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Mehydene’s new kitchen was ready to use in a matter of months and yet the room is still coming together, she says – she’s hunting for the perfect armchair or sofa, and there’s more space on the walls for pictures. 

“It’s a mistake to try to do it all at once,” agrees Bergman. “Not only is it daunting and expensive, but if you build up gradually, and only include pieces that truly mean something to you, the end result will be so much more than the sum of its parts.” 

Even Plain English, a company that regularly sells kitchens with six-figure price tags, is encouraging clients to scour antiques markets for dressers before placing an order for a new one. “Mixing up the old and the new saves so much money and leaves you with a room that looks more striking,” ­Bergman says.

If you’re eager to get started, however, there are certain objects that bring instant character to a room, says Hutchinson. Round dining tables with a rug beneath, for example, well-worn armchairs and free-standing cabinets. “I’ve painted two of them – one for toys and one for cookery books,” she says. 

If you’re on a budget, updating dining chairs with new cushions, repainting a cabinet in a glossy red, or hanging framed posters, vintage postcards or your children’s best artworks will add warmth and personality.

And if one day you wake up and decide you no longer like the look of your kitchen, you can simply repaint, switch your rugs and paintings, and buy a different toaster. “It’s only natural that your tastes and influences change over time,” Bergman says. “But remember that your kitchen can evolve with you, too.”

11 simple steps to a loose-fit kitchen

Stay away from symmetry

Aim instead for a balanced room, without all your furniture on one side, says Bergman. If your vintage corner cupboard and drawers don’t match, relax. “Once they have been painted in a warm colour, your eye will be drawn to other aspects of the room.”

Wood is warmer

If you’re replacing surfaces, lean towards wood – not only is it more sustainable and cheaper than granite but it looks better with age, says Hills. Retrouvius sells reclaimed wood surfaces that aren’t necessarily cheaper than new but are usually good quality.

Green your sills

House plants are still having their moment and an attractive planter potted with bulbs you have grown will add personality, says Hutchinson. “I’m into geraniums in big pots by the window.” The cheat’s option is to order a basket of potted Paperwhites (£32.95, Sarah Raven). 

No shame in plugs

Plug in some lower lights rather than wiring in spots and under-counter lighting, says Hills. Hutchinson likes to put lamps on the worktop – practical and pretty – while Hills suggests Anglepoise-type lamps. Retrouvius is selling restored Herbert Terry anglepoise lamps in green, yellow and chrome for £295.

Curated not cluttered

Paintings, sculptures and books will add personality, particularly if they have sentimental value, says Mehydene. For affordable artworks, see Partnership Editions. Suss has decorated her kitchen with framed art by her children. Be discerning, warns Hutchinson: “It should feel put together, not cluttered.”

Big features

Fireplaces and panelling had no place in the modern kitchen but designers are now making a virtue of them, Bergman says. “They bring texture and character.” If yours doesn’t have period features, invest in salvaged mouldings and fireplaces.

Knobs and whistles

Forget handleless doors, interior designers such as Nicola Harding are adorning cupboards with salvaged vintage handles. See Authentic Reclamation, Etsy and eBay for vintage brass, bronze and porcelain knobs.

Accept that it’s a kitchen

There’s nothing wrong with having your blender or toaster on display – it is, after all, a kitchen, says Suss. Don’t feel the need to hide your mugs. And there’s no shame in freestanding white goods, adds Hutchinson. For more aesthetic options than a white box, head to Fisher & Paykel

Frills and pelmets 

Curtains and cushions are another quick way to soften the look of your kitchen, though make sure they are washable and robust enough for everyday wear. Suss recommends covering cushions, armchairs and sofas in outdoor fabrics that are mildew and mould resistant. “This way, if you want to use them outside in the summer, you can,” she says. 

Meanwhile, Mehydene has a range of ruffled gingham cushions on her website, made in collaboration with interior doesn’t studio Salvesen Graham (from £75, Edit58). 

Style your sink

Why buy a new sink when every reclamation yard in the country stocks a vintage Belfast? Brighten up your sink area with attractive ceramic jugs and jars for brushes and cloths, says Hutchinson, and a soap dish. “Try to think out of the box rather than investing in purpose-built plastic containers,” she says. 

See Bower Collective for washing up liquid in reusable dispensers, Rose Uniacke for milk jugs, and Matilda Goad for clam shell soap dishes.

Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/interiors/home/new-style-kitchen-upmarket-home/

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