5 ways to fall back in love with your kitchen, even if it's not your dream space (yet)

Try these simple solutions to ensure you love your kitchen, even if it's not the space you've dreamed of just yet

5 ways to love your kitchen even if it's not your dream kitchen
(Image credit: Cathy Nordstrom & Fanny Radvik/Claire Moran Designs & Anna Yanovski/Olive & Barr)

Plenty of things can help you love your kitchen even if it's not your dream space. A full renovation isn't always an immediate solution, especially if you've just moved into a new home. But how can you make the space feel more like you?

It takes a bit of time and patience when you transition to a new home to get a feel for the space and understand how you use it, so at first, making smaller, less permanent changes is often favorable. Kitchen ideas range from huge makeovers to subtle changes, but finding inspiration for quick fixes isn't always easy. 

To help you fall in love with your kitchen even if it isn't your perfect design scheme, we've asked interior designers for their top tips on how you can freshen up your space to appeal more to your tastes.

5 ways to love your kitchen even if it's not your dream kitchen 

Planning a kitchen remodel takes time, but there's no reason you should be living with a kitchen you really don't like in the mean time. These simple solutions will ensure you enjoy your scheme, even if it's not yet your dream kitchen just yet.

1. Update your kitchen cabinet hardware

A white kitchen with gold cabinet hadware

(Image credit: Claire Moran Designs/Anna Yanovski)

Although it might seem like a minor detail, swapping out kitchen cabinet hardware can instantly transform a scheme, and it's a low-cost way to add a hint of your desired aesthetic to the space. 

'Try replacing handles with knobs or drawer pulls for a quick makeover. You can customize with different styles and shapes in the same tone, using materials like brushed nickel or brass for a sophisticated look,' suggests Fiona Ginnett, creative director and co-founder at HØLTE.

A more elevated style of hardware in a timeless finish will instantly give your cabinets a facelift, and turn a boring, flat design into something with an added touch of luxury.

2. Replace an upper cabinet with open shelving

Kitchen sink with wooden cabinetry and traditional tiles

(Image credit: Tess Interiors)

A slightly larger alteration to make, but removing even one or two upper cabinets and adding floating shelves in their place will make a huge difference to your kitchen, especially if the style of cabinetry is your bugbear. 

Annie Harrison, founder and creative director at FARE INC suggests, 'remove traditional cabinets and introduce open shelves to promote openness and avoid a top-heavy, enclosed feeling,' adding that this will enhance the visual expanse of the kitchen and make it feel more inviting.

If completely removing the cabinet is a greater change than you're willing to make, simply remove the cupboard doors to achieve a similar effect – the kitchen will instantly feel less bulky and provide more space for more decorative details.

3. Introduce your favorite kitchen decor

Blue kitchen island and white quartz worktop

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

Introducing your favorite decor into a kitchen is a fool-proof way to make the scheme more enjoyable. While the approach to decor in the kitchen differs from cozier rooms, there are a few creative ways to marry style and function.

'I am a big believer in the power of reorganizing and restyling the surfaces in your kitchen to get a fresh, new look. Try adding a decorative crock to hold wooden utensils and adding a pretty vase for seasonal flowers if you have counter space for that,' says Kathy Kuo, CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.

'I also love the idea of bringing a decorative tray into your kitchen – either on the counter or on your island if you have one – to house things like spices, olive oil bottles, utensils, or even barware and bottles of spirits,' she adds.

4. Add furniture that you love

kitchen renovation rules, open plan kitchen with sage green island, bar stools, armchairs to left, fluted pendants, bar stools, view of pantry

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

Adding personal style through furniture items is a wonderful way to infuse your kitchen with pieces you love. Look to the smaller pieces that make sense in a kitchen, and swap them for something that brings you joy.

'Consider swapping out furniture, such as stools at a breakfast bar, for a quick update,' suggests Annie. The style of bar stools you add to your kitchen can impact the overall feel, so whether it's a bright color or design style you want to introduce, this is an easy place to do so.

Similarly, if space permits, adding a freestanding shelving unit or bar cart can add an additional flair of personal style, while offering practical benefits, too.

5. Add mood lighting

Modern farmhouse kitchen lighting above a farmhouse table

(Image credit: Cathy Nordstrom/Fanny Radvik)

Lighting dictates the mood of any space, but especially in a kitchen. For the most part, kitchen lighting ideas are chosen with a more practical focus, but introducing atmospheric mood lighting can really transform a scheme. 

There are lots of different ways to add softer light sources in a kitchen. 'Install lights above shelves to highlight displayed items. or, consider incorporating lighting inside wall units with glass doors for added ambiance,' suggest Fiona.

If you don't have the electrical sockets for wall lights, there are other options that are more temporary. 'Add mini rechargeable lamps on surfaces, shelves, and worktop corners to create a cozy atmosphere and expand the perceived size of the space,' Annie advises. 

There are plenty of ways to love your kitchen even if it isn't your dream space, and they are all relatively simple to do. From swapping hardware to adding cozy decor, these ideas will transform your kitchen without a substantial cost.

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.