my cool kitchen

Top 15 Tips From My Cool Kitchen Book For The Heart Of The Home

Make It Yours

Injecting some of your personality and character into the space is key.
Abigail Ahearn, the style maven whose kitchen we feature in the book describes it as ‘the room we forget to decorate’ – very true words.

Inspire Yourself

Pull out a few of your recipe books from the shelf to rest on a counter, add a small vase of flowers and a candle – bring in lamps and items from the rest of the house -create atmosphere wherever you can.

Use Colour

An Australian artist dressed his kitchen walls with paintings and hand-painted stripes on the walls around the paintings – it sounds nuts, but looks great and is totally his style – think about what your own vibe might be and give it a go.

Think ‘Appliances’

Canadian interior designer Jean Hannotte needed to give her kitchen an inexpensive renovate – her trick was to keep all the appliances, wiring and utilities all in the same place and re-face the walls with plywood sheets – it looks modern, a simple take on pioneer chic.

Key Focal Points

Don’t feel that the kitchen units have to tell the whole story. Keep them simple, as ‘supporting artists’ rather than lead players. Direct the eye to what you want it to look at, a great view out of the window, chairs in a great colour or a lovely rug.

Be Careful With Practical

A rather prosaic but key point. Bottles of washing up liquid and rubber gloves really don’t look all that or make you feel good. If you can keep them in the cupboard under the sink then please do, or failing that, find another way to make them look good.

Treat Your Kitchen As A Room

I feel that kitchens work best when they are treated as rooms, rather than a clinical setting. The only exception is if you have a crazy visually busy house and in that case it works well to go for a simple minimal space.


Hold back from automatically ripping out the old stuff. There are kitchens in the book that despite being 20 years old still look great. One that has been decorated by 3 different generations of the same family, and another where the glass-fronted kitchen dresser cabinets from the 1920’s were removed but instead of being thrown out were used as storage for plates and glassware in the adjoining room. Please don’t feel for a minute that all this costs. You probably already have what you need elsewhere in your house. It’s just a matter of finding it.

The Heart Of The Home

Make your kitchen more than a functional space, into a place where you enjoy being able to spend time and enjoy being in the heart of your home.

Still Life

Arrange the items in pleasing still life compositions. Stack plates and mugs neatly, add a jug that is an interesting shape, even add food that is in packaging that is of a good design – doing that costs nothing and looks fantastic.

Play Around With Heights

I find that creating different heights in a kitchen works a treat… stand a tall lamp or a plant on a counter, hang a ceiling light low – any ideas that help to break up the two horizontal lines of the countertop and wall units.

A Tiny Kitchen Can Still Be A Great Kitchen

Don’t feel that if your kitchen is absolutely tiny that you can’t do anything – Barry Jacksons Hive Haus kitchen is literally in a cupboard. It’s use of simple lines and lovely colour make you gasp when the doors are opened up.

Focus On Light

If you have a room with dark corners increase the light by adding mirrors wherever you can.

Be Frugal

Upcycle and recycle different items by hunting the Internet, visiting antique and vintage stores, charity shops and car boot sales.


If something isn’t in the right colour find a chalk paint (such as Annie Sloan or Farrow and Ball) that you love to give it a distressed look and finish it off by adding a high-quality wax finish. Such items look perfect in a creative and highly used kitchen space.

my cool kitchen book by

Jane Field-Lewis