For years, the reigning aesthetic of kitchens across Pinterest and Instagram boards was stark countertops emptied of every ugly appliance and gadget, save for a vase with a single perfect peony. That may be fine as a fantasy, but for the rest of us back in real life, living with a few items in view is normal and, frankly, necessary for a well-functioning kitchen.
That goes double if you’re stuck inside more than ever to keep the coronavirus germs at bay.
“Staying on top of clutter is essential right now, especially as we’re all together inside with other family members,” says Ana Cummings of the eponymous design firm.
And let’s face it: Completely bare countertops may be beautiful and sophisticated, but they’re also a snooze.
“That’s why it’s important to choose some kitchen items in colors that will stand out,” notes Brenda Raftlova, editor and shopping expert at Offers.com.
And it turns out that many kitchen staples are now designed with sleek lines and in vivid hues that are well worth showing off. For some ideas, check out the gorgeous kitchen counter eye candy below.
It’s used nearly every day, so make this appliance really sing by choosing one in a delightful shade. The Italian Smeg line is retro-chic and comes in gorgeous pastel hues. It also has extra-wide slots to accommodate bagels and other large slices your teen tries to jam inside ($169.95, Williams Sonoma).
2. Utensil crock
“In my kitchen I like to have all the larger utensils like spatulas, stirring spoons, and ladles out for easy access,” says Drew Henry of Design Dudes.
To that end, seek out a stylish cylinder, vase, or jar that’s both chic and utilitarian, he adds.
The Le Creuset line of cookware is heavy-duty and smart-looking and comes in a rainbow of cool colors, including flame, cerise, marine, and Caribbean ($49.95, Wayfair).
3. Coffee maker
Henry also says it’s fun to invest in a coffee pot, French press, or espresso maker that you can leave out and admire.
“Plus, who wants to dig around for this appliance first thing in the morning?” he asks.
A metallic finish is usually the standard, but you could take a leap and go for a fun shade. This well-priced petite pick makes drip java and features a reusable filter so you don’t have to add paper ones to your shopping list ($21.55, Home Depot).
4. Cake stand
Sure, you’ll put cake on it—or a pie—but you can also display muffins, tomatoes, or any other food item you want close at hand.
Made from solid wood, this classic pedestal shape is a perfect addition to your sideboard or the center of your dining room, especially when topped with a pot of ivy or a flowering plant ($39, Etsy).
5. Canister set
Cummings doesn’t keep anything on her kitchen counters, but she makes an exception for glass canisters to hold pretty tea bags.
“It makes it so easy to have a hot drink right when you need one,” she says.
This bright trio fits the bill with its hand-painted designs and shiny glaze ($72.13, Home Depot).
Cummings recommends a bright serving tray to corral kitchen items or create a pretty tableau—but she uses hers to stay on top of her health.
“Now that I’m home and working so much in my kitchen, I keep a small vase with a floral stem and a gorgeous dish with candies and throat lozenges on my tray,” she says.
Try this one on your counter to hold condiments or use it for breakfast in bed for that special someone ($35.99, Target).
7. Soap dispenser
Colorful bottles at your kitchen sink make sudsing up more fun. (Cummings’ kitchen sports ones in vivid blue and acid-green.)
This pick can hold dish soap or hand lotion and features a nubby texture for easy gripping with wet hands ($68.50, Etsy).
8. Fruit bowl
If you display fruit, it’ll get eaten, so why not do it in a gorgeous purple bowl?
This orchid-shaped number is beautifully crafted and would look stunning with a bunch of bananas nestled inside ($26.99, Wayfair).
Dinner is just more joyful when it’s served family-style on a large platter. This piece of Fiesta dinnerware has an attractive ring pattern at the edge and cleans up well in the dishwasher ($24.99, Bed, Bath & Beyond).
Bring nature inside to lift your spirts and add a bit of color to your cook space. You can pluck anything you see growing, and it’ll be instantly elevated in this hand-painted stoneware vase ($32, Anthropologie).
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