Saturday, July 23, 2011

A reader's kitchen dilemma

Here is a lovely country kitchen with many of the things I love~
white cabinets, bead board backsplash and a mix of shabby cottage style furniture.
I might be looking for some vintage light fixtures to add....
Anyway, so  many of us have a kitchen that needs improvement. 
I got an email from a reader asking me for help on 
what she thought was a major offender~
her kitchen has terracotta tile floors.
She was looking for low budget ideas...
and for me, that always comes in a can of paint.
I looked through Pinterest for some images to illustrate my points.
 My Reader's Kitchen  
White cabinets and lots of natural lighting are a plus.
If money were no object I would replace
 the sliders with a set of french doors.
You can see the tile floors she hates. 
I think they have a rustic country charm.
 It was hard to find an image with a white kitchen 
and terracotta floors, but here is one.
My advice on the floors is to cover up! 
I wouldn't use an oriental rug, but an indoor outdoor rag rug,
 or natural sisal style carpet. 
A large one for under the table and a 
runner for in front of her cabinets.
Her rug is too small, and it is the wrong shape.
Here are some other things that I would 
like to see happen in this kitchen.
For me, the main offender was the current lighting. 
Lets remove the giant fluorescent box and swag a
 farmhouse fixture over the kitchen table.
( Note the other coordinating fixtures that are dropped, 
but only a wee bit, for the task lighting)
Right after we paint the kitchen set white and distress it a bit....
I also recommended that she remove the chairs from the ends of her table
 and get a longer table and set the chairs up 3 on each side, just like the first image.
She could also put a settee or sofa against the big wall
and have chairs on the opposite end of the table.
A pretty rag rug...
I see her walls painted blue, like this kitchen.
Another blue and white kitchen with 
french doors and stone floors, but a bit dressier with the slipper chairs.
See that huge wall behind the table and chairs...
imagine a pretty blue wall,
  a longer farmhouse table with no chairs on the end.
She could use a long rustic bench with some pretty pillows
 in ticking and some in vintage embroidered
 white on white made from old tablecloths or pillowcases.
Or maybe a white slipcovered sofa against the wall, 
or even a chippy white iron garden bench.
Above it all, a series of big white farmhouse style shelves.
Two really long plank shelves with decorative brackets that
 would hold a collection of white ceramics and
 porcelain items and collections of glassware
would look great against the blue walls
 and create a focal point on that big blank wall.
It would look even more incredible if it were 
done in beadboard and then painted blue like this.
Maybe some of you might have 
some inexpensive quick ideas for her kitchen~
feel free to chime in!
If any of my other readers need design help~
send me your problem with a couple of pics 
and you could be appearing here next!


  1. Hi Amy,
    I love all of your ideas for her kitchen update.
    If she doesn't have the budget for a longer table, then I think painting the table and the chairs an off white and sanding for a distressed look would work with the wall color that you suggested.
    I love all of the examples of kitchens that you are using.

    Great job.


  2. Amy ~
    This is such a fun post ~ I love
    all of your kitchen ideas so much ~
    I never think of the lighting and
    it does make such a difference ~

  3. I definitely agree about the lighting! That is the biggest problem with the kitchen. The floors are actually very pretty, as is the rest of the kitchen. I agree, as well, with the rug recommendations....however, since it looks like she has a baby, sisal is too hard to keep clean! Something with a little pattern would be better.
    Love this idea for a post!

  4. First off you should be doing this more often:"Ask Amy" columns with questions from readers. Great idea! You have so many great ideas that the floor will disappear. I would love a bench along a blue feature wall, white table and chairs and of course a shandy. Cannot wait to see the results.

  5. Agree about the lighting! I actually like the floor. What about changing out the cabinet knobs too? Hobby Lobby sells great knobs and they go on 40% every other week. I love the square glass ones for a bit of extra sparkle in the kitchen and they do wonders to change the look.
    I love the blue too!

  6. I lost my original comment - if this winds up a duplicate, please delete.

    I agree with you, Amy, and these are great tips. Paint, throw rugs {with non-slip thingy underneath what with children} and new light fixture. You could do that in one trip to Lowe's or HD. The seating against the wall - is that actually a bench style or two chairs that are just looking like a bench to me? I would do cushions on those chairs and yes, paint them and the table white to go with the rest of the kitchen. I'm on the same page as you, but being as she is on a budget I think she will get a lot of bang for her buck with just those few changes.

  7. Love all your suggestions, Amy! The lighting alone will make a huge difference. We just removed the same ugly florescent box from our mudroom last week, and it was a very simple thing to do. I have a fabulous rug in my kitchen (that hides my scratched up hardwood floors). It's an indoor/outdoor rug from Crate and Barrel. It was very reasonably priced, looks like the natural fiber type you suggested, holds up to our 4 kids spilling things and a big ole dog. It can be taken outside and hosed down if needed.

    I think she could even get away with leaving the table and chairs black. My friend's kitchen has a similar color scheme to your suggestion with black chairs. I have a picture of it on my blog, and can send it to her if she is interested.

    Great ideas, Amy! I love this feature, and I look forward to seeing more. I have a few rooms I should submit for your help :)

  8. Well, my pal Ms. Mickey told me to do posts like this long it looks like it was a great idea and I had a lot of fun helping my reader. Changes on a budget are my specialty!

  9. So many great ideas.....first of all I'd ditch the overhead light and the too small rug. Maybe they could do a board and batten treatment on that wall behind the chairs or use the beadboard wallpaper capped off with a chairrail type ledge, then paint above. I like your idea with the long shelves...similar to Jennifer's on The Old Painted Cottage. She could do a little at a time if budget is a factor and down the road replace the sliders with french doors. I'd like to see a bench take the place of at least 2 of her chairs...too many chairs! Instead of white pillows (since it appears she has small children) use some burlap ones or even make some using dropcloths....with all of the suggestions you're getting as well as your own she should be able to get a good start on improving her kitchen!

  10. Candice Olsen redid her mother's kitchen and reused the original terra cotta floors--you might want to look at her website.

  11. Wonderful suggestions. Love the inspiration photos.

  12. I actually like the terra cotta floor tiles...they are not bad at all. Because those are the basic things she MUST stick with she could even go a bit more rustic and use a mixturre of a "weathered wood" table top and, as you suggested, paint the chairs white & distress them. I think a bigger rug would be great with some of the terra cotta color in it along with the blue. I would not even be opposed to seeing a terra cotta tint on the walls-it would make the white cabinets really POP out and also it is a complimentary color for just depends on if she wants an all-white pale kitchen or one that has a warmer, richer tone. It will be fun to see where she goes with this- xo Diana

  13. When we lived in Scottsdale, AZ, we used one part Thompson's Water Seal and one part white paint and softened the look of our Saltillo tiles. They had a paler, peachy-pink look to them, and they were so pretty. I miss those floors now that we live in Alabama!

  14. Great ideas, Amy! And great inspiration photos as well. I especially love the first photo!

  15. I LOVED this post. You're amazing... The way you did this i could totally see the whole thing coming together. That's why hiring you for a consultation would be the best money a person could spend. I think alot of us have loads of inspiration photos and ideas in our heads, it's the pulling it all together in a cohesive step by step plan that's hard. Her house is already charming, but this will put it over the top!


  16. Amy Thank you so much, it helped me many ways too. I have the tile floor and same lighting etc.
    Thank you

  17. GREAT post, Amy. You have so many creative and budget friendly ideas. I really can't add anything. I do know from experience, adding pieces of interest, like shelves to the walls, draws the eye upward, so possibly, she won't be so concerned with the floor, which I think is okay.


  18. I have lots of ideas for a small budget redo but as to the floors, concrete paint will do the trick if she just wants (or can only afford)a cosmetic redo. I see that there's a baby or young toddler in the house (high chair in corner). With that in mind, there are certainly design ideas that are more practical than others for the time being. But if the budget's tight, for now the first thing is #1 painting the floor and #2 replacing the florescent light fixture.

  19. I think all of your ideas are wonderful, Amy. Love the blue wall in the inspiration photo. Isn't it fun what a can of paint can do! I think a farmhouse fixture over her table would be beautiful. I bet your reader was excited to see and hear your ideas. Kitchens are always fun projects.

  20. Amy, your ideas and suggestions are spot on.... I couldn't begin to try to add anything......,they are perfect!!!

  21. love your suggestions I can picture the finished design. would love to see pictures of her finished project.

  22. My reader has begun making changes already! I plan on posting her makeover when she is finished. I have never used concrete paint or waterseal and paint together over tile, but the exchange of ideas was interesting to see we could come up with. I liked the board and batten idea as well!

  23. You have so many great ideas! My first thought was a rug too... I can't wait to see what she does! Great post!

  24. Hi Amy,
    What great ideas you have. I don't mind the floors, but rugs would really help liven it up. I thought that the rug under the table was way too small also. I like the idea of three chairs on each side. Something I've never thought of. I love beadboard, and it gives such cottage charm. I agree, a new light is a must. Just a note, I painted my island and fan hood a similar shade of blue last year and I love it. Can't wait to see the after photos.

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  26. Okay....My opinion. She needs to quite focusing on the floor. Clear the counter tops of all that non-essential stuff and decorate the space! There isn't any decorating here. How about picking a POP color for accents. The rug could help that, although she obviously has a young baby (highchair) and I am sure that the rug would get trashed in a heartbeat. The three plates over the stove just don't do anything for the space. A trip to HomeGoods with a friend with decorating sense would go al ong way.

  27. Oh Amy! This is a great blogging idea! Pure brillance. I too agree that the rug in the kitchen is undersized and the wrong size. Your sisal idea is perfect. LOVE the idea about the beadboard too. Keep going...this is great!


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