© Jennifer Causey
Swarm exhibit at Anthropologie's Rockefeller Plaza gallery.

Dream kitchen makeovers, complete with super-techy appliances, may need to be put on hold as we move into more frugal times. But just because we’re in a recession doesn’t mean you have to deal with an outdated kitchen for another year. In our December issue, interior designer extraordinaire Jeffrey Alan Marks shares his value-minded tips for transforming a kitchen. His trick: select one or two fabulous accent pieces that bring new personality to the room.

Marks’s mantra popped into my mind when I stopped by Anthropologie’s Rockefeller Plaza store earlier this week. The store’s gallery showcases the work of rising star artists from around the world on a rotating basis. The current exhibit featured Leslie Oschmann, Anthropologie’s former visual director who is now creating gorgeous vintage paintings and furniture in her Amsterdam-based studio named Swarm Home. Marks would love these quirky chairs, which Oschmann finds at flea markets and then paints or covers in needlepoint designs.

Just one of these funky seats could instantly up the style-factor of my tiny studio kitchen. Keith Johnson, Anthropologie’s gallery director and antiques buyer, agreed and was debating which pieces he wanted for his own apartment. These functional works of art start at $580—less than a state-of-the art range, but still pricey. Holly Becker, founder of one of my favorite design blogs, Décor8, suggests a DIY decoupage chair to get a look similar to Oschmann’s.

© Courtesty of Anthropologie
Chairs designed by Leslie Oschmann