Ten Insider Tips To Get A Designer Kitchen Look

So, if you've found yourself here, I know that you are aiming to create that interior designer look for yourself.
So without further ado, here are my 10 ways to cheat an interior designer kitchen, without actually hiring one!

ONE. Clear The Clutter

My first tip is pretty straight-forward – and free!
How many clutter-filled kitchens do you see on Pinterest and Instagram every day? Exactly!
Now I know living in an Insta-home is not practical, but starting your brand new kitchen design with a major clear-out will help you to de-clutter your storage and keep work surfaces clear. During the planning stage, remember to allocate an area for all those small appliances you would usually keep on your worktop, like your juicer, processor and coffee maker, if you can create an accessible but hidden nook - all the better.
Another clever way of clearing worktop clutter, is to invest in a boiling water tap and lose the kettle.

Instaworthy uncluttered counter tops by vosgesparis.com

TWO. Luxe-out On Your Worktops

Worktops are one of the items you want to get spot-on, not only are they the most prominent, visible surface, but they have to be practical too.
If the budget allows, I will always recommend a hard-working natural material. Some require more upkeep than others, but a tactile natural worktop will always add something special to a kitchen.
There is a vast array of marble, granite, stone, composite and concrete worktops available at a range of price points, and recently I'm finding that the faux versions are becoming so good that they are becoming more and more difficult to distinguish from the real thing.

A thick marble or granite worktop always adds a luxurious finish, but of course this comes at a huge cost, an absolutely great way to fake the chunky worktop look and to cut your costs in half, is to ask your kitchen fitter or worktop supplier for a 'mitered book-matched edge'. It's when a thinner worktop is cut and almost seamlessly joined together at the corners, giving the illusion of a thicker slab. Make sure to let them know if you want the marble’s veining to continue seamlessly from the edge of the surface down the side, as this will give you that realistic look of a thick worktop.

And if your budget is extra healthy, you could go all the way and waterfall and book match an entire kitchen island, as Blakes London have done in the image below to stunning effect.

An island with impact! Kitchen by Blakes London via Mad About The House

THREE. Banish boring Brassware

I think chrome is absolutely fine, and there are so many stylish chrome options to chose from, It all depends on the feel you are trying to achieve, but in a modern or contemporary interior, I do find chrome quite cold. I much prefer using something unusual like warmer oil-rubbed bronze, copper, pewter and brass in all its glorious forms. These alternative metals are admittedly more expensive because they are not as common and easy to produce as chrome, but I think the extra spend is worth it. If your budget doesn't extend to these alternatives, a matte black option may be a more cost effective, but still an unusual choice.
I've recently written a post on this subject here including the beautiful ranges by The Watermark Collection.

Brooklyn range brassware by The Watermark Collection. Image: Heirloom Studio.jpg

FOUR. Match you metals

As we're on the subject of metals, this is a good tip to follow on with. Match as many of your metals as possible. Brands are quickly catching up with the move away from chrome, but most ranges still only offer chrome or stainless steel, so it can be tricky to closely match all your metallic details in the kitchen.

If you keep to the same metals, your kitchen details will appear thought-out and considered. For example, if you have found a brass tap that you love, source brass handles for your cabinets and doors as well. Appliances with brass detailing are very difficult to find, so perhaps match appliances with your cabinets instead, or find options where the stainless steel is not too prominent.
Unless well- planned, randomly mixed metals can look haphazard. A harmonious metallic palette screams
designer finish.

Match your metals for s designer finish. Image: via Pinterest

FIVE. Light It Like A Designer

A carefully thought-out lighting plan will definitely add sophistication to your kitchen. Interior designers plan and combine all elements, seen and unseen, to create a certain experience when entering a room and lighting has a huge part to play in this.

The kitchen is a particularly tricky room to get right because it serves so many functions – especially an open plan space. You'll need practical and sensible task lighting (like spots lights), statement lighting, and dimmable mood lighting. Fight with all your might the spotlight grid which looks likes an airport runway! Instead aim to light particular surfaces and features.

A few tips:

  • Place spotlights over worktop areas where task lighting is needed – above the hob, cooking and sink areas.
  • Directional spotlights or hidden LED strips are great for lighting features like exposed brick, tile or shelving.
  • Statement lighting or low hanging pendants always look good above an island or dining table, if you have particularly attractive pendants, place a spot light in the ceiling above to accentuate the top of the pendant.
  • When lighting a dining table (particularly with spots), make sure the light falls on the table itself, just in front ofguests (not on the top of their heads) as this is a lot more flattering, practical and intimate when dimmed.

Well planned lighting adds function, style and atmosphere.

SIX. Make Your Appliances Disappear

Appliance manufacturers are quickly cottoning on to the fact that we want more design-led spaces, and are responding with smarter, more streamlined appliances in a wider range of finishes and prices.

If you already have a one or two stand-out items in your kitchen – a statement island, or dramatic worktops, for example – consider having your appliances fade into the background by matching them with your cabinetry, black, greys and white work really well as appliances are usually easily found in those colours.

Grey Gaggenau appliance blend perfectly into the cabinets, letting the natural wood take centre stage. Image: Garde Hvalsøe

SEVEN. Replace High Cabinets With A Statement Feature

I touched on this in the main blog post and just wanted to elaborate here as there are so many great ways to make a bold statement on the walls to really get a designer look.

  • Tile is a top choice – and the choices are endless! There are some absolutely stunning tiles out there at various price points, and if you want to keep it budget friendly, plain white geometric tiles laid in a creative way, will achieve a very similar effect to a more expensive option.
  • Another option is to continue marble, stone of granite worktops up the wall as a splashback, without the wall cabinets providing a natural finishing line however, this look will really benefit from adding a ledge or an open shelf above, to add an obvious finishing point for the eye, but also an opportunity to display some beautiful objects.
  • Exposed brick adds instant cool – and it doesn't even have to be the real thing. Get a a good builder to install brick slips, which are real brick 'slices' and you'll get the look without the effort of creating the real thing. Not only does exposed brick adds warmth to a modern kitchen, but is also looks stunning when it is well lit, and adds much needed texture.
  • If you are embarking on a major renovation, losing the wall cabinets may even provide you with the opportunity of a 'splashback window'. A strategically placed horizontal window will add an unusual designer feature.

Beautiful tiles will make an eye-catching splashback display. Image: Domus New Terracotta

Adding a shelf at the top of a splashback will add an opportunity to display pretty objects.

A strategically placed 'splashback window' is a striking feature to add. Image: 9point9 Architects

EIGHT. Mix Natural Materials

If you're after a stylish and timeless modern look, this is my absolute top tip. Choosing gorgeous natural woods and stone will help you to avoid the trends and create a kitchen that will look stylish for years to come. Add some metals into the mix, and you're set. Choose materials like textured wood and untreated brass, and you'll make life even easier, as they will look even more beautiful as the wear-in and age.

Natural materials are hard wearing and timeless. Image: Remodelista

NINE. Add Architectural Details

If you are planning a major renovation or kitchen extension, I would highly recommend a session with an architect. They will be able to give you all sorts of great ideas for stand-out architectural details that you may not have considered. Adding details like roof lights, picture windows, window seats, beams or Crittall-style dividers will give your new designer kitchen a much-needed focal point.

If you have the opportunity, add or restore stand-out architectural details. Image: Amara

Roof lights and architectural glass will add individuality to your kitchen. Image: House to Home

TEN: Add Personality

It's time to add those things that make your kitchen yours. A kitchen with all the modern conveniences is great, but warm personal touches never go unnoticed. Add artwork and objects that mean something to you. A rustic dining table or some heirloom chairs will add a welcoming feel to a modern kitchen.

Rugs, plants and vintage chairs will all add personality to a modern kitchen. Image: via Rock my Style by Adam Crohill

Leather, a sheepskin and a cushion add instant warmth to this nook.Image: Auhaus