Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The new kitchen

I am slowly giving everyone a peak into the new apartment.  The longer we live here, the more unfinished I feel it is.  The first few weeks, it was okay to have blank spaces and piles of things I didn't know what to do with yet.  But, it has been 3 weeks now and I am starting to feel like things should be more done.  Unfortunately, it takes time.   And actually, I think homes always look more put together without being overly match-y when they have come together over long periods of time.

Today I am showing you the kitchen.  It's possibly our most used room in the house and we love it to death.  In fact, there's nothing special about it and, before we moved in, it was far from charming.  It's modern without being stylish, with run-of-the-mill light wood cabinets and ugly metal handles.  But, it is a large improvement from our old kitchen and so much more functional.  Plus, with a little TLC, I made it look much more personal, homey and inviting.  Accompanying each picture below, I have given you a list of small steps or changes that can make a very boring, bland kitchen look much more stylish and personal.

1.  Add lamps. ^

Lamps are more or less the most important thing in decorating if you ask me; nothing that you do to make your house beautiful will look good in overhead lighting or, worse, fluorescent overhead lighting.  Lamps are key to coziness.  Often people don't think to put one in the kitchen because they don't think of it as a room.  It's easy to assume that the kitchen is just a place where you do some work and leave and then to neglect it and treat it like a storage closet.  But, think about every dinner party you've ever been to.  Think about the last day of your life.  I bet at least 1/3 of the time you spent at home (not sleeping) was spent in your kitchen.  Not only is it a room, but it also one of the most important, if not the most important room in the house.  Paying it the same attention that you pay your living room, for example, is the difference between having a space that's okay and having a space that really impresses people.  It's all in the details.  Adding a lamp will give you cozy lighting in the kitchen so that you don't have to eat meals or read the morning paper in the glaring light of the overhead fixture.

2.  Add art. ^

Yes, just like lamps, the kitchen needs art.  Bare walls will be sad and make your kitchen look like it isn't lived in.  I tend to choose food related pieces, but anything that you love will do.  If it is fancy, expensive or one of a kind, you may not want to put it in the kitchen where it could be damaged by moisture.  But, posters and prints are pretty accessible these days or you could print something off of the internet.  Graphic's Fairy, which I have talked about before, has a great selection of things you can print and frame.  (I really like these artichokes, these pigs, these cool and colorful vegetable illustrations and this teapot.)  

3.  Display.  ^

If you have a favorite dish collection, pretty wine glasses or a special teapot, display them!  If your kitchen doesn't have any open shelving, consider unscrewing the cabinet doors, taking them off and making one cabinet a display cabinet.  A matching set of pretty white dishes is always beautiful enough to be shown, as is stemware or any antiques you may have inherited.  I fill my cabinets with all my favorite pieces, like the ones above from PiP Studios.  Showing off your collection personalizes your space, and having open shelving breaks up big walls of cabinets and prevents them from being monotonous or overbearing.  

 4.  Don't forget textiles.  ^

Of course you probably have tea towels, rags and sponges in your kitchen but why should they all be purely functional?  Adding textiles like a colorful rug or decorative tea towels create some softness in a room that is traditionally filled with hard surfaces.  Plus, they bring in extra color and interest.  Here a bird tea towel from my friend Danielle gives the oven area lots of color and whimsy and also breaks up the look of the big black oven.

This kitchen has ended up being really great for us.  I am not in love with the color of the cabinets or the countertop and I hate the light fixture.  But, at the end of the day all of our stuff in there makes it really cozy and it's nice to have a place to eat.  Plus, we have a dishwasher--I can't complain!   Considering we can't change it and had no say in the hardware that was put in, I think we've made it pretty personalized and cozy for ourselves.  We still need a more permanent window treatment (I would like a roman shade of some sort) and I will probably do some rearranging of things from time to time, but overall it's not half bad.  What do you think?  Do you have any suggestions for me on how to warm it up a bit?

1 comment:

Dana said...

I love what you've done with it!! It really does take time. I still hate parts of our apartment but I'm trying to make the best of it. I think my biggest downfall was this urge in the beginning to get it all done IMMEDIATELY and I just rushed it. I should've let the apartment speak to me, and tell me what it needed!