The low down on creating a cool kitchen – guest post by Abigail Ahern

I am obsessed with food, I read recipe books at night like novels and I go to farmers’ markets weekly. In fact, most Saturday mornings you’ll find me at Borough Market in Monmouth drinking coffee at 7.30 am. Kid you not!

All of this means of course that I have to have a super glam kitchen. Not one that has cost me thousands mind, but one that at least looks and feels as if it has. The kitchen, I would have to say, is one of the most neglected rooms in the house. From all my years in the business I notice that we spend a lot of dosh on ovens, fridges and utensils, but then little or no time on the cool stuff. Yet it’s the cool stuff that takes the kitchen from drab to fab.

My biggest top top tip in creating the coolest kitchen on the planet is to decorate them like you would your living room! Sound weird? Stay with me on this, the more you can accessorize it, the more integrated it will feel with the rest of your space, which is fundamental if yours is like mine, open plan. With the holidays fast approaching we’ll be spending even more time in our kitchens so I reckon it’s time to give them an overhaul.

Some tips below:

Open Plan Storage

Open Plan Storage

I say this a lot, but in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms the more open plan storage you can have, the cooler your space will look. If everything is behind closed doors it reads as a big yawn as there is nothing to tantalize the eye. However, throw in an open plan shelving unit or shelves, accessorize with some storage jars, recipe books, linens, serving platters and so on, and suddenly you’ve elevated it to a whole other level.

Add Atmospheric Lighting

Add lighting

Lighting is neglected big time, I find. We’re all good at putting in the practical kitchen lighting but the decorative kind, the kind that either makes you smile, or adds the softest warmest pool of light to a central island, or work bench, is what I’m talking about here. A big game changer is a chandelier or super cool pendant – hang something sparkly or large over your kitchen island and it automatically changes the vibe of the space making it feel way more special. I’ve picked up some amazing lights from flea markets like Kempton in London and Porte de Vanves in Paris!

Add Art

Add Art

Art is a game changer in kitchens and yet again so often neglected. Obviously don’t hang your fav Picasso (!) above the stove but anything behind glass will be more than OK. Art adds interest, excitement, and intrigue and takes kitchens to a whole other level, turning them into spaces where you actually want to hang out rather than just do the practical stuff, like cook!

Add accessories

Add Accessories

I think I might be saying this until I am at least 90, but the more things you add to surfaces like counters (so think lamps, tealights, clusters of recipe books etc.) the more intriguing your space will look. Obviously we have to be mindful that there are enough surfaces to prep and cook from but anything else, accessorize the life out of it!

Add Furniture

Add furniture

I’m talking about adding a drinks table or maybe a small dining table, or even a couple of chairs, even to the smallest, tiniest of spaces. Once you think outside of the box (even if you’re space is super small) adding furniture into the kitchen makes the space so much more exciting. My sister has the smallest kitchen which has to double duty as the dining area and yet, adding a flea market table, a few chairs and a rug, makes this space somewhere that everyone gravitates too. I should add that if you’re short on space, introducing freestanding pieces is essential because they can double duty as the storage area!

As I said in my intro, creating a stylish kitchen has very little do to with money. These days you can pick up some gems from flea markets, auction houses as well as on the high street. It’s more about having the confidence to decorate a space that is fundamentally practical, into a space that can also become fundamentally beautiful. The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s where we tend to spend the most time eating, cooking, entertaining and working. Even so, I say break a few rules and decorate it just like you would your living room. Do that and magic happens, promise!

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1 comment

  1. I could easily move into Abigail Ahern’s home with one cnhage. The wallpaper would be replaced by identical shelves to house my books…. This particular book storage solution matches my sensibilities perfectly. Selby’s photography and lighting make her home welcoming. I’d steal her dog, too, but my hands are full with my westie! :)I’m delighted ‘Blogs of Note’ brought me to your blog….!Thank you for sharing!…

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