After spending most of 2020 eating in the comfort of your kitchen – rather than in your favourite cafe – it may have become apparent that the space could use some improvement.

That’s something Lucy Fenton knows all too well. As the founder of Fenton & Fenton, Prahran’s beloved interior design and homewares store, she knows exactly how to create a vibe with just a handful of minor adjustments.

So before you opt for a radical overhaul, here are some points from Fenton on sprucing up one of the most highly trafficked spaces in your home.

Introduce some art
“I’m a massive fan of having art in the kitchen,” says Fenton. “There’s often open shelving in the cabinetry, and artwork can really help there. Kitchens can be really stark, so you can introduce colour that way or through a really cool vase.”

Vases can be every bit as practical as a well-stocked fruit bowl or a vintage sugar bowl – use them to display herbs such as rosemary or mint. “No one wants to clog up the kitchen bench with things that aren’t necessary,” she says. “But you can definitely add bits and pieces that bring it to life.”

Steer clear of clutter
You might have a large kitchen space, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill every surface. And if you have a smaller space, you don’t need to add very much at all.

“If you’ve got a smaller space, you don’t want to clutter it,” Fenton says. “Maybe a little vase with a single-stem flower. But definitely you don’t want to overcrowd it.”

Create a space for your daily rituals
Whether you live alone or with family or housemates, investing in a coffee machine feels a bit special. A machine like the Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG combines sleek, elegant design with functionality.

“The coffee machine has its place and you shouldn’t try to to hide it away,” says Fenton. “You let it shine on the bench, and make it really easy and practical to use. You want it to look nice – and that’s where investing in the right machine pays off.”

Choose touches you can change later
Before you go reaching for the brightest tiles or other grabby design elements, just remember that those things are more set in stone than smaller, moveable touches.

“People are often trying to incorporate colour and make [their kitchen] feel inviting,” says Fenton. “But they don’t necessarily want to use coloured tiles or finishes, because that really dates a kitchen. I always recommend that people go for quite a neutral palette with the actual finishes – the marble, the stone, whatever you’re using. And then introduce the colour through accessories that you can easily change.”

Colour matters – so consider it carefully
Much of Fenton & Fenton’s kitchen decor is quite muted and subtle in terms of colour. “You spend a lot of time in the kitchen,” Fenton says, “so you want things that are easy to live with and not too overpowering.”

If you’re designing your kitchen around an essential centrepiece, such as a coffee maker, think carefully about the colour options. The Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG comes in black, red or cream, making it easy to build a palette around.

“I love the curved shape; it has this retro vibe to it,” says Fenton. “You could either start with the machine and add a sympathetic palette from that. Or if you’ve already got a specific tile or stone, choose the machine to match that.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Lavazza.