The most successful styling is eclectic and effortless rather than feeling contrived. It gives a modern kitchen a lived-in look while enhancing rather than compromising its design focus.
A kitchen isn’t truly complete until it includes the furniture and accessories which give it warmth and personality. The trick is to introduce items which add visual interest through their shape, form or texture, without allowing worktops, walls and floors to become cluttered. The most successful styling is eclectic and effortless rather than feeling contrived. It gives a modern kitchen a lived-in look, while enhancing rather than compromising its design focus.
Furniture is the most prominent and permanent feature involved in styling a kitchen. Iconic pieces, such as Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chairs and Bestlite’s modernist lamps, are instantly recognisable and give the room a sense of design authority. A pair of barstools will inject a sense of grown-up glamour and a carefully chosen ceiling light can draw the attention both up, to the fitting, and down, where its illumination falls. An oversized pendant will introduce some curves to space that’s dominated by right-angles, or for the ultimate feminine touch, invest in a sparkling chandelier.
Upholstered furniture is a good way to introduce different textures and colours – re-cover a chair in a mouthwateringly bright fabric or follow the interiors trend fortailoring to give a formal accent to an informal setting with a sofa in any suit-style fabric, from pinstripes to tweeds. Clever styling can create a sense of balance in the kitchen. Modern soft furnishings, such as deep-pile textured rugs and decorative geometric-print cushions will take the edge off an industrial-looking scheme. Remember, the textiles seen in a kitchen are often functional, including aprons and tea towels, so make sure yours contribute to, rather than distracting from your look.
Deciding which pieces to display can be a matter of trial and error. Fresh flowers, which look all the more beautiful against a sleek, minimalist backdrop, have a place in every modern kitchen. From the fragile beauty of a twiggy blossom, to the bold blooms of a hydrangea stem, they are an exquisite source of shape and colour. Rough textures such as stone and wood have timeless appeal even in the most contemporary setting, and glass or ceramics reflect the light with their glossy finish. Don’t limit yourself to vases or vessels originally intended for display – some of the most pleasing pieces are pots, bottles or bowls designed with a practical use in mind. Finally, try to vary the scale of the items you put on show – the contrast will create a dramatic effect and give the objects greater impact.