Decorating kitchens

LeeAnn Yare's guide to bringing stale rooms back to life.

Inject some personality into your well-worn living spaces. You don’t have to start from scratch – simple updates, such as colourful new stools or bright lamp shades, will do the trick. Follow these refreshing tips.

It’s the room we all thrash, but there’s no reason it can’t be practical and look great.

● If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, spend plenty of time planning your design. Make a list of what’s non-negotiable and a second list of “nice to have” items. Sketch up your designs and try different layouts. Be realistic with what you can achieve on your budget. By opting for a $200 tap, instead of the similar-looking $2000 designer version, you might be able to buy those soft-closing drawers.

● Before you go any further, engage a professional. Mastercraft Kitchens have branches nationwide, and will send a designer to visit you at home for a free consultation. They will listen to what you want and draw up a design. They’re full of great ideas, will come up with alternatives you may not have thought of, and give advice when it comes to juggling the budget to achieve your wish list.

● Kitchens are often relegated to compact spaces, so make the most of every inch. Clever storage is key. My pet hate is the big gap left between tall cabinetry and the ceiling. Yes, it will cost a bit more, but you will never regret taking your cupboards right up. Consider it a home for things like platters and serve ware you might not need to access every day.

As long as kitchen benches, walls and cupboards can be wiped clean, the options are endless.
As long as kitchen benches, walls and cupboards can be wiped clean, the options are endless.

● If you can’t justify a new design, give your room a few instant updates using some clever tricks. Consider refreshing your cabinetry with paint, a blackboard, wall decals, or wallpaper. I gave my kitchen bench a completely new look by hanging a roll of wallpaper underneath, and adding a pair of cool new stools. If your cabinets are okay, but the rest of the kitchen is a bit dated, then update it with a brand new bench top – keeping the lines square will bring it into this century.

● If your kitchen is part of an open-plan area, bring in some colour from other rooms. Your splash-back could be made from tiles, painted glass, wallpaper behind glass, or even ceiling tiles.

● Hang something eye-catching on the walls to distract from a kitchen you don’t love. Create a mini gallery-style feature, mixing up shapes and textures. Old food-related signage is well suited, or a collection of plates in a variety of designs and colours.

● Ensure you have plenty of clear and dedicated workspace, but use kitchen tools to create interest. Whether it’s a pile of cookbooks, a pot of fresh herbs, or a brightly coloured bowl overflowing with citrus, use what you have to dress your kitchen the same way you would every other room in the house.

LeeAnn yare

Watch LeeAnn on the judging panel of Mitre10 Dream Home, TV2, Tuesdays, 7:30pm

Photos: Larnie Nicolson

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