kitchen

Feng shui meets Bobby Flay in the well-designed foodie kitchen. You don’t need a $3,000 stove or marble-topped island in your kitchen to make it cooking worthy. To a true chef, it’s all about the details. On their own, the nuances of a foodie kitchen don’t seem like much. But together, they add up to create one magical environment for all your cooking adventures. Read on to learn the essential decoration tips of a foodie kitchen done in affordable fashion.

Apron

An apron is your best friend in the kitchen. I have four at home and use them all regularly. Pretty much, if I’m in the kitchen, around food or eating anything at all, I’ll slap an apron on. Aprons are multi-functional in a kitchen: They serve as an extra towel for your hands; they serve as a bib for falling food particles (yes, we all get a bit messy when we’re excited to eat); and they serve as a pot holder when things are hot and you need to move something quickly.

A few notes about your apron: Since this is going to be your best friend in the kitchen, get one that fits, and one that you like. A good apron should go around the neck and also tie around the waist, and should be long enough to reach your knees. Pockets are optional, depending on what hardware you feel necessary to carry around the kitchen. And get one (or make one) that’s attractive to you. I always pull out my prettiest apron to use… because it makes me feel pretty. ‘Nuff said.

Candles

Candles don’t just set the mood for a romantic dinner in the kitchen; they get rid of cooking funk in the air. It’s a trick I learned from my mom that works like a charm: After cooking a strong-odor meal (fish, fried foods, most anything with meat), light a few candles in the kitchen right away and open the windows. After an hour or so, the smell will be fully dissipated. Choose soy candles as they contain fewer toxins than traditional candles, which are linked to cancer, asthma and eczema.

Artwork

As a work-at-home chef, I get my daily inspiration from my kitchen itself—it’s completely decked out in food porn. From framed magazine clippings on one wall to collages of favorite recipes on the other, there is no shortage of food eye candy in the kitchen. Get yourself some artwork that will inspire you to cook, eat and do it all again—and your kitchen will be nothing short of a food powerhouse.

Window

A good kitchen needs good lighting, and in my opinion, it all comes from sunlight. A kitchen with windows brings in natural sunlight for a sense of energy and sparkle to the space, and the airflow and breeze you get from opening a window are crucial to keeping your kitchen alive and fresh. If your kitchen has windows in it, make sure you’ve got some pretty drapes or curtains that reflect sunlight inwards rather than blocking it out altogether. If yours is without windows, bring in a lamp that gives natural lighting (fluorescent lights are the worst at zapping energy levels), and open nearby windows or doors to keep the air flowing in while you work.

Cookbooks

Cookbooks are a given. They’re your references for making food happen. But furthermore, not unlike artwork, they’re your visual stimulation in the kitchen. Invest in a decorative cookbook holder that you can display on a kitchen shelf, and hold the page open on one of the most colorful, appetizing pages in the book. Switch it up with the seasons so that you always have corresponding recipes for the time of year; a red-toned recipe featured in the fall, a green-toned recipe in the spring.

Image: Pacopus