Unlike other rooms where we are free to add any furniture and accessories we like, kitchens are and always will be a little trickier.
The main reason is of course that a kitchen needs to be functional in the first place. That doesn’t mean that it needs to lack style, but it does mean that we need to think more carefully about what we add and how it will impact the functionality and our workflow. There are, of course, things you can still do to add style to your kitchen and make it a lovely place to spend time in – long after the cooking and washing up is done. So, to that end, here are some of my tips.
Add something vintage. Whether it’s a table or a large cabinet, adding a vintage piece will break up the monotone look of an entirely fitted kitchen. Combining a modern and/or plain kitchen with vintage pieces is one of the best ways to create an upmarket and sophisticated look. Plus, you will gain some storage space or at least a lovely place for the family to sit together and enjoy meals. If you don’t have the space for a full piece of furniture, then a smaller piece like a hanging cabinet will also work.
Hang pendants. A lot of kitchens have mainly practical lighting like spotlights in the ceiling. It is obviously very important that the lighting works in all the right places, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t add some style. How about a row of fabulous pendants (go for an uneven number: 3, 5, 7 etc.) hanging over your main worktop? You should, however, make sure that their surfaces are easy to wipe. That means anything made from fabric or paper etc is not really suitable. Metals on the other hand (think copper or brass) will look fantastic and are easy to keep clean. That then brings us straight to the next point…
Add metals. No, I’m not talking pots and pans here (though they’re clearly important in a kitchen), but decorative items. Whether it’s lighting (as mentioned above) or fabulous accessories, adding some warm metals like brass or copper will definitely add a touch of glamour to your kitchen. You can also combine the vintage aspect with the metals by using antique containers like beautifully engraved lassi cups to store utensils.
Display books. If you have cookbooks then you should display them, all of them, on rows of shelving. A kitchen with lots of cookbooks looks infinitely more interesting than one without. If you don’t have a whole collection then use the ones you have and maybe get a few more even if it’s from charity shops.
Hang some art. I’m obviously not talking your most precious original oil paintings here, but some fabulous prints that you can frame. If you have tiles all over your kitchen and are afraid to drill into them, use some plastic hooks with self-adhesive stickers that will be hidden behind the frame.
Don’t forget your windows. It’s easy to go for function over looks when it comes to window treatments in the kitchen, but choosing some really nice blinds will make a huge difference to the overall look. Blinds made from wide, wooden slats will look timeless and elegant.
Want to splash out? Invest in some marble for a real wow factor. Whether worktops or tiles, there’s nothing that will give your kitchen more of an edge than having some marble surfaces. Marble works with wood, metals, dark or light backdrops. It can stand out in a spectacular manner or be quietly elegant.
The dark side
Add some black. Every room needs a little black to add focus as well as depth. Whilst completely white rooms can look great, in kitchens it tends to look a little too clinical. Black picture frames, a black vase, a black fridge, or – if you’re looking to completely renovate your kitchen or buying a new home – black cabinets. Whatever it is you choose, it will definitely give your kitchen a lift.
Bring in some flowers. The simplest, and possibly cheapest (though also the one with the shortest lifespan) way to add some life, happiness and style to any kitchen. A lovely bouquet of flowers on the table, some small ones on the worktops; these small touches will make a big difference.
I hope you find my tips useful and they will inspire you to add some “oomph” to your kitchen.
Carole Poirot is a freelance photographer and stylist who lives and works in London. Originally from France, she has also lived in Germany and uses these influences to help inform her own style and advice. Her ideas are also published on her blog at mademoisellepoirot.com.