The kitchen is perhaps one of the most used rooms in the home, so its design is important. Everyone wants a gorgeous kitchen at home. From designing a new culinary space to remodeling an existing one, this should be an area of the house that is enjoyable to be in, whether you’re entertaining, cooking a meal, or grabbing a late snack. Just because it’s used a lot doesn’t mean the decor has to be lackluster. With some inspiration, you can capture a designer-worthy aesthetic that doesn’t hinder how you use the space.
Maintaining functionality and practicality in the kitchen is a high priority when styling this space, no matter the interior configuration. “The kitchen layout is very personal and will vary from person to person — plan for your lifestyle,” Delia Kenza told Real Simple. How do you get started designing a kitchen for you and yours that looks and feels designer? Keep reading to find out and adopt the tips that meet your needs in organizing, styling, upgrading, and decorating your kitchen.
Upgrade the light fixtures
One of the most overlooked upgrades made in a kitchen design (or redesign) is the lighting. Whether you think you will update down the road or simply don’t believe it has an impact, we’re here to tell you how vital lighting is for a designer-inspired kitchen. Besides the obvious energy-efficient benefits and smart capabilities new light fixtures introduce to a home, upgrading them can significantly amplify the designer aesthetic you’re trying to achieve in your space. The right light fixtures can make a kitchen appear more interesting without risking functionality or view.
Focus your decorating efforts on pendant light fixtures (the ones that drop down from the ceiling) as they illuminate the kitchen more intimately from above. According to An Inspiring Home, choosing a material should be based on your space. Consider a glass fixture that’s not view-inhibiting, a woven shade for added texture, or a lantern style for a traditional feel. From industrial to farmhouse-inspired, match the lighting style to what’s favorable in your particular space, in the right size and material. Shop for pendants that contrast your design yet fit in with your kitchen for the ultimate designer-inspired eatery.
Style wood cutting boards
Consider adding some culinary decor to the kitchen countertops that not only serve a purpose but are also stylish when not in use. Whether you have a farmhouse, contemporary, or traditional aesthetic, wood cutting boards blend in seamlessly. Before purchasing your favorite finds, decide how you want to display the wood cutting boards. For example, you could prop, lean, or hang them, creating different vignettes in corners or under cabinets.
Style your countertops, open shelves, or area behind the range with wood cutting boards in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. When shopping for cutting boards, look for ones crafted of hardwoods like walnut, bamboo, teak, and maple. These specific cuts of wood are more durable and could be less porous — suitable for those who plan to use them for food prep as well as aesthetically (via Misen). It also matters how you layer these different types of wood. Try to create contrasting combinations of forms, tones, and height arrangements. Flip them around several ways before deciding which setup works for your space.
Use potted herbs on the shelves and counter tops
If you want to capture a designer atmosphere in your home’s kitchen, try incorporating a natural touch. Some freshness could do wonders for an interior space. Use the outdoors as inspiration for decorating with greenery in your kitchen area. No more dried parsley or oregano in your dishes; grow the real stuff to cook with instead. Whether you’re brand new to indoor gardening or a seasoned pro, there is a plant (or several) for your kitchen that will capture a designer vibe and help make a tastier dinner.
Even if you don’t cook with them all the time, plants like chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and basil can still be pretty to look at and maintain. For potted herb novices, try to begin with chives. “They grow very quickly and are a compact plant, so they’re good for apartments or other small spaces,” gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi suggested to Elle Decor. Select herbs you will not only use but can manage. Root your plants in pretty pots for a designer boost that introduces more depth to the kitchen decor.
Drape a tea towel or two
If you want to encompass a designer feel in your kitchen, consider adorning it with towels. No, not with your average dish towel or hand towel, but with tea towels. “Tea towels are an instant kitchen upgrade,” Heather Taylor, founder of Heather Taylor Home, told Martha Stewart. “Aside from how obviously useful they are, they are a quick and easy way to provide a fresh pop of color hanging from your oven rack or draped over your sink.” Selecting tea towels is all about complementing the kitchen. Capture a designer essence by decorating with pieces featuring floral designs, checkered or plaid patterns, and fringed edges to increase dimension and help break up the space.
How do you make sure you’re buying a tea towel and not an ordinary dish rag? Simply determine which type of material the towels you love most are made out of. Dish towels are commonly made from terry cloth, while tea towels are made from durable linen or high-quality cotton. Other notable differences include absorption amount, as tea towels are not necessarily the best for cleaning larger spills in the kitchen. (via Radical Tea Towel). To decorate, you can drape them over the oven handle, hang them from decorative hooks, decorate bread baskets, or drape them over mini ladders.
Include open shelving
If you love a good shelfie, consider adding open shelves to your kitchen to upgrade it. It creates depth and allows you to introduce texture to the space. Why would you want to expose your dishes and cups? Because of how it looks, feels, and functions. “Open shelves invite visitors to feel at home and help themselves to whatever they need,” Jamie Scott of Caught in Grace told Good Housekeeping. “They don’t have to ask where things are or go rummaging through cabinets because it’s all in plain view.”
Since open shelves create openness (which seems obvious enough), you must style them carefully. The lack of barriers allows your kitchen items to be seen up close and afar. For a cohesive collection, decorate the shelves with matching dinnerware (like these from Pottery Barn), utensils, and cups. Open-style shelving is great for those home decorators who like updating decor on a whim or seasonally because of how simple it is to rearrange small items.
Create contrast with framed art
Perhaps not the first place you think of when it comes to showcasing art, but kitchens are getting a lot of attention when it comes to framed pictures. The addition of art elevates your kitchen through tonality and charm. Whether you display it on open shelves, hang it on a wall, or lean it on a countertop, framed art elevates the space.
Choosing the right picture can alter the mood and set the tone if selected carefully. You want to consider scale, color, and theme before jumping in with a purchase. “I tend to shy away from pictures of asparagus in the kitchen,” director of merchandising of Art.com Linda Crisolo told Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, choose abstract art, sketches, or traditional oil paintings to add character to the space. It also matters what kind of frames you choose to showcase your selections. “Vintage art with traditional frames works in a traditional kitchen. In a modern kitchen, try bright colors with stainless-steel frames,” she says.
Fill oversized vases on the countertops
In today’s decorative landscape, it’s not all about the salt and pepper shakers when it comes to styling the countertops in the kitchen. Capture the designer look in your cooking area by styling the counters or island with an oversized vase like this one available at Pottery Barn. Extra large decorative vases, crafted of ceramic, stone, or glass, are instantly alluring as they draw the eye and make a statement on the countertops.
An oversized vase should not always be left empty, so find what filler works for you and the interior. You can choose between fresh or faux flowers and plants, and either is sure to add depth to your design. Consider choosing seasonal blooms to create lively arrangements, or do something more on-trend, like filling the vase with branches and twigs instead. While purchasing branches is fine, finding some outside can be equally effective. Just choose the twistier, more spiraled twigs to display for an authentic, designer-inspired arrangement (via How to Build a House Blog).
Update the pulls and knobs
If you’re looking to upgrade the appearance of your kitchen without a complete makeover, consider swapping out the hardware. Think about upgrading the knobs and pulls on the doors and drawers and leaving the original cabinetry in its place. Swapping out just the old knobs for new ones in the kitchen allows you to capture the designer feel in a way that is budget friendly for any home decorator.
You can spend all day staring at which style, color, and shape of knob or pull to choose for your interior, so it may be best to narrow down the selection by selecting the material you want first. Consider the color of your cabinets and match the new handles accordingly. “When you’re working with a neutral color palette, think of cabinet hardware as jewelry for the kitchen,” designer Joshua Smith told MyDomaine. It should stand out. Like jewelry, hardware is diverse (and possibly shiny), with brass, silver, black, and brushed nickel as some material variations you could consider. Select finishes and forms that tie a design together by complementing existing elements and color combinations.
Organize daily items into something pretty to look at
To make your kitchen more magazine-ready, hide things that normally sit on the counter in attractive containers and trays. Utilize stylish jars, canisters, or baskets to help conceal any items you want within arm’s reach. Pick any color and size your kitchen can accommodate. Once you have the container of choice, label any items you can ensure you know what you’re reaching for.
“Use a chalk label to write on any best-before dates as well as the product type, to keep things organized,” kitchen designer at Neptune, Stephanie Nix, told Homes & Gardens. To achieve a cohesive look, use a uniform labeling method across all items on display in your kitchen. Make sure to use the same labels and fonts across everything, so it feels like a matching set. For more oversized items, hide them in eye-catching baskets and boxes. “Woven baskets, bread containers, or other decorative boxes also work really well to hide clutter. You can store small items like daily vitamins and supplements in a larger decorative container to hide the visual clutter and access easier than in a deep cabinet,” Nix said.
Add a new faucet
If you want to update something in the kitchen that will surely capture that effortless designer feel, then upgrading the faucet is something to consider. As a manageable kitchen upgrade, faucets become instant focal points due to their height, proximity, and usage. More than art or pretty jars, a tap will not go unnoticed. Due to how present they are in the kitchen, their appearance is crucial and shouldn’t be overlooked during the design process.
How do you know which faucet to choose? Well, let’s begin with deciding on a style. “Simple contemporary design is leading the way,” Katie Hayes, senior product manager at Danze by Gerber, told Homes. “Homeowners, builders, designers, etc. like the clean lines and simple design.” Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, vice president of design, LIXIL Americas, says that minimalist designs are currently popular because they help establish that a kitchen is a peaceful place in the house. “We see faucets favoring clean, contemporary styling with minimalist shapes that bring a feeling of calm to their environment and provide an inviting, approachable setting for the user,” he said. Other favorable styles include industrial, rustic, and traditional.
Keep it clean
Who doesn’t love a clean kitchen? Keeping the space immaculate is one of the best ways to get your kitchen feeling upscale. The best part is you can do it without buying a thing, replacing an appliance, or remodeling. All you need is some supplies and a little elbow grease. “Clean and decluttered is the name of the game when it comes to styling the kitchen countertops. While other spaces in the home benefit from a heavier touch, countertops do not,” founder of Elizabeth Krueger Design, Elizabeth Krueger, told Homes & Gardens. Tuck away any appliances that are not in use, keep the space pristine, and keep the decorations simple for a kitchen that feels designer.
How you decorate and organize your kitchen will directly impact how you, your family, and any visitors utilize and interpret the space. As the heart of a home, you need to make it liveable while also being chic. Compose a designer-inspired kitchen by arranging labeled containers, filling oversized vases, layering cutting boards, adding art to the walls, maintaining cleanliness, and knowing what works for you.