Let’s help Veronica with paint color ideas for her 1976 kitchen

1976 kitchenNow that the holiday frenzy is kinda sorta dying down, I’m getting back in the groove with features about reader homes. Did I say “groove”? Veronica — who is closing on her first house — a 1976 contemporary — today, is already chomping at the bit to get her retro nesting under way.  And, she wants our help with  paint colors for this 1976 kitchen. Interestingly, this is really typical of how readers find my site: They make an offer on a new/old house… immediately begin online research on how to renovate and update it … and land right here among us, sucked into our “back-dating” retro vortex. Veronica writes:

I have recently bought my first home- a 1976 contemporary. I want my first project to be the kitchen, but on a tight budget my only option is to paint… I am having a hard time picking out paint colors. They are currently black and white but it feels too stark and cold. I want to keep a mid century mod motif- I was thinking grays and browns to match the brick red colored tiles on the floor, but I would love some ideas.

1976 kitchen with black and white laminate cabinetsMy husband and I are first time home buyers in the Albany, NY area.  Relatively speaking, it did not take us too long to find our dream house- a 1970’s contemporary.  I knew before we even began looking for a house that I would not buy a “cookie cutter” house.  When we walked in to this house, we fell in love with the spiral staircase and the retro feel of the house.
1976 kitchen cabinet pullsThe layout is a bit awkward- the main living space (kitchen, dining, and family room) are in the walkout “basement”.  The main floor is a wide open living room- the third floor holds the bedrooms and there is even a fourth floor loft area (accessible via ladder).  I am very excited to add even more midcentury mod touches to this house!
1976 dining roomWe are closing on the house Wednesday and will begin our renovations this weekend.
thanks pam!
Okay, readers… What do you think? Note, Veronica confirmed with me that she is considering repainting both her original laminate cabinets and/or the walls. I already have some ideas, and draft post prepared, but let’s hear your thoughts first — then I’ll do a follow up post tomorrow.

  1. Tami in Las Vegas says:

    I actually think the ktchen is pretty cool as is. Could the cold feeling just be because it is emply? Just put some color on the back splash – red or turquoise would work well. Or maybe a brick back splash (or subway tiles in a color to match the floor).

    You could try the scheme first just by adding some colorful accessories on the counters to see if you like the colors. If you want to change the counters, try painting them black. I recently used Rustoleum’s counter paint and am happy with the result.

    If you can change the appliances to black (paint) or stainless steel (try the contact paper- it works, but is pricey), then maybe you could change the cabinets doors with paint. You’d have many options then. Given the current black and white mix on them, I’d be more hesitant

  2. Ally says:

    For cabinet door color, give a modern version of guacamole green a try.
    Those strange, somewhat off colors of the 70’s somehow worked and there are some good modern updates to these mid-tone colors.
    If going for lighter….robin’s egg blue is a good one too.
    And if super 70’s is calling you’re name, try Ochre. It’s been all over the place this year and has a real curry-spicy look that is warm and inviting. That tile color on the floor is already paprika! Think about your accessories, and that may help you in your choice:)

  3. Helen says:

    A color combination that I really like is turquoise & red with black & white. Since you already the black & white thing happening, I would paint the walls turquoise & bring in red accents with a clock, towels, etc.

  4. Melanie says:

    Take a look at the Benjamin Moore Affinity fan. TONS of colors in there that would work with the era…without seeming slavish to the era.AF-230 (Buttered Yam) might be too dark for your space…but it might be perfect!

    If you want to go green without it being to “avocado” try AF-430 “wasabi”.

    Seriously…the whole fan deck is awesome. Additional bonus? The colors are great–but limited. Won’t put you into analysis paralysis.

  5. Hillery says:

    My first instinct was orange, but then I started to wonder if I could live with bright bright orange. Perhaps, a glass back splash with hints of grey, agua and orange. Then, on larger walls, a pale orange (the palest color of an orange segment).

    I love the hardware, so please leave it. I like the idea of stenciling or pale striping the cabinets.

    Or, just go wild . . . old school Howard Johnson’s is still a fabulous color match – teal and orange. 🙂 Cannot wait to see it.

  6. Josie says:

    Okay, I love black and white plus one bright, sunny colour. If tangerine doesn’t thrill you, and I see orange has been mentioned a numer of times… why not yellow? A bright, clear yellow. Or even a chartruese.

    What about the Sherwin Williams Suburban Modern chartruese? Or really any of those colours, pink would also be bright and warm without being too acid-y like some people who aren’t me find chartruese to be.

    But I love the cabinets. I wouldn’t do them a bright colour, I would keep them white and let the bright colour be bold but not overwhelming.

  7. heather Staas says:

    sherwin-williams.com has a great paint tool online.. you can upload your own photo, highlight the area you want painted, and then fill it with any of their colors. It even shades and keeps textures so the effect is pretty real!

  8. Aileen says:

    I think a sunny yellow would look great. Black and white and yellow look good together and yellow was a popular kitchen color in the 70s.

  9. Maria says:

    Hope you let us know how it turned out!

    The cabinets look like they have blue on them, if so I’d repeat that on the walls and go with a wild rug incorporating the blue. If they are in fact black/white, I’d go with a very mod looking black/white wallpaper and in both I’d do mod hanging round lights. Tulip chair/table would complete the look.

  10. angela magee says:

    Nobody would have stencilled a kitchen cabinet until the 1980s, ours looked exactly like yours.

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