Given that we’re stuck inside a lot more thanks to Coronavirus, I thought it would be nice to share some of my fave kitchen styling ideas with you.
This post includes a tonne of inspiration from clever creatives across the web, along with some style tips from me to you. I want you to get to the end of this post looking at your kitchen vignettes in a whole new light (If you’re not sure what a vignette is, I explain that fully here). You might even come to realise what you’ve been doing wrong when tackling a project like this. Either way, the aim is (as always) to build your confidence on the home styling front!
I’ve not only given you some fab kitchen styling ideas below, but there’s also a mood board at the end of this post that you can shop to create the look. It contains everything you need to make your kitchen amazing.
Drop me a comment at the end of this post if you have any questions or need some additional style tips.
Hero image above via Our Hamptons Style Forever Home.
Style and Colour Come First
Before we get into the thick of it with all the kitchen styling ideas, we have to address the first step in the process: what’s the vibe of your vignettes going to be?
Take cues from the look and feel of your kitchen’s design elements. Is it a sleek and modern black and white affair? If so, consider if you want keep the styling calm and subdued (selecting pieces with neutral tones), or if you want to have a pop of colour contrast against it. Both approaches work, but the former will just feel more easy on the eye, with the latter more impactful.
The vibe of your kitchen might be more rustic (like the one in the image below), so you’ll want to include items in your benchtop styling that feel in keeping with that aesthetic. You don’t want an ultra modern toaster sitting in a wonderfully weathered kitchen, for example. It’ll feel like a mistake. And we don’t want you making those.
Serving Boards are Your Friend
When it comes to decorating your benchtop, I can’t stress the importance of serving boards enough. They absolutely make a kitchen styling vignette for a few reasons, so you need to get on-board (see what I did there?).
Firstly, texture! Any kitchen is going to have splashback tiles in it, or a similarly hard, somewhat cold surface like mirror or metal. By introducing a timber serving board into your styling, you bring in some much-needed warmth.
Secondly, serving boards give you height, and that’s an element that’s often missing from a countertop vignette. Lean two of them against some tiles in your kitchen and it draws the eye up. You can stick with rectangular boards, or mix it up with some round ones as well.
As a general rule, I’d avoid staging two circle boards together. Two rectangles of different sizes, yes. But not two circles.
Image above via Design Sponge.
Depth and Height are Essential
The vignettes on your kitchen countertop need to have depth to them. You can’t just sit three items side-by-side. It’ll feel flat and boring. It’s crucial you have something at the back of the benchtop or shelf (like a serving board), something in front of the board, and then something off to the side of the arrangement.
The height is important to pay close attention to as well. You want a standout tall object. It doesn’t have to be a serving board, it could be a plant. But the other objects need to step down in height from the tallest item a little, not have a huge leap in the gap between them.
Image above and below via Studio McGee.
A Variety of Shapes is Key
Following on from the depth of field rule comes the shape rule. These kinda go hand in hand. You want your vignette of objects to have depth of field, but ensuring there’s different shapes and sizes in the items is key as well.
For example, a rectangle serving board could lean against splashback tiles. In front of it could be a round vase containing a plant or stems of some sort. And then beside it could sit a teapot with a fluid shape.
People often stick three round shapes together in a vignette (like vases or canisters) and then feel like something is off. And it is. The vignette falls flat because of the lack of variety in shape.
Include Hard and Soft Materials
As I’ve already mentioned, kitchens can be hard places in terms of materials. So much ceramic and glass and stone. You want to ensure you introduce some soft materials in your vignettes, to create a sense of balance.
There are many decorator items you could bring into the mix here, but tea towels are an obvious choice. You can fold one or two up nicely and then stack something on top of them.
Flowers, plants or herbs would also be considered softer items you can introduce to ensure the space doesn’t feel too cold and clinical. I’d even lump books into this category. Sure, they’re hard in a sense, but the paper does have a soft element to it.
Image above via The Bali Market.
Everyday Items are a No Brainer
So many of us have a second drawer in the kitchen that’s heaving with random utensils. A wooden spoon from one store, a metal spatula from another, a budget-buy whisk. They look so mis-matched because you’ve collected them over time, which is totally understandable.
Consider putting a list together of which items you might be able to replace and then showcase in some of your kitchen styling. A beautiful ceramic jar full of good-looking utensils is a great inclusion in a countertop vignette, and it’s very functional as well.
I’m even going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s nothing wrong with buying good-looking kitchen utensils you never plan on using. True story! And I refuse to feel guilty about it. Some things can have no purpose. Some things can just look pretty.
Image above via Boutique Homes.
Some Quirk and Personalisation Please
I always say that you should walk into a home and have a sense of who lives there. You don’t necessarily need a family photo taken, but you do need to personalise the rooms. If you don’t, then your home looks more staged-for-sale than it does a real, actual home.
This philosophy extends into your kitchen styling ideas. The little vignettes you have around the room should reflect who you are. And they can be a little quirky.
Books are a good way to reflect what you’re into on the culinary front. Maybe it’s baking cookies, maybe it’s Thai cuisine. Whatever it is, showcase it.
I also like to include some items that aren’t from major retail stores. You know, things you’ve picked up on travels or items from salvage/second-hand stores. These outta-the-box decorator moments are what separate your kitchen styling from everyone else’s out there. So don’t be afraid to experiment with something random.
Image above via The DIY Playbook.
One Big Moment on Your Kitchen Island
A lot of the kitchen styling ideas listed above apply to countertop moments beside the cooktop or in the butler’s pantry. But I do want to address making the most of the kitchen island as well, because this is an important zone.
The one piece of advice I would impart here is not to clutter the island too much. This is often a zone people gather around. So you don’t need 45 items stacked at different heights.
Instead, opt for one rather large moment. A big bunch of flowers or stems in a vase, for example. Or a wide textural bowl filled with fruit can also create impact. You could do these together, but only on a fairly large island.
Image above via Helen Caillier Design.
Use a Tray to House Many Small Items
I do love me a tray. I love them on coffee tables, I love them on sideboards, and I love them when you’re thinking about kitchen styling ideas. Here’s a list of our fave trays for styling if you need help.
You might have a lot of little items you want to curate and showcase side-by-side. But without a tray they might look like you’re cleaning out your cupboards and forgot to put some stuff away. A simple tray will make the smaller items feels like an intentional design moment, rather than some random afterthought.
You’ll still apply all the rules above (depth of field, things at different heights etc) but you’ll be able to group a lot more smaller items together.
Image above via Driven by Decor.
Create a Moment Bedside your Sink
Kitchen styling ideas can still apply in small spaces. I know many of you probably feel that you’re stuck with such little countertop space that many of these ideas can’t apply. But if nothing else, you can create a gorgeous little moment on or beside your sink.
I love the idea of a small rectangle dish housing a pump soap and pump moisturiser on it. Even that on its own creates a stylish moment that feels personal to you and your preferred moisturiser scent.
But you can also include a small bunch of flowers here. Or you could replace the moisturiser for a stylish detergent bottle. Either way, this is a small but effective way to still get some style into your kitchen. So don’t go thinking you have to have a huge space to create some wow-factor.
Image above via Pinterest.
Art in the kitchen – it’s Doable!
Your kitchen styling ideas don’t have to be all objects and everyday items. And guess what: when it comes to art, it doesn’t have to be attached to a plaster wall.
I love displaying smaller art on shelves in kitchens. Or make like the image above and try attaching one to your tiles. It’s such a nice way to personalise the space. If you don’t want to attach the art, you can simply lean it against the wall so you can change it up as you please.
Think outside of framed art as well. It could be a neon sign, a letter light box or other memo board you can create your own messages on. Have some fun. Design doesn’t have to be so serious.
Image above via Inspired by Charm.
Appliances can be Decorative Too
Last but not least, I wanted to touch on the fact that your kitchen styling ideas can and should include appliances like kettles, toasters and mixers.
Those of you who have large butlers pantries might have these pieces hiding back there. But for smaller kitchens, I love showcasing a coloured kettle, for example. The toaster tends to get a little dirtier, so you might pop this one away when not in use. But there’s no reason you can’t proudly display a chic metallic or coloured kettle.
Looking for some help on this front? Here’s our list of gorgeous coloured kettle and toasters like the ones above from Morphy Richards.
Our Kitchen Styling Ideas Mood Board
Want to inject some of the kitchen styling ideas you see above into your home? It’s as easy as clicking on the links below. Go on, you deserve it – and so do your countertops!
Links are listed starting at the top left of mood board and working across.
- House Acacia Wood Serving Board
- Salt + Pepper White Caro Jug
- Kmart Strata Jug
- Bath Bath N Table Tea Towel Set
- BIGW Brilliant Basics Spatula
- Stem Salt & Pepper Grinder Set
- Everten Phalaenopsis in Glass Vase
- April and Oak Wooden Bowl
- Zakkia Round Concrete Tray
- Provincial Home Living Mortar and Pestle
- Temple & Webster Cast Iron Teapot
- Freedom Artificial Herb Jar
- Myer 3-Piece Canister Set
- IKEA Vardagen Jar with Lid
- House 6-Piece Knife Set
What are some of your fave kitchen styling ideas from this post? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Drop me a line if you have any questions too!