Do you ever feel like clutter is taking over your kitchen? Simply keeping you kitchen clean is hard enough let alone making it look stylish, and if your kitchen bench is anything like ours it'll look more like a dumping ground for mail, keys, wallets, phones and a rack of dishes that never seem to make their way back into the cupboard. The key to maintaining a stylish kitchen is organisation, and being creative in the way you display those functional items you use everyday. We've put together these simple steps to get you started.
- CLEAR YOUR CANVAS
It's impossible to start thinking about styling when your kitchen looks like the local tip. This means you're actually going to have to do those dishes you've been putting off for the past week, and should probably think about moving those empty wine bottles to the recycling bin. This task may vary in difficulty depending on what level of mess you're looking at - a few dirty dishes from the night before and a stack of mail OR post apocalyptic bomb site that you might be better off setting fire to? It's you're call, but if you're looking at the latter you'll need to re-build or move house and then meet us back here. Once you've done this you should take the opportunity to look around your kitchen and clear the benches of anything you don’t use daily. Toasters, mixers and other large appliances take up valuable space in your kitchen and don't need to be on display (we know it's a $900 Thermomix but you're not on Real Housewives of Melbourne and no-one cares), these items can be stored away in you cupboards, drawers or pantry and if you're short on space now would be a great time to visit Ikea.
TIP: If you really want to show off your shiny new appliances put them in the cupboard at eye level with the brand badge facing out next to the tea and coffee so everyone sitting at the kitchen bench see's it when you reach for the sugar (you're welcome).
- LIVEN IT UP
Now that your canvas is clean the fun can really start. You should think about investing in a few items to bring some life and colour into your kitchen. Green is in, so plants are a great addition to the kitchen, bringing instant style and vibrant colour to the space and contrasting the harsh industrial materials so commonly used in the kitchen. If you're thumb is more black than green, you can invest in a good artificial fern (just don't skimp out and get a cheap one, remember if it doesn't look alive, it might as well be dead) or low maintenance cactus or air plant terrarium. Depending on how responsible you are, you might also think about adding a fish to the kitchen bench - just make sure you speak with the girl/guy at the pet shop to get advice on what fish is best suited to your lifestyle, kitchen environment and size of your fishbowl - the emotional stress of loosing a pet might outweigh the pros of having a stylish kitchen, especially if you have small children.
TIP: Bowen & Kenneth have a huge range of beautiful hanging and free-standing terrariums, as well as artificial trees and spectacular bowls and vases which make incredible fishtanks.
- USEFUL ART
There’s no need to go out and buy an array of useless objects to fill space in your kitchen when the kitchen is already full of practical pieces that are both stylish and purposeful. Everyday items such as chopping boards, serving trays and canisters can all be used to add colour and warmth to the kitchen. However it's important not to go overboard or you'll end up cluttering your kitchen again and having to go back to step one (we don't need to see every chopping board and cookbook you own), just pick your favourite pieces that work well together and achieve colour and height balance in clusters of threes or fives.
TIP: Pick a bight highlight colour to subtly carry through your kitchen. For example if your highlight colour was yellow you might invest in a yellow kettle and carry it through the kitchen with a yellow cookbook on the shelf, a yellow tea towel on the oven and perhaps yellow rocks in bottom of your fishbowl on the counter.
- LET THE LIGHT IN
Lighting is so important in the kitchen, not just because you need to be able to see well enough to differentiate between a carrot and your finger when holding a knife, but much like the addition of plants, good lighting also breathes life into a space and creates a more positive and inviting atmosphere for entertaining. You want to make sure there are no dark corners in your kitchen. This can most easily be fixed by installing strip lighting under shelves and in cupboards with glass doors. In some cases where you have little natural light you may also want to think about installing a skylight or clearing the window by removing blinds or cutting back any trees that might be blocking sunlight from outside. You may also want to think about changing any dated pendant lights. This can be a little daunting at first with so many different choices out there, but if you remember to choose a new shade (or entirely new pendant) that compliments the style of your home and uses materials/colours that are already carried throughout the kitchen, dining and lounge areas you should be safe.
TIP: Keep in mind the size and proportions of the room. In some cases where the ceiling height is too low or area too small it might be better to go with down-lights, whereas multiple pendants might be required when you have more height and greater space to work with.