Six easy ways to add instant Insta-appeal to your kitchen
When Ciara Elliot, the lovely editor of Essential Kitchen, Bathroom and Bedroom magazine got in touch to ask if I would like to write a piece for her, kitchens were very much at the forefront of my mind. I was coming to the end of my own budget kitchen makeover, which I'll FINALLY be blogging about next week, and therefore I'd been giving a lot of thought about how to give my own kitchen the wow factor without ripping it out and starting again.
The Instagram interiors community has blown up in the last year and beautiful kitchens are particularly popular within those little squares. My dream kitchen is still very much that at the moment and will remain so for the foreseeable. But if you want to get in on the action and start racking up the #kitchengoals likes, here's my six easy ways to get Insta-kitchen appeal with advice from some of my fave Insta peeps. There were five in the mag but I've given you a bonus one for being so kind as to read my blog.
1) Add art
Treat your kitchen walls just like you do the walls in the rest of the house and use art to create talking points and add interest. Try adding unexpected additions such as antique or vintage oil paintings to bring weight to a kitchen setting. At the other end of the spectrum, adding a neon light is a clever way of creating an instantly sociable, convivial atmosphere. I've hung a couple of my favourite pieces in the kitchen and a neon is on my wishlist. Artist, designer and curator Jon Harvey (of www.bigjon.co.uk) says he has seen an upturn in people looking for artworks for their kitchen. If you're not familiar with Jon's work do check it out. I found him via Lisa at rug and basket heaven Edit 58, and he has a fantastic eye for vintage art, particularly portraits. A selection of his sourced artwork is also available at Liberty.
Jon said: “When I’m asked to source a vintage work of art for a client - my first question is: which room is it for? And I’m pleased to report that the kitchen is finally catching up with every other room in the house when it comes to displaying art that has value, emotional or otherwise.
“For me it makes perfect sense, it's the room in which we spend the most time - and food puts everyone in a good mood, adding an original artwork to the mix only serves to lift the spirits further. And vintage works of art can be surprisingly robust, they have after all been around for decades, so it’ll take more than a splash of bolognese to stop them bringing joy to your everyday. So whether it’s a statement piece or something small that simply rests on a worktop with all the usual kitchen paraphernalia - art and food really are a delicious combination."
2) Up your shelfie game
Consider adding open shelving (above the sink is a good spot) and display your prettiest crockery and glassware. Think about grouping them into colour or similar shapes for maximum impact. Don't do what I did though and overload them and send the whole lot crashing to the ground. I currently have a severely depleted collection of chipped plates. Not the look I was hoping to achieve!
Interior Designer and fellow colour lover Sophie Robinson wants to see more personality in kitchens. She said: “Too many kitchens look like they've jumped out of the catalogue in my view. Think about creating some areas of display in order to personalise your kitchen. Some open shelving is ideal, offering an opportunity to display favourite pieces of China, glassware or objects. I love to see colour and pattern.”
And interior blogger and Instagram queen Lisa Dawson (bow down) is also a big fan of styling out your shelves: “Kitchen shelves are the ideal place to show off your shelfie skills. Style them as you would style your living room shelves. Add height with cookery books, use plants with abandon and mix textures such as china, wood and marble to give a layered effect. “
3) All in the detail
Jazz up kitchen cabinets by swapping out tired, old fashioned handles for new hardware. It really can transform the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Satin brass brings the wow factor. Buster + Punch are the cream of the hardware crop. The fab Emily from The Pink House used these to jazz up her kitchen cupboards at her Edinburgh home and the results were stunning. However there are also lots of options out there for every budget. I personally couldn't justify Buster + Punch when I'm still hopeful that our kitchen extension will happen in the next 18 months or so, so I went on the hunt and found a really nice selection by Heritage Brass. They look fab and bring a real wow factor to my kitchen cupboards.
Sophie says: “The devil is in the detail when it comes to picking out handles and hardware. I'd always avoid going for the kitchen manufacturers set handles and think about making the kitchen look more individual with something different. You can pick a handle that ties in with your overall scheme, be it industrial, country or something a little more glam.”
4) Go Green
Kitchens tend to be functional spaces that can lack softness. Plants are a brilliant way of adding interest and texture. Try plants which trail over the edge of shelving or clustering them together. I'm currently battling to keep a String of Pearls plant alive. I think I'm losing the war. But something that never lets me down and only requires me to keep alive for a week or so is of course a big bunch of welcoming flowers. I flipping love the use of greenery in this Sebastian Cox for DeVol kitchen (above). I mean I love everything about this kitchen to be honest.
5) Statement lighting
Spotlights are a common source of kitchen lighting and for good reason. We have low ceilings in one side of our kitchen and so the spotlights do make sense in that space. But think about layering your lighting to create more atmosphere and avoid it looking too stark and bright. A statement chandelier or pendant over an island or central area will have an instant impact. I have added the Tangle pendant from Made.com at the end of the kitchen with a higher ceiling and aside from looking super cool, it also serves to draws the eye along the kitchen and away from the low ceiling. Plug in wall sconces are another easy and super stylish way to introduce an additional light source.
The super stylish Jenna and Mariana from online interior styling business Interior Fox say: “Quantity and scale of lighting is super important! If you have a small island, don't use five pendant lights or a super large light, maybe use just three. And if you have a large kitchen island or dining room table don't just have one small pendant light, fill the space and make it feel balanced. We love statement lighting and are not afraid to go bold. We will always love a sputnik light, whether a mid-century replica or a modern industrial spin on one. The multiple arms really point light in all directions and it just looks so good!"
6) Put a rug on it
This is a bonus tip that wasn't included in the EKBB piece but it's definitely one to think about. Now I know you might think a rug in the kitchen is a terrible idea...but bear with me. Go for something with plenty of pattern to hide any food stains, like a Persian or Kilim style, and preferably something with a short pile so it's easy to hoover and clean. Oh and don't spend too much money on it, for the reasons I explained here. Wayfair have some great ones. And why should a kitchen be treated differently to any other room in the house? Just like when it's used elsewhere a rug can add so much texture and interest to the space. Plus if you're a rug addict like me, it's a shame to waste an opportunity to feed your habit!
Now all that's left is for you to get on the 'gram. Don't forget #kitchengoals #kitchendecor #kitchenmakeover #kitchenremodel #kitcheninspo and do pick up a copy of EKBB mag for loads of gorgeous kitchen, bathroom and bedroom inspo.
Next week I will be revealing my own budget kitchen makeover....it's pink!!!
If you enjoyed this post and the rest of the blog in general I would be so grateful if you could take 30 seconds to vote for me in the Best Newcomer Category at the Amara Interior Blogging Awards. Just click HERE and it's super, super quick! Thank you so much xxx
Cover image - Laura Butler-Madden