5 Kitchen design rules to get style out of function (from Design and Style)

No other room in the house is more specifically designed for practical purposes than the kitchen. With all the necessary functions to cram in, style can often take a backseat when it comes to kitchen design choices, but there?s still plenty you can do.

1. Gadgets for style, not just function

Modern kitchens are great for gadgets and home stores are full of superfluous bits and bobs, all over-designed to make your life easier. The majority of these devices though are rather gimmicky and fall short of adding anything to your kitchen in terms of style.

Don?t worry too much about the elaborate cork-screws, the flashy knife blocks or the kitsch bottle racks. Instead spend your time looking at the more subtle gadgets that come up with new inventive ways to use your kitchen space.

Some of these can be very simple and the best ones are just about putting a new perspective on standard features. Look for cleverly stacked drawers, designed to rethink the way you store your cups and plates; mini dishwashers, which complement single living; and electric glass-top hobs that become seamless parts of a sideboard. These are the gadgets that make up the fabric of your kitchen, rather than the gadgets that just clutter things up. It?s about combining the cleverness with the style, not compromising on one for the other.

2. Go bright

The kitchen is the perfect place to let color shine out and it?s currently rather fashionable to go citrus with your color scheme. Bright yellows, greens and oranges look good in a kitchen because they have a fresh feel. That?s basically because the kitchen is the ideal place to conjure up a foody, fruity feeling. While you don?t want to overdo the color by plastering everything with different shades of red, it can be really effective to use splashes of color on your kitchen accessories in order to get a consistent design theme and let different elements of your kitchen stand out.

A simple approach to using color in the kitchen is to keep your sideboards and walls neutral and then adorn them with a few bright tiles and accessories. Kettles, teapots, coffee jars and utensils can all come in nice bright colors and can compliment your fresh colorful kitchen theme.

3. Match it up

A lot of kitchen equipment will clutter up your sides and can make the kitchen seem like a complicated, busy place. So, while it seems obvious, it?s really important to draw everything together and simplify the space. Match things up as best you can; if you go for a chrome kettle, you should probably get a similar looking toaster too. The same goes for your plates, cutlery and utensils.

The reason for this is basically that a kitchen shouldn?t feel chaotic, it needs to have as much order and structure as possible to keep it functional, and this should be a visual thing as well as a practical one. You want to be able to find things easily, to know where everything is, and for others to know where things are too. A messy kitchen is no good, so having uniform features is a basic style choice when it comes to kitchens. Not only should you go for a consistent color scheme, but the lines and shapes of your kitchen should go together too. Try not to mix old with modern, and try not to mix natural with synthetic either. Leave your eclectic tastes to areas where you eat the food rather than where you prepare it.

4. Overt and covert kitchens

In a room as practical as a kitchen, your stylish features should be ones that show that vital kitchen functionality in a unique or clever way. There?re two sides to this aesthetic coin: The overt and the covert. Either draw attention to the stylish functional features and detail, or cleverly hide them away to improve the overall look.

A good example is kitchen bins, which can easily be built into a discreet kitchen cupboard. Other white goods, like washing machines, dishwashers and fridges can also be hidden away ? but if you?ve got a designer, free-standing fridge you will want to show it off, and draw attention to it. Similarly, coffee machines or any form of stylish tool for food preparation could also be on display. The most stylish features of your kitchen will be the ones that show off your culinary skills (even if you don?t have them). Stainless steel pasta makers, stylish bread bins, and high quality casserole dishes could all be things that look good on display. In contrast plastic bread makers, juicers and fryers would be better stored away.

5. Tailor by your taste

Designing a kitchen that matches your tastes in cooking is a great way to keep your kitchen stylish while showing off your personality. If you like to cook solid, earthy and natural food you might want to accessorise your kitchen with a more rustic farmhouse feel. Go for natural materials, wooden sides and furniture with some aged iron kitchen tools as decorations. If you like sharp, clean, nouveau cuisine or oriental cooking, go for rich dark marble sideboards and clean stainless steel accessories with splashes of lime green. A trendy approach is to deck your kitchen out like a caf?. A French boulangerie, for instance, is almost iconic in look and styling your kitchen with rural France in mind will help keep your colour schemes and furniture all on the same page.