They say that the kitchen is the heart of any house, so then it follows only logically that one should always strive to design and decorate this room in as personal a fashion as possible. There are many possible styles in which a kitchen can be designed, from ultra-modern and minimalistic, to a clean, functional look, to classical, with marble countertops and elegant ceramic tiles, to rustic. However, irrespective of the style you choose, there are always going to be several furbishing constants, which you should always integrate as closely as possible into the overall design theme. Among these constants there are fabrics and textiles. Fabrics for the kitchen come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all serve a more or less functional purpose. Read on for ten fabric ideas for beautifying your kitchen, decide on a theme for the design that is close to your heart, then get decorating!
1. Tea Towels
Tea towels are absolutely ubiquitous in any and all kitchens, since they help you clean up, wipe your hands after cooking and even handle hot items, such as baking sheets taken out of the oven, or pans straight off the burner. There are many design options available for tea towels, but the best thing about them is that you can choose to design your own, out of fabrics you have lying around the home, which you no longer use. Embroider them, tie-dye them or go for whichever other design concept that tickles your fancy—you have many options at your disposal.
2. Oven Mittens
Oven mittens are also usually indispensable in any kitchen, which is why they’re great candidates for being worked into the design of the room. A good pointer is to have them match your tea towels. Oven mitts should also coordinate with the overall theme: if you’re going rustic, opt for a pair of mitts with flowers or in paisley. Otherwise, for a modern design, select them in solid colors.
3. Floor Mats
Many people will argue that the kitchen is no place for having fabrics lying around on the floor, since kitchen floors tend to get pretty messy, what with the inherent cooking. However, it’s not too bad an idea to have a floor mat by the entrance door to the kitchen. This way, everybody who enters the room or walks out can clean their feet before they exit, thus avoiding to dirty up the rest of the house.
4. Decorative Wall Hangings
Decorative wall hangings have a long-standing history in the kitchen, although many will argue that they seem slightly dated. Indeed, it’s probably best to frame a piece of fabric and hang it on the wall only if you’ve previously opted for a quaint, classical, retro or rustic design. Search your grandmother’s chest for cute vintage designs, or embroider your own, if you’re so inclined.
5. Textile Lampshades
Textile lampshades can, indeed, get dirty in the kitchen, but there are several options in this respect which will allow you to keep the lampshades clean, the lighting atmospheric and the room looking personalized. Several fabric-made lampshade designs come covered in a plastic sheet which protects them from the inherent grime and dust. The main reason for choosing such lampshades is that they make for much better light filters than shades in plastic or metal.
Doilies are yet another vintage-inspired décor item which can be used in the kitchen. They are delicate and appealing, but, if used in an inappropriate context, i.e., an ultra-modern or contemporary set-up, they can end up looking quite odd. As such, only opt for doilies if you have one or several other items in your kitchen that match, such as the lampshade or some retro wall-hangings.
7. The Apron(s)
While most people have given up using aprons in the kitchen, for the very commonsensical reason that they don’t cook nearly as much as people in our grandparents’ time used to, aprons are still useful and heavily employed. The golden rule of design when it comes to aprons is to coordinate them with your tea towels, oven mittens and/or table cloths. They are also a type of item which allows personalization and can be handcrafted out of a dress or bathrobe you no longer use for its original purpose.
8. Place Mats and/or Tablecloths
Place mats and tablecloths are not necessarily mutually exclusive and can be combined for great layering, as well as for color and pattern effects. Tablecloths can also be exchanged as often as you like, and most homes will feature special designs for themed holidays such as Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas. There is perhaps no image more iconic for the kitchen than to see an entire family gathered around the dinner table and around a beautiful tablecloth.
Textile napkins are much more elegant than paper napkins, and they are also much more economic, since they can be washed and reused. Besides, they will add a level of elegance to your kitchen which will recall the sophistication of the mansions of yore, as well as that of high-class restaurants. Always coordinate your napkins with your place-mats or tablecloths. Alternatively, if using them on a daily basis seems like too much of a hassle, since it implies washing them too often, you can choose to only use them for special occasions.
By far the most often employed type of fabric items for the kitchen are curtains, which you can basically find in any home. However, many homeowners fail to understand their importance from a design point of you. Kitchen curtains basically dictate the room’s entire color palette, so they should be very carefully selected and match at least one other major design element, be it the floor tiles, the wall tiles or the dominant color of the furniture.