by Marc Thee
The rules have changed. Old is new, worn gives character, rustic is romantic, candlelight is inviting. Unexpected pops of color add charm. Your decor doesn't have to be match-matchy, it just has to go.
I have put together some of my favorite kitchen ideas just for you.
Use these tips (and some fleamarket finds) to transform your home decor fromdull and ordinary to spectacular.
1. Replace all fluorescent lighting with incandescent or halogen fixtures. Ideally, all kitchens should have three levels of lighting: Overhead task lighting (recessed cans), under-counter task lighting, and decorative lighting such as pendants or island lighting. Whenever possible, make sure your recessed cans and decorative lighting have a dimmer switch to create an inviting night time mood when entertaining.
2. Small kitchens can have pendant lighting too. When a kitchen lacks an island, a nice spot is to hang a single decorative fixture is over the sink because there is a break in the cabinetry.
3. A favorite trick of mine is to serve appetizers on an oversized, wooden pizza paddle. The more beat-up, the better. Serve some assorted cheeses, bowls of olives and crackers, and a bottle of wine, and your friends will think you are a caterer.
4. Display “task-oriented” kitchen accessories in an artful way to add personality to your kitchen, and to disguise unsightly electrical outlets. Lean small artwork, trays, and chunky cutting boards against the backsplash and over the outlet. Cluster a small grouping of your favorite cookbooks and support them with a chunky ceramic storage jar. Hang wood strips with magnets to display your chef knifes.
5. Be sure to light your glass front cabinets with small puck lighting, and use glass shelves so the light carries to the bottom of the cabinet.
6. A new backsplash and stylish door hardware can update and add new life to the dreariest of kitchens. Don’t be afraid to pick a dramatically dark paint tone for the walls either—especially if your cabinets are white or cream.
A current favorite of mine is Curio Gray by Sherwin Williams, for example, which is a rich khaki-grey.
7. Another inviting collection to display in the kitchen is an assortment of olive oil, vinegars, and salt and pepper grinders on a big tray. The tall bottles serve to disguise the electrical outlets, so buy some larger bottles to anchor the back of the grouping.
8. Buy two complimentary soap dispensers, in slightly different heights, to store hand and dishwashing soap. Place on a large tray with a small dish for the sponge, and your paper towels on a stand. By grouping everything together, the arrangement looks pulled together and deliberate.
9. Because kitchens can feel a little utilitarian—especially when the countertops are granite—add useful accessories that feel a little time-worn or antique. A rustic wooden fruit bowl is a must, and if you can find one that is rectilinear with multiple sections—even better. You can display lemons, healthy nuts for snacking, and granny smith apples in any kitchen style—whether contemporary or rustic. Shop the flea market for old canisters and jars, and use a few to display everyday snack items such as pretzels, crackers, and cookies.
10.Every kitchen needs at least one candle to remove cooking odors. Space permitting, more candles can be housed in large hurricanes or clustered on a wooden cutting boards when entertaining. If you have a small space, display small votives in a row for maximum style—at least five ought to do it. And don’t wait for the holiday season to light the candles and dim the lights. Even a frozen-pizza Tuesday will look better by candlelight, and you will too.
Cutline: These kitchen cabinets were installed in the 1980’s, but the modern backsplash, halogen lighting, and vintage accessories covering the light switch plates lend 2012 style.
Candles and antique architectural fragments add softness to this interesting blend of contemporary and traditional styles. The screen can be pushed open if the cook wishes to see the guests in the family room. Note also how the tile backsplash continues along the entire back wall to unify the breakfast room with the kitchen. The shelves in the same stain as the kitchen are an additional unifying element. The screen panels are shown open below:
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