Eclectic Kitchens: How to Make Them Work

When considering the interior design of your eclectic kitchen it’s important to keep a few things in mind to prevent the space from becoming a chaotic cluster.

By Christina Best

 

If you’re anything like me, you dream of a home kitchen that has been meticulously designed: functionality and artistic flair uniting in a space that welcomes conversation while chopping carrots and baking goods. But home-buying is the delicate art of balancing needs and wants with location, availability, and price range. Often our daydreams of the perfect kitchen quickly dissipate when faced with the reality of the current kitchen we decided we could tolerate for a few years.

 

So, what to should you do if you’ve landed yourself in an eclectic kitchen? One where the galley walls seem a little too close for comfort, the patterned tile flooring over old asbestos laminate doesn’t match any of your appliances, and the rustic wooden cabinets compete for attention with too-modern lighting? When considering options for a kitchen with an overwhelming diversity in design, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

 

Functionality

Functionality is the most significant aspect of any kitchen. While you’re considering your options for a redesign, consider how accessible your frequently-used items are. Especially in a small space or one with an usual layout, ask yourself, “Are the locations of my frequently-used items logical?” For example, are pots and pans conveniently located near the stove? Is tableware and flatware located appropriately for easy place setting? Are there outlets readily accessible near the location of smaller appliances (i.e. coffee machine, toaster, indoor grill, blender)? Is there enough counter space to prepare food comfortably?

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

Decide on the most convenient, logical, and appropriate locations for kitchen wares before doing anything else. Prioritizing functionality in the kitchen allows the owner of an eclectic kitchen to have a starting point for a redesign.

 

Coordinating Artistic Expressions

Once you’ve decided where you want what in your kitchen, begin considering colors, textures, shapes, and patterns that are unalterable in your space. Perhaps the tile floor is black and white, laid out in a checkered pattern, but you don’t want your kitchen to have the vibe of a 1950s soda fountain. It helps to know what you do and don’t want when addressing an issue like this. You might decide to stay away from red vinyl bar-stools or the color red in general, and choose softer pastel colors in order to avoid the ambience of a soda fountain. If you have lots of a color or a pattern like this, embrace it and add other elements to your kitchen that will direct the space towards the tone you prefer.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

Consider replacing just cabinet doors, painting the cabinets, or updating the handles and knobs to match the look you’re going for. You might also choose to strategically remove doors to a cabinet, leaving the shelves open. Consider painting or wallpapering the inside of an open cabinet to coordinate with the flooring for a cohesive focal point.

 

Perhaps you are haunted by poor decisions on a past registry. For example, you’re stuck with a vibrantly colored mixer in your now-pastel kitchen. If you’d prefer not to replace smaller expensive appliances, but can’t stand to see them in plain sight, look for storage options near where you would often use the appliance. Flexibility is the key here. Consider installing a lift for your mixer inside a lower cabinet, which keeps it out of sight except when in use.

 

Untraditional Alternatives

Most of us are used to a certain style or standard in the kitchen. When trying to coordinate several stylistically different elements in the same kitchen, it’s helpful to think outside of your own box and think about using non-typical alternatives.

 

Consider the following options:

– A compact under-the-counter refrigerator to free up countertop space.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

– Open shelving to make the kitchen seem lighter and larger.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

– A separate oven and range if there is no good place for a combination unit.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

– A large kitchen rug with strategic colors or patterns to tie together a hodgepodge of other kitchen fixtures.

 

– Unique light fixtures that correlate with your overall kitchen theme.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

– Displaying artwork in a series to tie together the space.

 

Visualize Your Options

Have a budding idea of how to redesign? Take the time to visit some model kitchens at a big box store or local shops.

 

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Photo by dreamstime

 

And of course, you could always try out different design options in House Tipster’s virtual rooms.