You might not be an Iron Chef, a Master Chef, or even just a little chef, but that doesn't mean you can't have a pro-status kitchen. How else will you hone those culinary skills without the right space?
Even if you’re a kitchen freshman who just learned that pasta goes in after the water starts to boil, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a space fit for a pro. How else will you test out your blossoming skills? Five quick tips, and you’ll be on your way to impressing all your fam with boeuf bourguignon and epic dinner parties, a la Julia Child.
1. Keep your counters clutter-free
A peek into any top restaurant, and you’ll know that chefs are neat freaks. Not only is it more sanitary, but it’s more aesthetically appealing. There’s a reason why professional chefs create something called a mise en place (literal translation: everything in its place, kitchen definition: prepping ingredients prior to a recipe). It keeps things seamless and, dare we say, appealing to the eye. After all, who isn’t secretly transfixed by those glass bowls filled with perfectly portioned ingredients on The Food Network?
Create a sense of calm and professionalism by utilizing cabinet space to put appliances and cutting boards away when you’re not using them. Got open shelving? Even more reason to declutter! Keep plates and glasses in the same general color scheme. White is always a safe bet, and it’ll look great with your food Instagrams. If you’re looking to add some color, bring in a simple fruit bowl or small potted plant. A cake pedestal would look elegant as well (and who’s going to turn down cake?).
2. Buy bistro napkins and kitchen towels in bulk
Ever wonder where those chic little napkins at your favorite local, farm-to-table, Edison-bulbed restaurant came from? Amazon, that’s where. Buy a bunch of French bistro napkins in bulk, and use them for everything from dinner party settings to pot holders to dish drying after the party. To really up your chef status, buy some larger kitchen towels in a simple pattern. Tucked into your apron strings or thrown over your shoulder, you’ll practically look like Bobby Flay or Ina Garten.
3. Choose easy-to-clean counters and backsplashes
Have you ever seen any open kitchen at a restaurant (or in a movie, for that matter) with white marble countertops? No. Why? Because tomato sauce would stain the hell out of that Calcutta Gold. (And that stuff’s rare… just ask Kim and Kanye.) Your best bet is simple, stain-resistant materials like quartz, butcher block, or laminate countertops with scratch-free technology (so you can get that marble look without ruining your kitchen the first time you try to impress someone with homemade lamb chops on a date). Subway tile, steel, or ceramic tile make for easy-to-clean backsplashes. Your local hardware store/kitchen establishment is filled with tons of resources for smart and stunning styling options.
4. Pay attention to lighting
Homepolish has written about the importance of great kitchen lighting before. Bad lighting can kill the mood in any space, not just the kitchen. But the kitchen is the most important! You need good light to chop, and cut, and stir… how are you supposed to use that brand new Japanese knife you bought if you can’t see where your fingers are?
If you live in a city, a kitchen window is a rarity. Plugging in a table lamp in a counter corner is not frowned upon. Sconces can also become your new best friends. Installing mini lights underneath cabinets provides for extra countertop light, and it’ll have that pro status of being sleek and out-of-sight. As for the overhead, if you’ve got an 80s fluorescent situation, swap out those bulbs and find a new fixture stat. Your eyes will thank you.
5. Find a coherent color scheme
Last, but certainly not the least… The accessories and appliances of your kitchen ultimately decide its personality. Think of them as the garnish on top of your kitchen. Are you a white enamel kind of guy, clean and minimalist? Or a red pop of color gal, sweet and sassy and complete with a KitchenAid stand mixer in cherry? Whatever your choice, choose one, and work within that shade. Mix and match with your glasses, plates, and kitchen towels to create a cohesive look. Appliances in stainless steel are always a safe bet. And if you want to really splurge, a copper pot set will always stand out as a kitchen’s crown jewels. I’m positive Julia Child would definitely approve of that.