Keep cookie cutter and clinical at bay in your kitchen with old-fashioned pieces that bring warmth and personality.
There’s no denying the appeal of a kitchen with gleaming banks of cabinets promising room for every pot, pan, bowl or gadget you can imagine. But I’m old-fashioned. I still like a kitchen with a stand-alone piece of furniture (or two) to add a personal touch. The options are many: Consider a brightly painted hutch to display dishes and glassware, a vintage bureau for linens, a repurposed table taking on a second life as an island — or even a sofa for lounging while cakes rise and stews simmer.
Although modern islands are ultraconvenient, sometimes an old-fashioned farm table with matching stools works beautifully — especially in a contemporary kitchen. This updated version provides space for casual family meals, as well as lots of room for food prep.
Take a Seat at the New Kitchen-Table Island
A row of artfully distressed gym lockers adds a quirky note to this kitchen, especially when paired with two shiny white Eames chairs.
Talk about creative reuse! This industrial-looking shelf is actually a set of old chicken nesting boxes, now home to the owner’s kitchen collectibles.
There’s nothing that appealing about a modern toaster oven and coffeemaker. But even these small appliances look good when they’re set atop a vintage painted sideboard and paired with framed food-oriented prints and menus.
What chef wouldn’t love a spot where he or she could rest tired feet? This overstuffed sofa is perfect for lounging between tasks — or for guests who just want to watch!
In this tiny kitchen, a blue stained jelly cabinet provides storage and echoes the blue notes of the frying pan, folding wicker chair and old-time coffee pots.
This sweet table and glass-fronted cabinet have distressed finishes that add texture and a comfy lived-in look to this simple white kitchen.
This piece is actually the bottom of a Hoosier cabinet; these cabinets were popular in the early part of the 20th century, before fitted cabinetry.
It makes for great-looking storage (three drawers!) and provides set-down space next to the stove as well as room for the microwave. Note the casters, which make it a cinch to move around.
In this gorgeous French-inspired kitchen, an elaborate buffet makes a très chic island. The green marble top was extended at the back to make a counter with storage space for two stools underneath.
Since this kitchen opens right into the living room, clutter is a no-no. This handsome (and very tall) wood cabinet makes a design statement — and hides all kinds of cooking paraphernalia.
Discovered at a local salvage yard, this one-of-a-kind Mexican grain-sorting table is a conversation piece. Its mellow green hue also livens up the surroundings.
A white wooden hutch like this, tucked into the corner of the kitchen, provides essential storage for everyday dishes. A simple bowl of fruit displayed on the bottom shelf adds color and balances the crowded shelves above.
Article Written By: Lisa Higgins
, I am a longtime design editor/writer based in New York City.