Emily Henderson reveals her surprising tip sure to elevate your kitchen design

She explains why a mismatched design can create a beautiful space

traditional kitchen with old world feel
(Image credit: deVOL)

The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home - it's where guests always gravitate to at parties, and the backdrop to our every day as we cook and spend time with family. Interior designer Emily Henderson has shared a surprising design tip to create a characterful kitchen that feels like it's been built over time.

When thinking about kitchen design, there is an overwhelming number of components to consider, from lighting to layout, plug sockets to pantries. And it's expensive, so you want to feel confident you're not going to end up with something generic.

deVOL kitchen with mismatched cabinetry

(Image credit: deVOL)

'I could talk about kitchens forever,' she tells us in an interview as part of her work with PRESS Premium Alcohol Seltzer. The interiors expert has plenty of suggestions for making a kitchen feel unique and characterful, but our favorite was the point she makes about subtly mismatched design.

How can we make a kitchen feel characterful and curated?

'This is a weird one,' says Emily, 'but not having everything line up perfectly. deVOL and Plain English are the kings of this. They make them feel a little more old-world.'

'Normally, all the vertical rails and styles in a brand new kitchen, if you're having a cabinet maker, they'll want everything to line up. I've noticed in their kitchens that they don't.

deVOL kitchen sink

(Image credit: deVOL)

Emily describes staring at deVOL and Plain English kitchens, wondering, "Why is this better than other kitchens?"' But she explains that an ever so slightly mismatched design creates this feeling that it's been built over time.

So even if you live in a modern property, allowing your new kitchen not to be 100% symmetrical and 'perfect' will create a sense of history and charm. There's just something reassuring about walking into a home and feeling like it's always been there. 

Emily also shared some original kitchen storage ideas to help achieve this old-world feel in our existing kitchens. She recommends rethinking the upper cabinets, using shelves with rods and S-hooks for hanging pretty pots and spoons, like in the kitchen below.

deVOL kitchen with old world feel

(Image credit: deVOL)

If you are decorating on a tight budget, this is something you can do cheaply with some black S-hooks from IKEA set on a rail. Fill them with pots of fresh herbs and style countertops with vintage candlesticks and artwork as an easy way to add personality.

Welcome a mismatched feel and a blend of styles and finishes in your next renovation - who wants a home like everybody else's?

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.