The Best Kitchen Decor: Free Yourself from Constraints and Transform Your Space
Are you tired of the same old kitchen decor? Do you long to break free from the restraints of a fully-fitted kitchen and create a space that truly reflects your personal style? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the best kitchen decor ideas for 2023 that will transform your cooking space into a haven of creativity and functionality. From clever storage solutions to stunning finishes and unique design elements, we've got you covered. Get ready to be inspired and discover how you can make your kitchen the heart and soul of your home.
This section covers everything you need to consider for your kitchen, from cabinets, lighting schemes, backsplashes, and flooring. You can utilize these ideas to inspire your own kitchen layout.
Free yourself from the restraints of a fully-fitted kitchen
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For those who prefer a more relaxed approach to kitchen design, opting for freestanding cabinets instead of fitted ones is becoming increasingly attractive. This choice is often made to preserve original architectural features in period properties. It is also an environmentally-friendly option as it allows you to make changes without removing a fitted design.
"Not everyone wants the sleek look of a contemporary fitted kitchen," says Debbie Bowden of Barnes of Ashburton.
Being able to experiment with different layouts and adjust your kitchen according to your family's changing needs is both liberating and practical.
Make shelving practical and beautiful
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Good kitchen ideas combine functionality and aesthetics. Consider how you can make a 250mm-deep wall shelf not only practical but also visually appealing. Stack up cookery books in coordinating colors with your curtains and add attractive accessories.
Know where to spend and where to save
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Understanding the cost of a new kitchen can help you make informed decisions about where to invest and where to save. Tom Howley suggests focusing on bespoke cabinetry as the star of the show, while saving money on countertops, appliances, and flooring. Glass-fronted cabinets are not only visually appealing but also allow for the display of prized items and easy access to everyday essentials.
Factor in space for ample storage
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Effective storage is crucial for creating a neat and tidy kitchen that can fulfill multiple purposes, such as family dining, relaxation, work, and entertaining. Danny Lay, Sales Director at Caple, emphasizes the importance of high-capacity, well-sited storage to maintain a clutter-free space. Allocate dedicated storage areas in each section of the open-plan kitchen, including window seats with pull-out drawers for toy storage and shelving units near the TV for remote controls and games consoles. Installing an island with cabinets on both sides can maximize storage in the dining area.
Use every opportunity to boost storage
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Even in a well-equipped kitchen, extra storage can enhance functionality and organization. During the design process, consider utilizing architectural elements to create additional storage space.
Include freestanding elements to move beyond 'fitted'
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Incorporating freestanding furniture into your kitchen design can add character and break away from the rigid look of fully fitted kitchens. Whether it's a dresser, sideboard, or farmhouse kitchen island, choose designs that complement your kitchen's style.
Make use of vertical space - beautifully
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In a kitchen with limited wall space, utilizing vertical storage can add depth and visual interest. Open shelving on a narrow wall can create an illusion of spaciousness and provide a place for displaying your best pieces.
Work your layout around your windows
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When designing a kitchen layout, consider the positioning of your windows. If your kitchen offers a nice view or access to the garden, orient your furniture to make the most of it. Instead of positioning the sink to face the garden, consider locating the dining area with the best view. This creates an indoor-outdoor living space, allowing for seamless entertaining from the kitchen to the garden.
Seek a straight and narrow design
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A classic galley layout is ideal for efficient and practical kitchen zones, especially for passionate cooks. Opt for a one-wall galley if you prefer linear movement between activities. For ease of use, separate the cooking and wet zones with ample worktop space. A double galley layout allows for the traditional work triangle and provides more room for multiple cooks. Consider incorporating skylights in a galley kitchen to enhance natural light, making the space feel brighter and more open.
Go with the grain in a modern kitchen
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In modern kitchen designs, incorporating fluted patterns can add depth and interest. The play of light and shadow on fluted surfaces, such as American black walnut and Calacatta Crema marble, reveals the beautiful grain pattern and vein. Fluted surfaces work particularly well in contrast to a simple white space.
Pick intriguing backsplash materials
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For a standout kitchen, consider using unexpected materials for your backsplash. Properly sealed timber can provide both practicality and visual appeal. Extend the backsplash material to line the open shelving, creating a cohesive and warm look that complements a sleek, contemporary design.
Add bags of texture for warmth and interest
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To add character to a streamlined and contemporary kitchen, incorporate natural textures or patterns in elements such as the flooring, countertops, backsplash, or cabinetry. This prevents the space from feeling too clinical and sterile, adding warmth and visual interest.
Pick warm-toned finishes to create a welcoming space
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As kitchens regain their status as the heart of the home, it's essential to create a welcoming and inviting space. Choose warm-toned finishes, such as wood, for paint colors, lighting, or cabinet furniture. This simple change can transform the atmosphere of the kitchen.
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If your climate allows, connect your kitchen to the outdoor space by incorporating bi-fold doors. This extension of your kitchen into the garden creates a seamless entertaining zone, allowing guests to enjoy both indoor and outdoor areas.
Paint your kitchen
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Opting for painted cabinetry offers endless possibilities in terms of color choice and personal expression. Painted kitchens suit various styles and can be easily updated by repainting over time. Consider the size, design, and flooring of your kitchen when choosing paint colors. Soft neutrals work well in small spaces, while grey can create a modern or warm look when combined with wood accents.
Color scheme and combine materials with restraint
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When designing a kitchen, limit your color palette to one main color and two accents. This allows you to create a cohesive and characterful look. In this example, grey serves as the predominant shade, with black cabinets as accents next to stained wood cabinetry and bright turquoise bar stools.
Add character with pattern
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To personalize your kitchen, incorporate patterns in backsplash tiles, fabrics, and curtains. These elements can be easily changed or updated, adding visual interest and warmth to the space.
Add pattern to a kitchen with wallpaper
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Wallpaper is making a comeback in kitchen design, providing an opportunity to create a more decorated and personalized space. Choose moisture-resistant designs that can withstand kitchen conditions. Incorporating wallpaper in the kitchen adds a touch of heritage charm.
Design a chef's kitchen
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For avid cooks, designing a kitchen centered around functionality is key. The rise of home cooking and entertaining has led to an increased interest in chef's kitchens. These kitchens prioritize layout, appliance selection, and practical design features to create a seamless cooking experience. Focus on convenience, ensuring that everything you need is easily accessible while you entertain guests.
Ensure your kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances
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While the kitchen has become the focal point of the home, we must not overlook its true purpose, which sets it apart from any other room in the house. The kitchen is where we come to cook. Whether we possess varying skill levels and interests, we all engage in cooking at some point, even if it's as simple as heating a ready-made meal or boiling water for pasta. Some of us take it to the next level, challenging Michelin-starred chefs.
The advancement of technology has significantly impacted the kitchen, particularly in the realm of appliances. Today, there is an extensive range of appliances to cater to every type of cook. From ultra-precise professional-style ovens to programmable appliances that eliminate guesswork by cooking meals for you, the options are overwhelming.
Even established brands such as AGA, renowned for their traditional quality, are embracing new technology with their all-electric designs and touch screen range cookers. However, in modern kitchens, aesthetics hold almost as much importance as functionality and features.
"Appliances naturally lay the foundation for a successful kitchen," explains Robert Laurie, Director at Poggenpohl Kitchens. "Thanks to significant design improvements, consumers can now enjoy exceptionally practical ovens and hobs that seamlessly integrate into their surroundings. Banked appliances, stunning range cookers, and integrated hobs not only serve as visually impressive focal points but also offer greater speed and efficiency than ever before."
Begin with a thoughtfully designed lighting scheme
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A well-executed lighting scheme has the power to transform ordinary kitchen ideas into something truly spectacular. As kitchens now serve a multifunctional purpose, our lighting ideas must evolve to accommodate activities such as dining, relaxation, office or homework, and entertaining.
Strategically placed lighting can also conceal imperfections, making a small kitchen appear larger, concealing awkward architectural elements, or compensating for inadequate natural light. Mark Holloway from Holloways of Ludlow emphasizes the importance of planning lighting alongside the kitchen design, stating that it is always evident when lighting is an afterthought.
To maximize the impact of statement pendant lights, arrange them in a row along the length of an island unit, table, or peninsula. Odd numbers, such as three or five, work best, depending on the space and budget.
Incorporate wall lights as a design feature
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As you develop the layout of your kitchen, it's important to consider lighting not only for wiring purposes but also to tackle any unforeseen obstacles that arise during the planning process, according to Jamie Blake, creative director of Blakes London.
For instance, he suggests utilizing LEDs under wall cupboards to illuminate the worktop. However, if this option is unavailable, he recommends incorporating kitchen wall lights with adjustable swing arms to provide alternative lighting solutions.
Create a balanced scheme by mixing patterns and plain elements
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"The backsplash in this space exudes a graphical and playful impact, making it a great conversation starter," says Irene Gunter, Co-Founder of Gunter & Co. "When designing a kitchen, there should always be one eye-catching feature. In this case, the tiles were chosen before anything else, and the metal trims and cabinet door finish followed. The blue color was chosen as a neutral, which made perfect sense for this colorful project."
We adore the intricate details of these kitchen tile ideas and how they complement the sleek blue units. The result is an exciting color scheme that incorporates both patterned and plain elements, creating a bold and contemporary ambiance.
Experiment with scale
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Kitchen interior design should never be overlooked, and one way to introduce it to your space is through patterns. In this scheme by interior designer Anna Spiro, the paisley print is used on both the walls and chairs, providing a cohesive link between the different areas.
"When color and pattern are utilized skillfully, they add a touch of individuality and create vibrant rooms," says Anna Spiro.
By opting for slightly larger-scale upholstery, the repeating pattern creates a greater impact as it covers the majority of the chair backs. With more surface area available on the walls, a smaller repeating pattern allows the design to be fully appreciated.
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For small or dimly lit kitchens, as well as those aiming for a relaxed atmosphere, low-level cabinetry is recommended. Although this may necessitate additional pantry storage solutions, the overall effect will transform the space into a living area rather than a strictly functional room.
Elevate a green kitchen with gold fittings
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Green kitchens are currently in vogue and are unlikely to go out of style anytime soon. They effortlessly coordinate with natural materials such as wood and stone and can gain a touch of glamour through the addition of brass or antique gold fittings, be it bar stools or handles.
This kitchen perfectly combines gold fittings with country-style furnishings on the window seat, which cleverly conceals ample storage space. The result is a space that exudes elegance and relaxation simultaneously.
Add personality with eclectic decor
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For enthusiasts of colorful designs, the kitchen provides an ideal opportunity to introduce a vibrant theme using favorite shades, prints, and patterns, especially when considering kitchen wall decor ideas.
We consulted sought-after interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer, renowned for her stunning global style, for her advice on incorporating these eclectic elements in the kitchen:
"To create a colorful kitchen, it's important to intersperse bright shades of blues, reds, and pinks amidst a neutral space. However, there must be a coherent color consistency when combining different patterns, such as flooring."
"I like to combine tribal patterns with English Chintz, French Paisley, or Indian block prints to achieve a worldly look. Imagine a 19th-century English traveler visiting India via Morocco."
Infuse a homely touch with casual seating
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Interior designer Jessica Buckley has created a sociable and welcoming kitchen in a Georgian property in Edinburgh, Scotland. The kitchen styling ideas truly reflect this ambiance, with open shelving displaying attractive pieces and artwork adorning the walls. Our favorite detail, however, is the inclusion of a window seat, which lends a stylish appearance to the functional space. This is an excellent idea for kitchen window ideas.
Enhance the impact of gray with deeper tones
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"When making a bold design choice, it's crucial to ensure that it complements your home and personal tastes," advises Tom Howley, Design Director at Tom Howley. "Rather than persuading clients to stray from traditional paint colors to follow trends, it's about determining the statement they wish to make."
"Neutral color palettes will never go out of style in kitchens. However, for those who desire a burst of color, black, navy, and gray kitchens remain popular choices. These can be paired with light-colored work surfaces and flooring to create striking contrasts."
Contemporary lovers, black is back
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Black kitchens are making a comeback, and while they suit traditional homes splendidly, they truly shine in contemporary settings. Black is a neutral shade, enabling effortless pairing with other colors. We recommend combining black with textures found in natural materials, such as wood and brick, to create contrast against matte cabinetry while also infusing warmth.
Create a cohesive feel with an L-shaped kitchen
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An L-shaped kitchen is a classic layout that works in spaces of all sizes. It is practical, efficient, and visually appealing. While the shape and size of your room will largely dictate the layout options available, there is room for creative design within those parameters.
L-shaped layouts are suitable for both contemporary and traditional cabinetry. They can also adapt to accommodate specific structural needs, such as sloping ceilings or large windows.
In small kitchens, an L shape is ideal as it concentrates storage and appliances onto two sides of the room, leaving the other sides open and creating an illusion of more space.
Larger kitchens or open-plan designs can utilize the L-shaped layout to separate cooking and living areas or create an informal dining space with the bottom of the L serving as a practical breakfast bar.
Make a U-shaped kitchen work efficiently
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Kitchen trends may come and go, but the fundamentals of layout planning remain consistent. The timeless galley, L-shaped, and U-shaped layouts are ergonomically designed to create the ideal "work triangle" between the hob, sink, and fridge, ensuring convenience and adequate workspace. Even in the age of open plan living, these layouts have found renewed relevance in larger spaces.
U-shaped kitchens traditionally have units running along three walls, with one wall left open as the access point. Modern variations include the U-shape plus island combo, where an island bridges the center of a large U-shaped layout, and standalone U-shaped islands positioned in the middle of an open-plan room.
The main advantage of a U-shaped layout is the abundance of workspace. "Capitalize on this by investing in the best worktop you can afford, such as striking granite or chunky timber, to create a stunning design feature," suggests Hayley Shaw of Magnet.
A single change can transform a kitchen
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If you're looking to upgrade your existing kitchen, you'll be pleased to know that even the smallest changes can make a significant impact. Painted or freestanding kitchens lend themselves well to quick makeovers.
For example, a dresser painted in a contrasting color to the rest of the kitchen can inject warmth, serve as a focal point, and give the room a modern new look all at once.
Embrace the timeless elegance of Shaker style
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Shaker kitchen ideas epitomize classic simplicity. This style effortlessly complements both modern and traditional homes, and it can be as rustic or elegantly streamlined as desired.
"White, cream, and gray Shaker kitchens are easy to redecorate around," says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens Editor in Chief. "If you're installing a kitchen with future home buyers in mind, you can't go wrong with this quintessential American style. For the more daring, Shaker kitchens in darker shades like black, blue, and green can also look incredibly sophisticated."
Add textiles to create an inviting atmosphere
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"Kitchens used to focus solely on functionality, whereas now we aim to create a lived-in look that reflects the decor of our entire home, including living spaces," says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens Editor in Chief.
The easiest way to transform a kitchen is by incorporating textiles. Rugs or runners that can withstand the occasional splash or stain along cabinetry or beneath a dining table, as well as pretty cushion pads, are an excellent starting point. Decorative china and pottery displayed on open shelving are additional ways to introduce color and texture.
Embrace the versatility of an island kitchen
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"A striking island design naturally becomes the centerpiece of a kitchen, providing a perfect cooking platform where friends and family can gather as you prepare food," says Andrew Hall of Woodstock Furniture.
Kitchen island ideas prove to be essential additions to galley, L-shaped, and U-shaped layouts, allowing the room to expand while maintaining convenient access to all necessary areas.
"Islands are becoming increasingly popular and act as central distribution points for groceries, food preparation, and outgoing dishes, breaking the traditional ergonomic triangle," says designer Tim Jaspar.
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When designing a modern kitchen, the appeal lies in the kitchen and the cook being part of the action during social gatherings. In the fast-paced world we live in, it's a blessing to be able to help with homework while preparing dinner and keeping an eye on children or teenagers.
"People have become less formal and more willing to share cooking, dining, and relaxation areas," says Tim Higham of Higham Furniture. "When hosting a party or entertaining friends, it is considered sociable to cook and entertain simultaneously."
"Families also want to share the space so they can multitask while preparing food." In the summer, open-plan spaces truly shine. Most open-plan kitchens feature large windows that let in ample light and provide easy access to the garden, expanding both living and entertaining areas.
Enhance a timeless kitchen
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Kitchen trends are constantly changing, but often a combination of styles achieves the perfect balance: elegant proportions with modern functionality.
Classic kitchen ideas have a timeless appeal and can bridge the gap between traditional furniture and contemporary design, making them suitable for any home.
"While the cabinetry may have a design nod to a specific era, the equipment can be state-of-the-art and customized to your lifestyle," explains Jane Stewart, design director at Mowlem & Co (opens in new tab).
"For example, you can incorporate refrigeration and wine storage in a corniced, fully framed furniture arrangement. The materials should be of the highest quality, but you can refresh the look with stains, colors, reflective finishes, unique handles, lighting, pop-up sockets, boiling water taps, or bespoke elements."
Invest in high-quality stone
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Natural stone has enduring appeal in the kitchen due to its beauty, durability, and versatility.
From limestone and marble to granite and slate, natural stone comes in a wide range of shades and patterns that can complement modern, country, and classic schemes. It is commonly used in kitchen islands, floors, walls, worktops, and backsplashes, and the different types and finishes of stone offer a variety of stylish looks.
Since stone is naturally porous, it requires some maintenance. The level of upkeep depends on the type of stone, so it's important to seek advice from the retailer and choose a stone that suits your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.
Maximize space in a galley kitchen
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The design and use of kitchens have evolved over the past decade, and galley kitchen ideas have adapted to the need for more space and efficiency.
Originally named after a ship's kitchen, galley kitchens were associated with simplicity and compactness. The reason these kitchens work well is their ergonomic layout, which allows for easy access to everything.
Galley kitchens are designed to maximize storage and preparation space, with compact and efficient layouts. Professional kitchens follow a similar linear plan, dividing cooking stations into specific areas for different tasks.
In kitchens with enough space for parallel units, known as a double galley, the classic work triangle can be incorporated. This arrangement positions the fridge, cooker, and sink in a pattern that minimizes the distance between them. This layout is effective in narrow rooms as well as open-plan spaces, where a long island serves as the second leg and creates a sociable seating area.
"Galleys can be really stylish. Long lines of worktop create strong horizontal planes that look incredibly sleek," adds Hugo Tugman, architectural designer, Architect Your Home (opens in new tab).
What are the best kitchen ideas for 2023?
The best kitchen ideas for 2023 have been influenced by the pandemic and the increasing need for kitchens to serve as versatile living spaces.
Kitchens are no longer solely for cooking; they now accommodate various activities and functions. The latest approach to kitchen design reflects the demand for flexibility.
Designs have shifted from purely functional and ergonomic to encompassing a concept known as the "living kitchen." This multifunctional space can include a home office, media center, and relaxed lounge-style seating, in addition to a semi-professional cooking area.
There is a return to classic styles with painted finishes that offer a softer look and a wider variety of color choices. Texture is also key in creating engaging designs, with grain, concrete, relief-patterned doors, and textured stone adding depth and character.
Kitchens now resemble living spaces, with sleek and handleless cabinetry in subtle finishes that seamlessly blend with the overall aesthetic. Freestanding pieces are mixed with fitted units, and islands often serve as elegant tables and casual seating areas.
Decorative elements are becoming more creative, with statement lighting and wall art adding personality and defining different zones within the kitchen.
Appliances have become smarter and more streamlined, with finishes that blend with the cabinetry. Integrated extraction systems and sinks that seamlessly integrate with the worktop contribute to a seamless and functional design.
Pay attention to details
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If your kitchen extension features large windows or glass panels, it is important to carefully consider the materials used inside the kitchen.
Opt for durable cabinetry and flooring that won't be damaged by sunlight. Natural timber finishes will gracefully age and fade over time. Ensure that cooking appliances are well-ventilated, ideally with an externally ventilated extractor, to prevent windows from steaming up.
Blur the boundaries
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The popularity of open-plan living has led to the transformation of kitchens into multifunctional spaces. In addition to cooking, modern kitchens are also used as dining areas, workspaces, and gathering spaces for families and friends.
"The area surrounding the kitchen is increasingly becoming part of the kitchen territory, with the inclusion of a terrace for alfresco dining," says designer Johnny Grey.
To make the most of outdoor space throughout the year, one wall of the kitchen can be entirely glass or have large doors that fold or slide back. Glass structures allow natural light to flood into the room and create a seamless transition between the kitchen and outdoor living spaces, making the garden feel like an extension of the kitchen-living area.
Incorporating these best kitchen decor ideas into your space will undoubtedly transform it into a culinary haven. From maximizing storage to adding character with pattern and texture, every detail counts. Whether you love a contemporary or classic style, there are plenty of options to suit your taste. Don't forget to invest in high-quality materials like stone and pay attention to small details that make a big difference. Blur the boundaries between functionality and aesthetics, and watch your kitchen become the heart of your home in 2023 and beyond.
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