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How To Thoughtfully Design Your Kitchen

Updated: Jun 20



One of the things that first attracted me to Fancy Cottage, was the kitchen.


Terracotta floors, a gorgeous French country hutch that I could store my dishes and aprons in, natural light beaming in from the window, and a solid amount of overhead storage and shelving.


When I moved in, I immediately got to work on decorating the hutch. I turned it into a cute tea bar that featured my favorite teas and cookies on dessert trays, and added decor that changes with the seasons.


But as things got crazier and crazier, and wedding planning began taking over my life, I stopped giving the kitchen the love it deserves.


Until now.


Motivated by the fact that I'll be filming a lot more in the kitchen for videos on my Fancy Diaries channel, I decided to finally put some effort into designing the kitchen space. And boy am I happy with how it's turned out so far. It's definitely not perfect, and we have a long way to go, but I'm really loving the process so far, and wanted to share some of the ways I'm thoughtfully curating my cottage kitchen.


Everyone's style is different. Some might prefer neutral tones throughout their home with minimalism at the forefront, while others, like myself, might find themselves drawn to color and purchasing every little trinket they see in a vintage store.


No matter what your style is, I think designing your kitchen is just as important as designing any other part of your home. If you cook often, you'll be spending a lot of time in there. So might as well make sure it boosts your mood and is a place where you can create beauty.

 

The first thing you'll want to do, is pick a color scheme. It's a lot easier to make sure everything looks somewhat cohesive when you're following a palette. It can be one, two or even three colors that you choose to highlight throughout the space.


For our shelving, I didn't know where I wanted to begin with a color scheme because I was trying to make do with what I already had. So I started with a blank canvas. I took everything down that I had been essentially storing up there and started with what I knew. Which was that I wanted to remove as much clutter from the countertops as possible.


We don't have a lot of counter space, so it can't all be used up by pots, pans and jars.


With that in mind, I moved my white canisters from the kitchen counter to the top shelf. But I didn't know what color scheme I was going with, until I added my cookbooks. Which all happened to be in the pink, blue and green family.


Once I placed the books, I knew what colors to focus on. I had my color scheme.


Next, you'll want to focus on clustering instead of cluttering. A tricky distinction, so let's break it down.


I first heard about clustering on TikTok where this user was explaining how in movies and tv shows, the female main character's house always looks perfectly lived in but somehow still incredibly chic. And it's because of clustering.


Clustering, is basically a technique where you cluster cute things together in various areas of your home to make it look stylish while also looking lived in. This is very different than cluttering. Otherwise known as having a lot of clutter in your space.


Clutter is usually things like old mail, dishes laying around on the counter, exposed pots and pans, etc. Anything that should have a place, but doesn't.


That is easier said than done for most of us. For me, it's almost impossible not to have clutter at any given time in the kitchen because we don't have a dishwasher. Which means dishes are either out on the counter drying or they're piling up in the sink. But there are ways to maximize the space you do have, without things getting too out of hand.


Some tips for reducing counter clutter:

  • See what you can give away, donate or sell: I had a lot of vintage bakeware that I wasn't using that was taking up space. I decided to donate it to my favorite local secondhand store.

  • Decide what to hide: Not everything needs to be on display. Especially if you're prone to clutter or not on the tightest cleaning schedule yet. Put as many appliances away in cabinets and cupboards as possible, and only take them out when you plan on using them.

  • Don't over-buy: I'm slowly learning that just because something is beautiful, doesn't mean it has to come home with me. If you already have one of something, there's likely never a need to buy a second or third one. Do a thorough run through of what you have, so that you're not tempted to buy shiny new things when you're out and about.

  • Use cloth instead of paper: We are a society that loves a good paper towel and paper napkins. While convenient, these things are an added, unnecessary expense, and cause you to buy more things to place on your counter. If you have paper towels, you probably need a paper towel holder. If you have napkins, you probably own a napkin holder of some kind. Using cloth is more cost effective, and easier to store. Just make sure that you're washing them consistently, so that it remains a sanitary and safe way to use your towels.

Another tip for designing your kitchen, is to include things in your decor you wouldn't ordinarily think of.


When I was working on our shelving, I kept referring back to Pinterest for ideas and ended up realizing that I could put things in the kitchen that I wouldn't have thought of. My taper candles, plants, and a photo of me and Cain would not have been my first thought to add in to the decor, but it created such a warm and homey look.


I remember when I visited my good friend from college when she moved to Nevada. I saw pictures of us in the kitchen and photos of her family placed carefully by the stover and I remember thinking it was just so cute. But somehow, it really never dawned on me to add photos to my own kitchen.


Think outside of the box when it comes to kitchen decor, you'll thank yourself when it's all said and done.


This next tip could be just a me thing, but I think that when it comes to design and curating an interesting space, collecting pieces over time is a bit more intriguing than simply putting 20 things in your Amazon cart and having it all ship the next day.


Your kitchen, and your home, is a reflection of you. Your stories, your travels, your memories.


I much prefer seeing the photo of a woman in the garden that Cain's sister got me a few Christmases ago, sitting next to my mom's edition of Mastering the Art of French cooking on display. As opposed to a bunch of beige and white spice jars with perfectly printed labels, that you can see a dime a dozen on any given day.



Of course, this isn't to trend shame anyone. If beige is your thing, rock it. I just think it's more fun and little more interesting to curate a collection of things that tell a story. And to showcase that story throughout your home.


Finally, add pops of freshness.


As I mentioned, I never really took seriously the idea of having plants in a kitchen. But looking back, I think I know why.


In Cain's old apartment, he had a hanging plant that hung from the ceiling in the kitchen. It was beautiful when he first got it, but became very hard to take care of, hard to reach, and hard to make work in any space.


The plant did not survive and I think I've just never thought it was incredibly convenient or effective to keep a plant in the kitchen.


However, I think with two of us looking after kitchen plants, it might be a good time to try again. In fact, if any of you have any tips for keeping plants in the kitchen, please let me know in the comments.


If you decide to opt out of greenery, flowers are also a great way to add beauty and freshness to the space. This may be a personal preference, but I tend to think smaller arrangements look better placed randomly throughout the kitchen as opposed to one big arrangement, But that could also be because our kitchen doesn't have a huge island in the center that needs a focal point. So do what works for you.


If you're going for the cottage look, whimsical flowers like ranunculus, snapdragons, and daisies are perfect to cluster around the space. But if you like something more classic and romantic, roses and hydrangeas are an easy yes.


 

I hope this gave you some ideas for how to design your kitchen to be a place that you love to spend time in. And that you always remember to create beauty in all areas of your home.


Remember that your home doesn't have to be perfect or huge in order to be beautiful.




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