How to Style a Kitchen

While we were working on our new kitchen, all I wanted to do was finish it. First, so I could resume cooking… but mostly so I could style it! The prop stylist in me was chomping at the bit to display some of my favorite ceramics, textiles, and art pieces in our newly finished kitchen. I’ve shared so many photos of it on Instagram and I always get questions about where things are from. So I figured it was time to share a post all about how to style a kitchen with a full source list of my favorite kitchen accessories + similar items.

How to Style a Kitchen + My List of Styling Essentials #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation  #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper #shelfie #shelfiestyling #openshelving #howtostyleakitchen #stylingakitchen #styling

How to Style a Kitchen + Styling Essentials & Must-Have Kitchen Accessories

I’m so excited to share my kitchen decorating tips with you! This has been a long time coming. When it was time to finally style our new kitchen, I considered the entire space and broke it down into zones. There are 3 main zones: the floating shelves, the area around our cooktop, and the area around our sink. I’m going to break down how I styled each area and my reasoning behind each kitchen tool. Let’s dig into each of my kitchen styling tips:

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Our Floating Shelves

Not gonna lie, I was most excited about styling our new, custom floating shelves. They are SO beautiful and SO unique… and the perfect place to display my best pieces. I plan to change the styling of these floating shelves seasonly at the very least — I mean, can you imagine how much fun I can have with these for the holidays?? Here are the main elements I chose:

One large piece of art

I love how this piece of art by my old friend Andrew Degraff adds a touch of drama and height to the #shelfie. The neutral colors work well with all the other elements and it provides a slightly vintage feel.

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A few house plants

I added two Pothos plants to give the kitchen some life and organic texture (read more about Pothos). Plus, these shelves get great indirect sunlight! I potted each plant in a neutral, handmade pot.

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Special ceramics

I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to pottery, ceramics, and porcelain pieces. I’ve accumulated a few pieces from Robert Blue over the years and they are my absolute favorites. Don’t be afraid to stack bowls, group multiples, and use them in unexpected ways (i.e. as a bookend for vintage cookbooks). And not everything is handmade! As soon as I saw these ceramics cups by Justina Blakeney, I knew I had to have them.

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Vintage cookbooks

Another thing I’ve collected over the years! I love to use a few vintage, clothbound cookbooks to provide texture and height when styling kitchen shelves.

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How to Style a Kitchen + My List of Styling Essentials #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation  #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper #shelfie #shelfiestyling #openshelving #howtostyleakitchen #stylingakitchen #styling

The Cooking Area

I cook a lot, especially during the winter months, so I needed the area around the cooktop to be super functional, but also pretty. And now that we have an amazing cooktop with a griddle, I usually have 2 or 3 pots and pans going at the same time! I should never do that with our old stove.

Serving boards & cutting boards

I love having a few options when it comes to plating dishes. After all, I am a prop stylist! Right now, my two favorites are a dark wood round board from Farmhaus and this stunning porcelain server from DBO Home. They are strategically positioned to cover up an outlet, too!

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Cooking utensil crock

I’m a wooden spoon fanatic! I love using them for any and all cooking. Mine are all either vintage or picked up while traveling in Italy. I keep them all together in probably the only store bought, new item in our kitchen, a stoneware crock from Hearth & Hand. Eventually, I’d like a utensil holder that’s more unique, but for now, it’s doing the trick! As I get into the groove of using the kitchen more, I will probably add more kitchen tools to this area.

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Garlic keeper

It took me SO LONG to find a garlic keep that I loved. I have wanted one for a really long time, but never found one that I truly wanted to display. When I found this one from Hand & Fire, I fell in love!

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The Sink Area

The countertops surrounding our sink are where most of the action happens. Prepping, chopping, planning… it’s my workspace while cooking. Plus, it’s the perfect spot to keep my KitchenAid stand mixer at the ready.


I have a small collection of cookbooks. For a while I had wayyyy too many, but after a good purge, I’ve thinned the herd. I store the ones that I don’t use often on top of the refrigerator. But there are 3 cookbooks I refer to on a near daily basis:

Butter keeper

Nothing is worst than making a slice of toast and trying to spread cold butter. I use this marble butter keeper to ensure we always have soft butter on hand. Make sure to add some water to the base in order to create an airtight seal to prevent spoilage. As long as you change the water regularly, you’ll have butter for several weeks!

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Cloth napkins

In an effort to reduce our waste, we only use cloth napkins in our home. My current faves are from Pepper Home. I love the bold, rich pattern! Typically, I mix and match our napkins when I’m setting the table. At any given time, I have 4-5 different patterns!

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Egg storage

Our backyard chickens lay more eggs that we can ever actually eat! I keep them on the counter in a vintage basket so that I can easily gather them.

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Salt & Pepper Shakers

Most of our spices are tucked away in a cabinet, but I always keep out salt and pepper. I scored these really cool vintage green marble salt and pepper shakers a while back and LOVE them.

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Strangely enough, a good colander is one of my key kitchen tools. You can use it for so much more than just draining pasta. I don’t always keep this handmade colander out on the counter. Often, when I cook I use it to collect fresh herbs from my garden. It’s actually in display more than I thought it would be!

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How to Style a Kitchen + My List of Styling Essentials #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper #shelfie #shelfiestyling #openshelving #howtostyleakitchen #stylingakitchen #styling

So this is how I’ve styled ours! I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips on how to style a kitchen. Of course, these photos are a few weeks old — which means that I’ve probably re-styled it at least 3 or 4 times since then! What other kitchen styling tips do you have? Leave a comment and let me know.

Photography & styling by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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