These days we are seeing kitchens that you could mistake for the interior of the Millennium Falcon. While I think these kitchens certainly have a place in design, very few of my friends and colleagues are comfortable with such a stark look. As always, balance is key to everything. We can have beautiful built-in custom cabinetry, but then why not even the scales with a gorgeous one of a kind butcher block for extra counter-top space? We are aching for some texture, color and nuance these days…. something to warm up all those tough edges and strong lines.

1. Using an antique bibliothèque or a glass apothecary for cabinetry is a dream scenario. See below Martha Stewart’s butler’s pantry. This all wood look makes me want to get lost in a library of old Julia Child recipes and dust the nose of my sweetheart with flour. Now, glass cabinetry asks a lot from you in terms of organization but who doesn’t need someone or something to cheer on their tidiness? It can be the right motivator for some.

Designer Alex MacarthurVia -Greige Design

2. Antique lighting goes a long way to bring some depth to your kitchen game. One well-placed lamp or chandelier can make the space truly feel like a part of your home. We see the common mistake having an entirely different design and look for their kitchen from the rest of their home. If “the kitchen is the new living room,” shouldn’t we be trying to bring in that same style from the rest of your home?  To do so creates continuity.

3. Bring in your tables! Who said if it’s in the kitchen it must be all pre-fab, painted, particle board storage.  Tear up that island, and in its place put a table that gives the room a heartbeat.

Our very own Architect Bobby McAlpine and Designer Ray Booth

4. Grandfather clocks are typically overlooked as a kitchen necessity. We think the below installation makes a convincing argument for why we should reconsider. It is a glittering reminder of when form was equally as critical as function.

5. Time worn mirrors can soften some of the sterile edges of a modern kitchen. We love an antique mirror’s foxing, which is what happens when the mercury separates from the glass. This effect is not something we’d ever try to fix! It adds character and a sort of unstudied elegance to your room.

Designer Darryl Carter, Designer Blakes London

6. Most of you aren’t living an analog life anymore, which leaves us needing a clever option for our technology. An antique secretary or desk can be an easy answer. We love what they have accomplished in the below kitchen. Typically, I wouldn’t tell anyone to squeeze an antique into a wall like a fridge, but they’ve done it here with unmitigated success.  If it works, there are no rules. This look exemplifies why mixing your antiques with your modern fair is a hard win.

Via -Elle Decor

7.  Antique bistro chairs can transport you to your very own cafe on the Left Bank! This look is making us want to read Camus amidst alternating wafts of coffee and cigarettes. (Ok, so maybe no plumes of tobacco smoke.) Design can inspire complicated and exciting fantasies if you let it. You should let your intuition lead you, and only every now and then check in to make sure you don’t have a fire hazard!

8. Copper pots and pans (especially with an antique tin lining) are known to heat and cool at a much faster rate. They also have no hot spots, which can help smooth over any layman errors in the kitchen. These classic tools not only make cooking easier but give instant gravitas to any kitchen. Simply put, they’re gorgeous, and they lessen the expertise needed for culinary ambition. A true no-brainer!

9. Why should your artwork be reserved only for the living room? The kitchen doesn’t want to be forgotten. When choosing a few thoughtful paintings, consider the palette you want to bring in. Whether it’s a rich, earthy oil painting or vibrant, primary-hued watercolor, consider the mood you want to enhance.  If you don’t stray too far from the holistic pastiche, you will feel as though you are in the same home. There’s no jumping from a transitional style to Bauhaus without some design touchstones.