Michael S. Smith’s Kitchen Decorating Tips

Interior designer to the Obamas at the White House, Michael S. Smith, will release his third book next month: Kitchens & Baths. In it, Smith shares design inspiration for "the busiest and most personal rooms in the home." For a sneak preview, we asked Smith for his top kitchen decorating tips.

Kitchens and Baths

© Courtesy Rizzoli New York

What are some easy ways to update your kitchen?

How do you optimize space in a small kitchen?
Think about what you really need. If you live in an apartment and have a small kitchen, but don't cook that often, maybe refrigerator drawers instead of a whole refrigerator would be best. Make it charming and utilitarian. Like a boat: very efficient with no space left unused.

How do you approach giant kitchens?
Big kitchens tend to be filled with too much. Do you need a huge refrigeration space? I'd rather have a great bookcase with glass doors to store and protect cookbooks. Or a great niche with a sofa and ottoman so someone can hang out and talk with you while you cook.

What's your favorite kitchen trend?
Reusing things: refurbished stoves, old St. Charles cabinets, and lighting being reused. It is great environmentally and it gives the space charm.

What design elements are you obsessed with?
I really am obsessed with countertops. I think there are so many good options. People get into really expensive marbles. There are some pretty and really inexpensive stones, though keep in mind care issues. Butcher blocks can be inexpensive. CaesarStone is impervious to stains and is terrific. In my own kitchen, I have zinc countertops.

What are some kitchen decorating mistakes?
Trying to give your kitchen an entirely different look than the rest of the house—like if you walk into a fairly traditional house and the kitchen is Tuscan-style, and filled with sunflowers. That's wacky. Know what your house is like and what works. The things that come out of the kitchen, the food and conversations and all of those things matter—the look is important and should be attractive and cheerful.

More Kitchen Design Ideas:
Six Ways to Personalize a Kitchen
F&W Editors Kitchen Wish List
Food Bloggers' Best Kitchen Design Ideas

DownComment IconEmail IconFacebook IconGoogle Plus IconGrid IconInstagram IconLinkedin IconList IconMenu IconMinus IconPinterest IconPlus IconRss IconSave IconSearch IconShare IconShopping Cart IconSpeech BubbleSnapchat IconTumblr IconTwitter IconWhatsapp IconYoutube Icon