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Kitchen ideas to steal from gorgeous Irish homes
Image / Living / Interiors

Brick House & Coach House

Kitchen ideas to steal from gorgeous Irish homes


by Megan Burns
19th Jun 2024

From colour palettes to functional features, there’s plenty of inspiration for all kinds of kitchens.

Kitchens are undoubtedly one of the most important spaces in our homes. They serve many purposes, from being places to cook and eat, to a gathering place for cups of tea, kids doing homework, or just a debrief at the end of a busy day. 

So if you’re looking for ideas to update your own space, we’ve collected kitchens from gorgeous Irish homes to provide you with plenty of inspiration. 

Think creatively with lighting

Lighting is so important in our homes, but especially in a kitchen where it’s key to the space’s functionality. This doesn’t mean, however, that your light fittings can’t add style and character. 

In interior designer Suzie Mc Adam’s Dublin home, whimsical wall lights from Magic Circus are not what you’d expect to find over a kitchen counter, but they work perfectly in the space, and add a playful touch of pink to the otherwise pale palette.

Whereas this Galway home shows how mixing different lighting styles adds layers of colour, texture and shape to your kitchen. This space has multiple pendant designs for different zones, all providing different design elements yet sitting together cohesively.  

Mix old and new

The kitchen in this Victorian home shows how you can mix pieces from different styles to great effect, and just because you have a period home, it doesn’t mean you’re bound to a certain aesthetic.

Here, a traditional Aga sits perfectly beside a Louis Poulsen PH 5 pendant, both unified by their common colour palette, although not two pieces you would automatically put together. 

It’s also a great example of how unexpected colour combinations can add real interest to a space, the red accessories contrasting with Farrow & Ball’s Lulworth Blue. The features of the kitchen are simple, yet the colour turns the space into something out of the ordinary.

A refined palette creates calm

This Dublin home proves the power of sticking to a small palette – grey tones of concrete and terrazzo combine with the warm wooden units to create a calm mood and the perfect balance of warm and cool shades.

By keeping the palette tight, the whole space feels minimalist and cohesive, and the same effect can be achieved by using the same paint colour on walls and units, or repeating materials across different surfaces.

Photo: Shantanu Starick
In an open plan space, keep your design streamlined

So many kitchens in modern homes aren’t self-contained rooms, but sit within an open-plan design that may include living and dining spaces as well. To ensure the whole space flows and feels cohesive, keep the design of the kitchen streamlined.

The minimalist Dublin home of architect Declan O’Donnell, left, has a slick kitchen in an open plan space. Dark veneer cabinets and a Cosentino charcoal soapstone worktop add quiet contrast to the white walls of the rest of the room, while keeping all the units to one wall makes sure it doesn’t dominate the space.

In this Connemara home, a similar layout keeps the kitchen in a clear zone of its own, and the wooden units echo the flooring in the rest of the room, creating cohesion with the other spaces. 

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

Photo: Shantanu Starick

Photo: Shantanu Starick

Think outside the box

In this project by Clancy Moore Architects, the kitchen is an unusual shape, so the design is accordingly out of the ordinary. An irregular, five-sided island makes much more sense in this space than a rectangular one would have, and proves how much there is to gain from looking at alternatives that suit our specific room better.

If something looks or feels clunky, it will affect how you use the space, so if you’re planning a new kitchen, it’s really worth sitting down with an expert to look at various options.

Photo: Fionn McCann
Bench seating maximises your dining space

In a tight space, building bench seating against a wall is a great way to make your dining table take up less room. In this Dublin home,  left, the plywood design is barely perceptible, made in the same materials as the kitchen units, and even incorporates storage underneath.

And in this open plan living, kitchen and dining space, right, bench seating along the wall allows for a larger table than if chair space was needed on all sides. In a multifunctional space such as this, bench seating also allows for less visual clutter from multiple pieces of furniture, the bench concealed behind the table.

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

Photo: Al Higgins

Photo: Al Higgins

Make use of mirrors

If you want to make your kitchen feel bigger and brighter, why not dedicate some wall space to mirror, as this Dublin home designed my Suzie McAdam does. It almost feels like a large window, tricking the eye into seeing it as open space, rather than a wall. If you don’t have space for mirrored panelling, even a single mirror will bounce light around and create a similar effect.

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy
Mix and match units

If you’re installing new units, consider combining several styles as the owners of this Derry home have done. Not only does it add a layered depth to your space, introducing more colours and textures, but it can also break up the appearance of a large bank of units, making them feel less dominant in the room.

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy
Be bold with colour

People are often afraid to go with bolder colours in a kitchen, but it’s a surefire way to create a unique space, as this Róisín Lafferty project proves. Even if you don’t have the budget for the incredible pink quartzite in this Cork home, the blue ceiling and red-trimmed units show how colour can be added in more subtle ways.

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy
Paint can transform units

When the owners of this Wicklow home moved in, the kitchen units weren’t what they would have chosen themselves, but they recognised that they were solid and well-made, so chose to use Farrow & Ball’s Downpipe and Railings to update them. Many units can simply be painted to totally transform how they look, a much more cost-effective solution than replacing them.

Photography: Shantanu Starick

Photography: Shantanu Starick

These homes originally appeared in IMAGE Interiors. Have you thought about becoming a subscriber? Find out more, and sign up here, or pick up the Spring/Summer 2024 issue, on shelves now.

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