Kitchen ideas. Design & decor guide
Get the kitchen of your dreams with these style tips
As one of the most important rooms in the home, kitchens need to fulfil a lot of roles. As well as being a functional place for cooking meals and preparing snacks, they’re undeniably social spaces too. Even if you have a dedicated dining room, the kitchen is a focal point that always attracts hungry children, or guests at a party.
Take a look at our favourite kitchen design ideas below: whether you’re angling for a modern look, a traditional country kitchen or a Scandinavian-inspired space, you’re sure to find plenty of inspiration here.
Modern kitchen ideas
The contemporary kitchen is all about making a practical space for cooking, eating and entertaining that has bags of streamlined style. While it’s a look that tends more toward the functional than the cosy, there’s plenty of opportunity to jazz things up. Instead hiding away your pots, pans and glassware in cupboards, why not make creative use of shelving to create a display?
White is a good base colour for the modern kitchen, as it maximises light (very handy when you’re preparing food) and gives a fresh, clean appearance. However, if you’re finding your kitchen’s starting to look more like a dentist’s office, you can balance white units with beige or pale grey walls.
There’s a good reason you almost never see carpets or rugs in a kitchen: things tend to get spilled! Monochrome ceramic tiles, light or dark wooden floorboards or linoleum are the best materials for the contemporary look. Choose a shade or design that complements the colour of your units.
It’s worth investing in your countertops. They’re the real workhorses of the kitchen, and over the years they’ll soak up all manner of punishment without complaint. A modern kitchen countertop should be durable, easy to clean and of course attractive - anything that takes up this much surface area in a room needs to look good too.
If you have the budget, a genuine, natural stone countertop like marble, granite or slate looks amazing and will last for ages - and if you don’t, plastic laminate does a very good imitation for a lot less. You might also consider engineered stone, which like plastic laminate can be produced in almost any finish or design imaginable.
Free-standing furniture and the central ‘island’ is a popular addition to the modern kitchen design scheme. Pair with high stools to create a breakfast bar that offers a chic, stylish place to enjoy your morning coffee.
The right lighting can also make a world of difference. Food preparation zones and the hob can be lit with task lighting, while for the dining area, softer mood lighting with a dimmer switch helps create a relaxing ambience.
When it comes to window dressings, roller blinds or vertical blinds are a great pick that’s practical and low-maintenance. If it’s for a window above a sink or food preparation area, wooden venetian blinds make it easy to wipe clean any spills or splashes.
Country kitchen ideas
If you’re a fan of hearty, slow-cooked casseroles served with freshly-baked bread, a country kitchen could be for you. This homely style is all about comfort, relaxation and togetherness: a place where the whole family can feel at home.
The country kitchen makes liberal use of natural materials. Light woods like beech and pine, either as-is or painted in soothing pastels, together with raw flagstone floors or terracotta tiles, make up its down-to-earth look. It’s best to avoid metal surfaces if possible, which can detract from the home-grown theme.
Colour-wise, creams and light beiges work well in almost any country kitchen, while warm pastel yellows and blues are ideal too. If you want a slightly more modern and sophisticated appearance while still retaining the rustic theme, cooler greens, dark greys and navy blues are the ones to look for.
If you’re seeking farmhouse kitchen ideas, a tried-and-tested blueprint is the Shaker kitchen. Emphasising simplicity, natural materials and good honest craftsmanship, Shaker units, cabinets and doors offer a kitchen right out of the 19th century. Their balanced proportions and gently curved edges give the laid-back, welcoming appearance that’s the heart and soul of the country kitchen.
A range cooker with gas hobs is a must, along with a glass-fronted pine dresser where your best crockery can be proudly displayed. It’s worth splashing out (pun intended) on a sink that suits the design scheme. A large, ceramic Butler or Belfast sink that looks like a miniature bathtub is a great investment. Why not add a brass mixer tap for the perfect finishing touch?
A bit of do-it-yourself decoration can add a personal touch: for instance, create a splashback with a handful of mismatched ceramic tiles. A window planter box stocked with your favourite herbs gives you access to tasty fresh ingredients whenever you need them.
While fabrics can struggle to find a place in more modern kitchen designs, they’re right at home in the rustic style. If you have a dining table in your kitchen, deck the chairs out in soft floral cushions, which also provides the opportunity to inject some colour. Meanwhile, a set of kitchen curtains in whimsical food-themed patterns or classic gingham adds that extra dash of homely charm.
Scandi kitchen ideas
Scandinavian style has revolutionised home décor in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. Practical and simple, yet snug and chic, a Scandinavian kitchen should be the epitome of “hygge”, the Danish concept of cosy communality.
Unlike the friendly chaos of a country kitchen, Scandinavian design emphasises clean, minimalist lines, but retains the focus on natural materials. Colours are normally kept neutral, with light pines and oaks balanced against glossy white units.
Wooden flooring makes a great starting-point for the Scandi kitchen. Instead of the traditional open floorboards seen in more rustic designs, consider more interesting, modern geometric patterns, or different hues like a light grey wood. Monochrome ceramic tiles can also work well, including the classic black and white checkerboard pattern.
Lighting is also key in creating the perfect Scandi look, as you’d expect from a part of the world that experiences dark, chilly winters. Make generous use of underlighting beneath your units, spot lighting over workstations and pendant lighting over tables and chairs – the idea is to split up and define each area with its own unique lighting.
Roller blinds in muted fabrics offer the ideal combination of the traditional and the contemporary in a classic Scandi kitchen, or alternatively you can extend a wood-based theme with all-natural wooden blinds.
Feeling inspired about your kitchen? Take a look at our great selection of curtains, cushions, blinds and homewares and get even more food for thought – you never know where the next great idea will come from.