Panorama of the dining area of our kitchen. To the left is a wood cabinet where we store our pots and pans. In the center of the room, under a bright yellow hanging ceiling light is a large, round wood table with stainless steel base covered with painting supplies and random papers and stuff. To the right are windows and an exterior door. In the right foreground in the brown marble counter top. The upper part of the walls is gray; the lower has white wainscotting. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
design family home projects

Bringing Sunshine Into the Kitchen

The year is off to a rollicking start. I wrote one post at the beginning of January and here we are already, staring at the end of the month. I sense this year is going to fly by.

I’ve had numerous ideas for blog posts, but no time to write them, so I’m going to see if I can write a couple of them today.

First up, another home improvement project Hubby and I completed last weekend. We brought sunshine to our kitchen by painting in a warm yellow.

We’ve had an unusual lack of sunshine this winter in Minnesota. Normally, in between snowstorms, we’ll have quite a few cold, bright days. This year, we’ve had very little snow and unseasonably warm temps. Over the past week, we’ve been covered in fog. The snow is practically gone now – at the end of January! – even though we are used to having snow around until March. That is global warming for you. In hindsight, I’m not sure we should have scuttled that term in favor of “climate change.” Climate change is a namby-pamby term that obfuscates what’s happening.

Anyhoo … we needed a cheerful color in the kitchen to cover up the gray.

I’m sure a realtor told the previous owner that the best way to sell the house was to paint everything gray. We saw so many houses painted gray when we were looking for a house on Zillow that we took to calling it “Zillow gray.”

Why does everyone want to make their interiors so dreary? I can understand wanting to provide a neutral paint color for buyers, but gray? On every wall? Yeesh!

When we were prepping our house for sale, we chose a soft white for our neutral, though we also used a robin’s egg blue in one bedroom, left our bedroom light blue and light green, had a dark blue-gray as an accent wall in the back porch, used a light gray with white trim in another bedroom and the front entry, and freshened the kitchen with a slightly richer yellow.

Apparently, yellow kitchens are a thing for us. However, in our old house, we had a red (yes, RED!) ceiling in the kitchen and a green accent wall in the nook behind the stove. It had a very produce-y feeling. Because the ceilings were so high (9 feet), the red was not overbearing. We did paint the ceiling white before we left. We were pretty sure the new owners were not going to love that bold ceiling color.

Image of the south wall in the kitchen of our old house. It features a light yellow wall with a doorway in the middle. Off to the left is a bump-out that is painted green. On the right is a portion of the refrigerator. Above is the deep red ceiling with track lights. Photo by Mary Warner, January 14, 2022.
Image of the south wall in the kitchen of our old house. It features a light yellow wall with a doorway in the middle. Off to the left is a bump-out that is painted green. On the right is a portion of the refrigerator. Above is the deep red ceiling with track lights. Photo by Mary Warner, January 14, 2022.

In our new  house, we’ve been slowly painting out the gray. One of my first projects last year was to paint my office a pale turquoise. Working from home, I needed a more buoyant color right away.

We finally got to the kitchen last weekend and spent all of Saturday prepping. We had a few supplies to buy (tape, rollers) and needed another gallon of paint. The yellow – called Mellow Yellow – we used in the kitchen is the same one we used to paint the downstairs powder room.

We washed the walls, patched nail holes, and taped off all the edges. By the time we were done prepping, it was dark outside and we felt we didn’t have enough natural light to see. The interior lights didn’t provide quite enough light.

Here’s our kitchen before we started.

Panorama of the dining area of our kitchen. To the left is a wood cabinet where we store our pots and pans. In the center of the room, under a bright yellow hanging ceiling light is a large, round wood table with chrome base covered with painting supplies and random papers and stuff. To the right are windows and an exterior door. In the right foreground is the brown marble counter top covered in odds & ends. The upper part of the walls is gray; the lower has white wainscotting. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
Panorama of the dining area of our kitchen. To the left is a wood cabinet where we store our pots and pans. In the center of the room, under a bright yellow hanging ceiling light is a large, round wood table with chrome base covered with painting supplies and random papers and stuff. To the right are windows and an exterior door. In the right foreground is the brown marble counter top covered in odds & ends. The upper part of the walls is gray; the lower has white wainscotting. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.

On Sunday, we painted.

It took 3 coats to cover the gray, with 2 hours of drying time between each coat. That gray doesn’t look very dark, but it was still showing after 2 coats of paint.

We also noticed that next to the yellow, the gray had a purple look to it. I don’t know if this was a conscious decision on the part of the previous owner, but his favorite musician is Prince, so that makes sense.

A section of the kitchen wall with one coat of yellow paint outlining the gray. Notice how purple the gray looks here. It's almost lavender. Photo by Mary Warner, January 21, 2024.
A section of the kitchen wall with one coat of yellow paint outlining the gray. Notice how purple the gray looks here. It’s almost lavender. Photo by Mary Warner, January 21, 2024.

Okay, let’s not belabor this any longer. Here’s what the kitchen looks like now, with it’s sunny yellow walls.

The kitchen dining area with yellow walls and white wainscotting. There is a wood cabinet in the left foreground, a small, natural-finish bookshelf in the left background, a round wood table with chrome base under a bright yellow hanging light in the center of the room. Four turquoise chairs are around the table. There are plants on the right in front of the windows. In the right foreground is a brown marble countertop. Photo by Mary Warner, January 22, 2024.
The kitchen dining area with yellow walls and white wainscotting. There is a wood cabinet in the left foreground, a small, natural-finish bookshelf in the left background, a round wood table with chrome base under a bright yellow hanging light in the center of the room. Four turquoise chairs are around the table. There are plants on the right in front of the windows. In the right foreground is a brown marble countertop. Photo by Mary Warner, January 22, 2024.

Note that we put things back and I tidied up before taking this glamour shot. It also helps that the sun was actually shining the day after we finished painting. The yellow makes the white wainscotting look cleaner than the gray did.

All in all, we are pleased with the result. It certainly brightens our mood to be in this room.

4 thoughts on “Bringing Sunshine Into the Kitchen”

    1. Thanks, Karleen! We’ve got kind of a blue and yellow theme going on in our living room, dining room (which we don’t use as a dining room) and kitchen. It’s been interesting making each room unique while also keeping to a color theme.

  1. I’m a yellow person too! I plan to paint our guest bathroom a soft yellow as soon as I can get to it. Your kitchen looks great!

Thoughtful comments welcome.