Can you use rugs in the kitchen? Learn what rugs work best in a kitchen - and what rugs to stay away from!

This is one of those things that seems a little quirky and taboo, and people are really unsure if this is okay – can you use rugs in the kitchen?

My answer: heck yes to rugs in the kitchen!

Area rugs are an awesome way to bring a jolt of color, pattern, softness, and sound-dampening to a space. And a kitchen, with all its hard surfaces, can really benefit from something soft and squishy like an area rug.

Love this pink runner in a teal kitchen!

An area rug (or more likely given the space constraints, a runner) is a rad addition to a galley kitchen or a kitchen with an island. I like to leave a few inches of space on either side of the runner to let some floor peek out, but I don’t want the rug so narrow that my feet hang off of it when I’m working at the counter (ugh).

What do you need to know about rugs in the kitchen?

First: that any rug in the kitchen is going to get wet and dirty. It’s inevitable. So be sure to select a rug that’s durable and easy to clean. A 100% wool runner is a great choice for a kitchen, as is any kind of indoor/outdoor rug.

A good-quality vintage rug that has stood the test of time is also a rad idea for a kitchen. That distressed look is going to be super-forgiving with kitchen spills and stains.

An orange and fuchsia area rug looks awesome in this teal kitchen! Find out more about how to use area rugs in the kitchen.

But please, for the love of all that is holy, stay away from rugs that contain viscose fibers! While viscose looks real pretty (it has the look and feel of silk) that stuff is a nightmare to maintain, in the kitchen or otherwise. Viscose rugs shed, stain easily (even plain water can leave marks), and are a big no-no from many designers I speak with. Rugs crafted of a natural fiber like wool, or a durable synthetic like polypropylene are far better choices for a kitchen.

Can you use rugs in the kitchen? Learn what rugs work best in a kitchen - and what rugs to stay away from!

If you’re dreaming of updating your kitchen, be sure to grab the FREE Essential Kitchen Design Checklist to help you get started.

How to Choose Lighting for a Kitchen - tips from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick

Your kitchen lighting – just like your diet – needs balance to be healthy, happy, and functional. If you’re wondering how to choose lighting for a kitchen, there are 3 types of lighting your kitchen requires, and I’m going to give you the scoop on all three.

Disclosure: Some of the products featured were sponsored by a brand I use and love for myself and for my clients, Lamps Plus. Thank for your support!

We do a lot of stuff in our kitchens,

from cooking to cleaning to homework to entertaining to eating ice cream out of the carton in front of the freezer late at night. (No? Just me?) And one of the BIGGEST differences between an average kitchen and a phenomenal one is lighting.

Nope, not cool backsplash tiles or cabinet knobs – it’s lighting.

So, what are the three types of lighting your kitchen needs?

Ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting, like this track light,  is the first step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Ambient lighting…

…is the main source of light in a room, and it needs to cast general light everywhere. In modern kitchens, ambient lighting is most often seen as recessed lighting (also called can lights or pot lights), but since my Texas kitchen was built in 1959 and had no recessed ceiling lights (UGH!) we chose this cool industrial-inspired 4-light oil-rubbed bronze track fixture instead.

I don’t love the look of most track lights – I find them too modern and sterile – but I loved the warmth of the oil-rubbed bronze and antique brass. Plus, give me an Edison bulb any day of the week! I love the cozy, vintage glow.

Task lighting, like this Sputnik-style chandelier,  is the second step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Task lighting…

…is designed to bring extra illumination to areas where specific tasks happen (like chopping food or eating ice cream standing in front of the freezer). Ambient lighting is a great start, but doesn’t cut it on its own.

We installed an antique gold Sputnik-style chandelier to light up the table in our eat-in kitchen, and also a Kichler wood and iron mini-pendant over the sink. Pendant lights over an island are also a great example of kitchen task lighting.

Task lighting, like this Sputnik-style chandelier,  is the second step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Finally, accent lighting…

…brings that little extra bit of zhush to a room. To continue with talk about ice cream, think of it like you’ve got the sundae (ambient lighting) covered in whipped cream (task lighting), and now it’s time to add the cherry on top (accent lighting).

Accent lighting creates a magical glow that makes a space more special. In a kitchen, you’ll often find accent lighting as under-cabinet lighting, above-cabinet lighting, toe kick lighting, or even in accent lamps. While the under-cabinet lights are off in these photos (because natural light is where it’s at for interior photography), know that I love and use under-cabinet lighting all the time.

Now that you know about the three main types of lighting a room needs, it’s time to talk about:

how to choose lighting for a kitchen.

Love the lighting from @lampsplus in this teal and white kitchen!

First, I refer to my Essential Kitchen Design Checklist! Having this checklist as a guideline helps me start and manage a kitchen design with confidence, and I hope it will do the same for you. Download it totally free, right here.

Overwhelmed by choosing lighting? Learn all about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Second, I take inventory of what lighting I have that’s working, what fixtures need to be replaced, and what additional lighting needs to be added by an electrician. While keeping in mind that I need all three types of layered lighting – ambient, task, and accent – I make a list of all the light fixtures I’m looking for, from recessed lights to pendants.

I don’t start my search in the dark (LIGHTING PUN!). I make sure I have a list and a plan so that I can get the best result – and the best-looking kitchen – possible.

Not sure what lighting your kitchen needs? Find out all about kitchen lighting in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

And last but not least, I go shopping! I’m a big fan of sourcing online, and Lamps Plus is one of my fave secret sources for cool, affordable lighting.

FYI, I pay really close attention to customer reviews to see if there’s anything I need to be aware of (like, if the fixture looks more brassy in person than in the photos) and I also carefully check the dimensions of the fixtures before ordering. Those measurements are essential when ordering online – you might end up with a chandelier that’s way smaller (or way larger!) than you expected if you’re not carefully checking dimensions.

If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen lighting,

or if you’re considering a full remodel, be sure to grab the FREE Essential Kitchen Design Checklist to help get you started.

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist - FREE download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Designing a kitchen is a TOTAL BEAST. There are soooo many details to consider, from countertops to cabinets to cooktops. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to select grout or overlooked including undercabinet lighting when creating a kitchen design for a client. Don’t you wish there was a kitchen design checklist with all the items you’d need to select for your kickass new kitchen?

Get ready – I’ve got something rad for you.

It took me years (and a few mistakes along the way) to come up with a comprehensive checklist to make sure I had all my bases covered, and this thing is IT. And I’m sharing it with you, totally free, to save you time, money, and mistakes:

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist - FREE download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

There are four major categories to consider when designing a kitchen:

Fixtures + Finishes, Plumbing, Appliances, and Storage.

Fixtures and Finishes includes the fun stuff, like counterops and cabinet colors. It also includes the boring (but necessary) stuff that needs to be selected, like the edge style and thickness for the countertop, and the grout color for the floor tiles. These are the kind of seemingly small design decisions that have a big impact on the overall result of a kitchen remodel, yet most homeowners aren’t prepared to make these kinds of selections and this indecision can really bottleneck a project.

Plumbing also seems simple (you need a faucet, right?) until you realize how many other elements are part of this decision, like the type of faucet mount (Centerset? Widespread?), finish (Chrome? Brass? Matte black?), or features (Pulldown? Touch-activated?).

Everything you need to consider when designing a kitchen is included in this FREE kitchen checklist from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick

If you’re designing a whole new kitchen layout, then the world of appliances is your oyster! Be sure to pay attention to size and electrical needs so that your contractor and electrician make the correct allowances (and so that your fancy new oven works properly!).

If you’re working with an existing kitchen layout, pay attention to how wide the openings are for your appliances – a 24″ wide opening will not fit a 24″ wide appliance, and you’ll need to factor in a little wiggle-room to make sure things fit.

And of course, storage is a major consideration in a kitchen design. This is the time to look into awesome storage solutions to make your life easier, like pull-outs, drawer dividers, and baking sheet dividers.

Everything you need to consider - from appliances to storage - when designing a kitchen is included in this FREE kitchen checklist from interior designer Lesley Myrick

This FREE kitchen design checklist is the exact tool I use at Lesley Myrick Art + Design when I start a new kitchen remodel project. It includes four major categories to consider as well as alllll the nitty-gritty details you’ll need to cover in each category.

Having this checklist as a guideline helps me start and manage a kitchen design with confidence, and I hope it will do the same for you. Download it right here.

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. Finally – the dark teal kitchen!

Before and After: A Dark Teal Kitchen with Funky Lighting

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams, Metrie, Lamps Plus, House of Antique Hardware, and The Findery. Thanks for your support!

The 1950s were great.

Sure, they were great – like, 70 years ago. But kitchens do not usually stand the test of time, and our Waco kitchen from 1959 was no exception. While there was an attempt to update this space by a former homeowner in the 1990s, it wasn’t exactly a home run.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like the day we moved in:

Check out the before and after of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen
You've gotta see the "after" of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen!
You won't believe the "after" of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen!

The cabinets were original to the home and had been painted white at some point, which certainly isn’t terrible, but they were definitely dingy. The flooring was awful ceramic tile made to look like slate, with grout lines a mile wide. (Ugghhh it got so dirty!) The wallpaper? Yeah, I could’ve lived without that. And that fluorescent faux-skylight light fixture? That needed to be ripped out, like, yesterday.

But the absolute worst part about this kitchen? The countertops. I’d have loved something as retro chic as Formica, but nope – these countertops were made of 4×4 white square tiles.

Tiles.

With grout.

As a countertop.

So. Gross.

So what improvements did we make to this kitchen?

Love this before-and-after of a dark teal kitchen!

As with the rest of the house, the flooring was the first major change. We ran the same vinyl plank through the entire house, which was such a needed update. The only flooring we kept as-is was the cool herringbone brick in the front entry, which you can see a snippet of in the photo above.

Lighting was next on the list, and boy did a couple of new fixtures update the look of this kitchen! We replaced the outdated fluorescent box with a cool industrial track light, and updated the chandelier in the dining area with a funky brass Sputnik-style pendant, thanks to Lamps Plus.

Love this kitchen cabinet dark teal paint color - Sherwin-Williams Cascades

After we added crown molding and new baseboards from Metrie, everything got a fresh coat of my favorite crisp white paint, Sherwin-Williams Extra White. Everything, that is, except the lower cabinets, which we painted DARK TEAL! I loved Sherwin-Williams Cascades so much in this kitchen that I used the same color in my new office.

A dark teal kitchen had been my dream like, forever, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Especially when we added this orange and fuschia wool runner which made the teal really pop.

Cool backsplash stickers in this before-and-after kitchen makeover

The boring white cabinet knobs were replaced with distressed antique brass knurled knobs, which brought a lot of texture and vintage character. And the backsplash was an awesomely easy DIY update – because it’s not tile. I tried out Quadrostyle Stickers because I’ve been so curious about peel-and-stick backsplashes, and this one was a smashing success. (Even my contractor didn’t realize it wasn’t tile until he looked closer.)

Since we kept the original cabinetry,

we were able to splurge on new countertops, and I have to tell you, concrete countertops are the bomb-diggity. Since our dining table was zinc and looked a little like natural concrete, we chose white concrete for the counters. Twisted Concrete in Texas totally made my countertop dreams come true. No more grout lines to clean!

 A modern dark teal kitchen by interior designer Lesley Myrick
A funky, eclectic dining room by interior designer Lesley Myrick

In the dining area of our dark teal kitchen,

we kept the mismatched chairs that we had collected over the years, and had a reclaimed zinc-top table custom made by The Findery in Waco, Texas. We loved the vintage iron bases, and were able to keep the same bases (but add a new, larger butcher block top) in our new home.

Love this modern kitchen before-and-after by interior designer Lesley Myrick

The oversize abstract art was made by me, inspired by Atlanta artist Britt Bass Turner. (Her paintings are waaaay better than mine, btw.) And the draperies are from World Market, but sadly, are no longer available.

Thanks so much for following along with the before-and-afters of my Texas home, including our dark teal kitchen. This was such a special house since it was the first home Nate and I bought, and the first house we were really able to put our stamp on. We were truly able to bust this home out of boring (and bust it out of ugly!) and I’d love to help you bust out of your boring home too. Let’s talk.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

This story about what I wish I’d known about painting kitchen cabinets has a happy ending…because I finally invested in paying someone to paint them after royally screwing up the paint job myself.

What I wish I'd known about painting kitchen cabinets BEFORE I tried to DIY! Design tips (and hard-earned wisdom) from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

There are a lot of awesome tutorials out there about how to paint kitchen cabinets, and I wish I was that person who embraced DIY and loved the tedious steps involved in sanding, prepping, taping, priming, and painting. But honestly, after attempting to do it ourselves, my husband and I pretty much ran screaming to the professionals and threw our checkbook at them to make it right.

And it was money well spent! As a designer, I always recommend talented professionals to get the job done. I finally realized it should be no different in my own home.

Here’s what I wish I’d known about painting kitchen cabinets before I tried it myself:

Can’t view the embedded video above? Click here. Prefer to read? Edited transcript is below.

I’m Lesley Myrick, welcome to Bust Out of Boring, my weekly show every Wednesday at noon CT where I help you bust out of a boring home and create something amazing.

This week, we’re on Episode 12

and we’re going to chat about what I wish I’d known about painting kitchen cabinets. It’s not about choosing color – color was easy! – but here is what I wish I had known about painting kitchen cabinets.

So clearly, if we’re starting with the topic of “what I wish I’d known”,I made a mistake.

We recently repainted our kitchen.

The cabinets were white, kinda dingy, kinda old. We wanted to give them a fresher, brighter coat and paint the lower cabinets a really fun color – soon to be revealed on the blog and social media.

And we were crafty, and did it ourselves! Which there ain’t no shame in that game, but I did not think through all the work, all the materials, all the ALL THE THINGS that we would need to do it right.

The biggest mistake we made painting our kitchen cabinets

was going from oil-based paint that was already on the cabinets to latex.

My genius brain said, “Cool! There are primers for that! We can do this no problem!”

Well, you can buy primers that will go over an oil base and will allow you to put on latex paint. However, the results that we got were not the most durable, were not the strongest, and we very quickly had issues with the finish being funny, with things getting chipped and dinged and scratched, and all the hard work my awesome husband put into it very quickly just looked…”meh”…and fell really flat.

That’s one of those lessons

that’s kind of hard to learn once you’ve put a little money and put a little time into something. You get so excited for this end result and it just doesn’t work the way you wanted it to.

So here’s what I wish I’d known about painting kitchen cabinets:

1. The right paint and the right process matters.

Cabinetry isn’t something that you can just slap up a fresh coat of paint on and hope it’s gonna last. Cabinets take a hella lot of abuse and they really need to be done well, done with the right materials, the right paint that’s going to cure and be strong on surfaces and not something that can get dinged up when cupboard doors are opened and shut.

2. Painting the kitchen cabinets ourselves was not a worthy DIY project.

This really is something that involves a lot of prep, a lot of labor, and a lot of time. As a working mom with two young kids, we need our kitchen! Having it torn up with us taking a week to do a job that professionals could do in three days really wasn’t worth the cost savings.

I’m so grateful to have hired our amazing painting crew to tackle our kitchen which is now 100% done – without paint chipping! It looks amazing and I’m so excited to share that with you guys soon.

As always, if you have questions or comments,

drop a line in the video comments on Facebook. I’d love to hear if you have any experience painting kitchen cabinets and if yours went a little bit better than mine or if you found similar pitfalls in terms of trying to do it “on the cheap” and finding that it wasn’t worth the time or energy.

I looooove me a good project reveal! This Waco family-friendly kitchen remodel was such a blast to work on, and any time a client gives the go-ahead for a bright blue island you just KNOW the end result is going to be smashing.

If you remember the “before” photos, my client was trapped in a generic wannabe-farmhouse kitchen with a faux shiplap wall. A sledgehammer took care of our little shiplap problem lickety-split, and the custom-designed massive 11′ long island became a much-deserved focal point.  This sweet family has 3 kids under 3 and a large island to seat everyone comfortably was a must-have (as was a low-maintenance quartz countertop).

Mixing metals, layering textures, and playing with color and pattern was key to bring interest to this otherwise neutral space. Black hardware and fixtures are unexpected and fresh, which meant that brass and chrome accents could layer in without being too dominating. (I’m obsessed with those black hexagon drawer pulls!)

The large reclaimed barn door was already in the home, and I love it because warms up the otherwise cool palette in the kitchen. Without warm woods, a blue and white kitchen would feel pretty sterile. Brass + wood = instant warmth and contrast.

You can never go wrong with tea towels that feature animals dressed like humans, right? Even kitchens need a little quirk factor.

And just for fun, while we were busy smashing down shiplap and busting up bad tile floors we did a little makeover of the laundry room and master closet too. The ho-hum laundry room got jazzed up with graphic concrete tiles and a fresh quartz countertop, and we designed a pretty little office nook in the master closet to create a much-needed private home workspace for mama.

I bet they’re going to have a pretty epic Thanksgiving dinner in their new super family-friendly kitchen! (And I hope they invite me, too.)

Photos: Jeff Jones Photography

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

This Waco family-friendly kitchen remodel is in full swing – we’re about four weeks in to an eight-week renovation. I love designing projects of this scope. A full-scale renovation means there will be an UHHHMAZING reveal at the end and I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Here’s the scoop: my clients weren’t happy with the layout of their kitchen thanks to a weird floating wall and a strangely shaped island, and there was also a “f**king shiplap wall” (their words, not mine – although I find it hilarious!) that they wanted removed. The kitchen was certainly pretty, but totally average. Greige walls, white cabinets, beige granite, beige floor tiles. You know the stuff. Here are a few before photos to give you an idea of just how borrrring this kitchen was:

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

It’s not shown in these photos, but there was a huge amount of space between the stove and the sink (located on the island), making working in the kitchen pretty impractical. This family has three young kids and they ain’t got time for a badly designed space.

The dining area also left a little to be desired:

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

So what’s the design plan for this kitchen?

Spoiler alert: it involves teal, funky tile, and some badass pendant lighting.

A family-friendly kitchen remodel in Waco, Texas by interior designer Lesley Myrick

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

These are two of the moodboards I presented to the clients to communicate the overall vibe and color palette of the space. The layout and some of the decorative elements have changed a bit during the design and renovation process, but I don’t want to ruin the final reveal so I’ll keep the updates a mystery.

Just know that I might be sneaking a white llama planter in there somewhere, as seen on this pinboard where I’ve gathered fixture and finish ideas for this remodel.

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

If you’re curious, this is how the remodel is progressing:

"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick"Before" photos and design plans of a Waco, Texas family-friendly kitchen remodel project by interior designer Lesley Myrick

Buy-bye, fake shiplap. That wall is already gone entirely (replaced by a sturdy support beam hidden in the attic) and things are moving quickly on this Waco family-friendly kitchen remodel. Big reveal coming in a few months!

One of the biggest design investments in the home is your kitchen. If yours is less-than-awesome, how do you know if it’s worth investing in a kickass complete remodel or if a less expensive makeover will do the trick? Here’s when you should renovate a kitchen (and when you should just leave it alone):

Can’t view the embedded video above? Click here. Prefer to read? Transcript is below.

Let’s talk kitchens, baby.

Hey everyone, Lesley Myrick here, interior stylist and owner of Lesley Myrick Art + Design where we create interiors with an offbeat edge.

Kitchens. If yours is kinda needing some love,

How do you know if it’s just time to do an aesthetic upgrade or a full-out renovation?

I recommend my clients make aesthetic changes when it just comes down to the fact that they don’t like the look or design of a certain element.

Now, what if the issues with the kitchen go beyond just “I don’t like my doors?”

What if there are practical and functional issues?

There’s not enough light coming from the ceiling, or your kitchen was built in the 1950s and the shelves are not adjustable so your cereal boxes don’t fit – which is a real problem I’m currently having.

Or, there’s something else function-wise that’s really inhibiting your use of the kitchen and – if you plan to move any time soon – the resale of that home.

When it comes down to functional issues –

– something isn’t meeting your needs, something is broken beyond repair, something doesn’t have enough of what you need to be adequate – that’s when it’s time to really consider gutting and renovating, starting fresh, and designing a new kitchen that’s going to meet those needs and look totally kickass.

In a kitchen aesthetic improvements are a bandaid solution. If you’ve got a kitchen with some small problems a bandaid solution is probably going to be just fine.

When function AND aesthetics are lacking,

that’s when it’s time to consider doing some more major work on your kitchen.

Now, some people think selling a house, you’ve gotta update the kitchen. That’s not always necessarily the case. I would recommend consulting with a designer or realtor and getting a professional opinion.

Sometimes renovating a kitchen can be a great thing for resale

and can bring in a profit; but sometimes, having a kitchen that needs some work can actually be a negotiating tactic while you’re selling and it can work to your advantage not to put the work in to it.

So – don’t do a kitchen renovation for someone else.

Do it for you. Do it to make your home feel better, work better, function better, and so you can live better.