Make the Kitchen the Heart of Your Home

It’s been a while since our kitchens were merely work spaces, but if yours is going to boost its score on the welcoming, warm and homely scale, it’s worth investing a little time on a makeover.


Decorating strategies

When the room’s part of an open-plan layout, it’s a great idea to pick up colors from the other areas to repeat in the kitchen, linking it to the rest of your home décor. Re-paint cabinets if they’re looking tired, or, if the finish is sound, repeat a shade from a living space in countertop accessories or items on display on open shelving.

Alternatively, use a shade from elsewhere in the space for a feature wallpaper or painted wall in the dining area, or lay down an area rug featuring a linking color.

Take a look at the window treatment, too. Drapes aren’t a good solution in a cooking space as they can absorb odors, while grease and fabric are an unhappy combo. Hanging shutters will solve these problems – and, of course, they’ll update a kitchen that’s stuck in the past.


Space stretchers

Unless you’re renovating, the size of the kitchen’s fixed, but there are plenty of ways to make a small room feel bigger. Pale colors on walls and cabinetry will recede from the eye, stretching the boundaries. Flooring in a light tone will reflect daylight to make the whole space brighter, too.

If you’re majoring in light colors, upping the cozy factor is vital. Indulge in a little Scandi style with sheepskins on seating (the faux kind are just as comfortable and a more budget-friendly choice), or add warm notes with touches of copper or brass on show, as well as natural wood finishes. Don’t neglect the lighting, either. Pendant lighting over a breakfast bar or dining table can create a glow that makes the space feel friendly, as well as more intimate when you’re entertaining.

Storage boosters

Cluttered countertops and cabinets full to bursting won’t make the room fit for the family let alone visitors. Improve crowded drawers with organizers that have compartments to separate cutlery and utensils, and fit pullout shelves into corner cabinets so space doesn’t go to waste. Free up some of the cabinets by moving often-used items to wall shelving and hooks; if they’re nearer to where you need them, prepping tasks will be quicker, and a storage wall makes a great feature.


Dining area solutions

A dining table that doubles as an arts and crafts station for little ones, homework table, or desk has a tough job to do. Choose a surface that’s easy to wipe down and that’ll develop character with use when the family’s young, and cover with an oilcloth for messy projects.

Upholstered chairs will encourage guests to stay at the table when you’re entertaining but when the kids are young, keeping them clean could be an issue so washable seat pads will prove a more practical choice. Benches are space-savers when a crowd’s expected, and kids can happily squeeze up to make more room.

Make the view from the table the best it can be. If it overlooks the outside from one side, fit a decorative mirror opposite the window, so those seated with their backs to the exterior still get to see it. No view to speak of? Hang a large-scale picture to bring colour and interest to the area.

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