You might have gone to town on the artwork in your bedroom and yes, the kitchens is very much a functional space, but that’s not to say that you should skimp on the decor. A survey from AGA cookshop found that the average Briton will spend an estimated three years’ worth of time in their kitchen, so you might want to make sure it’s a space that you’re happy to spend that much time in.
Here’s our advice for a stylish and homely kitchen:
Treat your kitchen walls just like you do the rest of the house and use art to create talking points and add interest. Try adding unexpected pieces such as antique or vintage oil paintings to bring weight to a kitchen setting. At the other end of the spectrum, a neon light is a clever way of creating an instantly sociable, convivial atmosphere and a great talking point.
Artist, designer and curator Jon Harvey, says he has seen an upturn in people looking for artworks for their kitchen. “When I’m asked to source a vintage work of art for a client my first question is: which room is it for? And I’m pleased to report that the kitchen is finally catching up with every other room in the house when it comes to displaying art that has value, emotional or otherwise.
“For me it makes perfect sense, it’s the room in which we spend the most time and food puts everyone in a good mood, adding an original artwork to the mix only serves to lift the spirits further. Vintage works of art can be surprisingly robust, they have after all been around for decades, so it’ll take more than a splash of bolognese to stop them bringing joy to your everyday.”
So whether it’s a statement piece or something small that simply rests on a worktop with all the usual kitchen paraphernalia – art and food really are a delicious combination.
Grey kitchen units from Ikea
Up your shelf game
Consider adding open shelving and displaying your prettiest crockery and glassware. Think about grouping them into colour or similar shapes for maximum impact. Above the sink is a good spot or beside the cooker.
Interior designer and colour lover Sophie Robinson wants to see more personality in kitchens. She says: “Too many kitchens look like they’ve jumped out of the catalogue in my view. Think about creating some areas of display in order to personalise your kitchen. Some open shelving is ideal, offering an opportunity to display favourite pieces of china, glassware or objects. I love to see colour and pattern everywhere, and why should the kitchen be different?”
Interior blogger and Instagram pro Lisa Dawson is also a big fan of styling out your shelves. “Kitchen shelves are the ideal place to show off your shelfie skills. Style them as you would in your living room, adding height with cookery books, using plants with abandon and mixing softer textures such as wood and china with luxe marble and metallics, to give a layered effect,” she says.
All in the detail
Jazz up kitchen cabinetry by swapping out tired, old fashioned handles for new hardware. This really can transform the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Satin brass, gold or bronze will bring in that extra wow factor. Buster + Punch has an inspired selection however there are also lots of options elsewhere for every budget.
Sophie says: “The devil is in the detail when it comes to picking out handles and hardware. I’d avoid going for the kitchen manufacturers set handles and think about making the kitchen look more individual with something different. You can pick a handle that ties in with your overall scheme, be it industrial, country or something a little more glam.”
Go for green
Kitchens tend to be functional spaces that can lack softness, which is one of the reasons why plants have become the go-to Instagram trick for adding instant interest and texture to a scheme. Try clustering together or find ones that trail over the edge of shelving.
Blogger and interior design consultant Cate St Hill is a big fan of plants in her own kitchen.
“They are a great way to add colour and texture, whether it’s a sculptural cactus or sprawling monstera to add wow factor, a big bunch of welcoming flowers on the kitchen island or simply a few herbs on the windowsill. Not only will they look beautiful and brighten up a space, they’ll also help purify the air,” she says, “try easy-to-grow varieties that you can also cook with, such as mint, thyme and basil in areas with lots of light.”
If you don’t have a windowsill, you could try displaying greens on shelves or hanging them from hooks in places that are easy to reach, such as under kitchen units. You could also tie together herbs and hang with twine, creating your own bunches of dried herbs.
Left: Sebastian Cox kitchen from deVOL. Right: Point pendant light from Davey Lighting at Hoxton Lights
Layer that lighting
Spotlights are a common source of kitchen lighting and for good reason. But the best way to add atmosphere is to think about layering your lighting to avoid it looking too stark and bright. A statement chandelier, pendant over an island or central area will have an instant impact, and plug in wall sconces are another easy and super stylish way to introduce an additional light source.+
Jenna and Mariana from online styling business Interior Fox say: “Quantity and scale of lighting is really important. If you have a small island, don’t use five pendant lights or a super large light, maybe use just three. If you have a large kitchen island or dining room table don’t just have one small pendant light. You always want to fill the space and make it feel generous and balanced.
“We love statement lighting and are not afraid to go bold. Yes, you can find some great affordable lighting online but when you know it’s a main focal or feature of the space we recommend you splurge a little – you can save in other areas. A real statement piece has quality and small design details that would not be replicated by super cheap designs, and trust us, you will notice. We will always love a sputnik light, whether a mid-century replica or a modern industrial spin on one. The multiple arms really point light in all directions and it just looks so good!”