9 Designer-Approved Tricks to Make Your Kitchen Look More Luxe — 'Give it a Glow-Up!'

Help your kitchen evolve into a luxe and expensive-feeling space with these key ideas from the experts

A kitchen with natural stone and materials
(Image credit: Austin Leis. Design: Ome Dezin)

You don't need to go through a kitchen revamp to make your kitchen feel more luxe. In fact, making smaller adjustments and factoring in those finer details can elevate the space into a room that feels curated, expertly crafted, and refined. Even the most budget, cookie-cutter kitchens have the potential to look more expensive than they are.

To get an idea of how best to do this, we've spoken to the kitchen experts, asking each of them to offer up their top tips. The overarching takeaway in their answers points towards more expressive interiors in the modern kitchen, from decorative touches, mixed metals, and furniture that flies the flag for craftmanship in the kitchen, while considering key elements like storage and decluttering tactics (less glamorous, but crucial nonetheless for a space that feels elegant). Here are their 9 good-to-know tips.

1. Keep an uncluttered space

A minimalist kitchen in white

(Image credit: Chango & Co)

First and foremost, give your kitchen an audit and a good decluttering. Kitchens often end up feeling full of stuff, as the busy space becomes somewhat of a dumping ground. But take a look at the high-end designers and you'll notice that the luxurious contemporary kitchens you see on your Pinterest mood board are sleek and minimalist.

The key to how to organize a kitchen is to get into the habit of putting things away, or at the very least, giving everything a home. 'Have a place for everything,' says designer Nickolas Gurtler. 'You can have a million things out if you need to as long as there's organized chaos.'

Lichelle Silvestry, founder of Lichelle Silvestry Interiors agrees: 'To achieve a luxurious look and feel in your kitchen, it's important to keep it organized and clean,' she says. For Lichelle, this all comes down to storage. 'Having enough storage space will enable you to display only the necessary.'

2. Invest in hardware

A kitchen with wooden pulls

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

Kitchen hardware often flies under the radar as one of those unimportant, last-minute factors. But it's crucial to a kitchen that looks elegant and finished. Cabinet pulls or knobs often described as the 'jewelry' of the kitchen, bringing a metallic pop, or adding texture and shape to your cabinets. In terms of trends for cabinet pulls, we're seeing interesting, geometric shapes coming to the fore, as well as mixed metals from polished nickel to stainless steel.

'Don’t be afraid of patina - materials that age with you create real depth - it can be hard getting that first mark on something but it’s worth it when there’s history and story shown through the kitchen,' adds Nickolas.

3. Focus on the faucet

A kitchen with a swan faucet

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: J Patryce Design)

If handles are the jewelry, the faucet is the 'necklace', insists Nickolas. Invest in your tapware,' he says. 'The kitchen tap is where your eye goes to first and by using luxurious natural finishes like aged iron or brass you can create a special moment.'

Alternatively, matt black and gun metal can make a striking statement. It's not just material that's important either, and the sizing should be considered.

When it comes to how to choose a kitchen faucet, the arc of your tap should be around 8 to 10 inches, but if you have low cabinets, drop this down a few inches to accommodate open doors. Alternatively, a swivel spout is great for larger sinks and bigger kitchens (and looks perfect with a beautiful Belfast sink.)

4. Conceal unsightly elements

A marble kitchen with concealed storage

(Image credit: Tom Ferguson. Design: SJS Interior Design)

There are a lot of elements of your kitchen that would look so much better concealed. From kitchen utensils and appliances that end up gathering on countertops, to exposed bins and loose wires, these elements can easily ruin a calming vibe. 'Conceal your appliances, this can be a personal taste thing but I always think it makes your kitchen feel like a sculpture when you remove some of the utilitarian elements,' says Nickolas.

Hide your kitchen trash can for immediate impact, covering it with fabric and distracting from the unsightly contents of the trash can with a beautiful fabric (which you can DIY yourself!) Alternatively, hide the trash can behind a cabinet door or give a garbage flap a go.

'Concealing appliances like fridges, freezers and dishwashers behind cabinet door fronts is a great idea too,' adds Peter Wilds of Peter Wilds Design. Investing in panel-ready appliances seamlessly integrates your appliances into your cabinetry, creating a cohesive and streamlined look. ‘Panel-ready appliances not only adds a touch of sophistication but also maintains a clean, uninterrupted visual appeal,' says Leigh Misso, owner of River Brook Design & Construction.

5. Embrace handcrafted decor and furniture

A kitchen with neutral palette and wooden cabinets

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design: Corinne Mathern)

Expressive interiors is a theme that emerged at the tail-end of last year, with homeowners feeling confident and encouraged to embrace decor and express themselves through their interiors. The kitchen has evolved to become another room for personal expression, rather than a white, sterile space void of character. Incorporate decor into the space, using kitchen shelving for a platform for kitchen wall decor to express your favorite bits and pieces, and purposefully curated trays for fresh foliage or even a candle.

This expressive element is about larger furniture items too. 'Integrating statement furniture pieces or decor items that showcase craftsmanship and unique design,' says Leigh. 'This could be an artisanal dining table, designer chairs, or even a bold art piece that ties the room together.'

6. It's all in the lighting

A neutral-colored kitchen

(Image credit: Janis Nicolay. Design: Peter Wilds)

Lighting is a crucial element that designers rely on to bring a luxe feel to the kitchen. Like your living room, you want adequate kitchen lighting that is layered. This is to bring a cozy feel and atmosphere, but also to help you practically navigate your way around the kitchen when you are prepping and cooking.

'Add proper lighting for cooking but also for ambiance,' says Lichelle. 'Decorative table lighting is one of my favorites. You can also consider a beautiful chandelier or pendant lighting for the island.'

If you can, upgrade one of the lighting fixtures to make a statement, something unique one of a kind. 'As design preferences evolve, there's a noticeable shift away from conventional kitchen pendants,' says Leigh. 'Consider embracing the latest trend by exploring alternatives such as a captivating chandelier suspended over your island. Dare to be different and let your kitchen shine with a touch of uniqueness and style that goes beyond the ordinary. '

Lastly, don't forget the walls. 'I always like to incorporate a wall light somewhere in a kitchen rather than a pendant, I think it’s more human scale and placement can create some interesting interactions.'

7. Bring in natural stone

A kitchen that uses natural stone for a luxe finish

(Image credit: Austin Leis. Design: Ome Dezin)

We find that one of most effective methods to enhance your kitchen's luxury appeal is by investing in high-end materials, such as opulent marble countertops, custom cabinetry featuring premium finishes, and cutting-edge stainless steel appliances.

If you can afford to upgrade your kitchen countertop, we'd recommend using natural stone. It brings such a luxe feel to your kitchen, and travertine (which is seriously trending), granite, glossy lava stone, or heavily veined marble gives such a high-end feel to any space.

'Remember: natural stone, natural stone, natural stone,' says Nickolas. 'Mix two or three if you feel adventurous.'

Lichelle agrees: 'Beautiful natural stone countertops are among the first things we look for when designing a luxury kitchen,' she says. 'Classic marble countertops will give your kitchen an expensive look, even if the rest of the finishes are simple and affordable.'

On a smaller scale, and for a more budget-friendly alternative, bring in touches of natural stone in smaller decorative objects. A pestle and mortar made of marble or granite, a chopping board or even vases to bring that luxurious element to the space.

8. Embrace a refined palette

A kitchen with a neutral color palette

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

A neutral color scheme exudes luxury in the kitchen, whereas something bold and filled with color can feel trend-led. For a more timeless feel, neutral shades of warm beige tones and off-whites will always feel classic. 'These colors work especially well when mixed with varied textures like stone, matte metal fixtures, and warm woods,' says Lichelle, so make the most of natural materials and use them in your color palette, mixing in metal tones for a layered and impactful finish.

In terms of what to paint, cabinets are easy to give a lick of paint, they just might need a good sanding first. You can also introduce color through a quick tile job behind your backsplash, or painting the walls of the room in a warm color is a great way to create a timeless palette. 'Subtle yet impactful timeless neutral paint colors like warm greys and beiges for cabinets,' says Peter.

If you do want to bring in color, opt for colors that complement your overall design scheme, but nothing too glaringly bold. 'Rich jewel tones, muted greens, or navy blues can add a sense of luxury and personality. Choose colors that complement your overall design scheme,' adds Leigh.

9. Dedicate a space to a butler's pantry

A modern house in London featuring a muted palette and statement art and furniture

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

A dedicated butler's pantry can help your kitchen feel sleek and refined, even if it's a busy working family kitchen. Having a dedicated space to tidy away those unsightly jars and tins is all part of building a kitchen that feels luxurious. 'Assess the available space adjacent to or near your kitchen,' says Leigh. 'Sculleries and butler's pantries are often positioned close to the kitchen to allow for easy access while keeping certain tasks hidden from the main cooking area.'

If you don't have the space, try a standalone cabinet that you can tuck into a corner of your kitchen. Use paint to lift the space, with a color-pop interior as you open the doors, and don't neglect all that useful space on the interiors of the doors. Make sure your pantry is well laid out and add texture with cafe curtains on the lower level to complete that rustic, modern farmhouse kitchen look.

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.