LeeAnn Yare Shows Us How To Create a Stylish Kitchen PLUS Win A Stunning Coffee Table Book

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It’s the one room in the house that gets used the most and with a few easy tips you can make it stylish as well as practical.



Inject some personality, decorate your kitchen with as much vigor as the rest of the house. If your kitchen is part of an open plan area then bring in some colour from your other living areas, your splashback could be made from statement tiles, painted glass, wallpaper behind glass, or even tin ceiling tiles. As long as it’s sealed well and can be wiped cleaned then the options are endless. Well-considered lighting is essential, you need task lighting specific for the high work areas, but a couple of statement pendant lights will always give you the wow factor.


Above: A statement splash back.


Wanda Szychowska, DeCe Design

Above: Statement pendant light.


Hang something eye-catching on the walls to distract from a kitchen you don’t love; create a mini gallery-style feature mixing up shapes and textures. Old food related signage is well suited, or a collection of plates in a variety of designs and colours. Hang a couple of shelves on the wall and use your cool kitchen stuff to style up a display, which you can change and refresh as often as you like. Or cover the entire wall in wallpaper or a huge decal, a random pattern of sticky spots, or use masking tape and a few colourful testpots to DIY a striped wall feature.

Amanda Holland - Small Acorns

Above: A feature wall creates a striking statement.


Amanda Holland - Small Acorns

Above: Simple shelves give you an option to restyle your kitchen often.


Ensure you have plenty of clear and dedicated workspace so you can cook up a storm, but use your kitchen tools to create some interest, a pile of cookbooks, a vase of flowers or a pot of fresh herbs, or a brightly coloured bowl overflowing with citrus, use what you have to dress your kitchen the same way you would every other room in the house!

Gay Gaskell

Above: Style your kitchen in the same way you would style any other room in your house.


Kitchens are often relegated to compact spaces, so make the most of every inch! Clever storage is key, a pet hate I have is the big gap left between tall cabinetry and the ceiling, yes it will cost a bit more but you will never regret taking your cupboards right up, consider it a home for things like platters and serve ware you might not need to access everyday. Remember you can never have too much storage.

Gay Gaskell

Above: Floor to ceiling cupboards are a great investment.


If you can’t justify a brand new design, then give your room a few instant updates using a few clever tricks. Consider refreshing your cabinetry with paint, blackboard paint, wall decals, or wallpaper. We gave our kitchen bench a completely new look by hanging a roll of wallpaper underneath, and adding a pair of cool new stools. If your cabinets are ok but the rest a bit dated, then give them a modern update with a brand new benchtop, keeping the lines square will bring it into this century.

Alex Fulton

Above: A fresh coat of paint will instantly update a kitchen.


 Peter Widdows and Tanya Wood
Above: New bench tops are the give your kitchen an instant facelift.

If you have the luxury of creating your kitchen from scratch then make sure you spend plenty of time planning your design. Make a list of what’s non negotiable, and a second list of nice to have. Sketch up your own designs, and try lots of different layouts. Be realistic with what you can achieve on your budget, chances are you will have to compromise somewhere, by opting for a $200 tap with a similar look to the $2000 designer version you’ve fallen in love with means you might be able to get those soft closing drawers.

Peter Widdows and Tanya Wood

Above: Kitchen design is important so it pays to get it right before you start.


It’s always worth calling in the professionals. A designer will visit you at home, listen to exactly what you want to achieve, and then draw up a design to suit you. They are full of great ideas and expert knowledge, will come up with alternatives you may not have thought of, and are full of great advice when it comes to juggling budget to achieve your wish list.  Mastercraft Kitchens are a great place to start if you need a recommendation.





To celebrate the launch of LeeAnn’s fab new column on The Style Insider she is giving away a copy of her stunning new coffee table book: New Zealand Interior Style valued at $65.

This fab book is full of great design and styling tips along with beautiful images to inspire your own interior style.

To go in the draw to win a copy click HERE to officially enter. Everyone who is a Style Insider subscriber and who has entered will automatically go in the draw.Winners will be drawn and announced here next Monday 27 January.
Good luck! 



Photography by Larnie Nicolson
Words LeeAnn Yare
All images are from the 24 inspiring Kiwi homes featured in NZ Interior Style.