Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Susan Serra

Susan Serra CKD, CAPS, is president of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., the kitchen design firm she has owned and operated for over 20 years and business entity for her lifestyle brands, Scandinavian Made www.scandinavianmade.com and Bornholm Kitchen (www.bornholmkitchen.com.) An expert on kitchen design, with countless projects published in national media over the years, Susan is a speaker, a go-to source for the media on kitchen design issues, and a consultant to brands in the kitchen industry. She attends as many design shows in the US and abroad as she can during the year with eyes wide open. Susan thinks about kitchens…a lot!

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  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • For me, the "accessory layer" can make or break the look of your kitchen. Well, almost -- here are a few of my tried-and-true tips to show you how to add the "real" finishing touches to your kitchen beyond hardware and paint.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Color My Accessories

    Begin with the end in mind! Visualize the big picture -- the entire kitchen, even surrounding rooms if the kitchen is part of an open floorplan. I like to think of it almost like a math equation, deciding where to put color in what proportions.

    Two options are to group colorful objects together to form more volume in one or more areas of the kitchen, or scatter color fairly equally around the kitchen with carefully chosen accessories. Of course, coordinating colorful objects with design features such as a hood, backsplash, island, or other design element can create a cohesive look throughout the kitchen.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Texturize Your Accessories

    Texture always tells a compelling story. Sleek, minimalist, sculptural objects communicate modern design while worn, antique, rough accessories tell a completely different tale. Using accessories with texture and mixing with surrounding materials of a similar textural quality creates a visual flow around the kitchen.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • You can also use texture as a contrast. Smooth, stainless steel or glass accessories against a rough texture, such as honed backsplash tile, for example. I love using accessories in neutral shades—there is a beautiful organic feeling to these earthy colors.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Supersize Your Accessories

    Once again -- take a global view of your kitchen. Stand back, take it all in, and note the sizes of your accessories. Select fewer, larger objects as a rule when grouping items together. I find that if you think an object is too large, most likely, go larger! Of course, also use the "rule of three" as three objects lined up in a row are more visually interesting than two, or most other even numbers.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Storytelling Accessories

    Do you have a particular type of collectible -- plates, teacups, modern sculptural pieces, antique coffee grinders? Less is more when finding space for collectibles. Display fewer pieces with as much space surrounding the collection as possible so that they can easily be seen and quickly experienced as a natural focal point.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Connecting Your Accessories

    If your kitchen is open to other rooms, be sure to coordinate colors, sizes, types of objects, and textures with the decorating in adjacent spaces. The layer of accessories is truly the finishing touch to the kitchen. If you just need to freshen up your look, follow these tips for a dramatically refreshed look. What are your favorite accessories in the kitchen?

    - Susan
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