Letting the summer into the kitchen

During the brighter months of the year, the kitchen should be much more than just a place for doing chores. It should be a place where you really enjoy spending time, with sunshine streaming in through the windows and bouncing off the walls. This season, why not make it better still by joining the seaside kitchen craze? It’s an easy look to create and it will make you feel as if you’re on vacation all the time.

Seaside style furnishing

Seaside kitchens recall the ones you’ll find in small cottages in little coastal towns. They’re big on natural materials, with antiqued wooden dressers and stone counter tops. Shelves and door and window frames are often slightly irregular, while units may be mixed and matched rather than chosen as a set. They often include lots of small drawers. Old fashioned, pastel colored stoves and fridges are a popular addition.

Large tables look too grand to suit the seaside theme but a smaller one with individual boards visible on the top can look fantastic. Alternatively, you could choose a round table and decorate it with a white cloth with a floral trim. Painted wooden or wicker chairs complete the look.

Use the light

Pale colors are the thing in a seaside kitchen, helping to make the room brighter, though they may be trimmed with deep blue for a nautical look. White, cream, baby pink, ice blue, pale yellow and lavender can all work well, and wooden units are often painted as well as walls. Don’t bother with multiple layers of paint—it often suits the theme better if it looks a bit rough.

Recycled glass is ideal for seaside kitchens, giving them the look of something that’s been in the water. It can be used for trimming but it also works really well in tile form when used for splashbacks or surfaces, and its reflective quality adds to the brightness of the room.

Pale flooring in natural materials such as pine or blond ash also works well. Alternatively, try red terracotta tiles for a Mediterranean look and surround them with bright white surfaces for contrast.

Accessorize

Seaside kitchens benefit from mixed-up, odd-sized accessories full of quirky charm. Visit thrift stores to find a variety of mugs and plates rather than buying matching sets. Consider an antique clock or wooden-framed paintings of seascapes for the walls. Clutter is very much a part of creating the seaside mood. If you don’t like the idea of the extra cleaning that this involves, consider displaying your crockery and ornaments in glass-fronted cabinets.

Flowers that grow by the sea tend to be dry, so work well in dried form in a ceramic vase by the window or as a table centerpiece. Allium, hyssop and Russian sage are all great choices for this. Complement them with modest floral motifs on items like drapes.

Seashells are easy to obtain and look great glued around the edges of window frames, while ceramic fish or starfish wall ornaments add character to the room. Look out for dishtowels and wall calendars with seaside themes. Rustic wicker baskets are useful for holding loose vegetables and similar items and can work very effectively in a room like this, especially if painted.

In designing a seaside kitchen, you don’t need to restrict yourself to the visual. It’s possible to buy sea-fragranced oils that you can heat in an oil burner to really make it feel as if you’re on vacation.

Looking after your seaside kitchen

In a sunny, pale-colored kitchen it’s all the more important to keep things clean, because dirt will really stand out. Make sure you have suitable wood and stone care products for cleaning surfaces without damaging them or leaving soapy residue. Remember that most stone surfaces also need to be resealed on an annual basis to keep them in good, hygienic condition.

Cleaning around small features like glass beads and shells can be tricky. The best way to keep them dirt free day to day is to use a feather duster. For deep cleaning, using a spray-on cleaning agent and then rinsing with water means you can avoid leaving pockets of dirt where bacteria can linger.

With proper care, a well-designed seaside kitchen can look good for years, making it a pleasure to work in and a place you’ll enjoy sharing family meals. You’ll find yourself looking for excuses to take guests into the kitchen so they can see what you’ve created.


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