Furniture and accessories add the finishing touches to your kitchen and help to enhance its overall effect. Buying new accessories is the easiest way to change the look of your kitchen.
However, it is important not only to choose items that complement the style and feel of your kitchen but also ones that meet your needs.
Appliances and accessories made of stainless steel are very popular right now, such as blenders and toasters, refrigerators and pro-style oven ranges. To get the all-steel look without the price, look for steel finished appliances and accessories.
Kitchen seating and lighting is covered below. Also, there are some hints and tips on kitchen cleaning and suggestions on what to look out for when choosing a kitchen to make these tasks easier.
Tools and gadgets are a personal choice and should reflect your personal taste.
With many people spending significantly more time in their kitchens these days, this room has now become one of the most lived in rooms in the home.
Seat Height Selection
Choosing the correct size stool or chair is very important as there are several seat heights available. Remember, stools and chairs usually come in three standard heights.
These usually have a seat height of around 17″ and are suitable for lowered worktops or tables approximately 28″ high.
Breakfast Bar Stools
These usually have a seat height of around 24″ and are suitable for standard kitchen worktop approximately 35″ high.
High Bar Stools
These usually have a seat height of around 30″ and are suitable for raised worktop heights or tall tables approximately 42″ high.
Frame and Seat Selection
Once you have decided your stool or chair seat height you will need to consider which frame and seat best suits your kitchen design. There are many different styles of metal and wooded frames available, with a multitude of wood, leather, fabric and synthetic seat combinations.
Frames come in various modern and traditional designs with many different features including curved and shaped legs, with footrests and backrests for added comfort.
These are by far the most popular choice and are usually made from steel tubing and finished in chrome or lacquered satin steel.
Many styles also come in aluminium or a cast iron black finishes.
Wooden frames are usually made from solid beech. Many different finishes are available such as natural beech, cherry, light walnut and natural oak.
Metal-framed chairs and stools usually have colour co-ordinated seats in natural and laminated wood. Leather, fabric, mesh and coloured polypropylene seats are also available in some styles.
Wooden-framed chairs and stools usually have colour matched seats in various wood finishes such as natural beech, natural oak, light walnut, and cherry.
Colour co-ordinated seats are also available for many wooden-framed designs; other seat finishes include leather and several natural colour yarns.
Seating for Different Kitchen Layouts
Islands and peninsular base units with breakfast-bar overhangs are ideal ways of dividing kitchen-diners. Matching stools and chairs of the same design (in different seat heights) around islands, breakfast-bars and dining tables will achieve a fully integrated appearance.
Tall (around 42″ high), free-standing, round tables which can seat around 3-4 people can be used to create a more relaxed seating area in larger kitchens.
There are a huge number of styles of kitchen lighting and the right lights can really enhance the look of a kitchen. Talk to your kitchen designer about this.
Recent kitchen lighting trends include hanging fixtures, with rows of at least three matching, low-hanging lights, in many different shapes and sizes; chandeliers in many styles and shapes, twisting metal sculptures, to colorful, arty glass and plastic lights.
Lighting should be a combination of task lights for specific areas and supplementary lighting for overall background light. A good designer should be able to create zones which can be operated independently, creating different moods.
Working areas such as the food preparation surface, stove-top and sink should all have high-wattage, independent task lights to illuminate the area without creating a shadow over it.
For low-level background lighting, choose under-cabinet striplights, plus a light over the table on a dimmer switch to create the right atmosphere for dining.
Tips for Easy Cleanup
Tips for cleaning countertops are given in the countertop section.
In general, you should buy colors that are neither too light nor too dark. White appliances and accessories demand constant attention. You must always wash white furnishings in order to avoid marks and blemishes. White accessories will show all spillages and imperfections. Dark objects, on the other hand, make dust more visible. When light shines on a dark surface, all the dust reflects the light.
If you’re going to buy stainless steel appliances, countertops, or other accessories, choose either brushed or matte finish. Mirror finished stainless steel will show smudges, fingerprints, and any number of other imperfections. Because matte finished stainless steel is dull, it actually hides a lot.
If you need a hanging light over a kitchen island or dinner table, opt for a simple design rather than a complicated pendant light. Most pendant lights are made of shiny metal or crystal which means that all smudge marks become very prominent, and the more complicated they are, the more difficult they are to clean. By opting for recessed lighting or very simple hanging lights, you either eliminate the need to dust altogether or greatly reduce cleaning time.
Upholstery and countertop patterns help conceal stains and imperfections. Whenever something consists of many different shades and colors, blemishes tend to blend in with the pattern. Flecked or granite patterns do an especially good job of hiding stains and spots.