In most modern homes, the kitchen is a busy, multi-functional, and high-traffic room in the house. Often it has to accommodate a lot of people and a lot of activity. Yet the kitchen of contemporary homes should be no less a piece of art than other, less-used rooms in the house. A well-designed, visually-pleasing kitchen can set the tone for the rest of the main living and dining space (or the entirety of the home) and a lot of design elements in a kitchen can come together to make that happen. Here are some fun ideas for creating a kitchen that’s really tied together.
Give Your Kitchen a Focal Point
The kitchen island is becoming an exceedingly popular fixture in the modern home, so much so that over 50% of buyers recently surveyed called it a “must-have” item in future homes. It adds storage space, counter space, and offers a gathering point in the kitchen without rendering the space “eat-in” necessarily.
If you’ve got a kitchen island (or are thinking of adding an island in your next renovation), let the island serve as the focal point for the kitchen. Hang bold pendant lighting over your island to draw the eye towards it. Make sure, too, that there’s visual symmetry on the wall behind your island. For example, make sure cabinetry behind and above the island is symmetrical on either side.
A lot of designers today are letting the kitchen island stand out even further by giving it its own design materials, textures, and colors. Use brightly-colored Talavera tiles or rustic, shiplap siding to differentiate the island from the cabinetry around it. You can also stick with a traditional cabinet for your island but give it its own color.
If your kitchen cabinetry is white, a bold navy or deep teal island can make a serious statement. Finally, the counter space on your island can sing a different tune than the rest of your kitchen, which will make it pop. Making a decision on a marble counter top opens up a world of design opportunities in your kitchen. In a kitchen where grey marble countertops reign supreme you can opt for butcher block on your island to help differentiate it and create visual interest.
If your kitchen does not have an island, don’t fret: you can still use other aspects of your kitchen to create a compelling focal point and tie the room together. A powerful, statement-making hood over your range can draw the eye, or a backsplash behind your range that’s differentiated from the backsplash elsewhere can also be very visually intriguing.
For example, if your kitchen uses white subway tiles as a backsplash, introduce hexagonal-tiles behind the range. Or change things up completely by using stamped tin. As long as you’re keeping within a general color scheme, the hood or range backsplash can be a fun place to introduce new textures to the kitchen. A picture window over a farmhouse sink can even make a great focal point if nothing else will.
It’s your kitchen: treat it like the piece of art that it is.
Have Fun with Color
Because a well-designed kitchen involves so many different elements and textures, it’s an easy and natural place to experiment with color if you want to. Just make sure to choose a color scheme you love, and stick to it. Maybe your color scheme is really bold and fun, with deep navy, warm coral, and a vivacious chartreuse as the principle shades. How fun! Keep to them: now is not the time to introduce orange and yellow dishware, no matter how much you might want to.
The kitchen is also an okay place to be very minimal with color. An all-white kitchen will never go out of style, and in fact, white appliances are coming back into fashion, so if this color-scheme really resonates with you, then feel free to run with it. You can also rely on a fairly monochromatic color scheme in your kitchen, but then drop little hints of color throughout (again, keep it to one color).
Maybe your walls are a soft grey and your cabinetry is charcoal – keep consistent with the grey color scheme throughout, but feel free to splash little elements of orange here and there across the room. These tiny hints of color will create visual interest, and as long as they’re cohesive the room will flow together nicely.
Give Your Kitchen One Show-stopping Element
When guests first experience your kitchen, one element needs to take guests’ breath away. A stamped tin, faux copper ceiling that reflects warm lighting and really pops against your neutral walls can make a serious statement. Or maybe your cabinetry, countertops, and appliances are neutral but you go big with a bright teal accent wall to introduce some zest into the space.
Nevertheless, remember the rule of one: don’t introduce more than one eye-catching element into the kitchen. The minute you feature both a stamped tin ceiling AND a bright teal accent wall, you’ve crossed the line into gaudy, and there’s just no coming back from that. So focus on one fun element, and keep the rest understated, neutral, and unassuming.
Backsplashes can be great show-stoppers. The white subway tile will never go out of style, but if you want your backsplash to really sing, try newer faux pewter subway tiles – the metallic glow will really introduce an element of glamor into the space. Designers are also experimenting with painted clay tile backsplashes.
If you’re in love with fun and zesty colors like yellow, coral, orange, or teal, clay tiles can be a great place to showcase them. You can also ignore the need for a backsplash completely, and instead build a show-stopping wall in your kitchen. If you’ve got a blank wall that’s not doing you any favors, dress it up and let it serve as the focal point or principal art piece in the room. Shiplap the wall and display your cast iron pans there for a rustic take on a utilitarian gallery wall; you can also have fun with floating shelving for a gallery wall that displays your most exciting and unusual dishware.
Again, keep in mind your color scheme. But have fun with your kitchen, it truly can be a work of art, and a kitchen that’s genuinely tied together will feel like an art piece when you gaze upon it. A well-designed kitchen will anchor around one key focal point, will keep to its scheme, and will let one principal element sing. It’ll look great, but what’s more important is that it’ll FEEL great to be in.