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How to Accessorise a Kitchen With Style

Why should kitchens miss out? Give yours personality with a decorative display

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If much of your home life involves hanging out in the kitchen, it needs to cut the decorative mustard. After all, a room that’s all function is no pleasure to spend time in. That’s where great displays come in. Thoughtful groupings of objects – or ‘vignettes’ as many design professionals will call them – will turn your kitchen into a room whose style is individual. Be inspired by these easy fixes, and create a space you’ll love preparing, eating and relaxing in.

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Aim high
Units and appliances take up much of the wall space in kitchens, so you may need to look up to find a place to create a vignette.

When they’re further from the eye, objects need to be suitably scaled as subtle detail won’t be apparent. Here, the large wall clock anchors the above-mantel display, while the pair of ceramic jugs in slightly different neutral shades from each other and from the pale greyish wall are simple in outline and add soft asymmetry to the display.

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Complement the lines
When a kitchen is all clean, contemporary lines and anything that could be construed as clutter is a no-no, how to up the detail? Here, the problem’s been solved with a selection of items given room to breathe along the shelf. Centre stage, the long, low Pepsi storage box corrals other items, coordinates with the unit fronts and adds a personal touch in one. Recreate the harmonious effect of this vignette in a kitchen of any style by repeating materials from the cabinetry, brassware and furniture, as the wood and metal do here.

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Find beauty in utility
Well-loved essentials in a pared-back palette and hung from a shelf create a pleasing picture in this kitchen. Vary heights, sizes and shapes to repeat the look, and avoid the new, smooth and high shine, using tactile materials such as wood and string instead. Here, a suspended container allows the gathering of smaller pieces that add to the vignette’s detail.

Nose around the rest of this collector’s kitchen

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Shape up
Think of an A-shape when arranging the elements of your vignette. Here, the apex is the round tray with the lower objects forming the outer edges of the letter. In this kitchen, the A-shaped grouping is paired with two navy jugs a little further along the shelf. Look for this sort of asymmetrical balance to show off the individuality of a vignette’s ingredients.

Below left, another trio of objects at different heights creates a different vignette.

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Be witty
The background is an important part of any vignette, and the labelled blackboard in this room brings fun to a grouping of functional objects.

Another device used here is the mirror: mirrors are often employed as a backdrop to decorative arrangements in living spaces, but this room proves that this strategy needn’t be ruled out in kitchens. Here, at a right angle, the mirror boosts the power of the display.

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Make a virtue of essentials
The tableware and glasses that are used day to day can do double duty as objects that boost your kitchen’s personality. In fact, they’re the perfect items to keep out of cupboards and on shelves because you can grab them easily (and they won’t get used so rarely that they have a chance to gather dust). The items in this vignette have a limited palette of materials and colour that gives them a reason to be together.

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Focus on a finish
What easier way to ensure the items in a vignette work together than by sticking to the same material? In this kitchen, copper is the link between the pans hung from the rail and the pieces on the shelf above. Scale is important: above a fireplace in a large room, a generous display complements the room’s dimensions.

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Be a curator
A linear grouping can work as well as the A-shaped arrangement that often typifies a vignette. In this room, a series of paintings is linked by style with antique glass bottles that continue the heirloom vibe. The flowers punctuate the moody tones with their pale blooms and add softer, contrasting lines, too.

Don’t forget to illuminate your arrangement to show it off if, as here, natural light is not consistent.

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Leave a note
A kitchen blackboard is on the must-have list for many of us, but this room turns this retro way to make a shopping list into an eye-catching part of a grouping. The display cabinet is the hero of the arrangement, which plays with contrast – sparkling glass and smooth painted surfaces are set against the aged wood of the hanging rail and the texture of blackboards and chalk. A group of three black-and-white images would work equally well here.

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Keep it natural
Fruit, vegetables and flowers are worthy ingredients for a kitchen vignette. Here, the green and aubergine tones relate blooms to foodstuffs to make the display subtly easy on the eye.

What do you have on decorative display in your kitchen? Share your photos in the Comments section.
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