My kitchen apart from the odd paint change has remained pretty much the same since the day we installed. No major renovations, ripping out appliances, installations or anything. But even so it’s changed a heap over the years. Here’s the before/after proof:
There’s a big old island in the middle flanked by bar stools (still the originals!) – stainless metal countertops and a wall of v standard cabinets. So let’s break down some of the ways it’s changed, because looking at that before and after it looks pretty dramatic to me.
First up – COLOUR. I can’t believe that white ceiling crime above. It’s such a cardinal sin and I can’t believe I was ever guilty. But since then the whole kitchen has had a lick of Crosby paint, walls, ceilings and woodwork too. The easiest update in the world is a can of paint. My other trick is to paint the cabinets so that they more or less go away, and then the accessories in the room take centre stage.
So on to those accessories. One of my most genius design ideas (I have a few) was to turn our Hampton mirror on its side and use two of them as the kitchen splash back. It completely changed the dynamic of the kitchen. It reflects the light, creates the illusion of space and makes the same old cabinetry way more intriguing.
Mix in other bits of furniture. I use a combination of built in cabinets and free standing storage. Over the years it’s completely changed the look, feel, functionality and everything. The look you get from open shelving is so much more intriguing and layered than just a blank row of doors. Also it gives you a chance to show off your coolest vases, glasses and tableware. Win win! I cluster standard pantry ingredients like flour, lentils, rice, nuts etc. in a higgledy-piggledy display of different sized glass containers too.
Even if you’ve got a fairly small kitchen, try to add in a chair or stools to flank your island or breakfast bar. Your space will immediately feel bigger, and become a nicer spot to hang out and linger. In lots of small city kitchens Stateside it’s quite common to have moveable island benches on wheels too, even when the space is teeny tiny. Excellent idea because you can free up the space as and when needed.
Finally layer, layer, layer. The thing I hate the most about kitchens is how sterile they often look and feel. Softening them up will help endlessly. I stack my recipe books out along the counter, and use runner rugs along the floor. My decorative console in front of the window displays fruit bowls, candles, lights, plants, herbs and sculptural accessories… you name it. Don’t forget art too!
I also use heaps of faux plants in the kitchen, always have done. I switch these up from time to time. I used to have fig trees but now it’s tons of cacti. It all adds up to completely transform your kitchen – and no expensive, lengthy messy renovations needed.