Dreaming of a new kitchen, one that looks like it was plucked from the pages of a decorating magazine? Who hasn’t, right? If it’s not in the cards to renovate your kitchen, don’t worry. You can still transform the look of this hard-working heart of the home just by decorating it well. Here are three tips to get you started.1. Add Zest with Accents

It’s time to harness the power of accents to make your kitchen look sensational. Here are a few of the hot spots I like to hit when I decorate a kitchen:

*Over the Cabinets

The open space above your kitchen cabinets is a little stage, just waiting for a production. My friend Rich created this stunning grouping with a few choice pieces of his creamware collection. Rich’s look is clean and contemporary, so the simple, sleek cream colored vessels are an ideal choice.

When you decorate the top of your cabinets, remember that accents look smaller when they are up high. Little accents will not only get lost up there, they will make the overall display look busy. My favorite approach is to create a tight cluster of interesting accents, combining a variety of sizes and shapes. Right now, I’m recommending the brightly colored pottery vessels that are selling like hotcakes at Nell Hill’s. People just can’t get enough of these happy, affordable urns and vases and ginger jars.

*By the Sink

My friend Anne just built her home, so she had the enviable opportunity to create her dream kitchen. And boy, did she succeed! Her kitchen has been featured in magazines, and it’s easy to see why. To bring out the great bones of the space, she’s selected a few great accents. Check out the little row of vases perched above her sink, in the photo above.  I really like this little display because it’s functional, not frivolous. She can leave the vases empty, giving her a little pop of color, or she can fill them with spring blooms.

You don’t have to have a showplace kitchen like Anne’s to fill it with drama. Check out what Rich did in his condo’s kitchen. Even though the space around the sink is tight, he made it marvelous by placing artwork behind the faucet. What an inventive backsplash! Similarly, I have a platter behind my faucet because I like the added layer and another chance to decorate with dishes, one of my all-consuming passions.

*On Shelves and Ledges

If you are lucky enough to have shelves, ledges or niches in your kitchen, fill them up with accents that express your personality.  The intriguing display Anne created for the ledge above her stove weaves together a few of her mother-in-law’s Royal Dalton Toby mugs and a hanging montage of transferware plates. Simple but sensational!

I added a little shelf in my kitchen, hanging it above the doorway that leads to my basement steps, so I could have another spot to display accents. The antique wooden ledge has a few hooks at the bottom, and I like to hang glass votive holders from them, decorating them for the season.

*On an Island or Counter

Decorating kitchen islands is a blast, especially when you have as much space as Anne does in her dream kitchen. Anne wanted to leave the majority of the island open so her kids would have plenty of room to eat breakfast or do homework. So she created a simple display at the island’s center, anchoring it with two concrete garden statues she got from Nell Hill’s. Featuring statuary on your island is a fabulous idea, but be sure to put something under the statues so they don’t scratch your counter, and make sure it’s not something you’ll need to move often – these babies are heavy!

For this smaller central display, Anne used a Nell Hill’s trick: Build the tableau on a tray so it’s grounded. She’s started collecting old scales and worked one into the grouping. Great idea!

Like me, Rich doesn’t have a lot of counter space in his kitchen so he has to carefully choose what he puts out. This tight display artfully combines some necessities, like his countertop TV, with service pieces that maximize space. I use tiered servers like his every time I entertain because they are lovely to look at, use space wisely and add vertical height to the display. We have lots of them to choose from at Nell Hill’s.

*Against the Backsplash

I’m such a fanatic about artwork that I like to put it everywhere. Why not against a backsplash?  Rich’s kitchen backsplash features white subway tile, the perfect backdrop for peppy pieces of art.

2. Add Personality with Color

Your kitchen is a great place to work in your favorite hues because you can get away with things in this room that you wouldn’t in more formal rooms. When I first laid eyes on Rich’s kitchen, with its bright orange cabinets, I jumped for joy. How bold! How refreshing!

If you can’t replace your kitchen cabinets, transform them with paint, like Rich did. Bright orange might not be your pick, but there are so many wonderful colors out there, from creamy whites to serene blues to zippy reds, that you’re sure to find one that makes you smile.

When I renovated my kitchen, I picked cream cabinets, backsplash and walls. But I still wanted to bring in a pop of color so I painted the ceiling blue. Recently, I added Roman shades in a teal and raspberry paisley, pictured above.

Another way to add color to your kitchen is through an area rug. I can’t have a rug in my kitchen because we are too sloppy – it would be covered with dog hair and spills. But I envy my friends who can handle rugs because these little islands of color and pattern do so much to warm up a room.

3. Add Stylish Storage

We all have lots of stuff to store in our kitchens, so why not make those storage containers as lovely as possible? For example, I found an old planter that fits in the spot between my stove and the wall, and filled it with all Dan’s cooking oils and vinegars. I collected the cooking spoons in an inexpensive white chalice from Nell Hill’s.

Another must-have kitchen storage tool is a wonderful tray or two. In the photo above, Anne used a big tray to hold drink decanters in her kitchen’s wet bar area. Trays give everything that’s put upon them a dignified air.

Next Week … At Nell Hill’s we have a blast styling displays in bookcases. I’ll share our favorite tips for creating sensational displays in your bookcases at home.

P.S. Don’t miss a bit of Nell Hill’s news – stay up to date on my favorite finds, new arrivals at the stores and all our special events by checking the Nell Hill’s Facebook page every day. You don’t have to have a Facebook page yourself to look in on the fun, but if you’re already on Facebook, “like” us today!

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24 Responses to “3 Tips for Spicing up Your Kitchen”

  1. Mary W. Says:

    In the 1960′s my Aunt Peggy’s kitchen was orange and turquoise. Her cabinets were turquoise. That woman had style. She lived in the palace of the Czar before the revolution.

  2. Debbie H Says:

    I love getting your tips! I wish you were closer but that might be disasterous to my budget! I love so much of what I see in your photos. I have given your links to my classmates because we have to do a presentation using your business as our case study. It is in our Small Business Management textbook. I am an older nontraditional college student and own a home, unlike many of my fellow team members. Look forward to purchasing some things online! Can I send some photos to get suggestions?

  3. Jennifer Wallace Says:

    I am needing help with a wall in my kitchen for an art display. I like the pears and apples you have on your online shop. Could someone help me arrange an art wall with plates, art prints, etc. if I send a picture of the wall? I am coming to Nell Hill’s in April and could pick some things up then too, as well as order online.

    Thank you!

  4. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Debbie—Thank you for linking us to other classmates. The best way to deal with your photos is for you to bring them in the store to look at and discuss. If you are unable to do that just call 877-746-4320 for design help.

  5. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Jennifer–The best way for us to deal with a wall art display is for you to bring your items in the store. If you need to talk with someone before you come in April-just call 877-746-4320 for help.

  6. Pat K Says:

    Hello, Love the blog. Can you expound on the beautiful ,subtle, roman-like shade for the kitchen? Is this something that can be made? Purchased? Resources? Let me know I am deciding between upholstered wood valances or something like shown… Thanks much for the inspiration! pk

  7. Laurie Says:

    Your posts are the highlight of my week. A year ago I was 20 miles from the store. Now I am 820 miles from the store (Atchison). I miss my regular visits to the store with my best friend almost as much as I miss my best friend. Your posts make me feel a little less homesick. Thank you.

  8. Jan Says:

    Ohhhhh! I love paisley… especially the teal and raspberry! Can it be purchased at Nell Hill’s?

  9. Pat in Paola Says:

    Also love the paisley in the roman shade and my windows need a lift. Is the one pictured custom made at the store or is the fabric available at the store?

  10. Ana Says:

    Lovely post with a lot of good and useful ideas! You are so creative! Blessings!

  11. vicky berry Says:

    I’m also crazy about the paisley fabric used for your window treatment in the kitchen! Any chance you carry it?

    As always, you are the best! Thanks for sharing your talent with the world!

  12. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Ladies, Pat K., Jan, Pat and Vicki—We have the fabric you are inquiring about at our Nell Hill’s Briarcliff store. It is called Dvinsky Cinnabar and sells for $39.00/yard. Call 877-746-4320 for more details.

  13. Jeanne Staves Says:

    This is getting ridiculous! I have a huge, printed stack of your monthly blogs & can’t bear to toss any of them! Have you considered publishing a book of these? I have 2 of your books & they are wonderful, but these little tidbits every month are the just delightful. The idea of making just a few changes to create an entirely new look is most appealing. Please do consider putting them into a publication. That will be another thing your customers can’t leave the store without! Thank you.

  14. Teddee Grace Says:

    This was a particularly enjoyable and inspiring post. Thanks. Teddee

  15. Marilyn Taylor Says:

    I love the old planter that you are using for storage. I would like to get one like it. Do you know where there is one I can buy? If so how much would it cost? You really come up with good ideas.

  16. Becky Says:

    Is the light fixture with the metal shades (first photo) available at Nell Hills?

  17. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    Love the kitchen …. Period !!! All the years walking through your kitchen, Mary carrol… Tons of people wou,d find ourselves crammed in your kitchen …. Fabulous place to be !!! … Will there be a spring tour ?

  18. Jean Driskell Says:

    I love red so I hung a queen sized quilt on my kitchen wall. It has many colors in it but the main color is red. I have a matching rug under the kitchen table. My cabinets are a cream color with black accents in the kitchen island and tall wicker cabinet. The tiles on my back splash are cream and black.

  19. Jan Says:

    So excited! I was in your store today and bought 4 yards of the Dvinsky Cinnabar. It’s going to make one MARVELOUS tufted headboard for my guest room…and of course I bought extra for pillows. Now I just need to figure out what color to paint the walls………….

  20. Mary Carol Says:

    Marilyn—I bought that planter years ago—it is a very old vintage piece, and I love it! Keep your eyes open in your shopping travels.

  21. Mary Carol Says:

    Becky—The light fixture is available for order at Nell Hill’s. Just call 877-746-4320 for more details.

  22. Mary Carol Says:

    Robin—There absolutely will be a spring tour in Atchison, KS. May 11th (one day only). Come bring your friend or your Mom and celebrate with us—10-4.

  23. Mary Carol Says:

    Jan–In our line of paints I think the ‘Winter Wheat’ would be nice—it wouldn’t fight with your beautiful pattern in the fabric.

  24. Susan Says:

    Is the Ranjani fabric available to purchase through one of the stores? Also, the Sudane zebra (camel)? I would have to call and purchase, I am in Georgia!

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