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When Emily Brinkley, an illustrator, moved into her London home, she saw something in the blank canvas that no one else could see. “It was perfectly decent to move straight into and live quite happily — there was literally nothing wrong with it,” she says when she first moved into the plain, 525-square-foot flat. “But I knew I could transform the space into something special.”
Of course, we took the tour, and we instantly noticed Brinkley’s colorful vibe. While we looked around, we found three noteworthy lessons worth sharing about her sunny kitchen. Let’s take a look!
Put your own personal stamp on your space in bold ways.
Letting her surroundings reflect her creativity and personal style was pretty important to Brinkley. “After renting for a while and getting frustrated with being unable to change any decor, I was desperate to buy my first place and truly make it my own,” she says. “I wanted people to walk into my house and say, ‘This is so you!’”
From the get-go, Brinkley had 20 different ideas floating in her head of what she wanted to do with the space to put her retro-inspired, bold stamp on it.
Influenced by the designs of the ’60s and ’70s, she explains, “I’m drawn to bold psychedelic patterns, bright colors, and funky shapes. To harken back to these decades, I’ve covered the walls of my flat in bold, retro wallpaper and filled the space with bright colors and vintage furniture to really step back in time.”
So how did Brinkley change up her kitchen? She started by replacing the beige cupboard doors with teak-style wood in a midcentury nod, and she created a fun accent wall with colorful daffodil wallpaper from Family Wallpapers. “For someone who didn’t cook a lot, I now spend so much time in my cheerful retro kitchen!”
Shop for items in unique places.
While Brinkley picked up her oven and kitchen laminate worktop at IKEA, she also spent plenty of time rummaging around boot sales and charity shops for retro designs with her mom. Just be persistent. Your special find might take several trips to the thrift store and hours of sifting through goods. The reward is finding a one-of-a-kind treasure you absolutely love!
Brinkley’s other top shopping spots include scouring eBay and Facebook Marketplace for envy-inducing bargains. If you decide to take that route, just be sure to always double check prices, seller quality, shipping information, terms, and the product description before you buy.
Let technology be your guide.
Here’s a clever tip: To decorate her home, Brinkley used Photoshop to plan her vision. She says, “Using photos of the rooms, I would roughly edit wallpaper patterns and colors onto the walls so I knew my ‘vision’ wouldn’t end up being a disaster!”
Are you inspired by this kitchen? Tell us what you love in the comments below.