Soffits (or bulkheads) above kitchen cabinetry make a home feel dated. And if you paint the soffit a contrasting color, it only makes your cabinetry seem smaller and it makes the height of the kitchen less tall.
1) If your cabinets are in good shape, you should add crown molding to the ceiling above the cabinets and add some trim molding to the bottom of the soffit.
2) Since these cabinets were in great shape, we decided to go with an oak woodgraining for the soffits and moldings. The “trick” to getting the oak woodgrain (or any faux wood) right is to try to match the underlying color of the cabinets. Oak has a glow to it so I first used
a medium tone yellow base paint (1 part Woody Yellow and 1 part Neutral White basecoat from Faux Effects).
Then I did a pale gold metallic paint over that (a pale wheat color from Faux Effects Metal Glow line). You could also just do a gold glaze over the basecoat – just enough to give it a glow.
I made up a glaze for the woodgraining layer. I used Chestnut Brown and Earth Brown Glaze and went over (in sections) the soffit and moldings. I created the woodgrain by removing the glaze with a wipe out tool. I used torn pieces of corrugated cardboard. Then when it was dry, I took a paintbrush and darkened the grain to match what I was seeing in the cabinetry. I also used a graining comb for the smaller areas and around the wood grained areas (you can buy this at Home Dept I believe – or at Michael’s).
Then I overgrained the entire surface with the same graining material as the first layer. I had to adjust the color here and there because the color of the oak cabinets differed in various sections. Some I had to make a bit darker…some cooler. Then after everything was dry – I did a faux marquetry design on the soffit…the fun part of the job!
I used the Renaissance Scroll from Jeff Raum stencils. I used some Mahogany, Ebony and Cherry Stain and Seal from Faux Effects for this technique. However, you could also look at Royal Design Studio’s line of stencils. The owner, Melanie, has many that I love – the Showcase Scroll is one of my favorites. If you’d like to try a carved wood look, try the Palermo Scroll or Endless Acanthus Scroll.