The choosing of equipment, planning and technical arrangements are all undoubtedly important aspects of kitchen design. What follows is, however, to many of us the most interesting element; decoration. It is also the most difficult to get right. You will realize that although have tried to avoid laying down hard and fast rules about equipment, planning and so on, there are certain basic precepts to be followed which, allied with a dash of normal common sense, will guard you against glaring errors in these areas.
The same does not apply when it comes to style and decoration, for here instinct and taste; both indefinable and elusive qualities, come into the picture. Lack of them can sorely affect results. Most of the people who designed the kitchens illustrated in this website – by no means all of them professional designers – have both style and taste in large measure and for that reason their ideas are well worth studying, emulating and even, if they will forgive me for suggesting it, copying.
Not copying in toto, though, for every room must have an element of its owners if it is to be a complete success – indications of their likes, evidence of their lifestyle, and examples ofthe sort of decorative objects they have chosen and bought. The decoration of a kitchen needs as much thought as does choosing the equipment. By that l mean overall thought, for it is pointless to choose various items such as wallpaper, floor covering and paint colour (however well they match and complement each other) if they do not work towards reaching some overall effect.
For kitchen decoration, even more than the decoration of most other rooms, falls into several different styles, and every element in the room should be contributing to the style if a harmonious effect is going to be achieved. Once you are aware of that fact, incipient sterility (for that is the danger) can be avoided by the addition of all the idiosyncratic odds and ends which most of us own and love. But the basic scheme and style should still shinethrough strong and clear. I have deliberately not mentioned fashion. ln kitchen design, as in most other things now, fashion is a free-for-all. Though each decade has had a particularly strong influence at work – rows of built-in cupboards in the sixties, scrubbed pine and quarry tiles inthe seventies, and a fragile movement towards high tech in the eighties each and every one of these movements can be adapted and, handled well, look just as stylish and up- to – date kitchen furniture as the next. The kind of kitchen you choose will probably reflect the way you have decorated and chosen the rest ofyour house and will give a clue as to the sort of person (or family) you are. In case you are suffering from an identity crisis, here are general descriptions of some of the most potent types of decoration you could aim for.
Slick and modern
This is the sort of kitchen many of the manufacturers of kitchen equipment think they are illustrating in their advertisements. This was certainly so a few years back, when such illustrations had a waIl-to-wall sweep of cupboards, topped by a gleaming plastic work surface, where hard tiles lined the walls and probably the floors, and where there was not an open shelf, unnecessary object or unchromed piece of equipment in sight. That is not what l mean by slick and modern, and I certainly use the phrase in no peiorative sense. It describes a kitchen where the units are beautifully made (sometimes, though not essentially, specially designed and custom-built), with exceptionally good-quality surfaces, solid wood, granite or top-quality laminate for instance, and where the details are so refined and perfect as to be virtually invisible.