While shopping for a new home, we’ve probably all entered at least one stark, monochromatic kitchen that recalled our elementary-school cafeterias.

Even if you attended a hip elementary school with hip decor, its kitchen was likely faceless. Efficiency was the daily priority and plain white and stainless steel worked fine.Forget Institutional: How to Create Interesting Kitchens

But why would you want that in your new custom Florida home?

We at ICI Homes think most of us don’t. Although to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with an all-white kitchen warmed with textured countertops, cabinet pulls, or an imaginative backsplash and signature lighting. That look’s an enduring classic for a reason.

Think, however, beyond the standard. Here’s how to create interesting kitchens.

That color thing

Let’s just start here.

Neutral colors such as white provide a soothing, harmonious backdrop that — again — is timeless on kitchen walls and/or cabinetry. For example, you won’t go wrong if you and your household prefer white, tan, vanilla, gray or very light pastels as your everyday backgrounds.

Most of us live busy, distracted lives and those quiet interior colors provide a visual refuge. If that’s you, stick with your comfort zone, but consider a warmer hue of the classic white or other standard neutral.

Need a bit more pop? Opt for a lighter version of another favorite color, such as lavender, green or blue. A very pale yellow will enliven the entire kitchen, but not blast you awake at 5 a.m. Plus, it’ll glow when the afternoon or evening Florida sunshine hits nearby windows.

Mix it up

“All white?” you say. “No way.”

How about “no way” to all-anything?

Using multiple colors in kitchens — on walls, cabinets and floors — can inject instant interest every time you enter the room. You might want to avoid something as blatant as your alma mater’s purple, orange and white — save it for a game room or home office — but a harmonious blue, green and silvery gray combination can mimic the beach glass you pick up on daily walks.

Try that pale yellow from above on kitchen walls. Use maple-hued cabinetry with porcelain or bronze door and drawer pulls, and perhaps caramel-vanilla marble, granite or quartz counters.

Or don’t

Sometimes monochromatic works.

It’s simply what you want. Something else to consider is that today’s open living areas often flow seamlessly together, so vibrant, contrasting colors between the kitchen, dining and living room are just downright jarring.

Same goes for flooring. Underfoot is where monochromatic works. Use a color, finish and flooring material that visually unites all those areas.

Another option if you’re monochromatically inclined is to use a favorite color as backdrop to art, collections or other decorative accents. Why can’t your kitchen be an art gallery (we don’t mean just kids’ art magnetized to the refrigerator door)?

It can. Simply display your paintings, photos or funny signs away from splashing and drippy harm.

Ready for your custom Florida home? Talk to ICI Homes here. opens in a new window