Selecting Kitchen Materials From Such Small Samples

By Shad D. Johnsen, CKD

Are you overwhelmed when you consider all the decisions that need to be made? Does your brain spin as you realize that just for the cabinetry, you need to choose the wood, stain or paint color, the style, the finish sheen, and perhaps a glaze, sand through, distressing or other specialty feature to the finish. Once you have decided this, you then move onto flooring with about 20 different materials to choose from, not to mention color, pattern, texture, and more.

Let’s make this simple! There are enough decisions on any new construction or remodel project, let alone samples of materials for the surfaces in your new kitchen. Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:

One Bite at a Time
First of all, find one material that you keep coming back to when looking at pictures or other projects. If this color is a paint color, then that is a great start. Start with one color as a starting point. After that, you can put your color palette together using that as the foundation color. Sure you may need to change it down the stretch if it is not quite the right tint, shade, or hue to lock up the final color selection. But, at least you are on your way!

Take Charge
Remember that every room should have a dominant color. This could also be called the primary color. Usually you will then have a secondary and tertiary colors. You will also have some accent or highlight colors. Simply speaking though, allow one color to dominate the space, with others to support it.

Balancing Act
This is referring to colors and contrast. Stripes versus polka dots, right? Not necessarily. This balancing act is more focused on your sensitivity to wood grains, granules of color, surface texture, gloss versus matte, etc. Contrast in colors from horizontal to vertical surfaces creates good balance and long term comfort. If you look at the colors and texture combinations in your selections of samples, the sample which is most visible should be the one you want to be most visible.

Keep Your Distance
Each time you are making a decision on a sample, look at it from at least six feet away, or as far away as you will typically see it in its final destination. This helps texture, color, pattern, light reflection, and more to be more realistic perceptions.

Run With It
Don’t take the samples and run. Test how the samples hold up to daily life and living. On flooring, take your shoes off, if you don’t wear shoes in your home, and walk on it. Test countertop surfaces for scratch resistance to typical kitchen items, with the approval of your dealer of course.

Live With It First
Take your samples home for a field trip. Put them in the room where they will be. In new construction applications, put them in the same room in the house you are living in, as they will be in the new house, with lighting as close as possible to the planned lighting. Look at your selection for a couple of days during sunshine and clouds, morning, midday, and evening, when you are in a good mood, and when you are not.

Now that you have your plan of attack on compiling the best samples possible, go forward assertively and with excitement knowing that you will be making the best choices for your situation. If you need a second opinion, find a professional. So, go swiftly seeking surface samples for your situation.

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