Kitchen Makeover Ideas: French Bistro

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Updated

Informal dining has taken off in a huge way in the last couple of years. This may be in part due to food nutritionists telling us that eating while slouched in-front of the television isn't good for digestion and overall health or psychiatrists telling us that eating as a family or couple will be a huge step in bonding and talking to each other.

Whatever the reason many people have heeded the advice and are actively seeking ways of including an eating area into kitchens, and for those without a room dedicated for eating, like the traditional dining room, bistro styled kitchens can be a great way to join cooking and eating into one small space.


Traditionally the French don't have fitted kitchens as we know them, instead they have stand alone cupboards which are often given a distressed look to make them look like an old style bistro. You can create the same effect even if your cupboards are fitted. Simply paint them with an undercoat of pale blue and then a top coat of ivory or off-white.

With a piece of wire wool gently rub the edges and places which would normally get the most wear and tear, such as around the handles, to expose the blue undercoat. Another on-trend bistro style is to remove the central panels of cupboards and replace them with chicken wire, it all depends on how much alteration you want to do!

Window Dressing

Bistro styled kitchen curtains are a 'must'. These net styled curtains are only fitted to the lower half of the windows and traditionally hung from cafe style brass curtain rods. You can use narrow diameter metal or wooden curtain poles to create the same effect – look for the designs which have a spring loaded fixing as this will enable you to place the curtain tight against the window as is customary with this style of window dressing. If you prefer kitchen blinds look for those which have a French connection – maybe coffee cups or blinds with words associated with food – this may sound a little kitsch but they work really well!


Black and white tiles are a great idea, however if you don't fancy replacing your flooring use large rugs which are designed for kitchens with a motif related to the theme or ones which work well with your colour scheme.


Advertising posters are perfect for this style of kitchen, especially the ones advertising French foods or drinks.


Go all out to find coffee grinders to put on display along with ceramic pots to hold cutlery. Don't forget that the French are renowned for the gastronomic delights so add pots of fresh herbs to your windowsill or counter-top.

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