How to design and order a new kitchen and why we're opting for Howdens

How to design and order a new kitchen and why we're opting for Howdens

If you're in the early, first-time stages of renovating or redecorating a kitchen like me, and you too have no idea what the process to order a new kitchen entails, then I hope today's post will help walk you through how we have designed and (almost) ordered ours at Howdens.

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11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

Cottage kitchens. They’re adorable.

More and more home owners are opting for modern looks in their kitchens. Glossy white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, marble finished floors. But after flicking through my countless period homes magazines archives, I realised something…

If you go for a cottage theme in your kitchen it will never date.

And not only that, if your kitchen is super small, you should make a statement of it with cottage style. Give it cottage character.

Good things come in small packages after all, and I've always thought, your kitchen doesn't need ridiculous amounts of space to be on trend. 

If you've seen my kitchen before you’ll see it has cottage appeal with the oak worktops and modern farmhouse accessories to give it some cottage character in a 1930s home.

I thought I'd pull together some ideas to give your kitchen (big or small) some country chic.

I hope you like the ideas...

11 ways to create a cottage look kitchen

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

1. Store all of your fruit, veg, bread + laundry bits inside wicker baskets

Seriously, I have a ridiculous amount of love for everything wicker. I've said it once and I'll say it again and again. This versatile material is so easy to find in high street stores or charity shops. It gives texture and warmth to rooms in need of cosy-ing up (can a kitchen be cosy?) and it's a great way to bring the outdoors indoors.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

2. Mix and match your tea cups like you have a porcelain addiction

Something I'm slowly but surely collecting (and salvaging from any charity shop in sight) are tea cups. You know, the ornate floral kind with very sweet gold rims and matching saucers? I found 4 for 50p in a second hand shop near me, and as I'm collecting all different types, I'm getting so much enjoyment out of my collection.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

3. Opt for open shelves and welcome the cluttered look

I've seen DIYs on pinterest showing you how to remove parts of your existing kitchen cupboards to open up your kitchen and get a shelving look. Stacking gorgeous plates, pots and pans on open shelving is a great way to give your kitchen a cottage vibe. If you're brave you could use a cute vintage floral wallpaper to sit behind the shelves. So cottagey!

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

4. Paint existing cupboards or walls in muted tones from Farrow + Ball

I know I'm not the only one who loves Farrow + Ball, but really, they are THE paint choice of all choices if you want to channel the country/cottage vibe. Our kitchen has Farrow + Ball's Bone on some of the woodwork and it brings in a touch of English heritage. Their paints are all mixed with traditional, period decor in mind making it extremely difficult to get it wrong.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

5. Rugs can sit in the kitchen too!

Kitchen rugs are all over pinterest at the mo. Rugs are fantastic genius little things that can totally change the space you're decorating. For a cottage kitchen look, I would opt for a half round crochet rug (bonus points if it's crocheted with plastic style, durable material for high traffic and a lot of cooking spillages) to sit near the sink to keep your tootsies cosy as you wash up. It's the little things!

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

6. Mismatched old wooden chairs are a must

...and if you can fit one in, get your hands on a rocking chair too. Adorn these bad boys with multi coloured crochet blankets for ultimate cottage chic.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

7. Ditch bevelled tiling and opt for artisan crooked edges

Subway tiles are so on trend, but the straight edges never really appealed to me when I was choosing tiles for our kitchen. I knew I wanted the sought after white tile/black grout look but I also wanted a hand made touch that was less clinical. I opted for non-straight edge white tiles on black grout which some might say was a brave decision. We don't have clean edges, but I love them. Crooked = character-filled in my book. There are so many beautiful cottage look tiles out there, like THESE, THESE, or THESE.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

8. If it's not being stored in a wicker basket, store it in a Kilner jar!

These beauties are from Silver Mushroom. I love them as they're a little different from the clear traditional jars. Homebase have a great selection of clear jar storage in their Kitchen section too, but for a different spin, try all white.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

9. If you need mod cons, go for copper

Every kitchen needs a kettle, cocktail shaker and a microwave right? Sometimes stainless steel are the only option and that doesn't sit easy in a cottage kitchen. Where ever you can, opt for copper or antique gold / brass appliances.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

10. Get yourself a quintessentially English radio, like, now

No cottage kitchen is complete without a vintage style radio. Pure have a fabulous range of digital radios. This one above is inspired by a fine Sanderson fabric / wallpaper. Possibly the cutest collaboration ever between Sanderson + Pure, wouldn't you agree? The Chelsea radio has been born, and looks none other than perfect whilst you butter your toast in your cosy cottage kitchen. Lots of affordable cottage-like radios like this one (love Emma Bridgewater!)

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

11. Grow your own herbs or daffodils + introduce some green

The beauty of cottage kitchens is how they have an outdoorsy feel without losing warmth from materials like wood, crochet and copper. How is this achieved? By adding filling your worktops and window sills with plants. A herb garden is a must in any kitchen. Plant in a long timber pot and you've nailed the look!


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Fifi xx

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The single most effective way you can add colour to a kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Folks, I seem to never take photos for my blog in our kitchen unless I'm baking or when I want a wooden backdrop (our worktops are oak). 

I think it's because we don't have so much colour in the room. Everything is cream, white or sage green, which has a pretty 'country-chic' kind of vibe, but it never inspires me to take photos in there. Let's just say it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Know what I mean?

I came across Ulster Weavers website a short while ago. They stock the most colourful, vibrant kitchen accessories and linens that add instant personality to a blank canvas. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I knew I didn't want to go down the route of painting to change the colour scheme in the room, so i thought why not add vibrant accessories to bring the space to life?

And guess what - it worked. 

Their Emily kitchen range really caught my eye. It's a sorta vintage take on hawaiian print and I thought the colours really worked in the room. They provide a very striking look to complement the wishy-washy colours I already have. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I urge you to take a look at Ulster Weavers' collections, all of their prints are hand made in the UK with some of the designs commissioned by artist Kelly Hall who is based just a skip and a hop away from Brighton, drawing all her vintage designs in her studio in Lewes. 

The one lesson I'll take from this, is that you certainly don't need to throw all your energy to repainting a kitchen to add colour to it, just invest in some striking kitchenware and you'll feel inspired again. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Visit ulsterweavers.com and check out the range of fabrics they have to suit every kitchen.

Emily styled apron, £18
Emily double glove, £13 

Our beautiful new kitchen tiles (Before & After photos)

Interior blog - Before & after kitchen tiles: white tiles on black grout

If you've just bought a new home (or if you've EVER bought a new home before) you'll know exactly how slow it can be working through that never ending long list of things you need to change and get fixed. Unless you're lucky enough to have bought a stunning new-build, like my fabulous sister! I'm very impatient, and a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my house. I want things done NOW but haven't yet faced facts that dolla don't grow on trees :(

Getting some kitchen tiling done was surprisingly low on our priority list seeing as we have more pressing matters like leaks to fix and a fire place to install! yay! But seeing the walls behind the cooker get repeatedly splashed by bacon grease, I'd had enough. Bring in the tilers, fast.

It's a pretty hot trend on pinterest at the moment to marry white tiles with black grout. There's something all too clinical about white tiles with plain ol' white grout, and as our kitchen has quite a 'country' vibe with an island sink (not pictured) and stable back door, Neil & I knew going down the pinterest route would round up the look perfectly.

We worked with British Ceramic Tile on this look, flicking through their catalogue of really beautiful patterned and colourful tiles. They have every colour you can imagine. It was hard not to be tempted to abandon ship and go down the pattern route with all the fab tiles on offer, but we had a vision and decided to see it through.

We opted for Laura Ashley's new Artisan tile range for their glossy uneven charm. Here's how it looks...

Interior blog - Before & after kitchen tiles: white tiles on black grout

It's made the whole kitchen feel much more complete and homely. Not to mention it makes a brilliant backdrop for displaying my cacti and papping my baking posts. What dya think?

Interior blog - Before & after kitchen tiles: white tiles on black grout

Interior blog - Before & after kitchen tiles: white tiles on black grout

I've gotta say, choosing tiles is TOUGH work. They really change the appearance of a room, and unless you have an exceptional imagination, it can be really hard imagining exactly how the finished result will look.

I was delighted that British Ceramic Tile were more than happy to post me as many tiles as my fussiness demanded. If you're picking and choosing tiles in the future, make sure you have the tiles right there in front of you and prop them up against the wall. You wouldn't believe how different some looked online both size-wise and colour. I'm overall SO pleased with the look though. Laura Ashley tiles... and in my experience, ALL homeware are fantastic quality, and I can't rate British Ceramic Tile highly enough.

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