Feb 27, 2017

Your Kitchen Should Be An Extension of Your Personality


New Year, new hope, signs of Spring on the horizon.

After the ravages of a particularly gloomy winter it’s time to look to the future. With optimism. You may not feel like skipping at the sheer joy of life in much the same way a new born lamb does in a lush country meadow, but you can still feel that rush in your heart at the prospect of whatever lies ahead.

We’re looking at ways in which you can symbolise that optimism in your home. By making it more spacious, brighter and more colourful.

Out, out and away with the old. And in with the new, the fresh, exciting and contemporary.

And what better place to start than the living, breathing hub of any good home. The kitchen.

So many of us underestimate the value of the kitchen in our lives, families, homes and, indeed, throughout history.

We’ll often show off a new car, hi-fi or piece of garden furniture to anyone and everyone who’ll care to take a look. And there will be a few. Hell, I’ve known men  who’ll croon like Fathers with their first born over a lawnmower or set of garden tools.

And don’t even get them started on a garden shed. Stick a new one of those in your garden and men from miles around will be drawn, by some primeval force, to come to it, feel  it and admire it’s tongue and groove roof in much the same way you’d expect someone to go weak kneed over Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

Except that it’s a shed.

We fervently believe that if there is any room in the house worth getting about then it’s the kitchen.

Think about it. Why did, for example, Jona Lewie warble on about how “...you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties”.

All the great parties you’ve been to. I bet they centred on the hosts kitchen, didn’t they? A place to eat, drink, unwind, chat and relax. The only place to be.

So let’s celebrate your kitchen. Let’s make it the place in your house where people like to gather, to talk, to live.

So, first things first. Go take a look at your kitchen. Right now if you’ve got the chance.

Does it look tired? Is it cluttered with all manner of culinary paraphernalia about the place. Zesters that have never zested; graters that have never grated and a bread maker that still has the price on it?

Time to reorganise things.

We probably let more clutter accumulate in the kitchen than in any other room in the house. Your kitchen work surfaces should be clear, clean, bright and inviting. But are they? No, of course not. They’ll be burdened by a phalanx of recipe books, a toaster, a mixer or two, a bread bin and board plus assorted cups, glasses, bottles and myriad other containers. All left in-situ because you want them within easy and convenient reach yet, in leaving them all out, you’re making your kitchen look like a bit of a dumping ground, an inconvenience even.

Put. Things. Away.

All of those unnecessary items make your kitchen look crowded and far less cheerful and welcoming as it should be. You don’t want to share a cup of coffee with a friend only to have to be repeatedly moving things to find some space. It’s no good finding time and space to invite them round if you aren’t prepared to let them have some time and space to be in. So get all those excess items put away. That includes toasters, sandwich makers, waffle irons and anyone of your assorted mixers. You keep your clothes in a wardrobe for a reason, the reason being you only get them out when you are going to wear them. So why is the garlic press on permanent display.

Repeat after me. Put. Things. Away.

Now that you’ve done that, take a look at the overall decor of your kitchen. Start with the ceiling. If it’s been painted in a dark colour or if you have some dark wooden beams in the room, then they’ll be casting a dull pallor over a room that should be as fresh and bright as the food that you prepare and present in it is.

A white ceiling in a kitchen will reflect light back into the room and, as well as making it look brighter, give it a little zest and, in the process, even make the room look a little bigger. Light draws people in, we’re attracted to it. So don’t have a dreary kitchen, give it a look of life.

If you’ve painted the ceiling white then it really doesn’t matter if the walls are a darker colour. We’ve said before how the juxtaposition between a dark and light colour in a single room can be really effective. And that most certainly applies here. Even if you really can’t bring yourself to paint the ceiling white, then consider a cream colour, a pale yellow or even a mint colour.

Go on, give it a go. You might even like it!

Other possibilities you might want to consider could include installing a skylight if you are able to. Added light in a kitchen not only brightens up the room but, in a part of the house where attention to detail is mission critical, it helps you see what you are doing, reading and creating so much more  clearly. It might also help illuminate other ideas and inspirations you could want to put into practice.

If you can’t install a skylight then consider spotlights installed over the area where you do all of your work. It can only help to see things more clearly if you are cutting, chopping, dicing or sautéing. But there is so much more to it than that. Think of all the great works of art around the world and how critical it is for an art gallery to light the painting in order to show it off in the best way possible. No-one goes into the Louvre and asks for the lights to be turned up so they can see the Mona Lisa more clearly.

So why shouldn’t you see all of your culinary creations in the best possible light-before, during and after the creation. And that goes for the people who are going to be eating them as well. Put yourself and your cooking under the spotlight, give it an empty stage and let it be admired in all its colourful glory.

No-one ever wanted to squint at a seafood paella through a 40 watt bulb and a herd of dirty coffee cups. So give it the West End treatment and a stage it can be proud to stand upon.

Now, let’s talk about colour. I’ve given you a certain amount of conventional leeway by pointing out the advantages of a white ceiling in your kitchen. Yet, rather than inviting an invasion of further white and magnolia based colour schemes to the room in the wake of your all new ceiling, consider the following.

How about your cabinets? Dark colours, especially wood or wood look can be very dreary and give any kitchen a dark and cheerless look. But you needn’t rip them all out. There are companies that can work with you to replace the doors only.

Then there is your kitchen floor. Odds on its worn and a little bit grubby in places. One replacement surface you might want to consider is a tiled one. They can be bright, hard wearing, easy on the eye and, critically, easy to keep clean.

And how about the colour of your kitchen walls? Well now, that is your choice. If the kitchen is your domain then the hard and fast rule here is for you to choose a colour that you like, that you feel matches your character and the mood of the room you cook and create in.

So spread your wings a little and see what you come up with. Dare to be different.

A bright and cheerful kitchen should be the social epicentre of any home, not the dull domain of soup stains and dried on pasta. Make it an extension of your character and find, in doing so, not only how you want to be in that room more and more but, delightfully, so do all the people around you.

Especially at parties.