3 stylish ways to personalize your kitchen

(BPT) - From cooking to conversing to entertaining, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s also a space that homeowners often dream of renovating. A growing trend in kitchen design is personalization, where thoughtful updates go beyond stainless-steel appliances and standard cabinetry to incorporate a host of interesting design elements.

By adding splashes of personality to your kitchen, you make the space one of a kind, and you'll enjoy it more because it reflects your preferences and style. Consider these key ways to breathe new life into any kitchen.

1) Switch up your cabinets

Want to give your cabinets a fresh look and add pizzazz without refacing or installing new ones? Try replacing existing hardware. Just as jewelry completes an outfit, hardware adds a finished look to cabinets. The variety of styles and materials for drawer and cabinet pulls — metals, ceramics, crystal, glass, stone — makes it easy to update your cabinets with little cost and effort. Don’t be afraid to mix and match hardware styles or experiment with shapes to add character.

Another idea is to update a few key cabinets. For instance, you can paint the cabinets above or directly beside the stove in black chalk paint, allowing you to add fun words and phrases — or even a favorite recipe — with chalk markers. You could also remove the face of several cabinets from the frame and add a clear or opaque glass insert for added visual interest and an unexpected touch of beauty.

Don't forget about the often-overlooked toe-kick space — the recessed area just below the cabinets — which can be enhanced with subtle styling. Consider painting this area a statement color or adding tiles for a clever update you won't see elsewhere.

2) Add vintage-style appliances

While stainless-steel appliances are popular in modern kitchens, distinctive appliances are a great way to add personality. Elmira Stove Works offers several vintage-inspired appliance lines in a variety of designs and colors. Whether you opt to update all your appliances or choose a single statement piece, your kitchen will feel inspired.

For those who lean toward a retro or midcentury modern look, the Northstar line delivers conversation-worthy style to any kitchen. Add a fun pop of color with classic hues like tropical blue, mint green and candy red, or choose from a broad selection of custom colors. Learn more at www.elmirastoveworks.com.

The Antique line features intricately detailed appliances with historic styling. These appliances are available in a range of traditional and custom colors, and can complement any vintage home design, including a rustic cabin, country cottage or lake house. For a turn-of-the-century feel, the Fireview stove has a visible wood-burning component that can also be used to heat rooms.

3) Light up the room

Proper lighting is essential for performing kitchen tasks, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Lighting provides an opportunity to get creative and bring touches of personality to the kitchen. By blending practical task lighting with decorative ambient lighting, you can inject the right balance of function and fashion.

Overhead and under-cabinet lighting make it easy to chop, cut, cook and more. Add a bit of flair with a layered approach — for example, strategically mix pendant and wall lights with recessed lighting. The globes that surround light fixtures are another great place to sprinkle in some character. From glass designs in vivid hues to textured metal looks, these surrounds come in myriad shapes and sizes.

You can find your favorite kitchen lighting options at local home improvement stores or boutique lighting shops. For something truly one of a kind, visit antique shops, flea markets and home decor reclamation stores. Whether an amazing art deco chandelier or an adorable Victorian decorative table lamp, you'll discover unexpected gems for your kitchen.

When you add personal touches, you'll enjoy an updated, customized space that will have you cooking and entertaining in style.

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