While white or grey might be the classic colour choices for a kitchen, there are plenty of ways to add in highlighter shades and create a sense of individuality. Sage green, pale pink or duck egg blue are good kitchen options that work well with whites and greys (try Sage, Pink Peppercorn or Alpine from our paint collection) and will look great on walls as gentle foils to white cabinets. Alternatively, consider a bolder colour for one wall of units or an island – our crisp Navy shade or newest colour, uplifting Saffron, will introduce a strong contrast note to an otherwise neutral scheme.
Kitchens are designed to be practical and easy to clean but pattern can still play an important part in adding individuality. Striped Roman blinds, a faded kilim rug or an upholstered banquette seating area are all ways of introducing a personal touch into a functional space. Or think about bringing in patterned flooring with softly-coloured encaustic tiles or a self-patterned design like our black Honister slate tiles laid in a parquet style.
Statement lighting over kitchen tables or islands is an instant way to add design personality to a space but there are other ways that lighting can add layers of interest too. Floor lighting – maybe wrapping around the bottom of an island – can be a dramatic feature, making the island appear to float, or wall lights that flush walls with a diffused, moody lighting can turn a practical working kitchen into a relaxing dining space with the flick of a switch.
Clutter is the enemy of good kitchen flow but it doesn’t mean everything in your kitchen has to be hidden away. A careful edit of favourite things – a collection of beautiful mugs or vintage jelly moulds – can be displayed on open shelves or on a dresser to add character to the space (as well as freeing up cupboard storage for less attractive implements). Even displaying interesting cooking utensils collected on holiday such as Moroccan tagines or unusual jars of oils or spices will add personality to your kitchen. Or reference a particular culinary passion with a state-of-the-art espresso machine or decorative cake tins displayed in pride of place.
Art is an effective way of creating a unique space, but try introducing pieces that have personal meaning. Consider framing a much-read, hand-written recipe that has been passed from generation to generation, or find an old gilt picture frame and use it to contain a pin-board of children’s colourful pictures.
Kitchens need to be easy to wipe clean but that doesn’t mean that texture has to be overlooked, especially for the less hard-working surfaces within the room. A weathered wooden wall paneled with our Cranbrook rough boards gives rustic warmth and depth to an eating nook, while a concrete floor will add visual and tactile interest to a plain space. You could even add in a hard-wearing rug or runner for colour and pattern and to off-set the kitchen’s solid surfaces.
A quick way to add a personal stamp to your kitchen is with plants. Herbs are the obvious choice for the keen cook and will brighten up an empty windowsill or large expanse of worktop. Rosemary and basil thrive in sunny spots but if your kitchen is darker, go for less fussy herbs such as parsley, mint and chives.
Mixing styles and periods is a great way to add individuality to a kitchen. A sleek modern kitchen can be beautifully off-set with an antique dresser or long settle bench. Similarly, a traditional-style kitchen contrasts well with the clean, modern lines of large glass pendant lights.
A little extra effort can go a long way: rather than just emptying a bag of apples and pears straight into a fruit bowl, arrange them artfully, as if you were going to turn them into an oil painting. And think about the fruit bowl too! Don’t leave precious heirlooms to gather dust in cupboards, but bring out the crystal or fine china and arrange a row of three beautiful bowls on the kitchen table with different fruit in each one.