We grab our first cup of coffee there, pencil appointments in our calendars, open mail and pay bills. It’s also where we help the kids with homework. And, whether we like it or not, it’s where the party always ends up. Oh, did I mention cooking?
If the kitchen is “activity central” in most homes, why do so many feel utilitarian, cool or sterile? Whether you own a new builder’s-beige kitchen or one that’s sleekly renovated, the following design ideas will bring personality and style to the heart of your home.
Regardless of style, kitchen cabinets provide endless opportunities to add interest.
1 Exchange solid doors for glass-fronted ones to give dishes and glassware a chance to get noticed.
2 Forgo cabinet doors altogether. Open shelving works beautifully for rustic, country or exotic decors.
3 Add wood moulding to plain cabinets to create panelled doors. Inset areas can be painted or covered with wallpaper.
4 For contemporary sparkle, apply metallic foils to cabinets. A coat of antiquing glaze creates old-world charm.
5 Splurge on new hardware. Today’s choices are endless, from pewter insect shapes to hand-painted porcelain.
Because of its visual prominence, a backsplash offers an obvious place for bold colour and style.
1 Cut a simple motif from wallpaper or wrapping paper and découpage it in the centre of a tile; seal with a few coats of acrylic urethane. Add motifs randomly or in a row.
2 Tiles are a great canvas. Why not hand-paint an eye-catching motif or scene centred above the cooktop?
3 Embossed tin panels, found at salvage yards or building supply centres, provide vintage charm.
Window treatments don’t have to be elaborate to be effective. Use your imagination.
1 Create a display area for serving pieces, collectibles or glassware by installing glass shelves in front of a window. It’s also the perfect spot for growing a herb garden.
2 Make a small window more prominent by adding shutters to either side of the frame.
3 Hang a stained-glass panel directly in front of an existing window and watch the colours dance.
4 No window over the sink? Paint one. Enhance it with wood moulding and curtain fabric to complete the illusion.
Of course flooring is expected to be practical, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be prudish.
1 A floor runner can create seamless style and comfort. Choose sea grass to lend texture to cool surfaces or an oriental-style rug for traditional warmth.
2 If your wood or linoleum floor has seen better days, paint (offering endless creative possibilities) may be the answer. A hand-painted floor cloth is another option.
Island eating counter
An island eating counter should be so inviting that family and friends will want to linger.
1 From a butcher-block table to a steel trolley, if you’ve got extra floor space, an interesting island can steal the show.
2 Dress up plain-Jane stools with padded cushions.
3 Tea towels make fun napkins and look great rolled up in a wicker basket.
4 Placemats are an easy way to add pattern.
Don’t restrict yourself to “kitchen” lighting. Good lighting is critical to any setting. Who says that a kitchen is no place for a crystal chandelier?
If you think of every item you purchase as beautiful and practical, you won’t want to hide it.
1 Take your cookware out and hang it above the cooktop.
2 Use the space between the upper cabinets and ceiling for storing baskets filled with infrequently used items.
3 Use that silver teapot to hold fresh flowers or utensils.