The Breakfast Room
Susan Serra
The Breakfast Room
Reds, blues, and two different wood tones provide colorful contrast. Photo Credit: Susan Serra
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Who doesn’t love to play with and dream about all the beautiful finishes that are needed to create a cohesive kitchen design? Part of the creative process when planning a kitchen renovation is to continually envision the finished kitchen, which keeps you on track design-wise. So many products, materials, and finishes need to be coordinated in your kitchen design. When it comes to working with wood finishes, you need a clear roadmap to help guide you to the perfect selections.

First on the list, matching finishes is not the point, or even advised. Matchy-matchy is out—blending and coordinating visually interesting combinations of color and texture is in. Mixing wood finishes can be tricky. You might have a wood finish on your kitchen cabinets, a different wood finish on the island, a finish for your stained wood floors and wood finishes on your breakfast room furniture, all of which have to work together in a way that makes sense. Here’s how to do it!

Light, bright shades of white and cream allow the space to flow. Photo Credit: Susan Serra

The products and materials for the kitchen design should drive the selection of furniture for the breakfast room since proportionately, the kitchen design elements are much larger in volume and scale. These elements in the kitchen are, of course, often most costly, so you want to truly love your cabinet finish. Honestly, it’s a toss up between which finish is selected first, wood flooring color, or cabinet color? There is no right or wrong in which order each of these finishes are chosen. The selection of a finish for fabulous high-end kitchen cabinetry coming in at a budget figure well beyond the flooring budget may logically move the flooring finish choice into second place. Conversely, the choice of flooring finish, installed throughout several rooms and running into the kitchen may trump the big budget “issue” of the cabinet finish selection. Either design element can drive the other.

Strong black and metallic finishes are offset with wood floors and cabinetry adding a touch of warmth. Photo Credit: Susan Serra

Once the cabinetry and flooring colors are chosen, it’s on to selecting furniture finishes in the breakfast room. If you have an open floorplan, consider cabinetry, flooring, and your other pieces of wood furniture as a general guide to color and shade. If all your wood furniture beyond the kitchen is medium to dark in tone, selecting white washed oak for the table and/or chairs may not be the best choice. The old axiom, “less is more” is always good advice. Visualize all of your finishes coexisting within your space. If possible, gather actual samples together of all your finishes.

It is not necessary to carry through the same color undertones in all finishes. You can select cherry cabinetry with red undertones, install natural finished white oak flooring with brown undertones, and choose a rich, dark wood finish for table and chairs as one example. I find if finishes selected are too close to one another in color, it may look like you were trying to match the shades and were unsuccessful. To be safe, select shades that are a few shades apart to add interest and differentiate among design elements.

Wood tones a few tones off from one another combined with terracotta flooring and coordinated touches of blue add lots of style. Photo Credit: Susan Serra

Breakfast room furniture is often less formal than furniture in other rooms. You may be tempted to incorporate interesting combinations of colors and finishes into the breakfast room. When considering multiple finishes on table and chairs, remember the other “decorative layer” within the space. Cushions, window treatments, wall art, rugs, and furniture finishes all work together for better or worse! Add in multiple patterns and before you know it, it’s a visually busy environment, or wonderfully interesting, depending on how YOU see it.

Combining light and dark tones into surfaces and furnishings distinguishes each design element. Photo Credit: Susan Serra

Selecting the design elements for the breakfast room is sort of the icing on the cake. It’s the last piece of planning, and can be lots of fun to design, especially after the lengthy kitchen design process is finished. What does your dream breakfast room look like? Do you have a favorite style of table and chairs?

- Susan

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