Kitchens are one of my favourite spaces to design, but I’m fully aware that they can cost a total bomb and yet all to often can end up looking rather uncreative. I’m not going to talk layout or practicalities in this post but focus on the look and style with ideas that are pretty thrifty too. It should be acknowledged that Kitchen companies make their money by selling you units, and so they’ll probably favour a design which incorporates lots and lots of cupboards and doors. I think it’s best to resist too many fitted units, as the overall effect will in my humble opinion be rather bland and generic. Like every room in your home, you must avoid the ‘straight out of a catalogue’ look. So if you’re designing a new kitchen from scratch or fancy remodelling your existing, here are some snazzy ideas to keep it fresh and interesting.
Create areas to display. Within your kitchen find areas to have open shelving. This should be an area to create a pleasing display that sets the look for the rest of the room, be it a collection, for example of vintage, industrial, or French country inspired items, every piece on show should be aesthetic. Make sure you have a place for the Tupperware and food processors inside the cupboards, they’ll kill off the effect if they’re on show.
Paint up old doors. If you have fallen out of love with your existing kitchen but it’s good quality or you can’t afford to rip it out and replace it, then consider painting the doors. There is a total genius primer undercoat for the job that can go straight into any surface, that’s right, wood, laminate, glass, metal, whatever, without the need for sanding down or prepping the surface. It’s called Zinssa and is available from specialist decorators centers like Brewers, Screwfix and B&Q. It’s really quick drying too so you can get a couple of top-coats in your chosen paint colour, on top soon after. You can use it on varnished wood, glass even high gloss laminate. It means you could tackle your kitchen transformation in a weekend. I did with this kitchen photographed with my collection of wallpaper samples and glass door handles from Bombay Duck.
Add pattern to doors. Wallpaper fits nicely inside shaker panel doors. But a roll so each door matches or create a patchwork effect like I did here with wallpaper samples, sealed with a couple of coats of clear matt varnish. You could use any paper, old maps, posters, musical sheets, recipe pages, seed packets, anything to make it individual to you and your style.
Select stylish handles. A quick and easy way to get a new look is by choosing interesting handles. for something unusual try Anthropologie or Zara Home and Buster and Punch. Be creative and try using different styles for drawers and cupboards.
Be bespoke. A great way to get the designer look for less is to have cupboard door fronts made by a local joiner. You can either keep your existing carcasses or invest in a set from Ikea or Howdens, both make better quality chipboard carcasses. You can then have door fronts made in any material to any design you wish. I’d choose MDF or plywood then spray painted in a to die for patchwork of colours. Other ideas include reclaimed wood, antique doors
Use freestanding furniture. You can pick up antique pine very affordably and I give you my full permission to paint it! A range of second hand furniture painted up in chalk paint can look really charming. Annie Sloan is the original chalk paint brand but you can also get chalk paint from Authentico and Rust-Oleum. You slop it on in a carefree way- after all the desired effect is rather aged and rustic, and then seal it all with a couple of layers of clear wax. Very easy and instant and a great way to create a new look. One of the best things about freestanding kitchen pieces is you can take them with you should you move.
Buy replacement doors. It’s likely that the kitchen company who supplied the kitchen could supply you with replacement doors, for example Ikea offer a wide and changing selection that fits their carcasses. Here is Martin Hollands winning scheme using Moores Kitchens doors.
Choose and interesting colours scheme. Because kitchens are a rather sizable investment I think perhaps people are wary of going for colour but a blend of painted units with more neutral cabinets can look stunning. Failing that paint the walls in a strong hue to add interest.
Go for low hung feature pendant lighting. It’s really important from a practical point of view that the work areas are lit effectively but then some stunning pendants can give your room the edge. Anything from vintage chandeliers to industrial metal shades, be creative with what you choose.
Style up your worktops. Because they only too soon become a mass of unsightly clutter. Have stylish storage tins and a striking kettle and toaster. All the packets and plastic bread makers should be stored out of sight. You can curate a pleasing collection of items that set the look you’re trying to go for, for example a collection of pots in natural materials like wood, basket, stone and copper or a collection of vintage china.