Open-plan kitchen accessories: 6 key ideas for a refresh

Kitchen view over island with bar stools

If you’ve already got the kitchen of your dreams and you fancy adding some finishing touches, help is at hand. I’ve carefully curated a collection of must-have kitchen accessories for my hub of the home, which I hope will inspire you. So, if you feel your space could do with a little lift, here are some ideas to give you the motivation you may need to create a similar look in your home.

Open-plan kitchen design
Say hello to my open-plan kitchen!

The realities of kitchen redesign

Chances are, if you’ve already embarked on a kitchen redesign, this has involved extensive building works. This is exactly what the husband and I had to do to create the space we now have in our hub of the home. And, for your information, if your builder mentions steel joists, these cost an absolute fortune. However, needs must and we needed ours to ensure our extension won’t fall down in the foreseeable..!

Kitchen view over island with bar stools
Kitchen accessories have helped me complete the individual look I wanted to achieve

My Caple kitchen makeover was the most incredible journey and, once it was complete, I loved our new space. The layout was perfect for entertaining, the cabinets were divine and we had plenty of room for living and dining. However, at this stage, we no longer had the time to consider those all important finishing touches…

Key kitchen accessories

The sad reality is however gorgeous your actual kitchen is, in an open-plan environment you’ll need to match your design with the quality and style of your kitchen accessories. So, more recently, I decided to bite the bullet, take time out and complete the individual look I was after. After all, these finishing touches can actually make a room design. Open-plan kitchen accessories should be so much more than an afterthought. However, I also think it’s important to take time to ‘live’ in your hub of the home first. This way, you can see what you require and consider the best options to breathe more life into your open-plan space. Apparently, patience is a virtue. So, I’m pleased I’ve managed to wait till now, before completing the look I’ve really wanted.

Garden view from my kitchen
My open-plan kitchen includes a dining area for entertaining friends with views onto the garden. My ceramic tableware is from Sara Miller London and you can pick up similar cutlery here

1. The ultimate flooring solution

Let’s start with the floor – you’ve hopefully already chosen a practical flooring solution in your kitchen. I chose luxury vinyl for our hub of the home, which has been perfect for cleaning spills and it’s easy to maintain. However, I felt the living area would need an extra layer of warmth and style with a designer rug. This would also clearly define our relaxation space, which was key as we spend a lot of time in this area. I felt a statement rug should be top of my list of key open-plan kitchen accessories. In fact, I was looking for a distinctive piece, which would tie in with the bold colours I’d chosen here. I wanted my living space to pop and feature plenty of style. I also wanted to blend the look with the colourful views we’ve created onto our garden in the spring and summer.

How to get the look

However, I really struggled to find anything, which would suit my very particular needs. Issues ranged from finding the perfect size and colour to choosing the right pattern and shape. So, I enlisted the help of a family-run business, MM Interiors. They actually offer a fully custom interior design service and project management experience, ranging from one room transformations to multiple properties.

Rug view onto ovens and table
Thanks to MM Interiors and their suggested rug design, I’ve managed to achieve a warm and cosy living space, which leads on to my dining area and kitchen

Following initial discussions about what I wanted to achieve, they proposed the Morpheus rug. This extra-large piece measures 200cm by 300cm. In fact, this is one of my favourite open-plan kitchen accessories in our living area. You can order this designer rug online via their portal. However, I hear you can also order custom sizes on request. Different colours are available, but I had my eye on the striking Emerald Green. With an 11mm pile, this rug is primarily wool with viscose accents.

The Morpheus rug in Emerald Green by MM Interiors
I think my new Morpheus rug, £610, has created a striking statement piece underfoot in the living area of my open-plan kitchen. The Moroccan-style lantern and the spider table you see here, are sadly no longer available

This exquisite design is made by specialists in India, who specialist in Chinese and Indian rugs. They use traditional manufacturing and production techniques, hence the absolute quality. I chose this colour, because it ties in so well with my room design. I also hear it can be tricky to find rugs in this colour, which aren’t a flat green colour block. So, this makes my choice all the more appealing.

2. Choosing the right artwork

You can, of course, choose your artwork as the starting point for your interior design scheme. However, I tend to do this the other way round if I’m working on a renovation project. As a result, I may live with bare walls for years before I find that perfect piece. But it’s definitely worth it! I tend to choose artwork I love, which also suits the mood of the room I’m in. So, this brings me nicely onto another of my key open-plan kitchen accessories – prized artwork.

Morpheus rug in living area
This artwork looks right at home in my open-plan kitchen. The black champagne stand, £89, and Aurora brown feather pendant shade, £119, are from Graham & Green

Picking what you like

I really can’t stress the importance of this enough, but I think choosing artwork you really like, is paramount. In fact, the art you pick will enable you to express yourself through colour and content. If you choose wisely, this artwork should also stand the test of time. I think it’s good to find out as much as you can about the artist, too. This will help to personalise their work, whether you meet the artist on Instagram, Linkedin or face-to-face in a gallery.

Designed and created by the highly talented artist, Deborah Jones, you’ll see some of her featured work, including The Esoteric Pond above, on Saatchi Art. I initially ‘met’ Debbie on Linkedin, when I was immediately drawn to one of her showcased pieces. I could also see she had a distinct love of nature and wildlife, which instantly appealed to me. Roll on some time later and her gorgeous work kept popping up on my Linkedin feed. Then I started following Debbie on Instagram, too and I told her how much I loved her work and everything led from there.

detail shot of The Esoteric Pond
The Esoteric Pond by Debbie Jones ties in my look on our velvet sofa with colourful scatter cushions. Prices start from £120 for a 16cm by 24cm unframed canvas to £760 for a 40cm by 60cm framed piece of art. These frames are hand-crafted in wood and can be coated in gold (shown here), black, white, silver, pewter or oak. All of Debbie’s work is made to order – just email info@artbydeborahjones.com for more information

Debbie’s inspiration

I asked Debbie for more information on her work and the inspiration behind The Esoteric Pond. She explains: “My collections are inspired by my everyday life & travel. I am lucky enough to live next to Epping Forest where I spend a lot of time. There are carp ponds, near a fishing lake where I regularly visit, and I use my own photography for my work.

“After studying printed textiles at Central Saint Martins & working at Osborne & Little, I like to put design-orientated ideas into my paintings. I am always searching current interior trends to put them into my work. From photography, colour selection, placement and planning, my background of textiles and interiors influence my art. 

Debbie adds: “The Esoteric Pond is a large-scale oil painting. This piece took me around two months to complete. I like working with oil paints, as the oils let me blend the colour easily and give a glossy finish. To create a natural flowing effect around the fish, I poured washes of water colour oil over the large linen canvas. I worked the oils on the fish to create a 3D effect with the scales, blending the oil paints to give depth. Colour is very important to my work and putting design-orientated ideas into my pieces allows me to choose colours that blend beautifully. I love large dramatic statement pieces for a room. “

Artwork with sentimental value

The husband bought me this picture, which features the lyrics from our first dance at our wedding. Rather than stick with a more conventional tune, we chose something fun so everyone else could join in. These lyrics are One More Time by Daft Punk! However, this brings me to the point that artwork can also be a treasured piece, which holds personal meaning.

Artwork with personal value song lyrics
This innovative piece of artwork, £62, features lyrics, which are arranged in the form of sound waves. We chose a local picture frame company to create a bespoke design for this print

3. Store and order with kitchen bins

I must admit some things are better when they are hidden from view. But, when it comes to my kitchen bin, I prefer this essential piece of kit to be on show. I’ve tried the bin in a cabinet scenario, but it just doesn’t work for me for all sorts of reasons. One such example is when this vital piece of kitchen kit is behind a closed door, you’ve got to open it with your hands, which is not ideal when they are full!

Substance & style

Wesco bin in matt black
I love my new Kickmaster bin, which measures 830mmH by 350mmD and 350mmW. It costs £205 in matt black and you can buy it here. If you’d like one, I can currently offer you a special 15% discount – use code STYLE15 at checkout! The Kickmaster Maxi 40l bin is very roomy with an innovative stainless steel hands-free opening. This features two shells, which you operate with a sturdy chrome-plated pedal. These shells are edged with a rubber strip, which seals in any odours

However, I do think it’s important to consider your bin design wisely. So, why not consider a statement piece, which not only look super-stylish but is highly functional, too? This is what I had in mind when I perused the Wesco website. This is a German manufacturer with distinctive products, which are all about practical living coupled with character. Their rubbish bins actually tick all the boxes for me and I had my eye on their incredible Kickmaster Maxi 40l. What I didn’t know at the time was that they were about to launch one of their new finishes in this design – matt black. So, I couldn’t wait to be one of the first in line to benefit from this striking new colour in my house.

Black is back

Initially, I was considering a bold, bright bin shade to add to my kitchen accessories. But, in hindsight, I’m so glad the husband and I chose this colour. After all, matt black is hugely on-trend for the home and this bin works perfectly with my gorgeous matt black Umbra Buddy Hooks, £20. Matthew Lord, managing director at Wesco, agrees and he describes this new colour in their collection: “Black is synonymous with sophistication and elegance; a colour that is timeless. Recently, the matt finish and the colour black are being widely used in home décor; it has a velvety surface appearance and adds impact to home design.

Kitchen accessories Wesco bread bin and Alessie ktichen towel holder
I love my new Wesco Grandy bread bin, £75, in this new matt black finish. It’s made from high-quality, powder-coated sheet steel for a super-sturdy finish and complements my Umbra Buddy Paper Towel Holder, £20, perfectly. This bin adds a sleek finish to my wet zone area while my Joseph Joseph chopping boards provide pops of colour. Buy similar here

In fact, I liked this matt black look so much, I found the perfect pairing with Wesco’s matt black Grandy. This retro-style bread bin provides plenty of room for a large loaf with handy ventilation holes in the back to keep your bread fresh and, therefore, it will last longer. Easy to keep clean, I simply wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth and household detergent.

4. Take a seat

Breakfast bar stools at island unit
I picked up these affordable Kendall breakfast bar stools, £99, upholstered in a luxurious emerald green velvet, from Dunelm. Suffice to say, our cats aren’t interested in clawing these so I’m sure this seating will continue to look pristine in years to come!

Breakfast bar stools are a must if you’ve got an island unit and you want to complete the look. We initially had seating, which featured a woven cotton finish. However, this is a big no-no if you’ve got young cats and we soon found out as ours shredded them to bits! So, if you’ve got a furry feline or two, I suggest you look for bar stools with a velvet finish. Cats don’t tend to like scratching this fabric because it has a short, flat pile that lacks woven texture. I chose emerald green velvet bar stools with ‘gold’ legs and I can report back that neither seat has been touched to date.

5. Add pleasure with plants

Plants in open-plan kitchen
Combining faux and real plants is a great way to hide which ones are fake! Can you tell if either of these is real?

I love my garden so it made sense for me to introduce plenty of greenery to this space. However, most of my plants are, in fact, faux. Our two young cats have a tendency to chew plants, which is not a good idea, when you realise that most houseplants are toxic. Fake plants will last a lifetime and can look just as good if you buy the right planters! These also make ideal open-plan kitchen accessories, which can add a seamless flow between your cooking, dining and living areas.

6. Freestanding storage solutions

If you’re looking for practical storage kitchen accessory ideas, then a retro-style locker or two could be perfect. The husband chose The Shorty in Mustard to the Left, £139, to start then followed up with The Skinny in Mustard, £289. They arrive flat-packed, just to warn you, but these are relatively easy to build, I am reliably informed. I have positioned both models in our dining area to help define this space and they are perfect for keeping all our papers neat and tidy. I also use these to store beauty products, so they are ready for my shoots.

If you would like to transform your garden into a sanctuary, read my blog, which showcases a whole host of ideas. I also reveal my top tips on how to repot bamboo!

AD: Products have been kindly gifted to me or provided at a discount – these include the kitchen from Caple, the rug from MM Interiors, The Esoteric Pond artwork by Debbie Jones, the bins from Wesco and faux plants from Evergreen Direct.

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