No room in any house gets more traffic than the kitchen. It’s the hub for meals, homework and catch-up cups of tea. As we spend so much time in them, good kitchen decorating ideas need to combine design tips and makeover ideas that are practical, hardy and inspiring.
Style & Focus
Choosing a style is an essential way to bring clarity to your kitchen scheme. As much as you may want to bring in varied influences, choosing one overarching theme helps all elements hang together well. For example, a minimal white style kitchen can have Moroccan influences, with simple clean lined units offset with an encaustic splash back as an accent; but you need to decide which of those takes priority to stop them looking like a misguided mishmash.
With so many choices to overwhelm you, a theme such as traditional or contemporary decor, country kitchens, modern kitchens or even a colour focus such as white, will help you nail a place to start.
The second key planning decision is choosing a focus around which you can build the room. Is it a large range cooker with spotlights for the proud chef? Are you a family that likes to catch up over a glass of wine whilst someone cooks – so do you want an island with stools with the hob set into it so the chef can chat too? A focal point draws the eye to an important design feature but should also be based around how you like to live.
Sizing it Up
Like most things in life, size matters. Colours work very differently in rooms that are small or rely on electric rather that natural light. When planning a renovation consider if you need to investigate small kitchen ideas to make the most of every storage opportunity or as with large kitchens, zone spaces to create intimacy to avoid that hollow barn-like feel from which big kitchens can sometimes suffer.
If your kitchen really is large consider adding in a dedicated seating area; a built in booth can also hold storage within the seat for linen and candles and other dining kit not used every day. It’s also great for adding some soft materials to absorb the noise from all the hard edges of worktops and appliances.
Small (and probably all) kitchens always benefit from lots of forethought in the storage planning stages. Cupboards that slide out rather than open, large drawers rather than traditional cabinets (so nothing collects dust unused at the back) are good ways to maximise space. Rather than using blocky, solid overhead cabinets use open shelving to make narrow spaces feel less cramped.
Cabinets & Islands
When managing a budget it’s important to spend most where it counts. If you are updating a tired scheme or changing simply because you just don’t like the taste of the previous owner, consider remodelling with updates rather than starting from scratch. What can you salvage from the existing layout? Would the addition of a kitchen island design give you the extra space you need? If the layout actually works would new doors on the existing cupboards be the best option? Several interesting and stylish companies now create doors that fit the carcasses of existing units for a cost-effective update. Spend what you save on some luxurious new countertops and door furniture like brass or leather door pulls.
Hit the Floor
Whatever the finish, your kitchen floors need to be durable first as they get huge amounts of traffic and need to be cleaned frequently. However, kitchens now are no longer just practical spaces; the trend for kitchens to look more like evolved rooms mean that more luxurious materials and finishes like copper, marble and deep hues like black and burgundy are increasingly common.
Flooring is a great place to introduce these elements. Modern flooring options are almost unlimited with even rustic look wood now available in engineered sections that give natural warmth as well as a sharp precision finish. Most kitchen tiles, from marble and slate to terracotta and porcelain, can now be used with contemporary underfloor heating, to take off the early morning winter chill. Darker shades on a kitchen floor such as worn oak or high shine gloss painted black floorboards will bounce quite a lot of light back whilst adding some sophistication.
Going up the Walls
Storage is always in short supply for most kitchens so try and use wall décor ideas to combine design, storage and display. Shelves just as deep as your largest serving dish in a series of floor to ceiling boxes are perfect for keeping useful kit to hand whilst also forming an attractive visual display. Group glasses, bowls and jugs together for a pleasing repetition of shapes. Long metal bars attached to the wall or old-fashioned overhead wooden laundry dryers can be used with butcher’s hooks to make a light reflecting collection of pretty enamelled patterned or copper pans. For serious cooks, they also keep them easily to hand. (All the less pretty hardware can live in the cabinets.)
Splashes of Colour
Kitchen kit now comes in all manner of hues and finishes like baby blue range cookers and acid yellow toasters, so don’t just rely on paint and doors to add interest. If those big-ticket items seem too large an expenditure for experimenting with bold colours try small-scale ways to add in interest. Even the most precise of cooks needs good splash backs for easy cleaning, ideal for adding a fresh burst of colour. Consider glass mosaics or on-trend metals like weathered brass rather than standard chrome. Traditional kitchen wall tiles with strong patterns and colours, such encaustic tiles, have made a big design comeback and add warm, earthy texture too.
Getting Lighting Right
Of all the rooms in the house the kitchen lighting scheme needs the most consideration. It needs to allow fresh daylight for summer breakfasts, but in winter months feel cosy and warm with some gentle illumination. Cleaning and chores demand brighter task lighting so you can see your jobs clearly. Plan your scheme by ‘layering’ light. Start with daylight; look at window treatments that can filter full sun like Facette® Shades (which can be fire retardant, ideal in a kitchen), or roller blinds with Dustblock, an anti-static treatment which make them moisture and dirt repellent making them great for busy, steamy kitchens. Alternatively metal or wood venetian blinds are easy to clean and very hardy.
Look for something that doesn’t take up too much room so you can still have space to grow herbs for cooking on your window ledges. For evening and task lighting consider spots on dimmers; they can be adapted to be bright when needed or create mood for a romantic supper. Make sure they create a focus around your feature, be it the hob or island unit. And if you do have a kitchen that has space for a separate dining area, try a lamp or two at table level for some grown up glamour. You’ll never need to go out to a restaurant again.
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