You can have the most beautifully designed kitchen, but if the decor doesn’t complement the design, it won’t live up to its potential.
In this article, we’re going to focus on decor elements that can help elevate the elegance and beauty of a well-designed kitchen regardless of the size.
Decor vs. Design
The decor of the kitchen is items that are moveable and not nailed to the wall or the floor. Granted large appliances can be moved, but they still qualify as a part of the design because their size and placement were factored into the original concept. However, small appliances, visible pots and pans, glassware, artwork and the color palette are all aspects of decor that can easily be changed at a relatively inexpensive cost.
You’ve heard every HGTV design host say it; a fresh paint job can change everything for the better. Often that simply coat of paint can take your kitchen from drab to fab. If one of the reasons for re-decorating is to increase the appeal of the kitchen because you want to sell, changing out a bold blue and white color scheme for a more elegant scheme with bluish grays or creams can drastically improve the response seen by your Realtor. Far too often, people walk into a home and are taken aback by the boldness of the paint chosen. This is a simple fix and a call to any qualified decorator or Realtor will give you many options that will suit your needs. If you are re-decorating for the purpose of moving, it helps to try and think of it as a house and not your home. It will be someone else’s home so decorate it for them, not for you.
On the other hand, if you’re simply re-decorating for a fresh look or because you just bought the home, consider neutral colors that will appeal to you, but also your guests. Sticking with classic color schemes instead of trends or the colors of your favorite football team are safer in the long run. When sponge painting became trendy in the nineties, many homeowners began to sponge paint their kitchens and today, most have applied a fresh coat to cover it up. Trends come and go, but classics like whites, creams and lighter shades of gray have remained in style for quite literally hundreds of years. Today, many of us watch Downton Abbey and that estate decor predates the early 1900s and goes back as far as the mid-1800s. Today, it is still considered just as classic and elegant as it was more than a century ago.
Sticking with classic decor doesn’t mean trends should always be forgotten. There are many decor trends like open shelving instead of cabinets that can be done quite beautifully. The trick, however, is to think of it long term. Sure, the brand new china you keep up there is lovely now, but consider what happens when it ages over time.
For example, take ceiling or wall mounted pot and pan racks. One of the biggest regrets many people have is that unless you spend a small fortune on high-quality cookware, those pots and pans will end up looking rough around the edges after a short time. The standard cookware you find at the department store will turn tinges of burnt black and develop rust or patina over time. Even high-quality cookware can develop these stains. Whenever you plan to have open space that will show your cookware, small appliances, silverware, and china, be sure that you consider how it will look a year, three years, or even five years from now. Imagine what you’ll do when your life changes. Open shelves can look great in a newlyweds apartment, but when kids come into the picture, and half the plates are plastic Disney themed plates, the open concept loses a little bit of its appeal.
That or if you do invest in high-quality china, what will do you when a piece breaks or chips? Will you purchase something that doesn’t match and will affect the entire decor of your kitchen or can you afford to replace the entire set if it becomes a discontinued piece?
Long-term thinking is the most important aspect of re-decorating a kitchen.
Kitchen Appliances & Equipment
Large appliances such as the fridge, dishwasher, oven, and cooktop are part of the overall design, but smaller appliances that remain visible are decor aspects.
Many of us have blenders, coffee makers, toaster ovens, microwaves and other small appliances that sit out on the counter at all times. When purchasing new small appliances and equipment, it’s often a good idea to consider how they will look in the overall design scheme. It can sometimes seem like a good idea to get an item simply because it’s on sale. However, if all your other appliances are a brushed stainless steel and this one is white, black or a high-shine steel, it will look out of place. It’s vital to consider any visible items an important part of the decor and design of your kitchen.
Cutting Boards, Knives, and Other Items
One area often overlooked are small items like cutting boards, knife sets, even a dish rack. If it will be visible to the naked eye, it should be factored into the decor and personality of your kitchen. A perfect example is a knife block made of a light pine wood. If the rest of the wood present in your kitchen is a rich cherry or mahogany, the pine knife block will stick out like a sore thumb. Similarly, different collected cutting boards made from various materials will also look out of place when left on the counter. Using a standardized cutting board that’s of higher quality will last longer and look like it belongs.
Art and Finishes
Elevating your kitchen is made easy through the use of art and finishings. Upgrading the lighting, changing out the hardware on the cabinets or simply replacing old elements on the stove will give your kitchen a fresh look. Using wall art and sculptures is a great way to enhance your decor and even items like bar stools and chairs can really captivate attention and be used as a focal point. However, randomly placed artwork and finishes can do the opposite of what you want to achieve. Far too often, people will randomly spot a unique fixture, statue or painting and buy it without thinking how it will affect the kitchen. That or they will buy it for another part of the house, but it ends up in the kitchen because it didn’t look right in the dining room. Many of us forget that because the kitchen is often the most used and most comforting room in the home, it can easily become our junk yard for items that we don’t want elsewhere.
Making Small Spaces Feel Bigger
The biggest tip for making a small kitchen feel better is to keep counters clear and organized. Keep mail, trinkets and flyers off counters. If you have difficulty keeping the kitchen free from these items, consider a specified junk drawer or a tray that you can drop things into and easily deal with later on. Hooks to hang keys or a small wooden bowl for house keys will keep them from being dropped on the counter. A specified spot in the sink for dirty dishes will ensure there isn’t a large clutter of dishes throughout and if your kitchen has a desk, using the drawers and keeping it clean is the best way to ensure you don’t get overrun by a busy kitchen in a small space.
Sticking with a smaller color scheme is another way to make a small space look bigger. Use accent pieces to add color, but consider a more basic and monotone paint scheme to brighten it up using creams, whites, light grays and even blues. Spot lighting can also help make a kitchen feel larger as can storing small appliances in cupboards instead of on the counter.
If you have an adjoining eating area or dining room, consider storing items in a wall unit there where it can be concealed. You can also place a small bar table that can house your espresso maker, coffee machine and other coffee accessories such as sugar, cups, and even tea. Then instead of having it spread across your kitchen counter, you now have a coffee bar in the eating area where you will enjoy it.
There are many techniques you can use to elevate the design of your kitchen. Whether it’s big or small a quick appointment with a decorator or a search on Pinterest will net you a world of opportunity and a wealth of ideas to transform your cooking area into a dream kitchen.