Our kitchens are often the central hub of our homes. It is the place our families congregate in the morning over coffee before setting off, where we come back together to recap the day, and where we can experiment with new recipes and share our favorite family dishes. Similarly, when we have guests over, our kitchens usually serve as our main gathering space for prep work before guests arrive, a pre-dinner chat over a cocktail, or having a post-meal coffee and dessert at our table or island. With hosting season almost here, we want to share a few ways to instantly elevate the look of your space without the need for a major renovation project. 

Creating a well-curated space that reflects your at-home design style while operating seamlessly and purposefully isn't easy. However you set up your kitchen, we believe it should prioritize a kitchen rug in a durable fabric, plenty of lighting, and a clean workspace to maximize function. Our four styling tips to evolve your space are adding a runner rug, using countertop organization accents, incorporating bright, fresh scents, and setting the mood with ceiling lighting. Read on for our guide, and shop for all your kitchen and dining essentials.

The Abode tan and cream geometric runner rug by Elan Byrd lays against wooden counters in a modern open kitchen.

1. How To Pick the Perfect Kitchen Runner

Runner rugs are a great (and super easy) addition to a kitchen because they add a touch of warmth, softness, and durability. You can choose a solid, tonal kitchen rug to highlight its organic texture, but we love adding a patterned design to inject some personality. Pro tip: choose a style that can stand up to everyday use and a high-traffic area by selecting a flatweave rug in wool or synthetic fibers. With a galley-style kitchen or one with an island, runners are perfect for adding depth and perspective. If you have an L-shaped kitchen instead, choose a 3' x 5' or 5' x 8' piece.

A rattan basket sits on a shelf holding baking essentials above a shelf full of NEAT Method glass jars with wooden lids holding sugars, flour, and other baking dry goods.

2. How To Best Organize Your Space

Our kitchens serve many roles for prepping, cooking, and entertaining, so keeping them as organized as possible is essential. Fruit styled in a basket rather than clumped on the counter, labeled spice jars, and organized kitchen linens can make a kitchen feel like a well-oiled machine rather than a messy, stress-inducing space. Keep dinnerware, drinking glasses, and mugs in your cabinets in nice stacks for a more thoughtful, curated look. For everything displayed on the counter or on open shelving, the easiest way to keep it cohesive is to cluster items in a similar color palette or material. Our line of porcelain, oak wood, and glass serving pieces from LSA International keep a clean look while playing with different forms. We especially love this NEAT Method capsule because its selection of bins, baskets, jars, and labels helps to take your space from chaotic to composed.

The Tradition Dish Kit by Andree Jardin includes a woven white dish towel with blue and red stripe, a metal scrubber, and a wooden scrubber, and sits next to a bar of soap and a modern vase holding cut stems next to a sink.

3. How To Bring In Fresh Scents

Adding scents to a space—including one as critical as your kitchen—is essential to curating it. It engages people and enhances their experience in that room. In our opinion, the best kitchen scents are natural: a ceramic bowl of citrus, a small planter filled with fresh herbs, or foraged florals styled in a vase. Also, organization around the sink is important if you're looking to keep your kitchen smelling fragrant. Make sure to keep sponges and brushes clean, as it makes a huge difference.

The black Beehive woven rattan pendant light hangs above a kitchen island with black cabinets and white countertops.

4. How To Layer in Ceiling Lighting

Ceiling fixtures are much preferred over recessed lights because they bring a striking design element to your kitchen and help to draw attention to your countertop or island. Our guideline is that one large chandelier is a good choice for a smaller kitchen island or one that is more square-shaped, while pendants look nice hanging above a large rectangular island. When styling pendants, use two or three of the same fixture and keep them somewhat simple to not overwhelm the space visually. Next, choose the right shade type: metal or directional shades keep the light focused downward, while glass globes or shades allow for more diffused ambient lighting. And finally, make sure to select the right luminosity. It should be anywhere from 35 to 50 lumens per square foot of the island.