Classic Comfort Kitchen

This room features a twist on a black-and-white color scheme for a crisp look.

Susan and Fran Williams's home offers a wealth of ideas to brighten up any kitchen, old or new. Consider first this fresh take on black and white. The combination of the creamy taupe-glazed cabinets and the rich black granite countertops is dramatic. Still, it's the details that make this room unique. Artwork and creative lighting give the kitchen an interesting focal point. The homeowners continued the backsplash material, travertine tile, above the sink in an arch pattern. The warm tone of the tiles provides a nice backdrop for a variety of art that the couple changes with the seasons.

Room With a View
Usually reserved for a window, the tiled space behind the sink offers a way to easily change the look of the kitchen with different pieces of art. For example, a dark rooster painting complements the countertops and black-lacquered barstools. On the other hand, a lighter botanical print provides a splash of color and lightens up the area.

Bright Solution
Susan and Fran liked the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. An exterior lantern adds a decorative touch to the wall, shedding light on the sink and highlighting the artwork below.

Home-improvement stores carry various styles of lights for less than $50. Here, the simple iron-and-seeded glass fixture coordinates with the chandelier above the island.