Home Decor Q&A: A Southwest Kitchen, Brightening a Dark Room, and Choosing Paint Colors

Hi all, It’s Shannon from Sewing Barefoot back again to share another segment of Home Decor Q&A. If you missed last months questions and answers you can check them out here! If you’d like to submit your own questions, check out the Home Decor Q&A form here!

Home Decor Q&A with Shannon @ShannonBarefoot - How To Brighten A Dark Space, Put Together a Southwest Kitchen, and Choose Paint Colors| #remodelaholic

Today we’ll be looking at 3 home decor situations: pulling together a Southwest kitchen, brightening a dark office, and picking the perfect paint color. Let’s get started!

Question #1: Putting Together a Southwest Kitchen

Elaine asked… “I would like to paint kitchen in the Southwest/Spanish colors. Love red/orange cupboards but most pictures of painted cupboards have molding on the doors to add depth our cupboards are flat, no moldings or handles…for a bright Mexican look what color do you suggest for counter tops and what type of handles for flat cupboards and doors., have budgeted for granite counters and Mexican tiles..just don’t know how to put it together. Thanks”

Hi Elaine, I love the direction you’re taking with your kitchen. I think red/orange cabinets will be really fun! Since you’re painting, you COULD add molding to the fronts if you wanted to (although I don’t think its necessary). If you’d like a tutorial on how to do so, check out this one. There are a lot of tutorials online if you’d like to search for a different style.

As far as countertops go, I think you have a few options. If you want to go with lighter countertops, you could go with Saint Cecilia or Giallo Ornamental granite. Both are a good price point and could give you a similar look to the picture below. If you want a darker option, I would suggest Uba Tuba. Uba Tuba is overall dark, but has a greenish undertone with some gold highlights. It is also a good price point and I think it would compliment the orangey-red cabinets. I think I lean a little more toward the dark option because it would give you a clean pallet to introduce a fun backsplash.

light/dark granite on remodelaholic.comdark granite source | light granite source

As far as knobs go, I think this is where you can have a lot of fun! Since the cabinet design is subtle you could go with a mix of knobs/pulls. I would introduce something colorful in your knobs and keep your pulls a little more rustic. The blend is very Southwest/Spanish and helps add some fun to the cabinets. Here are a few that I think would be good for your kitchen design:

cabinet knobs on remodelaholic.comcolorful knobs | rustic pulls

 I can’t wait to see what you come up with and I hope you’ll send pictures when you’re finished!


Question #2: How To Brighten a Dark Room

Lisa E asked… “Hi! My challenge is our office/craft room. My hubby picked the brown color, which I do like, however, with all of the wood trim and wood furniture, it’s dark! We are middle-aged so he is definitely conservative and hates painted furniture. Ugh! He would also freak if I painted the trim so I try and work with it. I was considering batten about two thirds up to lighten it, but not sure how he’s feel about it. Ah, the art of compromise. Also, I have to keep this roll top desk. So pretty much I have to work with what I have. I attempted to lighten things up with light sheers and white on the frames, etc. Any input on how to possibly rearrange, incorporate color, ANY help would be greatly appreciated. I apologize in advance for the limitations on your creativity having to stay within my hubby’s wishes. I would so appreciate any assistance. Thank you and Happy New Year!”

dark office "before" on remodelaholic.com

Hi Lisa, you’re dealing with a situation I think we all can relate to… compromise with your spouse! My husband and I are always compromising on design (mainly me throwing out a wild idea and him reeling me back in). Here are 5 fun ideas for working with what you have while brightening up your space:

Idea #1: Add adequate lighting

If a room doesn’t have adequate natural lighting (and you can’t change the paint color), it is important to introduce enough artificial lighting to make the room feel brighter and inviting. Talk to your husband about getting some recessed lights installed. This will give you “all over” lighting in your office. Even with the addition of recessed lights, you will still want to introduce a few floor lamps and table lamps for task lighting. The combination of all three should brighten your space so it doesn’t feel so dark.

Idea #2: Use mirrors to your advantage

Any reflective surface can help bounce light around a dark room. Use mirrors in your favor. Place a mirror across from a floor lamp to maximize the reflection of your light. When situated across from a lamp you’ll be bouncing the most amount of light off of this reflective surface. It can also help make a space feel bigger!

Idea #3: Introduce light & bright accessories

Just because you have darker furniture and trim you cannot change, doesn’t mean you can’t brighten these items up with fun accessories. As I mentioned in Idea #2, glossy, metallic or mirrored/reflective accessories can help bounce light around. Try introducing picture frames, vases, lamps, decor, etc. that are light and bright in color. Your eye will be drawn to these bright accents and will help make the room feel less dark.

Idea #4: Clear extra clutter & furniture

A crowded room usually feels darker and less inviting than a room that is organized & de-cluttered. If your dark furniture is cramped together it is going to feel like one dark cave. Giving your dark furniture space can help create an airy feeling and will help to brighten the space. Think about how you plan to use the space and remove items and furniture that don’t fit into this plan. It’s amazing the transformation you can obtain by just removing 1 or 2 un-used items and relocating them into a different room in your home.

Idea #5: Lighten your floor

I’m not talking about changing carpet or refinishing hardwoods… I’m talking about an area rug. Introduce a pale or light colored area rug to give your room a light foundation. Since the walls are dark it will give the room nice contrast to have a lighter colored floor rug. Rugs are a relatively inexpensive change to a room and can be found online or in many local stores.

Good luck Lisa! I hope your home office begins to feel lighter and brighter 🙂


Question #3: Choosing a Paint Color

Lisa A asked… “Old/new home for us this Christmas PTL! Granite in Kitchen is peachy,black,gray. Cabinets are light peach,ughhh I need color for the walls in kitchen and surrounding areas to make do.”

Hi Lisa, this is also a situation that many of us can relate to… working with what you have! From your comment, it doesn’t sound like you’re too excited about the “peachiness” of your cabinets & granite. When you have something you aren’t fond of, try to pull from what you DO like about it. I would stick with warm grays – something that will work well with the black/grey aspect of your granite but won’t highlight the peach. 

I hopped on Pinterest and came across this color palette. I have heard the color “Revere Pewter” more times than I can count (I really should test it out somewhere). I’ve heard that it is the perfect warm gray for any space. Choosing a color like this will work with the tones that you have, but will hopefully tone down the peachiness in your home.

color pallete on remodelaholic.comsource

Good luck with finalizing a color scheme – I do feel like paint can be the hardest decision to make!


Do you have a home decor question you’d like to ask?

Please submit them here and your project could be featured in an upcoming edition of the Home Decor Q&A segment. Thanks for reading along and I look forward to your questions for the next post!

Shannon | Sewing Barefoot 

[My day’s aren’t all filled with Interior Design… check out some fun things I’ve been up to lately: mason jar candles, diy bathtub caddy & modern baby blanket]

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One Comment

  1. Great post. I love the knob sample you included. It’s the perfect way to add a little bit of color without making a lot of expensive changes.

    Lilly Jones