Accessorizing in the kitchen

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When it comes to accessories, the kitchen offers a wealth of opportunity to indulge. Kitchen magpies unable to resist cooking gadgetry, ornament or decoration, have hours of fun choosing goodies to enhance the most important room in the home.

Kitchen accessories generally come in three distinct categories: useful, attractive and useful and attractive. Useful accessories such as catering gadgets always look great as they gleam on the counter-top, waiting for action. Sleek and classic kitchen brand names such as Dualit and Kitchenaid will always lend an air of sophistication and competence to proceedings; something less confident cooks may be grateful for!

Accessories are the perfect way of pulling together a kitchen that lacks any design focus. Use coordinating kettles, storage containers, wall clocks, crockery and table linen to create a calm, unified impression. A kitchen that lacks storage space is a prime candidate for antique style pan racks suspended from the ceiling. Gleaming copper pans hanging from an attractive wrought iron rack not only look smart, they are extremely practical.

The world of food storage opens up an Aladdin’s cave of choice – containers for any type of food such as bread bins, egg racks, fruit baskets, spice jars and tea caddies can all look wonderful in regimental lines along kitchen shelves. Often the prettiest containers are those found in yard sales, flea markets and kitchenalia auctions; so keep a look out for similar events close to home.

Keen cooks like to use fresh ingredients and nothing beats herbs picked straight from the window bo. Planters come in different materials such as wood, wirework, fiberglass, enamel, terracotta and galvanized metal – and make the perfect spot for growing fresh basil, coriander, thyme or marjoram. For easy access to herb boxes try fitting plantation shutters at windows, they look stylish and are practical and flexible too.

One kitchen accessory that really earns its space is the blackboard. Whether it's for writing grocery lists, leaving messages or recording recipes, every kitchen needs somewhere for making notes.

Wall art in the kitchen is one area where the imagination can run wild. Some householders choose the traditional route and decorate with restrained still life paintings of fruit and vegetables. Others prefer modern prints of close-up shots of tropical fruits or nuts. Those wanting a relaxed, 'bistro' feel may seek out antique enameled advertising signs at auction for a bit of authentic flair. Others simply decorate walls with a smattering of pretty, porcelain plates to great effect.

For collectors of crockery and porcelain, one of the best solutions for storage and display is a large wooden dresser. Giving great focus to a kitchen, a majestic dresser in dark natural wood or painted pastels solves the dual problems of storage and display in one stylish move.

One final essential accessory in any kitchen is a vase bursting with freshly cut flowers. Whether it's humble lilac cut from the bush outside the kitchen door, or a chic florist's bundle of elegant blooms, they will lift the room with their beauty and fragrance.

Accessories are all about stamping personality on a room. If the kitchen is your domain, make it reflect your spirit by filling it with items of wit, style and originality...