The real secret to clear kitchen surfaces is organisation, and zoning really helps you do that. You’ll naturally have given most cabinets a function – this section is for tinned goods, this section for pots and pans – but be as strict as you can be with this to stop items spilling over into other areas. Look through everything you have in your kitchen and decide which would be more helpful to have out and then ask yourself whether you could turn them into a feature. One of our favourite things to do is to take crockery and glassware out of a cabinet or drawer, and instead introduce open shelving or a dresser (if you have space) and style that into being a showcase area – plus having things like this on display makes people feel more at home and like they can help themselves.
Remember, it’s not just about work surfaces
When choosing what to have on display in your kitchen, make sure you take into account every surface. Worktops are just the tip of the iceberg – as we suggested, think about countertop shelf space or a dresser too. Do you have room for a sideboard as that can become a display area for accessories like photo frames, ornaments and vases of flowers, helping you to keep your main work surfaces clearer? And don’t forget your kitchen table if you have one – that’s a surface waiting to be dressed too. Head to our other blog post for tips on how to style yours.
Move things around
There’s no rule book for what to have out in your kitchen, so play with different arrangements and see what you prefer. Try living with it for a few days first so you can get used to it, and then add or remove pieces to find out if you prefer a busier look or the opposite. In the open shelving section of our Chichester kitchen image, you can see how we’ve tried two different layouts, but all with a similar theme – mixing textures (like our glazed crockery and rattan jug), blending serveware and vases, and experimenting with decorative flowers and artwork to the side. Have a look at our how to style a dresser blog for inspiration.
Bring in artwork
Art in the kitchen isn’t always at the top of people’s lists, but it has just as much of a place in the kitchen as any other living space in your home. It’s something that we always suggest to have on display in your kitchen. Try using a ledge on your cooker hood if you have one, or simply propping one up on a shelf or on your work surface if you’d rather keep your walls free.
Other decorative accessories deserve their place too. Think pots of herbs, bowls, jugs and ornaments. A kitchen’s display should never be all about function (maybe this is the only rule).
Show off your personality
If you want to style your kitchen to reflect part of your personality rather than keep everything behind cabinet doors, then go for it. Perhaps you use your kitchen island as your baking spot, and seeing a selection of ingredients in Kilner jars, a mixing bowl and rolling pin on your work surface brings you joy. If it does, and it’s something you want to see every day, then keep it on display. That’s the bottom line – what you have out should make you feel happy.
Keep the boring bits out of sight
If you’re keeping your happy stuff on display, then try to keep the not-so-nice bits hidden from view. Drawer and cabinet storage is key here. A washing up store on the inside of your sink cabinet means the sponge and washing up liquid never need to be left out. Dividing prisms in your drawers means you can store all sorts without it becoming jumbled, which means you can get rid of a utensils jar and knife block.
Try to not have too many appliances out
Even if you’re more of a maximalist than a minimalist, the fewer appliances you have on display, the nicer your kitchen will feel. Can you replace a kettle with a Quooker hot water tap? Can you use the grill in your stove rather than a toaster, or can the toaster be kept in a cabinet? If you have the room in your cabinets, ideally the appliances that aren’t in constant use will be shut away, like blenders and food processors, and if you can find a way to have your microwave integrated into the cabinetry, it’s absolutely worth doing.
But if there’s an appliance that you particularly like the look of, like an artisan coffee machine or mixer, then keep them on your worktop and let them stand proud. They’ll look all the better for it with the other appliance distractions out of sight.
Breadboards and chopping blocks are your friends
The reason we often use breadboards on the work surfaces in our kitchens is twofold. 1) They’re used every day of the week (generally speaking), so it’s helpful to just reach out and grab one. 2) Stood on their side and leant against the wall, wooden ones are often a lovely texture and tone so will act as a decorative object too.
While having little on display in your kitchen sounds appealing in theory, we’d never be supporters of totally-clear surfaces. Clutter is a no-no, but making room to have the things that’ll make your life a bit easier within reach, as well as the things that’ll make you feel good about your kitchen and spending time in it, are more than well-worth having out – in our humble opinion.