3 ways to add personality to your kitchen design


Those all-white, barren kitchen setups have had their moment. Minimalist celebrity mega-mansions be damned, we want to see some color, texture, and a healthy dose of individuality in our 2023 interiors.

Kitchens are the heart of the home — it’s where you prep food, dine, work, relax, and reflect with a friend over wine about life. You probably spend more time inside those four walls than anywhere else, so just like the rest of your home, the kitchen should communicate who you are from the moment you step through the door.

So, how can you add personality to your kitchen design? Without further ado, here are our top three recommendations.

1. Use every color of the rainbow

If you could bottle what makes you unique and paint it on the walls, it’d be all too easy to make your home your personal canvas. However, this invention doesn’t yet exist — so you’ll just have to consult a Pantone color chart instead. Incorporating bold color choices into your walls, cabinetry and furniture is a surefire way to add a little substance to your kitchens.

Forget trending styles and go bigger — whether it’s a daring color combo, unique print wallpaper, or a particularly loud backsplash. Even if it’s just you and a can of Sherwin-Williams against the world, try to color your kitchen how you like, not how Instagram tells you to.

However, if we could offer you one piece of advice, it’s to not skimp on the effort when it comes to coloring. Striking shades can quickly descend into uncoordinated chaos if your choices look unintentional. One common recommendation is to hand-paint rather than spray your kitchen surfaces. Kitchen experts from Harvey Jones advise that “spray paint often looks plasticky, chips easily and can’t be repaired as conveniently if damaged. In comparison, hand painting creates a completely seamless finish and can simply be touched up”, which is all-important if you want that ‘showroom-standard finish’ round the clock.

2. Switch up your lighting arrangements

As we’ve already discussed, the kitchen serves a wide variety of functions — especially now that working from home is the new normal. So if your kitchen is anything like ours, it’s packed from top to tail with every manner of appliance, cabinet, worktop and tool. Sure, it’s busy — but the beauty of this is it provides plenty of different surfaces and elevations for you to experiment with your lighting.

The kitchen is the one room where any lighting goes. Even in your standard home, you might find a spotlight, hanging lamp or under-cabinet strip. But why stop there when there’s so much unique lighting inspo to be found? Particularly if you’re working with an open-plan kitchen, lighting provides the opportunity to craft a unique identity for your space.

According to Pooky Lighting, one way to do this is to layer. The experts explain that “a beautiful (and ideally dimmable) pendant or cluster light will provide good overall ambient lighting in the living area for general day-to-day activities”. Elsewhere, you can distinguish an area for relaxation by introducing “a layer of softer, more diffused light in the form of some wall lights or sconces”. Basically, there are no dull options allowed when you’re curating a specific vibe for your space — so leave the cone lampshade at the store.

3. Upcycle your existing furniture

The word ‘upcycling’ strikes fear into the hearts of many. Rest assured, we’re not going to link you to a tutorial for turning a salvaged deck chair into a kitchen island, but if that’s your thing, then knock yourself out. Instead, there are lots of minor adjustments that you can make to your existing cabinetry, dining furniture and freestanding storage. The devil’s in the details, and you don’t have to be a trained carpenter to add the odd personal touch.

One simple idea is to switch to alternative materials for details like cabinetry handles. Something as simple as removing a wooden doorknob in exchange for a leather pull can refresh the look of your furniture in mere minutes, providing a tasteful and eye-catching contrast. You can buy unique pulls pre-made, or if you’re feeling creative, attempt to craft them yourself using this guide from Paper & Stitch.

In a similar vein, others choose to add rustic wooden elements alongside their cabinets, especially if their countertops have a gloss finish, to meld traditional and contemporary styles. In the kitchen, consider trimming wooden panels and joining them to the end of a cabinet, as seen here. Once attached, you can varnish your spruced-up end panels in a range of unique finishes, or paint the grain to make a feature that complements the kitchen’s other accent colors.

So, whether you’re working with an open-plan diner or a practical galley, there’s no end to the ways that you can personalize your kitchen. Channel the creative energies that you draw upon when whipping up dinner the day before grocery shopping and you’ll have a kitchen that screams ‘you’ in no time.