Decorative kitchen ideas – 17 beautiful ways to curate a dream kitchen

From rugs to fine art, embrace these decorative kitchen ideas to add character to your space

decorative kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Future)

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. 

‘The kitchen is the heart of your home. You nurture, nourish, and entertain in this space and it should reflect your own uniqueness, beauty, and sensibility,’ says interior designer Linda Sasson (opens in new tab)

Decorative kitchen ideas

No matter the era or status of the home, the kitchen was first and foremost a functional space. It is the engine room of the home, the space that keeps everything running smoothly. It is somewhere that meals are prepared and sometimes eaten, as well as being where the essential household tasks are carried out. However, this is only part of its role – it is also the hub of the house. 

Today, the kitchen is a space to commune and spend time with family and friends. The duality of its role means that it is important that the kitchen not only meets your practical needs but is also beautifully decorated, offering a warm welcome to anyone who passes its threshold.

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

1. Add color and pattern with a tiled backsplash

white kitchen with delf tile splashback and brass taps and white range.tif

(Image credit: Plain English)

Positioned at the optimum height to catch your eye, your backsplash offers the perfect opportunity to add creative flair to your kitchen. There are plenty of kitchen backsplash ideas from which to choose – whether you feel drawn to the modern look of metal backsplashes or want to bring color and texture into your kitchen with tile backsplash ideas.

‘Backsplash tiles are the ‘pearl’ of your kitchen. You can ultimately define your style and personality with the help of these tiles. You can either choose a sense of contrast and pick louder tiles or something monochromatic that plays subtle,’ advises architect and interior designer Nish Thasadana.

2. Opt for a bold window blind

kitchen with cream fitted cabinets and dark green Roman blind with floral pattern

(Image credit: Nick Pope)

When it comes to decorative kitchen ideas, window treatments offer a wealth of opportunities. Pairing practicality with prettiness, blinds are a versatile choice of treatment for kitchen window ideas. Offering privacy when needed, as well as a sense of intimacy when night falls – perfect for when you're hosting a dinner party.

However, window blinds also provide a canvas that is perfect for experimenting with vibrant patterns and colors. Since blinds are not constantly on display, unlike tiles or wallpaper, they are perfect for giving those who are more nervous about bold decorative displays somewhere to try something new.

3. Decorate your dresser

Pets in the heat

(Image credit: Future)

Dressers started life as a practical storage solution, but have now become statement pieces in traditional kitchen ideas. While they still fulfill a functional role – typically housing crockery and glassware they also provide the perfect place to display decorative decor. 

From characterful antiques and houseplants to art and music, the dresser offers you the opportunity to bring your own personality into your space. 

4. Add texture and pattern with wallpaper

Sanderson Hollyhocks wallpaper

(Image credit: Sanderson Hollyhocks wallpaper)

While wallpaper might seem like an unusual choice for a kitchen, when, installed in the right way, kitchen wallpaper ideas offer a great opportunity to bring color, pattern, and texture into the kitchen. From colorful botanical prints to geometric designs, wallpaper provides plenty of decorative kitchen ideas to inspire you. 

5. Incorporate a seating area

kitchen with dining nook with green velvet seating and mustard and pink cushion and artwork with round table

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

When designing your kitchen, it is important to factor in a space to relax – this could be a dining area or just somewhere where people can sit and chat with the chef while they’re preparing dinner. Filling both a functional role as well as being a decorative kitchen idea, upholstered seating areas allow you to bring statement color and texture to your room. Add other decorative kitchen ideas such as contrasting colored cushions and decor to complete the look.

6. Reflect light back into the space with mirrors

mirrored splashback behind sink with gold tap and navy cabinetry

(Image credit: Perrin & Rowe)

If your kitchen suffers from a lack of light, then mirrors are a must. Decorating with mirrors might seem like a feature that's reserved for living room ideas or bedroom ideas but they can also be a valuable addition to the kitchen.

'Mirrored backsplashes are great for maximizing light flow around the room if natural light is limited. If you’d like to inject a little personality and interest into your kitchen, choose antique glass. There are so many variations of glass to choose from to suit your aesthetic, adding a vintage look whilst still creating an open, airy feel,' says design director Tom Howley (opens in new tab) .

7. Don't forget to accessorize

kitchen with panelled cabinetry cermaaic butlers sink antiques and flowers

(Image credit: Tamsyn Morgans)

If you want to breathe life and personality into your kitchen, you can’t go wrong with fresh flowers. Decorating with flowers brings color, texture, and fragrance to your space. 

'All too often, buying flowers is associated with a gift from a loved one, but treat yourself with a fresh bunch of sunflowers, hydrangea, or peonies to bring summer vibes into your kitchen. Alternatively, you could even gather some beautiful foliage from your own flower beds, which can create a natural and effective statement centerpiece,' says Andy Briggs, interior designer for Optiplan Kitchens (opens in new tab).

8. 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.

9. 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 (opens in new tab). ‘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.’

10. Introduce punchy pattern

Decorative kitchen with patterned and colorful furniture

(Image credit: Amber Yard / Darren Chung)

When it comes to accessorizing your kitchen, there are plenty of decorative kitchen ideas to inspire you. '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.

11. 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, but it's also 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 from 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 (opens in new tab)'s Heirloom Collection.

12. 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.’ 

13. 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 provides plenty of opportunity to incorporate decorative kitchen ideas into your space. As such, 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

14. 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.

15. 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 really useful decorative kitchen ideas 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).

16. 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.

17. 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.

What can I do with the space above my kitchen cabinets?

There are lots of ways to decorate above kitchen cabinets. Rather than letting the space gather dust try adding wall panelling, lighting or use as a space to display your decor. This 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.

How do you decorate the top of an island?

One of the easiest ways to decorate the top of an island is with a vase of cut flowers. Not only will it add visual height to the island but choose seasonal blooms and it will bring colour and texture as well as seasonal charm to the space.

For a more permanent decorative detail, consider hanging a statement pendant above the island. While technically not on top of the island, it will occupy the space above it, making the island feel less open and bare. 

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