Homes & Design Photo Credit: Colin Way

7 Ways to Customize the Look of Your Kitchen

Add the right finishing touch with these designer tips.

The kitchen, it’s often said, is the heart of the home, so give it the love it deserves. Whether it’s a eye-catching new hood fan or a unique set of barstools, consider these designer recommendations for finding that perfect finishing touch for your look.

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(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

1. Match the backsplash to the wall.

The stairwell, located right next to the kitchen, is painted dark grey, so designer Denise Ashmore chose a matching charcoal engineered-quartz Caesarstone tile to act as both the backsplash and countertop material. “When you turn the under-cabinet lights off, the backsplash becomes an extension of the stairwell wall colour and disappears,” she says.

MORE: Check out the full story on this modern kitchen design.

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(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

2. Spark a conversation with art.

Though it’s white-on-white, this piece by Vancouver artist Ray Marasigan—which features tiny plastic army figurines, painted, mounted and framed—still stands out. “It’s quiet, so if you have flowers, it’s not distracting,” says Ashmore, “but it still acts as a great conversation starter.”

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(Photo: Ema Peter.)

3. Warm up a modern space with texture.

While you’d never doubt this is a truly modern design, there are elements of the handmade throughout that add a little softness to the lines: hand-scraped hardwood floors, tumbled tiles on the backsplash, and, elsewhere in the home, leather pulls on the millwork crafted by Scott and Scott Architects. “The client was looking for a modernism that was crossed with a little bit of something rustic, something handmade,” explains designer Matt McLeod.

MORE: Inside this kitchen with a dreamy view.

nam-dang-french-kitchen
(Photo: Colin Way.)

4. Mix and match bar stools.

Homeowners Bob and Michele Michaleski (seen here) were hoping for something comfortable they could sit in on a daily basis, but four chunky seats would have “looked like a sofa,” says design Nam Dang-Mitchell. The compromise: two relaxed seats with slipcovers, with two industrial-style wood-and-steel stools to balance out the look.

MORE: Is This French-Inspired Space in Calgary Your New Dream Kitchen?

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(Photo: Colin Way.)

5. Go bold with two backsplashes.

While mosaic tile covers most of the kitchen wall, a gorgeous marble—which also sticks to a grey-and-white palette—breaks up the pattern in this Calgary kitchen to create an inset accent wall over the stovetop area.

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(Photo: Colin Way.)

6. Bring in industrial elements.

Black and steel touches throughout the space—the bar stools built with exposed hardware, a criss-cross of cables in the base of the island, cast-bronze cabinet handles—infuse the European-inspired design with some edge.

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(Photo: Ric Kokotovitch)

7. Warm up a modern space with natural materials.

This space would look so different without the walnut wood to warm it up. Natural, textured materials ensure a more minimal space feels “comfortable and warm,” says Calgary designer Connie Young. “Walnut is probably one of the most timeless wood species—it spans all eras, from modern to very traditional.”

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