Ways to freshen up your Kitchen

After the last 18 months, if your home is anything like mine, the Kitchen is no longer just a room you cook in! No, we cook in it, we eat in it, my daughter does school work in it, my husband works in it ( I think he likes being close to the fridge 😉) and I hold business meetings and zoom calls in it. And thats just during the week! Fridays often host Kitchen Disco, and hopefully in the coming months we’ll get back to entertaining our friends and family and socialising in it again. So, I figured you might be interested in ways to freshen up your kitchen and perhaps show it some love and give it a new lease of life!

So here is my advice on ways to freshen up your Kitchen.

Kitchen Units

First things first, the main body of the Kitchen is the units/cabinetry themselves. Have a good look at them – do they need a new fresh lease of life? If so spray-painting the cabinet doors may be a good option. Spray painting (by a proffessional) gives a far cleaner and hardwearing finish. When thinking of a colour for the units, I would personally err on the side of caution, and go for a classic timeless colour. Such as Whites, Duck Egg, Soft greens, and pale grays. It is always far easier to add strength of colour and personality in different areas – which can, as trends fade, be changed far more easily, than the cabinets themselves. Another way of sprucing up old cabinetry is to change the handles – a small thing that can often make a huge difference.

Have a look at number71by_the_bay to see the before image.


In terms of decorating  – a relatively quick way to freshen up a room,  I would encourage people to look at Wallpapers in a kitchen – specifically vinyl wallpapers. The reason for this is their practicality and as a way of injecting some personality, pattern, softness and warmth into what is otherwise a space full of hard surfaces. Vinyl wallpapers are great to wipe down, and if you get one with a pattern, they also hide a multitude of sins in terms of any marks and scrapes that can’t be wiped away.

This Arte wallpaper in the image below, has my black table up against it and 2 chairs either end. Prior to putting this wallpaper up, it was just painted, and literally every mark and scuff showed. Now, you only see the crazy monkeys  and toucans, and it literally makes me smile everyday!

It can also be the link between different colours and surfaces. The above paper ties in my matt white and pale timber units with the Black furniture.

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If you are not brave enough to wallpaper, or there just isn’t a wall for it, and Paint is the only answer, firstly make sure it is a Kitchen paint. These are produced to be far more wipeable and deal with the steam and grease that are in the air in a kitchen. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your paint choice. Consider going for darker muted shades, and making your kitchen more atmospheric? (Lighting would need to be considered in this case). It’s amazing how a lick of paint can easily freshen up your kitchen and along with a few new accessories, give it a different feeling.


I am currently loving mirror as a splashback! Firstly it doubles the size of your room. Secondly, it is (despite what people automatically think) so much easier to keep clean than tiles and all those grout lines! And its inexpensive!! It also comes in a variety of finishes, from plain to smoked, to antiqued. So again a relatively easy way to give your Kitchen a re-fresh!

If tiling though, I would encourage going for a darker grout colour – this not only adds a nice detail to your tiles, but again doesn’t age as badly as white. I love a good old metro/subway tile. For me they are a bit of a classic, inexpensive and you can always use them in a herringbone pattern to give them a more modern twist.

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Window Treatments

If you have a window in the kitchen, always think practical first. Personally I wouldn’t put venetian blinds in a kitchen. Not only are they dust collectors at the best of time, but add a steamy, greasy atmosphere into the mix, and cleaning will be a nightmare. This is perhaps another area whereby you can add some colour or pattern.

I always like pelmets with either Roman blinds (to add softness), or Roller blinds. Again, like with the wallpaper, use the blinds or Curtains if you have a suitable window, to be the link between the other items that are going on in the room. Perhaps, you love to have a red toaster or kettle as an accent? Well you could pick this up in a trim on the edge of your drapes or pelmet.

This blind really adds a wow, and is perfectly set off against the darker paint.
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One of the most important things to consider in a Kitchen is Lighting. It is a space where you need task lighting most of the time. However these days, our Kitchens aren’t just where we cook or prepare our meals. Maybe we eat in them, or socialise in them, and more recently we  work in them. Therefore it is so important that you get your lighting right. And getting it right can totally transform your Kitchen.

I would advise you have 3-4 lighting circuits. 1. For bright overhead lighting, say downlighters. 2. Under cabinet lighting – to give real task lighting to your counter – tops. Your body is often between the light from the downlighter and your worktop causing shadows. 3. Ambient Lighting – so perhaps some dimmable lighting, maybe pendant lights over the dining table or Island. 4. Also don’t be afraid to use table lamps in your kitchen. These can add gorgeous pools of light, perhaps highlighting potted herbs or a a collection of ceramic dishes? And if you don’t have enough sockets for them, these days you can get some great battery operated lamps!

@abigailahern illustrating how table lamps in a kitchen add these beautiful pools of lighting, helping to set the ambience.


Adding some shelving to your walls, is a great way to either add extra storage, or give you an area you can dress and style, with books, artwork, plants, and lighting.

Adding some styled, and accessorised areas help to soften the space and make it far more welcoming and a more appealing place to spend time.

I have a Gallery wall in my own Kitchen. Its a random mix of quotes, photo’s, drawings of mine and my daughters, and artwork that mean something to my family. The subject matter is different, but the thread that holds it all together is the colour palette of framing – black, white or oak. I like to think of it as a slightly more stylised version of the fridge door with magnets holding up our family paper treasures!

If this has given you inspiration, please follow me on social media for more design ideas and check out the following Instagram pages for more.

My Instagram: @tracysifaouidesign
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