Your kitchen should be a sacred workspace; a place to contemplate your next great meal and unwind while you wait for the oven timer to beep. But so many of us take an “all work and no play” attitude toward our preparation spaces! We think that as long as we have the basic appliances and a few square feet of counter space, the rest is just an afterthought.
This line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. How are you supposed to enjoy slow-cooking that holiday ham if you’re surrounded by dim lighting, clutter and monochrome style? Won’t your go-to de-stressor of baking a batch of blueberry muffins after work be a moot point if your workspace is cramped and uninspiring?
Your kitchen is an investment in you, your family and your friends. Taking the time to lovingly upgrade it (without ripping everything out and starting over, of course) will make a huge difference in the mood and functionality of your entire home.
Here are four tips for taking your kitchen design to the next level.
Update the Backsplash
If you’ve watched any HGTV shows like House Hunters, you know that homebuyers and designers often pay a lot of attention to a little thing called a backsplash. What is it exactly? In its basic form, a backsplash protects your walls from sauce splatters, soup spills, and other kitchen messiness. But it’s also a real chance to spruce the room up and create a sophisticated design.
Tile is a classic backsplash material, but don’t stop your design scheming there. Wood, mirrored glass, metal, brick and blackboard paint are also on the table. In the end, it boils down to how you want your kitchen to look and feel. If it’s already on the snug side, for example, a mirrored backsplash might reflect more light and help open up space.
Add Some Texture
Adding texture goes hand-in-hand with additions like a backsplash. It’s all about creating contrast in some areas and continuity in others. For many of us, the countertops end up being the most exciting element in an otherwise monotonous design scheme. The good news is that it’s easy (and fun) to create visual interest with just a few tweaks.
To start, take a page out of the contemporary design book and mix your metals with stone and wood. If the most natural part of your kitchen is the bamboo cutting board, it’s time to change that. After all, your kitchen should be a space where you can breathe and unwind. You can also add a pinch of texture with your accessories, whether it’s a bowl of bright seasonal fruit on the island, a small driftwood sculpture on the wall, or some new window treatments.
Revamp Kitchen Lighting
Light (or the lack thereof) has a huge effect on the look and feel of your kitchen. Even if natural daylight pours through your windows by day, at night you’ll need a little help from our friend, electricity. The good news is that most of us have the overhead light covered; it’s the main element we think of when we flip the light switch.
But what about your important kitchen workstations? As you move through the stages of preparing a recipe, do you find yourself squinting? Or, even more dangerously, do you peel fruit and dice vegetables in the semi-dark? These are all surefire signals to add task lighting in strategic spots—like pendant lighting over an island or counter space. These hanging fixtures provide focused light without taking up any counter space, so you can enjoy their sleek design without bumping them as you work.
Think About Displays
This one is easy: What’s in your kitchen? Are your shelves a mess of boxes, half-empty bags of baking supplies and mismatched dishes? Put your best cookware, antiques, potted plants and glasses on display. A little coordination goes a long way in elevating the room.
The kitchen is never the place to skimp when it comes to design. It’s too integral to the look, feel and spirit of your home to ignore. These four upgrades are a recipe for taking your kitchen to the next level. Bon appétit!