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Kitchens: The Magazine Photos vs. Reality

April 16, 2013No comments

You’ve been planning your kitchen remodel for awhile now, and you’ve torn out several images of kitchens that serve as your inspiration. Maybe you’ve decided what your new cabinetry will look like and worked out your new layout, but how do you get your new kitchen to look like magazine photo quality? Kitchens can be a large investment, and you want to feel great in your new space when it’s complete!

Clean Kitchen Island with Storage

Open display shelves, in addition to drawers, help keep counters clean and clear.

The obvious element missing in the magazine photos is the pile of papers, mail and  junk at the end of the counter. When planning out your cabinetry and overall layout, make sure you think about this inevitable development. Maybe you have the space to allocate towards a message center: where mail can be separated and filed, cell phones can be charged, and miscellaneous items can be stored. For me, the kids’ homework is what is always found on my kitchen island, and the “shrapnel” that accompanies it… pencil sharpeners, scissors, notebooks, calculators, etc. I would love a spot where my children could store these items conveniently!

White and Black Kitchen Cabinets with Glass Doors

Notice the seeded glass doors on the upper cabinets around the sink.

After surveying many magazine photos, you’ll come to realize that glass upper cabinet doors or open shelving is a very popular kitchen design element. This can be a pretty hefty commitment. Are you prepared to always put everything away in your kitchen in a beautifully designed manner? I look at the photos with all the beautiful white dishes neatly staged on open shelving, and I know I could achieve that look for about one day. If you want to incorporate them into your new space but know there is little chance you’ll be able to maintain it, here are a few suggestions:

  • Strategically place just a few glass paneled upper cabinet doors. Staging your favorite dishes behind two doors is a lot more manageable than doing so for all your upper cabinets! Flanking your sink or vent-hood is a nice solution. Make sure the dishes are conveniently placed too!
  • Maybe instead of using clear glass at your upper cabinets’ glass panels, an obscured glass would be better. There are glass options like “seedy”, “rain”, “fluted”, etc. Don’t forget to light the inside of your glass paneled cabinet doors. This adds a beautiful decorative light in the evening, and can be very warm and inviting.
  • Make sure you plan for what you will be showcasing on the shelving or behind the glass doors. Beautifully coordinated dinnerware and serving pieces or your favorite glassware is a great solution. Plastic cups from the ballpark won’t do!
Maple Kitchen Clean Cabinets

Want to display small appliances? Choose only the most important and hide the rest.

Small kitchen appliances are cause for careful balance as well. Once in awhile you’ll spot a blender, a Cuisinart food processor or an “attractive” toaster on the countertop of a kitchen found in a magazine. The important thing to note is that you won’t find all of these items on the countertop, only one.  Survey your proposed open countertop space, and think about how much space you want taken up by these appliances. Dedicate a convenient area in your new kitchen for your small kitchen appliances. If you keep them in your base cabinets, roll-out shelves can be a life saver!

Accessories are the last details that can really bring a kitchen to life. Fresh flowers or simple potted flowering plants add wonderful color to a kitchen island space. Often I will accompany this with fresh fruit in a decorative bowl. An attractive tea pot on your cooktop is a warming touch as well. Remember to add decorative touches to the things you use everyday. Consider decorative plates on plate stands, small pieces of art on table-top easels, and even your favorite cookbooks on book stands.

I wish you the best of luck on your kitchen remodel. A lot of thought goes into them. The important thing to remember is that a kitchen needs to be functional first, and if we can enhance that with beautiful items, it’s all for the better! Hopefully these tips will help you get there!

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