It goes without saying that sanitised, uncluttered kitchens are not to everyone's taste. The kitchen is the heart of the home, after all, the place where we hang out, play, chat, cook, eat, and more, so a little personality in the room doesn't go amiss. Whether it's knick-knacks that are meaningful to us, a comfortable table to sit at, or a warm and welcoming colour scheme, it's good to give a kitchen some character. In this ideabook, we take a look at five kitchen designs that put character at the heart of the design, whether through a flash of colour, quirky materials, or inviting furniture. What all of them have in common is that they show that a kitchen with 'character' needn't be a mess of knick-knacks piled hither and yon – a kitchen with character can be a fabulously designed space, too.
The design agency Aparté Conseils offers us our first example of a kitchen full of character. This kitchen is a delicious blend of styles. Mediterranean mosaic tiles create a retro, country-kitchen vibe; they're mixed with industrial lamps and contemporary chairs. Warm wood tones in the cabinets and an Aga-style cooker cement the sense that this is a space in which to linger and chat. This kitchen looks simultaneously well-used and sleekly designed.
In a retro chic yet modern style, discover this open plan Parisian kitchen was designed by architect Helena de Tassigny . In this bright space, we find retro sixties posters on the wall, a retro, teak-framed mirror just reflecting a sunburst clock, and colourful squiggles on a blackboard over the sink. Industrial style lamps (again!) hang low over the breakfast bar to create intimacy and warmth. Dark grey walls and a slate floor are sophisticated and cool. Open shelving is a great way to bring character to a kitchen (just resist the urge to clutter them up too much!). Show off the bits and pieces you've collected over the years; let people know who you are.
Minimalism is a style that advocates that 'less is more', and here is a kitchen that perfectly exemplifies this edict. The stand-out features of this white and grey space are the exposed, rugged beams in the ceiling. They give to a space that could have been cold and clinical a glorious warmth and character. Other details: the sky blue fridge and metal stools with a distressed finish, add more character to the space. It's a cool and sophisticated look, that succeeds in being welcoming, too.
This miniscule kitchen manages to pack quite a punch, despite its tiny size. The stand-out feature is the striking blue backsplash behind the sink. Different shades of blue are echoed throughout the room – in the painting of the Eiffel Tower on the wall; the curtain in the foreground; and the placemats on the breakfast table. That large flower adds a touch of femininity and softness. Without a lot of space to work with, architect Bertina Minel has managed to create a room that's full of delightful character and warmth.
This kitchen is a riot of textures. Exposed brick, distressed, reclaimed wood, cowhide and glossy plastic: all made to mesh together in a kind of harmony, despite their contrasts. To cap it all, an antique gold chandelier: because if you're going big on contrasts, you might as well go really big! This kitchen just looks like fun, and it screams character. We'd be willing to bet that those cowhide-covered stools are super comfortable places to sit for hours at a time, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand, chatting and laughing and enjoying the space.