets and cabinets to the ceiling, there'll be nothing to dust there, so you'll have extra time to do the walls :)
    modernistmaude thanked boundsgreener
  • modernistmaude
    Thankyou Sjkingston- yes whitewashing walls and painted brick walls are good - unfortunately, the Stramit doesnt look gr8 painted, we experimented in our laundry. Ceilings are 2.4m there is some space to add Gyprock (plasterboard) - but Im thinking would be less expense to keep ceilings as is and highlight walls as suggested and install new kitchen.
  • modernistmaude
    Boundsgreener - you have hit the style we love - I love the colours in the Kitchens but we need it warmer like the sandy down refurbishment -Love that - I will post some other angles of the kitchen tomorrow when the light is better - unfortunately we cant go to ceiling as the beams are there, but the open shelves could be good (or even making this space wine holding area?) Thx so much!!!! Im so glad you see this makes me more confident to more towards this - Thx for the input re the vacuuming that would make it easier re the dust!:)
  • boundsgreener

    Sjkingston's idea of installing plasterboard between the cross beams and installing lighting in there is great. Also, good mid-century examples of this abound. Here are a couple:

    Christensen Remodeling · More Info

    Christensen Remodeling · More Info
    (although I actually hate the colour and type of veneer they used in that
    Enatai MidCentury Modern · More Info

    Some people have painted out the beams, too, but I think that this is a bit of a missed opportunity.

    Wine. I love wine! Holding area - as in about to drink it - is a good idea. Storage, not so good - too many temperature extremes.

    Looking forward to seeing more photos.
  • PRO
    flair lighting
    LED track is not a fad, track lighting itself has been around for many decades, and still provides art galleries, homes, restaurants with great lighting. they are flexable and functional. DO NOT buy track fixtures with the LED built in. by the fixtures you like and then buy LED bulbs to fit them. most likely they will be ready to dim, and cheaper all around that way. plus if you ever have a defective the whole fixture is not bad just the bulb. be sure to get the right kind of dimmer.
    modernistmaude thanked flair lighting
  • modernistmaude
    Great advice, thx Flair Lighting for that tip!
  • mldesign0401
    My comment may be a little too late but I have designed many kitchens where it improvement in isolation would solve nothing so I would alwYs recommend thinking about and addressing the entire open space you are in when wanting to improve it.
    Your comments lead me to think perhaps you want to spend as little as possible while getting he biggest impact possible. I agree with many comments and think
    Ain't it the first answer. The kitchen cabinetry call all be painted easily as they are timber, the oven drew my attention, and would need to be a priority upgrade if ever to sell, it looks very old. So if nothing else, take. It out and the under cabinet and replace it with a freestanding, source online auctions, eBay or clearance warehouses you will find many to choose from, and a 900mm oven will make life easier, it will also give you an in line bench top height and expose some more backsplash, which is my next point of consideration. The brick here dominates your eyeliner, so using adhesive, apply fibre cement sheeting to the splash back and tile it in a light tile, if you use led lighting, under the top cupboards would be great as they would illuminate the bench top and splash back instantly making your kitchen feel brighter and ambient.
    Secondly, this new brightness your kitchen will have will contrast with the darker adjoining room, which will only make the dark seem darker, so you need to gradually address the adjoining room with something from the kitchen, and horizontal surfaces are a great place to start as the cover the entire area like a blanket, so the floor is tile, and difficult to change without major time or money, so on the ceiling, your beams are a beautiful feature and every room has a part of the architecture that will work to your advantage, here are yours, although th ceiling in between agreed is not great. You can buy timber battens from hardware stores very cheaply per mtr, the pine 45mm x 18mm will do, fix them to the inside of the beams along the longest sides, and then either nail to those lining boards, which I would paint white or the same as the kitchen cabinets. Or you can buy lining board sheets, it may be the single biggest cost, but will be the single biggest improvement thT you Nd future buyers will appreciate. Leave the beams timber to work with what you have.
    Lastly, the brick wall that comes from th kitchen onto the lounge area, I would paint them also, not in a white again the contrast will be too strong, perhaps in a warmer shade, like a coffee tone.
    This cladding I mention would also look great along the back of the kitchen breakfast bar, and you will double the size with these improvements.
    I know it involves cost, but with structural elements and big spaces, it always will cost you, just choose where improving will have the biggest impact and go for it.
    These are things you can do yourself, or use a handy person, so no real trades are needed to complete- save that for later!
    Good luck. ML Design
    modernistmaude thanked mldesign0401
  • modernistmaude
    Great advice thankyou mldesign0401 !
  • PRO
    Scavolini Kitchen, Living and Bathroom
    If you are interested in some bolder looks you could check our websites for some different ideas. We are an Italian company and we have kitchen designs there were painted in the Ferrari factory, with the Ferrari red. Here are some pictures that may give you some new ideas. Hope it helps you!
    modernistmaude thanked Scavolini Kitchen, Living and Bathroom
  • Megan Salter

    I am currently facing the same dimema with stramit ceilings and I'm looking at ways to lighten my space as well. I found this article really useful.

  • modernistmaude

    Thx Siriuskey some excellent advice on how to paint the stramit!