Tuesday, 13 September 2016

How To Create A Kitchen Interior That Reflects Your Style

Kitchens are often called the most important room of the house. The beating heart of any residence. Food is prepared in it, the kitchen table is used for everything from sorting bills to revising for exams and when you just fancy an informal get together with friends its often the location for shindigs and dinner parties. Despite its importance, in terms of decoration its often the least loved and certainly the least individual space in many homes.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that a kitchen should be above all functional. Clean lines, no nonsense work surfaces and pale colour palettes. Sure you might want to inject some fun with a retro toaster or bright coloured utensils but not much more. 
When I decided to give my kitchen a make over a few years ago I decided to throw these guidelines out of the window and create a space that reflected my love of bright pop art inspired colours. I also wanted to use upcycled items where possible and mix new and thrifted items seamlessly.
Here are some of my ideas for creating a kitchen which is as individual as you are.

Create A Moodboard
Moodboards like this one from Pinterest really helped me decide on the look I wanted

 I've always loved the American diner look and also the Shaker style/Cath Kitson twee country look as well. I knew I wanted to pull these styles together but was keen it all worked and didn't end up looking like I had idea vomited everywhere. 
I found inspiration in items I already owned like these polka dot tea cups and custard yellow saucers.

I found creating a moodboard which included pictures of kitchens I loved, photos of items I already owned and wanted to make a feature of really helped. I also looked to pinterest for masses of inspiration. 

Go Mad With Colour
I had always dreamt of having a pink kitchen but was really keen that it looked vibrant, not sugary. Researching paint samples from the fifties was hugely inspiring and I ended up using a Laura Ashley shade called Geranium because it was such a close match to the Veton Orchid colour I liked. 

If you know your history

My kitchen is north facing so gets very dark and keeping it bright and light was a really big consideration. The pink works so well. In the day its crisp and at night it looks warmer and more inviting.

If you cant afford a fitted kitchen-Go Open Plan And Work With What You Have 

I inherited a fairly ugly fitted kitchen. Far too many cupboards attached to the walls, tatty looking but quite functional. Rather than rip it all out which seemed both wasteful and expensive I decided to use the bones of it to create a space that worked for me. First of all I took down all the eye length cupboards. I wanted to be able to see what I had when cooking and really liked the idea of my cooking ingredients and crockery acting as ornamentation. I had some old railways sleepers which had been left in our garden by workmen so I decided to paint these and have one long shelf instead.

originally used by workmen rebuilding a wall-these railway sleepers make great open plan shelves

I had new kitchen doors hung on the bottom cupboards and a new counter top cut from a piece of wood that was left at our local tip.

I used the last of our planks as a shelf on the other wall so I could have recipe books and ornaments on view too. 
Kitchen artwork doesn't have to be of hens laying eggs-I've got pastel coloured stormtroopers

Choose One Item To Create Your Scheme
The picture that started it all
I always find it really useful to use one item to help me create contrast with my interiors and inspire what I buy to "dress" a space.In the case of my kitchen it was a Warhol print of Elizabeth Taylor which really focused me on how I wanted the space to look. It actually helped me create a kitchen that wasn't just a 1950's homage but with the nod to the 1960s created an altogether Pop art feel which worked really well with items I already owned. 
The Green/Turquoise colour also really helped balance out the pink so there was no hint of little girls bedroom.

White Goods Don't Have To Be White
As well as getting a new kitchen counter fitted I also needed a new cooker as the existing one had come with the house and after many years of faithful service had totally given up the ghost. Rather than go for a standard white one I found a duck egg blue one at John Lewis which was no more expensive than a white one.

 My microwave is also in blue and was from Aldi, whilst my pink kettle was from Argos. Cool home-wares can be found in the most ordinary places but you do have to bide your time if you don't want to pay over the odds. I waited two years to find a microwave. That's a long time to cook jacket spuds in an already rubbish oven. Think of your home as a long term project, not something that will be created overnight. This allows your style choices to breathe and for you to stumble on perfect items as you go about your life.

Microwaves, kettles and utensils are such a great way to add pops of colour

Allow Your Kitchen To be Grand (even if its tiny)

A room can house a chandelier and a laundry rack
When I was thinking about lighting for my kitchen I knew I needed something that would really blast the room as it has a tendency to be dark. i started off looking at beautiful but conventional choices, fisherman pendent lights or simple big shades. I kept returning to a photo I had ripped out of magazine of a multi-coloured chandelier and decided that yes my kitchen might be in a little terrace house but it could still carry off some theatre. With this in mind I found some lovely turquoise chandeliers from Sainsbury's homebase. They are such a perfect fit and give the kitchen a lovely injection of glamour.

Don't be afraid to have ornaments and bright plates and crockery on display. I change mine around all the time. It freshens up the space and allows me to enjoy things that don't work in other rooms.

Create Zones
The Reading Nook or "BritPop Corner" as Nicky calls it.
My house has to work really hard for its keep. I run my business from it, raise my family, and also expect it to deliver from a style point of view. My kitchen space is quite big and had a blocked fireplace at one end. I decided this was perfect for having as a little reading nook. I used an old Chesterfield chair that I had picked up in a junk shop, covered the cushion in a hand painted union jack cushion and added logs and fairy lights to the fireplace. Now Baba can curl up with a book and talk to me when I'm cooking or the cats can have a snooze. 

 Stop Thinking Everything has To Be New
One of the biggest mental blocks people have about creating beautiful spaces in their home is that they think they need to buy lots of stuff. Not only is this not the case, the constant purchase of cheap homewares from places like Primark is creating a disaster of landfills and pollution. 

tatty but happy-both the chair and the cat
Things looking worn means they are well loved. My Chesterfield chair was already quite battered when I brought it from a junk shop. Its so well worn it even has gaffa tape holding the arm together-does this stop me wanting it? No way. 

Get Crafty And make Do And Mend
Upcycling gets a bit of a bad press sometimes but with a little work you can turn items destined for the bin into really great functional items. take this shelving unit-its just a reworked wine crate. It stores all our CDs and a place to put our herbs on. For a quick tutorial on how I made this click here

Storage doesn't have to come from Ikea

I also made a letter rack out of some old pallets I fished out of a skip. It took about an hour and now works brilliantly to store all that paperwork that tends to gravitate to the kitchen table.For my quick tutorial on how I made this click here

Only the other day I found a fairly uninspiring brown plant pot which I decided would be a fantastic fruit bowl. A quick rub down and a spray with some hot pink plastisol and its working beautifully.

You don't need to be "creative" to upcycle-its just planning and execution

Even my tablecloth is upcycled. It was a lovely but yellow hand embroidered one which I tie dyed using eco dye at a workshop I attended with the Wild Dyery

My tablecloth was dyed using natural indigo and rubber bands.
I hope this post has given you the confidence to create interiors that are true to your personal style and encourages you to reuse, recycle and rework existing items. For more ideas and projects visit my Crafts Page


Brand New Witch Designs  over at  Nicky Rockets

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