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  • Writer's pictureJulie Bliss

Your Kitchen: 'the new living room' and how to decorate it for your own enjoyment

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Over the last few decades the kitchen has developed from a functional space devoted to food preparation to an extension of the living room.

Even if you’re not really into complete open plan, it’s pretty unusual now to have a kitchen that’s entirely separated from the living area, or that doesn’t have a breakfast table/bar or dining area in it, if not a small sofa or social zone.

But while the use and role of kitchens has changed, often our attitude on how to design and decorate them has not.

If our use of the kitchen has developed, then so can our thoughts on its decor and it’s time to make this hugely important space our happy place. Say bye bye to the shiny white clinical look and consider the following:

  • Use natural, warm materials. Wood, bamboo, cork, teak, natural stone. Ply is also making a big splash in the kitchen. Versatile and relatively cheap, it’s a lovely, contemporary material.

  • Use softer colours. Pick the same colour or textures for your kitchen decor that you would for your bedroom or living room...Kitchens can be relaxing spaces too and you should decorate them for your own enjoyment. Pastels, natural tones and textures are great.

  • Consider multi-level and multi-material work tops to define different areas - stone, resin or quartz AND timber side-by-side. This helps soften a kitchen and give it warmth and depth.

  • Use Wallpaper. Yes, wallpaper has come a long way and is no longer just for bedrooms and living rooms. New technology means wallpaper can be exceptionally hard wearing and easy to clean and it’s coming to a kitchen near you… (and actually, even bathrooms!)

  • Feature splash-backs are big. Full height, pretty much any material or colour you want…Be creative. It’s something that is easy to update without costing a fortune.

  • Built-in seating. Make your kitchen comfortable. If you don’t have space for a standalone table and chairs, or even if you do, think about building in some comfortable seating/banquettes that can also double up as practical/useful storage… Great for hiding all sorts of gubbins from DIY bits and bobs, toys, pet beds, basically anything you want to quickly tidy away when someone comes round unexpectedly!

  • Build in a window seat. Make the most of that window and its view to the garden and benefit from the extra storage it will create.

  • Make a connection with an internal window. Even if your kitchen is separate, if you don’t have the option or desire to go knocking down entire walls, could you connect it to another space with an internal window or opening? This is a great way to let in more light and connect your kitchen to your living area; to keep and eye on the kids while maintaining some separation from your cooking area.

Ultimately what’s most important is to design and decorate your kitchen your way…

We spend so much time in our kitchens, it’s important to feel relaxed in them.

So forget about what’s ‘on trend’. It’s your space, do whatever way makes you happy.

Cover image credit: Sylvie Li. Apartment Therapy

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