Kitchen Decorating Ideas

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Decorating your kitchen need not be a difficult task. If you get the job done right, you can make your kitchen both beautiful and functional. More than any other space in your home, your kitchen needs to be a functional environment. After all, it's the place where you prepare meals, store your cooking supplies, do dishes, and spend all kinds of time completing resource intensive chores.

Some people may be surprised by how much time a well-designed kitchen can save. When everything is logical and functional, you can simplify and streamline your tasks to take an hour instead of hours. However, the décor is just as important as the design. An aesthetically pleasing kitchen will help you enjoy your necessary cooking and cleaning time so that work feels a little bit less like a chore.


The kitchen is one place in your home where you will need to be on your feet and moving around. Organization and proper layout is important for both your decorating ideas and functionality. Logically following, a design that keeps you from bumping into walls and corners makes sense.

Here is a list of places in your kitchen where optimizing space is an absolute must:

  • Your refrigerator
  • The perimeter of your kitchen island or island cart (if you have one)
  • Any drawers
  • All cupboards
  • Above your head (think: hanging light fixtures)
  • Around corners of counters and cupboards
  • Your pantry
  • Cabinets
  • Any shelves
  • Your table

The bottom line is that a functional kitchen is all about maximizing your space. So be smart about your layout, and don't try to cram more than is logical to fit. Don't purchase a freestanding pantry if there's not an isolated place to set it up, and don't install a kitchen island in a small space where maneuvering about is already a tough task. As useful as these items are, you'll be happier and more productive without them.

Organize your cupboards so that everything is arranged in a logical place. Keep your spices close to where you do your cooking, and set up your pantry on the other side of the room. Keep your dishes and silverware close to where you plan to serve your food, and keep your fresh fruit in a visible location that is easy for you and your family to access.

Install your dishwasher and trash compactor close to your sink, and don't keep your flowers over your food or place where you cook. If you plan to decorate with pots, vases, and other glass items, make sure you don't keep them close to the edge of your kitchen counter, especially if you have children and pets, you want to avoid injuries related to broken glass.

Keep your pots and pans in a place that's easy for you to access. Store them in cabinets above your counters if you have limited mobility, or place them in cabinets closer to the ground if you are comfortable with bending.

Once you have an understanding of what's functional and what isn't, you're ready to start decorating.


Lighting is one of the most important aspects for decorating your kitchen. No matter the time of day, you want your kitchen to be a bright space. You also want to be as efficient as possible with how you use your electricity - especially since your kitchen is the most resource intensive room in your home. Chances are that your kitchen is responsible for a good chunk of your energy bill, so if you're taking the time to renovate and redecorate, consider options that will help you save in the long term.

One possibility involves optimizing your natural light sources. Let the sun do its job, and flip your light switch down during the day time. If you're replacing windows, choose large ones. If you're redoing your roof, think about installing some strategically-placed skylights to bring in light from above. With natural lighting, you get the benefits of a beautifully lit kitchen while saving on energy costs.

Aside from providing you with clear visibility while cooking, you kitchen lights can be used as a part of the décor. Light fixtures and pendulum lamps placed around the kitchen should match the design style you are looking for. A chrome pendulum lamp would go well with a modern style kitchen with stainless steel countertops.

Color Schemes

Pastels, bright colors, and neutral shades are all optimal for kitchens. In general, you should select three or four colors that you can integrate with other neutral colors. To the best extent possible, integrate your theme into every aspect of your kitchen's design including your floors, cabinets, décor, and even your dinnerware if you are feeling especially ambitious. Some modern designs incorporate a monochromatic color scheme with a splash of purple or red. For this type of color scheme, you would need black or stainless steel cabinets.


When installing a new kitchen floor, keep in mind that you probably want something that withstands traction and is easy to clean. Your kitchen is going to experience significant traffic from guests, children, family members, and pets. It's the place in your home that is also going to experience most spills: embrace it, and get ready for it. Don't shy away from the inevitable.

Carpets and rugs are probably a bad idea in the kitchen. They are tough to clean, especially if you spill oil or red wine. They will appear dirty very quickly and trap food particles. Because your kitchen can become moist and humid, a carpet would also trap smells and moisture. Do yourself a favor, and leave the carpets for your other rooms.

Hardwood floors may work for some kitchens. Because kitchens experience significant foot traffic, the finish may be difficult to maintain. You may need to reapply a clear coat every year - especially if you spill foods that are acidic or abrasive. Regardless, in some kitchens, a hardwood floor looks absolutely stunning. If a hardwood floor would complement your style and family's lifestyle, you should give it a go. Just have a clear idea of what to expect.

Popular options for floors include ceramic tiles, laminate vinyl, linoleum, porcelain, and natural stone. Laminate vinyl is the least expensive option, and it is available in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures. You can purchase laminate vinyl in sheets for quick, easy, and efficient installation. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are ideal options because they are easy to clean and available in a variety of colors and patterns. These types of flooring are prone to breakage and chip if you drop something, so if you use tiles, invest in a few extras in case you need to replace one or two down the road. In a few years, the same patterns may not be available, and you'll probably want to avoid redoing your entire floor. Wood, natural stone, and linoleum are the most environmentally friendly options. Linoleum floors are made from recycled materials that include linseed oil, minerals, wood, and pine. Linoleum is a flexible material so it's crack-resistant.


For walls, paint and tiles are the best options because they are easiest to clean and preserve. When you're working with food and dirty dishes, you should accept some mess and splatter. With wallpaper, even with a vinyl coating, messes can be tough to clean.

Consider lining the wall above your countertops with a tile backsplash that is easy to clean. The backsplash just needs to be high enough so that it prevents back spill from your cutting board and stove. Above the backsplash, you can paint your walls or try something else - maybe even vinyl-coated wallpaper if you find a pattern that you absolutely need.

If you're interested in abstract art and collages, consider using glass tile to create your backsplash. Glass tile is available in small pieces, so you can easily create a design or mosaic. Other artistic options include patterned or painted ceramic tiles. Choose premade patterns or design your own to complement your thematic objectives.


There are numerous decorative items and accessories you can find at your local home and garden store. If you are using a design theme, make sure the décor you choose matches in color and style. A country kitchen design would look great with antique jars and bins on the countertops. As a general rule, if you plan to do a significant amount of cooking, you need about three to four feet of counter space (at a minimum). Keep this in mind if you plan on adding any décor to your kitchen counters.

Flowers and other plants make great decorations for your kitchen. They brighten up the kitchen, and give the place a soft and comforting feel. Non-edible plants make for great décor, but consider edible plants you can use as well. Imagine, making your kitchen more pleasing to the eye while having fresh herbs at your fingertips.

Don't neglect the window treatments for your kitchen. Find the right materials to match your kitchen design theme, and use them to decorate your windows. A window valance is a great way to add more color to your kitchen, use it to complement the rest of your kitchen décor or as an accent to add a bit of contrast to your kitchen.


Make sure that you have enough cabinets to store everything that you need. Choose colors in a neutral shade, or choose bright colors. If you are working with a monochrome color scheme for a modern theme, you may also consider stainless steel cupboards.

You do not necessarily need to replace your entire cabinets of you are redecorating your kitchen. Instead, you could just replace the fronts and handles and give your cabinets a new finish or paint job. For ultimate functionality, consider mounting your microwave oven with the rest of your cabinet modules. That's one less item that will crowd your counters.


When designing a kitchen sink, optimize it to make it functional. Consider two drains - one for liquid and one for a garbage disposal so that you do not need to scrape every food item off dirty plates into the trash. Install a detachable spray so that you can easily rinse dishes. Get a faucet with a unique, elongated, or attractive design so that you have an attractive design to admire when working on your mundane, daily tasks.

Theme Ideas

Choose a theme based on a decorating style such as modern or country classic. Typically, modern kitchens rely on a minimalist approach to designing and decorating. The design focuses upon the beauty of everyday items. Rather than investing in additional décor, you will come to appreciate your microwave, faucet, refrigerator, cabinets, and sink as décor. With a modern kitchen design, the most logical opportunities for integrating bright colors and patterns will be your ceiling, walls, and floors. A country classic kitchen has a comfortable feel and relies on the aesthetic of decorative items such as paintings, flowers, vases, bowls, and fresh fruit. Ideal color schemes for a country classic theme include pastel and neutral shades.

You can also choose a theme based on a color scheme or pattern such as stripes and flowers. You can also pick a theme based on different shapes such as organic and inorganic patterns. Whatever you choose, rely on your imagination to find a unifying element and artistic style.

Last Updated: May 8, 2011
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