Designing kitchens can be a great challenge because these rooms need to work in a practical way, yet we want them to look attractive and to be inviting. Decorating a kitchen can be just as challenging. It is very easy to produce a room that tempts people to leave all kinds of junk lying around, from shopping bags to unopened mail. If you get the décor right, it might them think twice!
If you plan your kitchen carefully, and assess what you need and have some idea of what you want it to look like, then decorating it can be a lot of fun.
When you think about decorating ideas for a new kitchen, you can think of ways to make it look pretty as well as decorative touches that will add a certain stamp or style. You can also include basic wall and floor finishes in the decorating plan, as well as cupboard fronts and handles, and of course window coverings. A well thought out color scheme as well as focused lighting will add more substance to the plan. Only then will you be in a position to consider finishing touches in the form of knick-knacks, ornaments, pictures, plants and any other items you might want to display.
The basic difference between designing a kitchen and decorating one is that design involves every basic element while décor focuses on making the basics look good. This is why it is essential to have a well thought out kitchen design first. You can’t (or shouldn’t) think about pictures on the walls until you know exactly where your appliances and cupboards are going to go.
So get the basics right and then consider how you are going to embellish the space and surfaces that have been left exposed and uncovered.
Whatever your personal taste, there is always plenty of scope when it comes to giving the kitchen individuality and character.
While the introduction of color into kitchens is a decorative factor, it must also be part of the basic plan of operation. Choice of color will affect everything, from wall and floor finishes to cupboards, even appliances, and of course the finishing touches.
While white and stone colors are quite safe, they can also have a nasty tendency to getting grubby quite quickly. But before you choose a bold color, consider the effect it will have. For example yellow is cheerful while red can be exciting, but tiring over time. A cool blue or soft green will tend to be soothing. You can, of course mix colors, introducing two or more with tiles, paint, accessories and soft furnishings.
Tiles are a good starting point because they are the most permanent element of walls and floors. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to match the color of tiles; instead you might decide to use a tone of the color.
Wall and floor finishes
Floor finishes usually come first when it comes to choosing finishes as a whole. This is because they are very much a part of the structure as a whole. For example, houses will have either suspended wooden floors or concrete floors that can be tiled or carpeted, or that can be finished with some kind of laminate flooring.
Kitchen floors don’t have to be finished the same way other floor surfaces in the house are finished, even though they sometimes are. For example, you might decide to tile kitchen and bathroom floors and then carpet the rest of the house. Just make sure that you choose a finish that will suit the decorative effects you personally prefer.
Working upwards from the floor, you will need to consider how to tackle wall surfaces. While it is appropriate to tile above sinks and even between floor standing and wall hung units, paint is generally a lot cheaper. It can also be a much more effective decorative feature, especially when broken finishes are used.
But if you are creative, you can do a whole lot more with paint, for example by incorporating stencils or even murals in the design. Of course if you can’t draw, then you shouldn’t even consider creating a mural without some help. But stencils can be simple and amazingly effective. Have a look at some of British author and decorative painter, Jocaste Innes’s books to see what incredibly lovely effects she achieved in some of her kitchens.
Cupboard fronts and hardware
Kitchen cupboards can be as plain or decorative as you like. Wooden cupboards, or cupboards made from various laminates may have moldings or other decorative features. Otherwise you can paint them either with a solid paint, or by using a specialist technique, for example by giving the surface a lime- or color-wash effect. You can also buy ready-sprayed cupboard doors, or if you are renovating, you can remove the doors and have them sprayed by a professional company.
Hardware is minor in terms of size, but it can make a huge difference to the look of a kitchen. There are companies that specialize in hardware, as well as those that make all the elements of cabinets for those who want to install them themselves, who usually have a good range of options.
When you are looking for decorating ideas for a new kitchen, remember that hardware is a good checkpoint in terms of both color and style.
Window coverings in the kitchen can be wonderfully colorful or they can simply fade into the room. What you choose will go a long way towards creating a decorative theme for you own kitchen.
Many people prefer blinds in the kitchen because they are neat and easy to keep clean. There is a reasonably large choice, but those that are easiest to clean are probably the best. Another low maintenance and amply suitable option are wooden shutters. They look great when they are folded back on either side of a window, but they keep out the light when you want them to. They are ideal if you want to create a Mediterranean or Caribbean style look in the kitchen.
Pretty café curtains can be much more decorative, adding color and a completely different effect to blinds. Just be sure you like that particular effect.
Not everybody wants to embellish their kitchens by adding decorative details, but lots of people do. Happily most finishing touches can be altered as often as you wish, so if they don’t work, then you can change them over and over again.
Decorating ideas for a new kitchen that relate to finishing touches include:
- displaying treasures from ceramic pots to collectible teaspoons,
- using plants and flowers to add life,
- growing herbs in pots that stand on the window sill where they will get plenty of light,
- using an antique (at least oldish) or good looking contemporary batterie de cuisine (really just good utensils) as a display,
- lining up glass jars filled with anything from pasta to jam and preserves, and
- keeping recipes books on a shelf where they can be seen, admired and used.