kitchen with blue floors
Photo: Tria Giovan
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Riff on the Modern-Day Manor

15. Wallpapered ceiling: Checked paper adds more depth and liveliness than plain old paint, and costs a lot less than a similarly striking coffered treatment. To focus attention on your “fifth wall,” try scrubbable vinyl-coated paper in Big Check, about $44 per roll; Thibaut

16. Brightly painted floor: Sky-blue paint covers worn wood planks, creating a cool contrast with white cabinetry. Brush on a similarly eye-catching hue as an alternative to refinishing. Glidden latex floor paint, about $20 per gallon; The Home Depot

17. Multitasking island: One piece of furniture does the work of three kitchen staples: a service buffet with spacious drawers for organizing flatware and linens, a bookcase with a raised bottom shelf for corraling cooking tomes, and a meal-prep surface with a thick butcher-block top. The 58-inch-long Vintage White Cottage Kitchen Island could do it all for you, about $653;
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