How to add personality to your kitchen with lighting, colour and artwork

If you too have recently installed a new kitchen, you'll probably want to inject some of your own personality into the room so here are a few different ways to make your new kitchen feel more homely...

Since revamping my kitchen at the end of the year, I’ve had the feeling that it lacked personality. Although I loved the clean new units, freshly painted walls and large white tiles, it wasn’t anywhere near as ‘me’ as the old, repainted kitchen was.

That’s probably because I had upcycled the old melamine kitchen using spray paint when we first moved in, which meant that it was a colour that I loved and was something that nobody else had. Even though it looked lovely, unfortunately, the interior of the cabinets was less than lovely – in fact, they were crumbling apart.

It’s only to be expected from a kitchen that had been installed many, many years ago, and which probably wasn’t great quality at the time. So, we invested in a new white kitchen from Ikea and set about fitting it ourselves. Even though we went for the lowest-priced units and doors, the quality is excellent and we knew that we could add personality to the room using colour, lighting and custom pieces.


After discovering just how much it cost to install cabinet lighting, we decided against this option and instead chose our own light fittings for the kitchen. The first combines light, colour and artwork; a win-win-WIN! I opted for ‘Chill’ neon light from Neon87, a LED neon signage studio that makes everything from simple signs to custom creations.

Did you know that LED neon signs are about 80% more energy efficient than traditional neon signs? When I heard about this, started scrolling through the selection of signs available in their mini collection – everything from animals and food to slogans and space themes. All of the designs are available in up to 11 different colours so I picked the ice blue colour first, knowing it would be the ideal match for the paints I was using, and then chose a suitable design for the kitchen.

Knowing that it would be hung above my new fridge freezer, I thought that the ‘Chill’ LED neon sign was an apt choice! It was easy to install using the enclosed Command strips and I added the dimmer switch option so that I could control the brightness. I’m really pleased that I did because it’s so fab to be able to adjust the light from vibrant party-ready ice blue to a barely-there deep turquoise glow.

We also added a dimmer switch and dimmer bulbs to our main light fitting in the ceiling. That meant we could turn up the lights to their brightest setting when we are preparing food and then dim it to a lower level when eating meals. Plus, our new cooker hood extractor has a built-in warm white light, which helps to illuminate the stovetop while we’re cooking.

Overall, the combination of lighting and their adjustable settings gives the room a relaxed ambience and means that the space no longer looks stark or too bright – just nice and cosy – and has turned it into a space that we want to spend more time in.


Although I chose white units for the kitchen, my intention was always to amp up the personality factor by adding colourful accents throughout the room. The first addition was a turquoise fridge freezer and the whole room was based around this piece. Having ordered it online we needed to wait until it was delivered before we could choose a paint colour for the walls, and I’m glad that we did: despite trying 15 tester pots of paint, none of them looked harmonious with the colour of the freezer.

So, we headed back out to Wickes and bought their duck egg kitchen paint, which is actually more of a mint ice-cream colour. Thankfully it matched the tone of the freezer perfectly – it’s just a lighter shade of the same blue-green colour and we used this on all the walls of the kitchen.

Amazingly enough, the fridge freezer turned out to be exactly the same colour as the spray paint I had used on our old kitchen cabinets – so the essence of the old kitchen lives on! It also meant that I could use the leftover spray paint to repaint our yellow back door in the same bluey turquoise and I could refresh the paintwork on our vintage cabinet with sliding doors.

Other colourful touches include our vintage melamine table in an orange floral print, a bright orange coffee machine and some unique artwork – but more on that in a sec. I was also able to keep the kitchen chairs I had re-covered in a star-print oil cloth fabric, as the pale turquoise colour still matched perfectly.


Finally, for an extra splash of colour and personality, I added some artwork to the room. You may remember the large vintage-style piece in my kitchen alcove from when I made it a few years ago. It’s actually a tea towel mounted into a frame! So I kept this ‘artwork’ – and was amazed when I realised that I had subliminally ordered the exact same fridge freezer as depicted on the retro tea towel!

I also hung a colourful coastal artwork that my in-laws had bought us as a gift many years before. The perfect spot for this was beside the fridge and it looks great illuminated by the ‘Chill’ LED neon sign. At the opposite end of the run of cabinets, I hung a new piece – a very special photograph of myself and my husband that he gave me for my birthday this year.

The image is of our local beach during a very pink sunrise, and you can just about make out our silhouettes as we’re running away from an unexpected wave! Our neighbour luckily captured this image and my husband got in touch with her to ask for a copy – I absolutely love it.

I hope these ideas have given you inspiration for adding your own personality to your kitchen – or any room, for that matter. There’s nothing better than hanging artwork, adding a vibrant neon LED sign, or changing up the colours to give a space a new lease of life. Let me know how you’ve made your kitchen, bathroom or living space feel more homely after a renovation in the comments below – I’d love to hear your tips! 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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