As a prop stylist, I’ve styled dozens and dozens of kitchens and I think it’s one of my favorite jobs. At home, I love to spend time in the kitchen just hanging out and chatting, cooking myself, or helping a loved one prepare a meal. In my own home, nothing makes me happier than a kitchen in use (onions and mushrooms sautéing on the stove!), or a fully stocked kitchen, all clean and full of produce and fresh flowers! After traveling abroad this last year, I became inspired as well by kitchens around Europe that I visited and lived in which had a sort of undone style that was functional but artful and always seemingly effortless. Friends and clients have been asking for more styling tips on the blog and I am excited to kick off the series today with five tips for styling your kitchen!
1. Consider Open Shelving: I think kitchen designers are amazing, but for me, I am much more inspired by an unfitted, kitchen full of interesting shelving units and one-of-a-kind furniture, than walls of cupboards. Plus, it’s so nice to have things in easy reach! For most people, some combination of the two works well. It’s nice to have some cupboards to store unsightly items and then some open shelving and furniture, too. Creating an unfitted kitchen is often so much less expensive as well. A mixture of Ikea shelving and Craigslist furniture can look amazing if done right. (Images 1 + 3 courtesy of Lisa Warninger for HGTV + 2 Michael Jones for Rejuvenation.)
2. Matching is Overrated: I think the most comfortable and beautiful kitchens contain dishes and pans that have been collected over time and not purchased all at once! I don’t aspire to own a matching collection of pans or china. I think it’s more fun and interesting to have mix and match pieces perhaps in a color scheme, or a particular pottery theme like speckled or pastel. Cast iron and enamel pans are classic and can often be picked up at vintage shops or inexpensive home shops. (Image: Michael Jones for Rejuvenation)
3. Bring Your Kitchen to Life with Fruit, Flowers, + Plants: My go to kitchen props are always fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herb plants. Having fresh produce and flowers around creates a feeling of abundance! Most of making a beautiful kitchen is in choosing beautiful necessities and letting them be part of the decoration. I feel more inspired to cook when I have seasonal produce at hand and flowers of course, just make everything pretty! (Image: Lisa Warninger for Bambu)
4. Make it a Gathering Place: One thing I absolutely adore about English Countryside kitchens is that they sometimes look and feel more like living rooms, super cozy with art, stuffed furniture, and of course a dog bed in the corner. I am not one to have dogs in my kitchen (Even though it’s charming when I visit!) but I love to feel comfortable to linger in a kitchen. These English kitchens always have a big farm table in the center where friends and family gather to cook, gossip, eat, and more! Make your kitchen a place people can gather by adding a table or island with seating.(Image: Lisa Warninger for Schoolhouse Electric)
5. Keep Pretty Soap + Towels on Hand + Invest in a Beautiful Broom: It may seem obvious but keeping your kitchen clean everyday makes it a much more enjoyable place to be. Make it easy by collecting pretty dish cloths, towels and soaps that can hang out on the counter! It’s easy to find sweet gingham printed rags at the dollar store, or places like Fred Meyer! Keep a pretty glass soap dispenser at the sink to just refill or buy soap with pretty packaging, so it’s always in reach for a quick clean up after a cooking session. Also, consider investing in a beautiful broom! In a kitchen, it’s nice to have a habit of sweeping the floor, it’s more likely to happen if the broom is in easy reach. If it’s a beautiful wooden handled broom, you won’t feel the need to keep it in the closet! (Images above and below: Lisa Warninger for Schoolhouse Electric. Food Styling by Jennifer Morris..)
What’s your favorite way to keep your kitchen pretty, clean, and styled beautifully? Share your favorite tips in the comments!
You might also like:
How to Keep a Pretty Fridge
How to Become a Prop Styist
Make a French Countryside Arrangement
Tour my Kitchen
Visit my apartment!
All prop styling by Chelsea Fuss. Photos courtesy of respective photographers referenced under each photo. Modeling and styling assistance by 1- Erica Gomez. 2- Amber Furqueron.
Love this Chelsea!! Such a great post! Wish you were in NY to help me style my kitchen 😉
Chelsea! I love your tip about having fresh flowers and herbs around because they create a feeling of abundance–it’s so true! And I love opening shelving. Almost everything displayed out in the open in my kitchen is part of the regular rotation so I’m not concerned about stuff getting dusty and everything looks nice (and nice doesn’t have to be expensive either).
Moving into a small house with almost no storage space on the main level (things stored in the basement or attic aren’t exactly within easy reach) has forced me to do something that I think should be practiced by everyone: Edit! Who needs 30 plastic food containers? And instead of using plastic ones, maybe get a few glass ones since they keep food fresher longer, last longer and are nicer to look at. If you do have an abundance of something because you collect it then I suggest putting it on display!
Viva la gathering place…viva la kitchen…happy nesting!
This is so insightful. Thank you for the the wonderful tips, Chelsea!
Open shelves, pots with herbs, beautiful kitchen towels and apron and a clean mess…
do you know what I mean?