A quick look at Pinterest confirms kitchen-envy is still alive and well. Dig a little deeper and, strangely enough, it’s not the glamorous, over-designed rooms we love best. Craving impractical glazed cabinets, space-wasting islands or cherry-tomato-size sinks doesn’t seem to be a thing. Instead, our little cooking hearts are set on practical and fresh, space for family and friends, attention to detail and nothing costing too much or causing major upheaval. Hard to achieve? Not even slightly. Making your kitchen a prettier place to be is like pulling off one of those impressive meals that look amazing, taste fantastic but are really just down to great ingredients and knowing a few tricks.
Refitting an entire kitchen isn’t a commitment anyone should be making these days. Not only is it expensive, it’s seriously disruptive. And are you really ready to say ‘you’re my one and only’ for the next ten years? Keeping your cupboard frames and replacing doors is an alternative. But unless the units are perfectly standard and in great shape, this plan can throw up more problems than it solves. Have you thought about painting your kitchen cabinets instead? Sounds mad we know, but new generation kitchen paints are really quite beautifully sane. They’re flattest matt but designed specifically for kitchen surfaces so stain resistant and durable too. And they come in hundreds of shades and tones – we like the muted blues for a hint of heritage that’s more Maine beach cottage than Home Counties. Preparation is everything, always use good brushes, follow the painting instructions exactly (including drying time between coats) and you can have a new kitchen in a weekend easily. Updating your door and drawer handles at the same time is the perfect finishing touch.
Show Off Shelves
Glazed cabinets are fine if you store nothing in your kitchen but Georgian glass goblets and bottles of champagne. Otherwise, some things are better left unseen. Let what you want to shine, shine, with some minimalist open shelves instead. They’re easy and quick to install and, if you like cohesion, you can paint them the same colour as your cabinets. Simple, white china and sleek utensils look great. Interesting vintage recipe books add character. And colourful ceramics brighten up a kitchen instantly.
Strong, Classic Features
Overdesigned sinks and taps could be your kitchen flaw – they date faster than anything. Belfast sinks look traditional or completely contemporary, serious cooks love their practicality and they’re surprisingly inexpensive now. Team that with beautifully simple and impeccably functional taps and you’ve got classic design as your individual style. That’s a bold kitchen statement in itself, even if you change nothing else at all.
Family Friendly Space
Creating a welcoming family kitchen doesn’t hinge on new cabinets or flagstone flooring. It’s about how you use the space. If your kitchen is garden facing, think about opening up the room with external bi-folding glazed doors and you immediately have a bigger, brighter room. In summer you can grow fresh herbs in big pots (not the straggly window-box variety) and eating outdoors isn’t a major production. Come winter, you’ve got light on the dullest days, the kitchen’s still cosy and everyone naturally gravitates there because it’s the best place to be. Timeless French doors can give you the same effect in the smallest space and cost a lot less than a completely new kitchen – they’re much easier to fit too.
Clever Counter Cheat
Ugly counters are a classic kitchen eyesore. Unfortunately they’re also the trickiest and costliest elements to replace unless you’re going for a full remodel. Happily cheating on this one is very simple. Big, good-looking wooden chopping blocks cover a multitude of sins and they say ‘professional chef’ – even when you’re slicing tomatoes. If you want to go bigger, consider artisan-made. Or get in touch with a local carpenter and commission a chopping-block-for-life to your exact specifications.
Create A Distraction
Having stuff all over your counter tops starts off looking characterful, quickly gets messy. Use your kitchen walls to add a bit of interest instead. Oversize chalkboards are easy to make with blackboard paint and useful for shopping lists or motivational messages – if you must. Hanging prints and paintings in the kitchen is a fast fix for a dull room and creates a focus away from places you’re not so happy with. And try being inventive with standard fittings like spice racks, rails and magnetic knife strips. Repurposing them in unexpected ways turns out to be good fun and amazingly effective.
Now all you have to do is step away from Pinterest, stop envying other people’s kitchens and start creating one of your own – it’s not difficult.
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