Dress Up Your Design: Accessorize an Empty Kitchen

Each month, a lucky reader wins accessories from Etsy.com to complete a room. For May's winner, Peggy, designer Claire Watkins selects the accessories and shares why she chose them to update this kitchen.
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Before: Barren Kitchen

"With minimal decoration and perfectly styled cabinets, Peggy's kitchen is a perfect blank slate for design. Right off the bat, I noticed her affinity for all things beachy in her use of seashells. Well, I love the beach, so I selected Peggy's kitchen for this month's mini makeover," says Claire Watkins.

Aqua Lampshade

"The first thing I want to do is incorporate elements that translate Peggy's love of the beach into more of a feeling than the literal translation the shells were giving the room. Needing some oomph, I started with a graphic pendant lamp over the dining room table in a water-colored hue, a classic nautical hue that will look really nice with the existing black countertops," says Watkins.

Coastal Wall Decoration

"To continue the incorporation of black and blue, I found some vintage sign-inspired artwork to hang on the vertical wood panel behind the island, most likely the side of a cabinet," says Watkins.

Black-and-White Utensil Holder

Watkins suggests a preppy-patterned earthenware utensil holder in the same palette to replace Peggy's existing utensil holder.

Custom Roman Shade

"A simple Roman shade will dress up the window behind the sink. Next, I want to consolidate all those seashells above the windows and countertops into the jar on the dining table, so they look less like clutter and more like an element of design," says Watkins.

Turkish Bath Towels

Watkins suggests creating a striped table covering made up of two machine-washable, oversized, flat-weave towels.

Hand-Printed Linen Dish Towel

"Throw in a hand-printed dish towel and a striped table covering made up of two machine-washable, oversized, flat-weave towels and the result is a casual, fun area for cooking and dining — seaside or not," says Watkins.

After: Subtle Improvements

Peggy added the lampshade to her kitchen's adjoining dining room where it adds a spunky touch to the classic nautical look.

After: Cape Cod Chic

Just a couple of well-chosen accessories, like the bright dish towel, black-and-white utensil holder and the seaside sign took this kitchen from bland to smart and curated. Peggy's love of the beach comes through without seeming kitschy or themed.

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