Raise your hand if you know what a toe kick is? Anyone….anyone….you in the back? No? Well join the club! The toe kick is the slightly recessed, humble space located just below your cabinets. It is there to allow you to stand closer to your counters when they are functioning as a workspace, such as while cooking. Toe kicks entered our homes (and our design vocabulary) after World War II when the burgeoning middle class began to focus on function and design over simple utilitarian kitchen needs.
Ordinarily the toe kick is either painted a dark neutral color, or is painted the same color as your cabinets, so as to not stand out. But no more! It’s time to bring the toe kick out of the kitchen shadows, and instead use it to add a pop of color and excitement to your kitchen’s palette. In fact, “statement toe kicks” are actually becoming a hot design trend!
To experiment with color in this area, try painting your toe kick in a shade that is in contrast with your cabinets. Instead, match your toe kick to the accents in your kitchen, such as a silvery gray to match your stainless steel appliances, or paint it the same shade used for your backsplash.
Make it Versatile….and Neat!
Instead of painting the toe kick itself, add a few easy steps and make the color of your toe kick changeable! Measure and cut multiple thin wooden slats and paint each a different color you’d like to try in your kitchen. Use velcro adhesive on your toe kick and on the underside of the wood to create a look you can easily change out based on the color of your kitchen linens or seasonal decor. As a bonus, you can paint the slats in a more convenient and protected location and avoid paint drips in your kitchen.
Mirror, Mirror on the Floor
Add pizzazz and instant depth by applying mirrored slats instead of painting your toe stick. Premeasured and easily adhesed, these slats are simply to apply, even for a beginning DIY’er. Often made of durable materials like PVC, these are mirrors you won’t need to worry about breaking. For a similar effect you can use stainless steel, which will give you the same feeling of depth while not being fully mirrored.
Stick Your Kick
Another fun option for bringing life to your toe kick is to reach for a role of contact paper or masking tape instead of paint. If your kitchen is mostly white with plentiful light streaming in, try a bold color or even alternate multiple colors, using washi tape. Think bright pinks, deep purples and icy mint green. A fun checkerboard print is also a great way to liven up this spot, and is an easy to find pattern in contact paper.
Check out our take on other fun design trends here: