Simple Styling Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Charming, Bright, and Functional

 Kitchens are a challenge to style and decorate. I think it’s because so much of life happens in them. With the constant mess-cleanup cycles and the temptation to dump whatever comes in the door on the counter, realistically, (well, for most of us anyways) our kitchens will just have some bad days. Here’s a photo of my kitchen clutter on a not-so-great day.

Okay, maybe it’s not totally horrible. But certainly not the clean, refreshing environment I want to wake up to in the morning. (I don’t need to be reminded of paperwork and the dog’s allergies while I have my cup of coffee.) We all want our kitchen to be functional and efficient, but to also feel fresh and bright. There are a few styling tricks I’ve tried recently that have helped me find this balance. I hope some of these ideas will inspire you with ways to add some pretty and/or functional accents to your own kitchen, ones that are also realistic for your busy home and life. 

Use a Pretty Tray to Contain Miscellaneous Items

 A tray is perfect for catching mail and incoming clutter. I found this simple tray at Crate and Barrel, but there is no end to the options available. I’ve seen some darling basket, galvanized, and enamelware trays. It’s an especially helpful idea if you struggle with piles of mail in the kitchen.

(Click on the image to shop the faux rosemary in stone arrangement.)

Store Linens in a Basket

Save precious drawer space for the least attractive necessities and display fresh-looking items like tea towels in a cute basket or container on the countertop. I’m not sure where I got this one, but I’ve seen a close facsimile on Amazon.

Incorporate Holders and Dispensers That Enhance Your Decor  

Functional necessities like paper towels and soap don’t have to look messy if you choose holders and dispensers that look clean and add to your kitchen’s style. I leave these often-used items on the counter because the paper towel holder and soap dispenser create a sleek, bright, and clean look. (The dishsoap and scrubbies, however, didn’t make the cut. )

Store Ingredients or Snacks in Glass Jars

I love clear, glass jars filled with candy, or something healthy when I’m trying to watch my sugar consumption. Jars of snacks or jars used as canisters for baking ingredients will give your kitchen an inviting look, a look that says, “this is a good place to be.” These jars are from Ikea.

Use a Few Brightly Colored Accents

Perhaps you have noticed a theme, that many of my accessory items are either white or glass. My kitchen is on the north and it isn’t small, but certainly not large, either. I find that white and glass accessories add light and openness to the room. And the white backdrop is perfect for adding a pop of bright color! It brings whimsy and life to the kitchen.

Add a Touch of Greenery

A cute pot filled with greenery, whether live or faux, freshens any room, and the kitchen is no exception. These rustic clay pails filled with faux boxwood are darling with casual décor styles like farmhouse and coastal.
(Click on the image to shop these faux boxwood arrangements.)


Seasonal greenery like these galvanized tins and a wooden box of evergreen are small enough to not interfere with needed counter space while adding more than their share of charm. 

(Click on the image to shop the faux evergreen arrangements.)

 (Click on the image to shop the mixed greenery arrangement in a wooden box.)

Pots of herbs are also a charming addition. This pot of mint is faux, yet it looks so real, and is perfect for a windowsill. 

 (Click on the image to shop faux herb arrangements.)

Another idea: hang a greenery wreath over an upper cabinet. 

(Click on the image to shop the faux seeded eucalyptus wreath.)

Incorporate Your Vintage Treasures

Few things will give your kitchen more of a charming, “feels like home” look than a smattering of vintage items. If you don’t already own vintage pieces, they are easy to find at flea markets, thrift and antique stores, and, of course, online. For a touch of farmhouse, I love enamelware. (I’m not a fan of enamelware replicas with the word “farmhouse” printed on the front.  Maybe it’s just me, but it’s seems a bit of the charm and nuance is lost by advertising my décor style.) And the good news is, authentic enamelware is abundant and pretty reasonable in price. I found both of these coffee pots at The Little Log House Pioneer Village annual festival in Hastings, Minnesota. (Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.)

But the ones that have family memories or history “spark the most joy” for me. The white, water pitcher with the wooden spoons is from my husband’s, great-grandmother’s hotel,  and the blue-green, fruit jars were my mom’s.

This is another practical way to use a vintage water pitcher, as a napkin holder. 

And finally, here’s some pretty, vintage glassware with embroidered, day of the week, tea towels that my grandma made. 

It’s surprising how these simple styling changes have transformed the feel of my kitchen. Have you found tricks that have helped you add organization and style? I’d love to hear them!


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