Decorative kitchen ideas – 10 beautiful ways to curate a dream kitchen

From rugs to wallpapers, fabrics and fine art, kitchens are embracing the same decorating approach as living rooms

Decorative kitchen ideas
(Image credit: VSP Interiors / Feather Kitchen Design / Amber Yard)

The whole purpose of decorative kitchen ideas is to answer the needs of the individuals living in them while reflecting their personalities with good design, space and functionality. 

Beautiful flooring, textiles and wall ideas are at the heart of every standout kitchen scheme, but how do you begin to decide the best approach? Our gallery of decorative kitchen ideas is a good place to start for looks and details that are full of finesse. Follow our simple formulas to get your decorative room ideas spot on first time. 

Decorative kitchen ideas

These decorative kitchen ideas cover everything from the best kitchen island ideas and kitchen colors to working with pattern and all the kitchen trends to watch out for when designing a room that you will adore for years to come.

1. Enchant with a decorative window dressing

Decorative kitchen with patterned window treatment

(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

‘I always try to treat a kitchen like a drawing room as it’s the room that is currently most used for socializing. Curtains are important to include as they add softness and comfort. Drawn at night they create cozy spaces rather than cavernous black windows,’ says Henriette von Stockhausen, founder, VSP Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘Use pattern to add extra interest and then keep other upholstery items plain with maybe a contrast piping referencing colors from the curtains.

2. Curate a cooking space with art

Decorative red and white kitchen with art

(Image credit: Murus Art)

If you want to be happier at home, then introduce kitchen art ideas that stimulate the senses. ‘The walls and shelves of kitchens can be transformed with art, providing a daily dose of happiness,’ enthuses Erica Davis, co-founder of Murus Art. ‘Hanging a large colorful piece above a dining table creates an uplifting atmosphere, while propping smaller pieces on shelves and countertops will inspire you as you cook. When leaning artwork on countertops, choose pieces framed behind glass so splashes can be wiped clean.’

3. Introduce punchy pattern

Decorative kitchen with patterned and colorful furniture

(Image credit: Amber Yard / Darren Chung)

Adding patterned upholstery into a space that is predominantly functional and often lacking softness is an easy way to make a kitchen feel warm and inviting,’ says Tess MacGeachy, interior designer, Amber Yard. ‘Furnishings such as fabric dining chairs not only soften the space aesthetically but also cocoon you in comfort at the table.’ Look for fabric with a Martindale rub count of 25,000- 30,000 for heavy domestic use.

4. Invest in freestanding furniture

Decorating above kitchen cabinets with wallpaper

(Image credit: deVOL )

While fitted kitchens are unlikely to ever go out of style, there has been a gradual move towards more relaxed-looking kitchens. 

Not only is a freestanding kitchen more affordable than a traditionally fitted one, it's an easy way to update an existing one. Whether a single dresser or fully unfitted throughout, incorporating freestanding furniture in the kitchen will evoke a fluid, relaxed atmosphere. 

A farmhouse table can be all it takes to stop a kitchen appearing too ‘fitted’, while also proving useful for prepping and dining. Antique or vintage pieces will boost interest and personality; we love the heritage look of The Dairy Table from deVOL’s Heirloom Collection.

5. Evoke color confidence 

Decorating above kitchen cabinets with country objects

(Image credit: Alice Naylor-Leyland of Mrs. Alice)

Your kitchen is rife with color opportunities, from walls and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets. Start by deciding how much of permanent commitment you are willing to make, then add color that charms and excites.

Colourful kitchen ideas have been enjoying rather a renaissance, and we’re seeing brighter colours on walls, cabinets and even ceilings,’ says Emma Bulmer, head colour consultant at Edward Bulmer Natural Paint (opens in new tab). ‘The colors and color combinations being used are also becoming more creative and confident. An absence of top cupboards really opens up this kitchen, allowing the dusky pink paint colour and artwork to add character and personalise the space.’ 

6. Take an artistic approach with a customized floor

Modern kitchen with bespoke floor

(Image credit: K&H Design / Paul Raeside)

The kitchen floor is likely to be one of the largest surface areas in your home, so kitchen flooring ideas always deserve some careful thought and attention. 

Get creative with floor tiles to make a strong decorative statement underfoot. ‘Using border tiles to achieve a rug effect can bring an element of “living room” decor into your cooking space and can also help define an open-plan kitchen,’ says Katie Glaister, co-founder, K&H Design (opens in new tab). ‘This bespoke mosaic floor was inspired by a Parisian bistro and is a stylish yet low

7. Let your lighting do the talking

Kitchen with pink island and overhead pendant light

(Image credit: Pluck)

Kitchen lighting ideas are an important part of any successful design scheme, with functional and aesthetic illumination particularly important in a decorative space that is used increasingly for entertaining as much as cooking. 

‘Here, Artemide’s striking circular light was a bold but fitting way to link the Georgian architecture and contemporary kitchen design,’ explains architect Alex Liddell, founder of Method Architecture. (opens in new tab) ‘The circular lamp reflects the shape of the ceiling rose above, boosting the decorative details and placing emphasis on the island unit as the key feature of the room.’

Tom Howley (opens in new tab), Design Director of his eponymous kitchen design brand agrees that we should all be making brave lighting choices to bring an element of drama to your kitchen:  ‘Have fun with different shapes and shades, but if you’re mixing it up, stick to a theme or a core tone so that everything hangs together visually.

8. Dress to impress with wood paneling

Modern kitchen with oak panels and marble surface

(Image credit: Ledbury)

While wall paneling and oak kitchen cabinets have in the past been associated with period homes or traditional interiors, they are actually a really useful decorative element for layering and adding texture to contemporary kitchens, too.

From a classic grain pattern to 3-D texture, wood kitchen cabinet ideas have been given a thoroughly modern makeover. In recent years, there have been a number of new and interesting techniques which have reinvigorated the material, and made this old staple a modern favorite. 

'Combining exquisite marquetry-style paneling with reeded panels on the island and a fluted backsplash, this eclectic kitchen is a striking and innovative way to wholeheartedly blur the boundaries between old and new,' adds Charlie Smallbone, founder, Ledbury Studio (opens in new tab).

9. Roll out the rug

Red kitchen with red cabinets, rug and bar area

(Image credit: Michelle Nussbaumer / Douglas Friedman)

Rugs are a rare sight in the kitchen, but they can provide the exact same floor softening, cozying benefits as they do in any other room. 

‘A beautifully-chosen rug can introduce interesting patterns and colors to kitchens and bring visual warmth, too,’ says interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer (opens in new tab)

As kitchen rugs are available in such a huge array of materials, colors and patterns it can be easy to get carried away with design matters, but when it comes to choosing kitchen flooring ideas there are important practical considerations to take into account. Resistance has, historically, been maintenance-based; the risk of spillages is high. One solution is highly patterned, vintage rugs that disguise stains and can handle a few imperfections or try machine washable rugs instead.

10. Make a scene with a wall mural

Decorative kitchen with full-scale mural

(Image credit: Brett Mickan Interior Design / Pablo Veiga)

Out-there murals aren’t just for designer dining rooms; in the kitchen the unexpectedness of the up-scaled pattern adds impact without wasting precious space. Wall mural ideas are perfect for creative designers who just want that little bit more.

‘Over recent times there has been an explosion in high tech digital printing which has changed the game somewhat, allowing a huge amount of experimentation and emerging new designers,’ explains Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin (opens in new tab).

Keep the look liveable by balancing out an exotic mural with low-key minimalist kitchen ideas and cabinetry. Sleek, handle-free doors in neutral shades work well. Placing the mural on the same wall as the main entrance, so it’s behind you as you enter the room, will dial it down further.

How can I make my kitchen look attractive?

Embrace the best kitchen layout ideas, modern kitchen materials, on-trend kitchen color ideas and mood-boosting kitchen lighting ideas to create an attractive kitchen that is world-class. 

A striking way to enhance the beauty of a kitchen is with a statement kitchen island. Harness the full potential your decorative kitchen by choosing a kitchen island with a  bold shape, material or design twist for the heart of your home. Think outside the box with interesting designs and colors that are totally unique.

However, given that the major purchases in a kitchen are usually the cabinetry, the appliances and furniture, it can be easy to overlook the power of paint and pattern. And yet floor and wall finishes, beautifully lit, can provide some of the most exciting ways to enhance your luxury kitchen. While a simple coat of fresh paint, a dramatic new floor or a statement backsplash can transform an existing room into an attractive space.

Another way to transform a tired-looking kitchen is by decorating above kitchen cabinets. This decorative kitchen design trick is a wonderful way to fill the space with an attractive feature, rather than just letting it gather dust. Adding them to your list of must-have decorative kitchen ideas will ensure a more charming space, and needn't drive up your budget, but will create a unique room you, and your guests, will want to spend time in.

Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism. 

With contributions from