Kitchen decor

Photo: Matthew Williams

Rethink Your Island Dreams
"By repurposing a cool piece of vintage furniture, like this armoire, you can make a one-of-a-kind kitchen island and save the antique piece from a landfill." —Cortney and Robert Novogratz, authors of Home by Novogratz (Artisan Books)

Excerpted from Home by Novogratz by Robert and Cortney Novogratz (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012.

Photo: Eric Piasecki

Keep Options Open
"Swap out overhead cabinets with easy, open shelves, which can be a practical way to display your tabletop items, extra pots and pans, cookbooks and what-nots in a fun yet functional way." —Thom Filicia, author of American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat (Potter Style)
Dream kitchen

Photo: Jean Randazzo

Warm It Up
"Many people think the kitchen should be all function. To me, this is the room that you'll spend the most time in, and I love to add warmth, texture and color. Infuse it with pops of vibrant colors, textiles and furniture to give it warmth. In my own home, I brought in an espresso-colored antique table-and-chair set and added a colorful vintage Kilim rug. I picked up the colors in the Kilim and created beautiful drapery to tie everything together." —Kishani Perera, author of Vintage Remix: The Interiors of Kishani Perera (Abrams)
Dream kitchen

Photo: Gordon Beall

Go Up a Wall
"I've had to answer this question myself on multiple occasions. As the redefinition of a kitchen can be a very costly proposition, sometimes the most prudent decisions are the most obvious: Adding reclaimed architectural millwork—like the wainscoting I added behind the grandfather clock in the accompanying picture—to walls can offer a more cost-effective solution (as opposed to adding expensive, newly customized trims). And using reclaimed woodwork is also eco-friendly." —Darryl Carter, author of The Collected Home: Rooms With Style, Grace and History (Potter Style)
Dream kitchen

Photo: Marianne Haas

See Things in a Different Light
"For me, a luxurious kitchen is one that has good lighting. You need a well-lit countertop for food preparation; the eating area should be lit separately, with different lighting circuits that can be adjusted to suit your needs. Add candlelight to increase intimacy in the dining area." —Tino Zervudachi, author of Tino Zervudachi: A Portfolio (Pointed Leaf Press)
Dream kitchen

Photo: Kip Dawkins

Engage in a Cover-up
"It's hard for any kitchen to be a dream kitchen until you put your own stamp on it. We always love adding a new backsplash, which can also be easy on the budget (since it means keeping existing cabinets). You can even cover a lackluster backsplash if you don't have the time (or money) to do any actual tile work. Three inexpensive options for this project are bead board, tin ceiling tiles or even a bunch of frames lined up next to each other. These materials can be attached with an adhesive or held up with removable products like 3M Command Strips, which are especially handy if you're a renter." —Sherry and John Petersik, authors of Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love (Artisan)

Excerpted from Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012. Photographs by Kip Dawkins.
Dream kitchen

Photo: Tria Giovan

Choose a Counter Offer
"If you want a new look but don't want to entirely redo your kitchen, change out your countertops and switch up your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. Those efforts are not enormously expensive and shouldn't be too time consuming. (You can even do it yourself to save money.) I love the look of nickel-plated hardware against bright white cabinets." —Alex Papachristidis, author of The Age of Elegance: Interiors By Alex Papachristidis (Rizzoli)
Dream kitchen

Photo: Oberto Gili

Paint Yourself Into a Corner
"Changing the paint color in your kitchen is an inexpensive do-it-yourself project. You can repaint cabinets for an instant update, instead of discarding them. To be honest, it's not the easiest task to undertake, but it's well worth your time. Remember two things: Be bold and don't fear color. A snappy hue can make your kitchen bright and beautiful." —Nathan Turner, author of Nathan Turner's American Style: Classic Design and Effortless Entertaining (Abrams)

Next: 8 things every woman should know about her kitchen