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Something is missing

Kelly Gerstle
December 30, 2018

I love my kitchen. I love the space, the colors, etc. Ive updated the lighting over the island. I added the shelves by the fridge.

Its just I feel like something is missing.

Is it something missing on the shelves I should have?

do i need something on the island? window?

All suggestions welcome!

Comments (53)

  • herbflavor

    I would tile between fridge and window and continue around under cabinets along to stove. [can't see what's going on near stove]. Then maybe a solar shade or something simple at window...but if you don't mind window left bare, then keep it that way. It is not a big window and the light is nice. You'll get more finished detail for your space from doing tile. You have wood and white and some gray with counters, and a transitional style , so many tiles will work.

  • flopsycat1

    I think the dark wood cabinets surrounding the refrigerator and the floating shelves pushed to the left, place most of the visual weight on that side of the room. Moving the shelves midway between the cabinets and the window may serve to create some balance. Less “heavy” island seating -lower backs, etc- would make that area less crowded.

  • PRO
    Nikki McMillan-Ethan Allen Inc.

    I think a window treatment but also loved what someone else said about making that window larger. I also think a floral on the island would really enhance the look. Love what you've done so far!

  • Miranda33

    Add backsplash tile. Sammy's suggestion of replacing the window with a bigger window would be an enormous expense! I wouldn't do that.

    For the chairs at the counter, I would find more festive colorful not-wood, and less matchy chairs. It would liven up the space.

  • groveraxle

    Left wall looks unbalanced, at this angle anyway. Move or extend the shelving so there is equal space on each side of the window.

  • Manon Floreat

    My eye was directed immediately to the shelves. I think it would be good to extend and center them as grover suggested. As others noted, you could exchange the counter chairs for ones in either upholstery or leather at some point. A back splash will protect your walls from splatters. But, I think you've done a really nice job!

    I like your counter tops, a lot. Would you mind sharing what material you used?

  • threers

    Yes, center the shelves between refrig and window or get larger shelves that extend from refrig to window, I'd like to see some pattern in your space. Some fabric on your windows, inc, those in the dining room and/or upholstered seats on chairs and stools.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    If the reveal was the same on both sides of the window, it would look more balanced. Make the shelves wider, or reposition them, as someone suggested above. Nice layout, and I love the wall color--if you choose not to tile, maybe get outlet covers that more closely match the paint color.

  • Hansen
    I love what you have done, but the room is unbalanced by all the dark being on the left side. My suggestion would be to pick a bright accent color to replace the white dishes in the corner counter top and do a valance on windows (valance from ceiling to top of window) and flowers or fruit on island.
  • Hansen
    Oh, and bright cushions on the bar stools and chairs.
  • mimimomy

    You have such a pretty kitchen! For me, I would need more light. It may just be the photo but it's a bit too dark for me. The one piece of artwork on the top shelf is also dark-- might try something lighter there? If it were mine, I'd paint the entire room a much lighter color :) and if the ceiling isn't bright white, I'd paint that too!

  • erinsean

    My suggestion is to put three pendents over your bar area. Two looks too skimpy or something. Then I would paint the wood around the refrigerator to match your cupboards. I am not fond of open shelving but since your have it, I would put things on it that are larger in size.....not a bunch of little things. Some window treatments, not a valance, will help bring color into your kitchen. You have done a nice job.

  • AJ G

    definitely window treatment hung high near the ceiling to raise the visual height of the window to flow with cabinet height. If you want open shelving think about something a bit larger. These look the wrong size for space and the items on the lower shelf look to small (almost like they belong in a drawer) You could even stager the bottom shelf to make them look more centered between window and cabinet but I would still rethink the items on the bottom shelf.

  • njmomma

    Not a Pro.

    I am a fan of using the same color cabinets and different color island and keeping the shelves dark, but as mentioned before, centered.

    If you are keeping the dark cabinets around the fridge, center shelves, but add the white canister to the shelves and maybe a plant, think larger decor. I think you need to bring the white color on the shelves to even things out. A tile back splash always adds another layer of decor, but with a few tweaks you may find your comfort.

  • Anne Duke
    To me it’s using the shelves for ‘art.” Use them for kitchen item, things that make sense in the space.
  • mimimomy

    Anna, that's a good point. I think it would work better if had dinnerware types of items rather than art.

  • cpaul1

    Yes, you're missing two things .... a back splash and all of the decorative items. Put up a back splash, that will help with tying the dark and light cabinets together, and it will bring more visual interest into the space, and it is also very functional. Then you need to remove all of the knick knack crap you have going on and decorate with items that actually belong in a kitchen. (A picture of your child does not for example). I would stage the shelves with white dishes stacked. I would get large clear glass apothecary jars for the island and fill them with items that make sense in terms of use but also color. Then put one or two small appliances on the counter tops, again that make sense, the best example being a coffee maker. Other items you can stylize with are knife blocks, or cooking utensils, or cutting boards, etc. Then stylize the small table top and remove the rug in front of the sink.

  • wmacvinnie
    This kitchen is beautiful and there is very little tweaking needed... just widen those floating shelves if you can and put kitchenware on them. I really like the pendants (2 are the right number) and the colour on your walls is great! Nice to see someone embrace colour!
  • PRO

    The kitchen is very nice, but some fine tuning is needed.

    • Get longer shelves for the wall. You might try IKEA
    • I would add a matching woven wood shade to simplify the window.
    • I think a backsplash could add some additional texture.

    Here's an example of what you can place on the shelves.

  • Lynne Mysliwiec
    I am going to swim against the back splash recommendations because there are no good ways to end the backsplash in your kitchen. I second the vote for a window treatment above the sink.
  • nidnay
    I would do a beautiful backsplash as well as replace all those tiny items on your open shelves....they are too small and too many and make things look cluttered and disorganized.
  • housegal200

    Some easy solutions to add warmth and coziness to your already very nice kitchen:

    --Put beautiful dishes and glassware on those shelves, maybe including some vintage or handmade pieces.

    --Lean an oversized antique handpainted tin tray against the wall under the shelves.

    --Put a small, antique alabaster lamp in the right corner.

    --Place a large live edge bowl on your island or a hand thrown bowl on it and keep it filled with fruit.

  • Sunny

    I would add a back splash, window treatments, larger shelves with dishes and bar stools instead of chairs.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    The first thing I thought of, just like so many mentioned already, is that the shelves don't do anything for the space. If you must have them, make them longer and balanced in that space between the window and cabinet.

    The second thing, which no one has mentioned, is the rug in front of the sink. It just doesn't "go" with the rest of the space and is distracting. Find one that is more harmonious with the colors already there.

    I do like all of your other choices though!

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    I'm not a fan of open shelves in kitchens. Seems like they draw dust and grease. So I'd do away with them and replace with cabinets like those on the right but with glass fronts. Then fill them with bright dishes.

    You're missing two things, IMO:

    1. Color

    2. Joanna Gaines' obligatory display of fine baked goods on the island. :)

  • TBL from MA

    For my taste, I would add pattern and texture. Perhaps a crisp roman shade and a coordinating runner on the range side. For some strange reason I would like to see woven baskets or a decorative object or more with that jute/bamboo feel. (I'm also a fan of less visible counter seats.) I like your pops of orange but more or something larger?

  • Helen 72
    It looks quite dark. Under cabinet lighting makes a huge difference.
  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    I think those who suggested tweaking the shelves a little are right. And adding a bit of white to the dark side. I love the woven shade idea!

    I would add that you might want to bring the dark wood over to the white side by putting a dark wood cutting board on the counter, or adding a burl bowl in a deep wood tone.

    Right now this looks like two pretty kitchens set down next to each other. Let the dark encroach on the white a bit and vice versa!

  • Mrs Pete

    I think it's a lack of proportion in color. Have you heard of the 60/30/10 guideline? It says that 60% of your room should be one color ... 30% another color ... and 10% accent of a third color. You have essentially equal portions of white, dark wood, and green, so the three colors are "fighting" instead of co-existing nicely.

    Borrowing the above poster's picture, note that roughly 60% of this kitchen is white /gray ... 30% is wood ... and 10% is greenery ... and it works.

    Now look at your colors -- the brown and white are roughly equal, and they're each hugging a side ... no balance of colors.

    Is it something missing on the shelves I should have?

    Yeah, the shelves are the first thing to which I'm drawn ... they're front and center, but they're not "strong enough" to act as a focal point. I agree with the above poster that artwork isn't working here (and that includes the photo frame on the countertop).

    Best: Either replace these open shelves with cabinets or enlarge the window ... but, yeah, those are expensive changes.

    Distant second choice: Replace the artwork with kitchen items in a colorful pop ... and make sure to use a variety of sizes, including something large (like a large platter or pitcher).

    but the room is unbalanced by all the dark being on the left side.

    Yes, I'd paint the dark cabinets so all the perimeter cabinets would match. The two-tone thing is throwing things out of proportion.

  • Susan Davis

    This might be already said, thick open shelves that take up most of the wall (yours look under sized and over stuffed) and matching roman shades on window that match theone over the sink. It would give you some items at relate to one another and balance up the room.

  • Kelly Gerstle


    I took some of the main suggestions made! first, i replaced the counter chairs with stools.

    Ive ordered larger and lighter wood shelves.

    to be continued as I work through this

  • Julie Anne

    I would reccomend changing out your light switch plates. Changing them can definitely give your kitchen a more complete feel. Overall though, I reall like your kitchen! https://bazarartandgifts.com has some really great quality decorative wall plates. Check them out when you get a chance! :) Hope this helps.

  • Ashley R

    As many of the other comments said, you should do a window treatment. Something about the shelves and the window looks unbalanced/awkward. I agree with a lot of the other suggestions to use the shelves for kitchen-related items instead of art.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    looks better. I like your dark cab and your shelving. you need a splash!

    here's your window w/a simple roman blind in the same green

    If you had a backsplash, the kitchen would look great. Right now it looks unfinished because that extra element is missing.

    this would be perfect:

    or: (except I'd go all the way to the ceiling)

    oh, and try a runner in this color combo

  • krottmann
  • lizbeth-gardener

    The dark cabinets on the left makes the kitchen have a disjointed/unbalanced look to me. Can someone do a photoshop of this kitchen with all the cabinets and the floating shelves in white? Leave the island dark. Then do a second one with the island white, also. Just think it might give the OP a visual of the difference it might make.

  • everdebz

    Kelly, I really like your new stools, soft neutral, how it lightened and lowered the number of contrasts in the entire room. Do you like the fabric idea - I like that because it softens some more....

  • Nicole R Dsp
    Add in a backsplash, maybe a Roman shade. The goodies on your shelves look to
    Small for the space and kinda cluttered, maybe relocate them?
  • everdebz

    Counters are grey?

    ombre gray and green giant citrus floral cotton [a modern, abstract accent]….

    Gray and Green Giant Ombre Botanical Fabric · More Info

    Recover your chair. Upholster a wall. Create a framed piece of art.


  • everdebz

    Put some green on the floor - good reviews - easy to clean idk:

    Vintage Fringe Rug, Olive, 2'8"x8' · More Info
  • everdebz

    After posting that, I'm kinda not rug with much pattern, color - do you feel a transitional/ contemporary vibe in your kitchen areas?

    good reviews:

    Nourison Celestial Rug, Sealife, 2'2"x10' · More Info
  • Shredder

    I would go with a backless barstool. I think it would open up your space.

  • PRO
    Finishing Touches

    I agree with Sabrina. Because your window isn't tall, I would OM the window treatment. You could also trim out the window to give the window more definition. I put tile on my wall and then added a valence.

  • Hansen
    Kelly - love the updates. The flowers in the window, the round plate on the shelf and the pottery, and the new stools. I can't tell if the plate or flowers are orange or red, but the contrast they bring is great. I'm thinking a valance or Roman shade with those colors or the colors from the rug will be a good finishing touch. You might add a colorful tea pot or dutch oven on the stove and some fruit in the bowl on the bar as well. Love the white bowls too.
  • daneejela

    I love your new stools!

    What about white (white as your cabinets) shelves and brown window treatment? That way you can achieve more balanced look (compared to all browns grouped on the left).

    As other are pointing out - window is out of proportions compared to the upper cabinetry, so that is main thing to fix. Any treatment that you choose has to go up to the ceiling (or at least close to it).

  • everdebz

    To approximate the look, at my house I have tacked up small towel even a blouse.... I mean to say that the idea to line up top of window treatment with cabinets seems nice and trim.

  • PRO
    Diane Kremer, ASID CID

    Overall, you have a great kitchen. There are some balance and scale issues that may be throwing you off. Here's some more to think about.

    1st LIGHTING: Pendants are too high. Also, I typically see this style in tall entry vs over an island. I would recommend pendants that face down and you don't see the lamps. Maybe, a smaller fixture and 3 instead of two. In an 8' high ceiling, pendants should be installed 30" from the bottom of pendant to top of the deck.

    2nd ACCENT OPEN SHELVES: open shelves are fine except I think the scale is off. Too narrow, not deep enough to be functional as kitchen shelves and not long enough or should be balanced on the wall. I would do three and center in the space. Another post offered a nice size and weight for shelves with iron brackets. Also, as to styling the shelves, this is a personal thing. However, with that said, this is a kitchen and I think white chucky bowls, mugs or dishes should be on these shelves. The shelves that are on this wall usually are used on a wall for displaying family photos as they are not very deep. You can move these shelves to a hall or entry wall.

    3rd BACKSPLASH: a backsplash is definitely needed especially in wet areas or you will have wet sheet rock over time. A decorative tall backsplash would add a finished look to the space. Make sure you wrap the tile or backsplash around and up the side of the window to maybe just under the plugs. At least 8-10" high. Not just under the window or it will look too shinny. Subway tile with a decorative cap (two tiles plus the cap) makes a nice backsplash with your counter tops.

    4TH WALLPAPER OPTION: if you want some splash, add wallpaper as an accent on the window wall and under cabinets on the right side of the room. Then keep the chair cushion fabric in a solid coordinating color.

    5th MILLWORK: to top if off, add a white crown around the room the same size as the cabinets.

    6th WINDOW TREATMENTS: the little window treatment suggested in one of the pics is too small and light to balance against the dark tall cabinet to the far left. I would do a flat roman shade in a pattern (if no wallpaper) or solid color coordinating with a wallpaper installed under the crown or to the ceiling and to the right cabinet plus same amount on the left side. It looks like it is about 3" off the trim. The window is in already, however, it would have been nice to be bigger or balanced on that wall. So we have to balance the rest of the wall.

    6th SOFT FINISHES: Cushions on the chairs would add color and I would either paint them a light color or change them out to a different finish or stain.

    7th BAR CHAIRS: The dark chairs, dark island and dark tall cabinet (to my eye) create a balance issue that makes the space feel off. Changing the chair finish to something lighter would help. Also, I would remove the chair on the end of the dining table as it seems to crowd the island. It’s too much, again to my eye. It’s a bit hard to tell with this photo.

    While, I hope these ideas help and add to the conversation. Send us pics when you are done! PS I do this for a living so I got a bit carried away with my comments! My best.

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