12 ways to give your kitchen a new look without starting over

A kitchen that is relatively lovely but a touch on the boring side can benefit from a quick-fix design idea that can instantly create a walk-in wow factor. Choose from 12 novel ideas below, some of which can be actioned in less than an hour. Others are small projects that may need a little preparation and application time, but the time and effort you invest can yield eye-popping results.


1. Add a rug
Immediately add pattern and texture to a minimalist-style kitchen by adding a floor rug with a geometric pattern or colourful design. Choose an outdoor mat made from recycled plastic to repel stains caused by cooking spills and spits, or source a flat-weave hardwearing natural fibre rug that can be washed. Minimise any risk of tripping over it by fixing a non-slip pad to the back of the rug.

Eclectic Kitchen by Studio Stamp

2. Install a bookcase in the kitchen
It may not be entirely practical but it sure looks good to have some of your intellectual and cultural capital on display in the busiest room in the house. A ‘well-stocked’ bookcase can add miles of charm to a kitchen, especially to one that looks a little too clinical (i.e. all-white). Fill the bookcase with your favourite cookbooks or designer tomes, or stack it full of novels you’ve read (or plan to read). If the bookcase (a narrow, stackable type is pictured here) is close to a breakfast bar or table in the kitchen, you get the added advantage of being able to read a few pages between cooking procedures when preparing meals.

3. Put up a chalkboard
Chalkboards in kitchens are not just practical for busy families and members of a share house, but can also be a striking kitchen feature. A board painted with chalkboard paint can be affixed to a plain wall facing the kitchen space. You’ll need to prime the board first and then apply at least two coats of writeable and erasable latex chalkboard paint, which can be bought from a local hardware store. Alternatively, a removable chalkboard wall decal with a magnetic film can be bought and adhered to the wall.

Eclectic Kitchen by Ande Bunbury Architects


4. Paint the cupboards
Revamping your kitchen cupboards with a new coat of paint will completely transform its look. First sand the cupboards, then prime them white before applying a couple of coats of quality laminate paint. The decorators of this colourful kitchen went one step further and decided to makeover their kitchen cupboards with a decidedly mid-century modern look, with a nod to the Dutch master of colour abstraction, artist Piet Mondrian, whose most recognisable works consisted of a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines on a white ground and select primary colours.


5. Wallpaper the pantry
A beautiful wallpaper is all it took to change this once ordinary pantry into a kitchen addition with inspiring style credentials. To apply the wallpaper yourself, remove the shelving and wallpaper the room from ceiling to floor, following instructions from the wallpaper supplier. If the shelves are fixed and can’t be taken down, choose an allover patterned wallpaper, and cut it into horizontal strips, pasting each strip between shelves.

Browse wallpaper designs for your kitchen walls

6. Accessorise with a key colour
This is one idea that can be pulled together in a jiffy. Collect decorative homewares and favourite appliances in the same key colour, and use them to add interest to shelves. They can be in any hue you like, but to really create a buzz, choose a shade that is a contrast to the dominant colour on walls and cabinets.

TIP: To produce a real impression, collect one standout kitchen item in various shapes and sizes, such as interesting teapots.

Be inspired by these stylish ways with floating shelves

7. Bring a herb garden inside
Plants of any kind always bring cheer to a kitchen, but a herb garden is a definite crowd (or, in this case, cook) pleaser. Not only are herbs visually pleasing but they smell good, too. In this kitchen, recycled jars are filled with potted herbs and are affixed to aged timber planks that are mounted to the wall. A simpler option is to line the herbs up on a deep windowsill with attractive spikes naming each variety.

TIP: Whatever your preferred display method, make sure your herbs flourish by being positioned in a sunny spot.

8. Add pendant power
Instantly transform the look of your kitchen with pendant lighting. Plain white kitchens, in particular, will present as anything but boring when you add an unusually shaped or coloured pendant. Even if you already have down lights installed, the addition of a big and beautiful pendant will give a smart but plain kitchen a dynamic new focus. If this is a new feature, an electrician can install the new pendant housing or, if you already have the lamps, simply swap over smaller shades for large ones. Another idea is to hang a cluster of lights of varying sizes and shapes from one point over the kitchen bench.

Shabby Chic Kitchen by The Room Illuminated

9. Make room for a small table setting
Bring some fun and flair to a run-of-the-mill kitchen with the addition of a small informal dining setting for two or more. The table pictured here is a vintage cast-iron patio table, teamed with Featherston bright red and yellow chairs to create a happy breakfast nook.

TIP: A round table is a super choice for a compact dining nook, and is especially suitable in an L-shaped kitchen, as it can ‘fill’ in the open space.

Find the perfect dining table for your space

10. Update a splashback
If your kitchen splashback is a bit ho-hum, you can introduce wow factor by painting it with a metallic paint that adheres to hard surfaces, even tiles. Choose a specialty enamel spray paint that has excellent coverage on ceramics, wood, metal, glass and most plastics.

11. Set up a play area for children
Children love to follow you around so if you are working in the kitchen, expect them to bring in their toys or, if older, their homework and drawing materials. If these are plonked on the benchtop, they can not only take up valuable prep space but the kitchen can look unnecessarily messy, too. Address the problem by going with the flow and moving projects to a separate space. Set up a cute but stylish ‘kiddy’ corner nearby for children to play and work in while still interacting with you. Create a separate ‘zone’ with a floor rug or delineate the new ‘work’ space with a bank of low storage bins (for toys) or a bureau of drawers (for school materials). Integrate the look and feel of the new ‘addition’ by matching up furniture and furnishings with similar materials and colours used in the kitchen.

Small Eclectic Kitchen by Scheer & Co.

12. Hang things up on a pegboard
Part practical solution, part low-relief sculpture and totally cool decorating idea, this project simply consists of hanging some kitchen items, such as a group of pots, pans and their lids, as seen here, from a pegboard fixed to the wall. Attach simple cup hooks from the pegboard from which to hang the pans (or any other group of coordinated utensils). You can even paint the pegboard the same colour of the kitchen’s walls and hang only those items in a contrasting or vivid colour to produce a striking visual impact.

TIP: To unify the areas of nook and kitchen further, match the banquette fabric or any loose cushions to at least one colour in the tiles. And, if possible, choose a table made from a similar material to that of the kitchen cabinetry.



Thanks Domain.com.au