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Painting My Rental Kitchen Sage Green Was the Best Decor Decision I Made in 2021

newly painted sage green kitchen

When I moved into an apartment that had my dream kitchen earlier this year, I felt like I had won the Toronto rental lottery. A full-range gas stove, a double door fridge, plentiful natural light and endless marble countertops?! I didn’t know such a kitchen could exist within my budget (the COVID rental market definitely helped with that).


Related: We Predict the 15 Biggest Home Decor Trends of 2022

Green kitchen cabinets in a Home Town renovated kitchen

As I daydreamed about what my future kitchen would look like, my social feeds were flooded with aspirational images of sage green kitchens. First it was Dakota Johnson’s Architectural Digest Los Angeles home tour featuring the most perfect deep sage green cabinets (fun fact: if you type her name into Google, ‘Dakota Johnson Kitchen’ is the first search term that comes up). Next it was former Bon Appetit staffer Sohla El-Waylly’s decidedly lighter sage green cabinets in her New York City apartment, which couldn’t help but steal the show in her Instagram Live cook-alongs. Seeing my coveted green kitchen cabinets while watching Home Town and then again in my friend Jeannine’s charming Irish home was the final straw: I didn’t just want a sage green kitchen, I needed it.

green kitchen cabinets in a modern renovated kitchen

Curious to know why sage green had gripped my psyche (and so many others’), I did a little research to find out why the colour was sending Pinterest home decor boards into a tizzy. It turns out that beyond its trending status, our collective obsession with sage green has deeper symbolic meaning. Colour psychology suggests that green is a calming, restful colour – something we could all use in our homes after a challenging couple years. Beyond that, our yearning to be closer to nature after spending so much time indoors makes the introduction of sage green indoors even more understandable. To take it a step further, the recent major push towards sustainability (or “greenification”) is another reason why we’re craving green in all aspects of our lives: it symbolizes who we aspire to be.

Related: Colour Palettes That Go Surprisingly Well Together


before picture of Lara Buchar's kitchen in Toronto

Armed with this knowledge, I set out on my kitchen refresh mission. As much as I wished I could go the painted cabinet route, I knew my landlord wouldn’t approve such a major change, and my painting skills are amateur at best – definitely not suited to painting two walls of cabinets and drawers. Instead, I opted to paint two statement walls as a renter-friendly solution. Armed with dollar store paint rollers and a handful of paint swatches taped on the kitchen wall, I whittled my choice down to Benjamin Moore’s Great Barrington Green and got to work.

In the process of painting Lara Buchar's rental kitchen sage green

Despite my resolute quest for a sage green kitchen, the process did come with moments of doubt. Was it too dramatic? Would the trend die by the time my kitchen was painted? As I looked at my wet second coat of paint on the wall, I couldn’t help but panic: did I just turn my formerly bright kitchen into a dark swampy cave?! Thankfully, once the paint had properly dried, I knew I had made the right decision.

sage green kitchen painted by Lara Buchar sage green kitchen painted by Lara Buchar

The deep green walls give my formerly cold builder’s grey kitchen a rich, earthy vibe that feels both luxurious and welcoming. While it is a dramatic colour, it makes an impactful statement as soon as you walk into the room. And while it certainly is on-trend, it feels right at home in my space and could be easily painted over if I ever need a change. Paired with my antique harvest table (a $90 Facebook Marketplace find), dinner parties feel more intimate, glasses of wine go down smoother and the dishes I cook taste more delicious. Okay, *maybe* that’s in my head, but it’s a well-known fact that we eat with our eyes first, and a side of sage green is undoubtedly the best decor decision I’ve made all year, and it cost me less than $100.

sage green kitchen painted by Lara Buchar


Related: The Top Kitchen Paint Trends to Adopt in 2021 (We See You, Smoky White!)

Images courtesy of HGTV, Inside Boxy and Lara Buchar

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