As the holidays approach I find myself giddy with thoughts of eggnog and turkey legs (can you tell I am food motivated?). It is a time when family and friends come together to share great food and good conversation. When your guests join you for the holidays, where do they congregate? Often, they spend the most time in the kitchen keeping the chef company and the dining room for the big meal. Make sure these rooms are as festive as you feel with some simple tips.
Designing for the hospitality industry has taught me a few tricks. There is a psychology to restaurant design that you too can implement. A McDonalds uses bright colors, plastic furniture and bright florescent lights to get you in and out quickly, while upscale restaurants want you to relax and concentrate on enjoying your meal and the friends and family who are sharing the experience with you. These high-end restaurants will select a softer color palette and comfy chairs. Here is a little secret, you know you are in a nice place when the chairs have arms. Keep this in mind when you are planning your own setting. Make sure your guests are comfortable. Choose warm neutral colors such as navy, grey, chocolates and khaki. Don’t be afraid of adding some color but be selective. One suggestion is dark reds. Red is a stimulant. It raises blood pressure and keeps you alert. It is also known to make you hungry. Use accessories such a cranberry colored bowl or even some fragrant red roses to liven up the room.
Lighting is also essential to a comfortable eating environment. No bright lights. In fact, you should only illuminate the important parts of the room, which are the food and your guests. Often, restaurants use the soft glow of candles to light their tables. Candles are an inexpensive way to make both your food and your family look their best. A crisp white tablecloth will bounce the light upward to create a lovely visual effect.
No matter what you do, people manage to congregate in the kitchen. It’s busy, hectic and usually so much fun! Changing the cabinetry and hardware are the best ways to give your kitchen an update. However, cabinetry can cost a fortune to replace. Instead, try painting them. White is classic and will never go out of style, but you can try other options. One of my clients was on a very tight budget and decided to paint the cabinets. Her kitchen had not been updated since the 70’s. Her counter and backsplash are both white tile. To update the look we painted the cabinets black and added stainless steel knobs and pulls to give it a fun black-and-white retro look.
The walls in your kitchen also make a major statement. Paint is the least expensive way of updating walls. Remember to select a color that compliments the rest of the color scheme in your house. Check out my article, “Color Me Happy” about Color Psychology for some helpful color tips.
When selecting paint don’t forget to go green. Make sure you look for low VOC paint. VOC’s are the cause of that harsh “new paint” smell that many find offensive. The US Green Building Council recommends no more than 50 VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOC’s are emitted as gases from certain liquids such as some paints. These gases include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects.
A backsplash is another wall update that will make your kitchen stand out. Using ceramic tiles can be fairly inexpensive. Tiles come in many sizes and colors. Use multiple colored tiles for an extra splash of color.
Finally, think about your appliances. Is your refrigerator avocado green and from the 70’s? These days you can actually buy spray paint that is specifically for appliances. However, today’s refrigerators use 60 percent less electricity on average than 20-year-old models. Do not discount the fact that new appliances can save you a lot of money in the long run. ENERGY STAR rated appliance are energy efficient products that help to reduce energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment. Keep an eye out for those holiday sales and you could purchase these appliances at a great price.
Take it from me, using a few of these simple suggestions can make a world of difference! Call me today and we can have your home holiday ready before the first present is opened! Don’t forget to save some leftovers for your Interior Designer. Happy holidays.