Decorate Your Kitchen for Spring

Susanna Salk’s new book Be Your Own Decorator offers helpful advice to homeowners who long for beautiful kitchens.

kitchen decoration

Diamond Baratta shows that color goes a long way in accomplishing style, even in the kitchen, as seen here. The warm wood island with its bright green countertop contrasts with white kitchen cabinets for a springy look. A turquoise wall and ceiling make the rest of the white architecture look like sculpture, while hanging glass pendants appear as though they were floating vases.

Be Your Own Decorator assembles a matchless collection of work by some of the world’s top designers and offers helpful advice on how to apply these masters’ methods to your own home.



A stark contrast between black and white cabinets brings both drama and elegance to this kitchen. Dark gray tile on the floor anchors the room, while a gray tile backsplash creates a welcome bridge between the dark and light colors.

Given the essential functionality of kitchens in the life of the home, one can easily fall into design routines when approaching this important space. It is unsurprising then that Salk showcases several exemplary kitchens in her chapter titled “Rule Breaking.”


Crystal chandeliers take center stage in this eclectic kitchen. Gray walls provide the homeowner the opportunity to add a variety of colors and textures. Open shelving allows common kitchen items to be displayed as art.


Two of these kitchens uniquely re-imagine the space, not only as a place to create culinary art, but one perfectly suited for displaying art, as well. Annie Brahler’s kitchen, with its flourishes of color, artwork and full range of material textures, seems equal parts salon and cuisine. Maxine Greenspan complements a fine arrangement of paintings and sculptures with a delightfully startling mounted surfboard—surely the standout piece in this gallery.


Here, both color and contrast work together to create a cheery dining area. Black and white striped walls set the stage, while a mixture of colored chairs adds a touch of playfulness.

Diamond Baratta shows that you need not stop at flourishes of color in the kitchen, but can completely let loose. The vibrant colors and shapely glass pendants harken to the palm trees, sea and sky just outside the door.


An eating space that doubles as an art gallery provides dual function to this stylish room. Contemporary blue plastic chairs marry a vintage table, while a unique assortment of black-and-white photos decorates the wall.

In contrast, Vicente Wolf utilizes almost entirely muted, rich, wood tones to add warmth to what might be an otherwise intimidating spaciousness. Both he and Thomas Smythe have replaced the expected island with a table and chairs, further adding to the inviting coziness of their kitchens. Smythe expertly balances contemporary materials with old-fashioned style to create a room that is both familiar and fresh.


A wall of windows makes a strong design statement in this eat-in kitchen. Storage cabinets and shelves for dishes line two of the walls in this room, increasing the function and adding symmetry.

The kitchens in Be Your Own Decorator inspire the reader to question assumptions about what constitutes “design rules.” Rather than emulate any particular designer’s style, Salk suggests that you strive for a similar fearlessness and spontaneity that will allow your own style to naturally blossom.


decorative room

“Be Your Own Decorator” by Susanna Salk, photography by Kayleigh Jankowski, published in 2012 by Rizzoli,



By Matthew Perez

Photography by Kayleigh Jankowski

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