What’s your favorite thing about spring? Is it the newfound sense of hope and optimism that tends to creep in once those winter blues have receded? Is it the urge we get to be better than we were at the start of the year? We revisit the New Year’s Resolutions we made (and broke), we try to get out more and be more sociable, we endeavor to get in touch with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while and we maybe hit the gym a little more too.
Perhaps it’s the way that the world around you seems to share in your newfound optimism, offering you swathes of green and splashes of color where just a few weeks ago there was only the barren skeletons of bare branches. Whatever it is, we’re all a little in love with spring. While we may use the turn of the season as a way to fix a wide range of bad lifestyle habits or work extra hard towards our fitness goals, it’s also a great time to give the home some TLC.
Lots of us enjoy the time-honored tradition of the spring clean. Whether it’s clearing the home and garage of clutter that’s been nagging at you for far too long, deep cleaning the nooks and crannies that are often neglected when you usually make the rounds or even redecorating here and there to breathe new life into the home, the spring is a great time to make positive changes. And what better place to make them than the kitchen? The kitchen is, after all, the heart of the home and a hub of social activity. It’s where we gather in good times and bad to enjoy good food, a refreshing drink and each other’s company. But as our homes get more and more lived in it’s not uncommon for the trusty servant that is your kitchen to start to look a little… Battle worn. If you’re thinking of making some changes to your kitchen, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind that could save you a lot of wasted time and money.
DO: Give Your Kitchen Personality with a Splash of Color
Many of us make the mistake of assuming that if we want a pristine, modern looking kitchen that pure brilliant white is our only option. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, in recent months interior design trends are moving away from whites. If you like the idea of the clean lines and brushed finishes of a modern kitchen but want more color and personality, the current design trends walk that fine line with aplomb. Rich vivid reds and blues as well as deeper plummy purples, grays and browns are very popular at the moment.
DON’T: Go All White
Okay, so maybe it’s a stretch to say that whites should be avoided at all costs in the kitchen. White can look wonderful and give your kitchen an airy sense of spaciousness that’s particularly welcome in the springtime. The trouble is that white kitchens don’t stay looking heavenly and spotless for long. After a few months of various family members and pets coming and going and cooking and eating your pristine surfaces will begin to show signs of wear even if you clean them regularly. You have enough on your plate without rigorously maintaining that your high maintenance white kitchen remains spotless.
DO: Use Inventive Storage Solutions
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a huge kitchen with ample working space, you need to make sure that you can use every square inch of cooking space to your advantage. In order to do this you need to make inventive use of storage solutions. If your pots, pans and foodstuffs litter your countertops – this not only cheapens the aesthetic of your kitchen but makes the act of cooking a lot harder.
Even if your budget doesn’t extend to outfitting your kitchen with a range of space efficient new storage solutions there are still clever ways in which you can make the most of what you have. Use simple dowel rods in your cupboards and shelves to create plate holders and free up more storage space. Keep foodstuffs in clear glass containers instead of letting it clog up your cupboards in its original packaging or convert a cupboard into an “appliance garage”.
DON’T: Use Open Shelving
Some love open shelving, others hate it. I’m one of those that hate it. While it can look absolutely stunning and takes a great picture, those meticulously planned dioramas on your open shelves often descend into chaos if your kitchen sees a lot of action. Moreover, even if the items on your shelf are rarely used or just there for decorative purposes, over time they’ll develop a layer of dusty, greasy fudge that you won’t relish cleaning off.
DO: Use Stone Countertops
You’d be amazed at the difference simply changing out your countertops for elegant stone will make. If you don’t have the budget for a full refurb, swapping out your existing countertops for elegant granite or marble can make a world of difference. If you’re looking for the gold standard, however, there’s no better choice than quartz for countertops. It’s virtually indestructible and it’s polymer resin makes it impervious to chips and scratches. Moreover it looks perfectly elegant and can elevate any kitchen whether contemporary or rustic in aesthetic.
DON’T: Use Butcher Block Countertops
For those who prefer a warmer and more rustic kitchen, it’s clear to see why butcher block countertops might be appealing. However, in the space of just a few years they can start to look extremely shabby even when properly treated with water sealing wood stain. Wooden countertops are extremely high maintenance and while they can give a gorgeous look, it doesn’t tend to stay gorgeous for long.
DO: Use Reclaimed Materials to Bring Personality to Your Kitchen
From the menu chalkboard of a cafe that has now shut its doors, to a piece of driftwood which has been converted into a coffee table, reclaimed materials are a great choice to lend personality, dimension and a sense of humor to many a kitchen. If you’re on a budget and have an active imagination, reclaimed materials could also save you a small fortune in renovation costs.
DON’T: Get an Island
If you’re one of the legions of people who have fallen in love with kitchen islands, be wary. Lots of people who set up islands in their kitchen come to hate them. They eat up space, block the natural flow of the room, impede conversation and make the kitchen less intuitive to use. If your kitchen has ample space for an island, that does NOT impede the natural flow, or doubles as a breakfast counter you might be able to make it work. I’ve talked to many on both sides of the scale, and I personally love a kitchen island for a work space – if there is room in the kitchen for it.
Keep these dos and don’ts in mind and you’ll be well on your way to assembling the kitchen of your dreams. What about your kitchen? Can you think of a few do and don’t tips to share based on your experiences? Leave us a comment and let us know!