Gone are the days when the kitchen was hidden in the back of the home and only used to prepare food. Today's kitchen, in an open floor plan, is front and center at the heart of the home. Not only is it where food is prepared, but, it's a family gathering spot. It's a place where homework gets done, food is eaten, entertaining happens and sometimes, around a kitchen table (or island), all the world's problems are solved!
As I was doing some blog research, I found some kitchen decorating ideas that might help a non-open floor plan kitchen measure up to today's uses for a kitchen and how to add some old features that really work well today.
The Old Breakfast Nook - In today's busy lifestyle, most families don't have time to sit around a kitchen table for a big breakfast, so having a breakfast nook might just end up being a dusty table that collects stuff. One idea I saw on TV was to turn it into a reading nook with a comfy couch, shelving for books and a small coffee table area. This was reinforced when I saw a magazine article that just had a little love seat, chair and coffee table so people can gather and hang out any time during the day. This is especially a good idea if you already have an island with seating. It's great for guests when you have them over for dinner as well. They can sit comfortably while a meal is prepared, but still be with the host and hostess. *If you have great sunlight in your nook, you can add a sofa table with potted herbs for an indoor herb garden.
Island Appeal - If you have a large, older kitchen and can incorporate an island, there are so many different approaches you can take when you add one other than the standard cabinetry and countertop. Find an old furniture piece and re-purpose it into an island. A dresser, an old apothecary cabinet, a large table or maybe an open island with just prep space on top, shelving for equipment below and wheels on the bottom so you can move it around. It all depends on what amount of space you have available, how you need the island to function and what your own design style is. Maybe you bake a lot and want the huge prep space and seating isn't necessary because you already have a table and chairs open to the kitchen. By re-purposing something old and beautiful, you not only add charm to your kitchen, but give it a comfy, lived in feeling. On the flip side, if you want your old, outdated kitchen to feel more modern, maybe a stainless steel island for an industrial feel is what is needed.
Prep Desk - In the 70s, 80s and 90s kitchens, an incorporated desk was almost always the case in a newer kitchen. Today, with the more open floor plan you don't see as many desks, however, having one can be really useful. If you don't have a need for a full on office in your home, but, need a space to pay the bills, prepare a menu or even just house your laptop so you can work and prep dinner at the same time without your computer being at risk of being soiled by that lemon you were squeezing, having a desk is a great way to do that. Let's say you have a full office in your home and that kitchen desk seems redundant. It is still a good way for kids to do homework, without being in front of the TV or being in your home office tucked away. You can keep them on task while you are getting dinner together--and they won't feel so isolated. That way, they can leave their books out, stop for dinner and go back to their work without having to clear off an island or a table for the meal. You can add a true desk, or maybe some extra counter space with a chair in the corner of the kitchen, so it isn't obvious. *Having a desk with drawers is also nice to have to keep some pens, pencils, scissors and other little things you sometimes need in a kitchen and NOT have a junk drawer taking up valuable space.
Open Shelving - Open shelving is a popular thing now in kitchen decor to not only save money by limiting cabinets, but, also to make a kitchen seem less heavy and more open. Young families today aren't into having fancy china like days gone by, but still love beautiful tableware that they would like to display more than just at dinner time. Open shelving is great for this. Also, incorporating open shelving to look like a formal-ish hutch space can work without adding bulky, larger furniture somewhere in the space. You can add trim to the top, add sides to the shelves and have it over a counter top and it will look like a piece of furniture, without actually being one. It can house your dishes, jars and canisters, cookbooks or even just have some pretty knick knacks to add charm to your kitchen. Sometimes just standard cabinets can be a little predictable. Why not do something different? *All the way to the ceiling cabinetry is all the rage right now, but, it can make a room look all boxed in and be difficult to get to when you need things from them. That old "out of sight, out of mind" saying takes over and once an item is way up in that high cabinet, it might never get used because you forgot it's there!
I hope some of these different decor items spark your own Out-of-the-Box kitchen ideas. Sometimes you don't have to replace everything to make a great, functional space in an older --or even newer home. You can add your own touches that work for you and your family and then love the space you have! --Jen Lush