At this time of year, our kitchens can take a bit of a battering. Between the oven overloads for big roast dinners and the extra mouths to feed over the festivities, people still tend to gravitate to the kitchen at parties, and so we shouldn’t neglect what’s often referred to as the heart of the home.
If you’re looking to invest in a kitchen redesign, there are experts on hand locally and you can always pop into the Wee Kitchen Shop for inspiration and expertise. Or, if your budget is tight or you’re feeling creative, there are plenty of great ways to make a big difference on a small output.
Start with a clear out. Do you actually know how to use half the gadgets you have? When was that juicer honestly last used? Go through all the tins and jars and check the dates on the stuff at the back. And have your plates and cups seen better days? Clear the decks so you can see the space freely. Make sure not to waste anything. Odds and ends can go to charity shops, or sentimental bits and bobs can be made into something beautiful. We have a mish mash of mugs that have chipped and cracked over the years, but mugs are something we always buy each other in our family, so I can’t bear to throw them out as they all have stories attached – my current project is making a mosaic creation from the bits of broken crockery. This would work well around a picture frame or mirror for a simple statement in your refreshed room. We also have a huge big gravy boat which is really colourful but I’d rather look at it than use it, so this is now pride of place on top of the cupboards with a plant now living happily inside. Or put up a little shelf just for herbs, paint it brightly and use your old cups and mugs to house your basil and sage pots, great to keep your favourite bits on view and handy for keeping some fresh herbs close to where you’re stirring the pot or brewing a mint tea.
Another craft I love just now is glass painting. I had a host of old glass bottles and storage jars that I’ve now painted in multicolours and filled up with stones and fairy lights as eye-catching book ends. Great on either side of your recipe books covered in colourful fruit and veg, or painted with stars and rainbows as a nightlight for little ones. The recipe books are another world of creative opportunity. For years I struggled to resist buying them and I have a ridiculous hoard of books that I will likely never refer to so I plan to use them to paper a feature wall in a future kichen refresh.
So once you’ve cleared away all the extraneous matter, give everything a good old scrub and see what state it’s in. Try and look with a fresh eye to identify the weak spots. It might be the most random of changes that make the biggest impact, for example, have the years of teabags taken their toll on your sink? Fresh taps and replacement sink can make a huge difference for relatively small outgoing. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to replace some kitchen piping to keep everything free flowing.
If you have wooden units, you can do a lot with them. A lick of paint can totally transform your room, and a colour change on the walls can make a huge difference. Go bold and steer clear of traditional muted kitchen colours to have some fun with it. Hot pink cupboards look great with white walls and candy stripe accessories. Or stick to white and natural wood for the units and opt for a dark navy wall. Red and green are brilliant in a kitchen, or find a vibrant patterned washable wallpaper. Don’t embark on the door painting lightly though – I speak from experience in saying that this can be a bigger job than it might first seem so consider getting help to do it, or replacing the units, or simply focusing on one large item, a central kitchen table for example or an island unit that can bring the room to life without taking you, and your kitchen out of action for too long. Or, you can commission a local artisan to make you something for this purpose, or take your kitchen chairs to Up on Dumbarton Road and see what magic they can work with them.
Then you can use your crockery and accessories to make style statements, as well as holding your Sunday roast. Treat yourself to a proper full set of matching dinnerware, and have it out on display, and easily to hand. And do you have a full set of glasses for people visiting? We never seem to have more than two the same of anything, but a small investment in kitting your kitchen out properly will be well worth it over the festivities and through the winter season when we’re hosting at home much more.
The home is where the heart is, and the kitchen is the heart of the home, so let’s show it some love this season.