As open-plan living’s become the norm, the kitchen is now more than just a cooking space – it’s somewhere to spend quality time with your family, as well as to relax and entertain. Here are 10 ways to make your kitchen the heart of your home
USE FREE-STANDING FURNITURE
Kitchens needn’t be built-in. By using a collection of free-standing furniture as Tinks Robinson of Peppergreen Interiors has done here, you’ll give your kitchen the feel of being a furnished room rather than a clinical cooking space. Another bonus is that you can change the layout at a later stage.
Use rugs, paintings, attractive light fittings and wallpaper to decorate your kitchen as you would any other living space. Tinks Robinson of Peppergreen Interiors chose a wallpaper that resembles rustic planks and added an assortment of chopping boards, enamel jugs and art to give her Durban kitchen a comfortable and welcoming feel.
The pendants are on a different switch to the downlights, allowing her to adjust the lighting and change the ambience depending on the occasion.
OPEN IT UP TO YOUR OUTDOOR AREA
Glass doors opening up to an outdoor living or dining area will make your kitchen appear lighter and more spacious. The resulting indoor-outdoor flow will also make entertaining a breeze. Coffee table from The Gatehouse.
INCLUDE A SITTING AREA WITH A TV
This is a great idea for families as you’ll be able to keep an eye on your kids while cooking. It’s also ideal for sports fans who enjoy inviting friends over to watch a big match; you can top up your guests’ drinks and not miss out on the action.
In this Cape Town kitchen, an L-shaped sofa with cushions from Mavromac provides plenty of comfy seating yet doesn’t take up too much space or impede movement around the central island. The wall-mounted TV has been cleverly placed in a niche so that it’s out of the way and doesn’t take up precious counter space.
PAINT A CABINET
Painting some of your cabinets in a striking colour, such as the cornflower blue used in this Durban kitchen designed by Wendy-Lee Douglas of SketchBok/dbn, adds loads of personality and will make your space one-of-a-kind.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Ensure your kitchen reflects your personality by including art, accessories and other quirky details. In this Durban kitchen, Wendy-Lee Douglas of SketchBok/dbn added a framed blackboard for messages and menus, and also carved labels into some of the wooden drawers.
ADD A DINING AREA
A dining area is a must if you’d like your kitchen to be a more sociable space; it provides a spot to enjoy casual meals, to play board games and for kids to do their homework. A simple table and chairs works well, but if you don’t have the space for them, copy Wendy-Lee Douglas of SketchBok/dbn who incorporated a cosy dining nook into the corner of this compact kitchen.
MIX OLD AND NEW
Traditional and retro furniture contrast beautifully with modern pieces and the combination creates a warm, lived-in feel as seen in this stylish, contemporary kitchen designed by Nick Raaff of Stockhome. Note how the open shelves have been carefully curated with the owners’ collectables.
INCORPORATE AN ISLAND
An island not only provides extra storage and counter space, it also creates a sociable hub where your friends and family can gather to chat over a cup of tea. In this Cape Town kitchen, designed by Kim Johnson of The Love Factor, a wooden country-style island was chosen to add warmth and character to the predominately white scheme.
USE OPEN SHELVES FOR DISPLAYS
Open shelves look much more friendly and inviting than closed cabinets; they provide practical storage ensuring that everyday cookware is within easy reach and can also be used to display pretty collectables. To prevent them from looking messy, stick to a single colour scheme such as whites and naturals or whites and pastels as the homeowners have done here.