Choosing Art For Your Kitchen


A kitchen is a public space - notice how at a dinner party everyone ends up there? - but it's not as formal as a dining room or parlor. Here's how to choose and display art in your kitchen - and make sure the art survives.


  • Identify the spaces you want to fill and take note of their limitations. For example, cupboard doors that open wide can be hazardous to art.
  • Decide on a color scheme if you haven't already.
  • Select a theme if you have one handy. A kitchen can provide a perfect opportunity to display your collection of Lucite grapes or commemorative plates. You may want to buy or build some shelves if your collection is three-dimensional - old salt and pepper shakers, for example.
  • Choose items that evoke food, wine and fun if you don't have a collection handy. Vintage vegetable and fruit advertisements are perfect, or collect old cookbooks from flea markets and frame the recipes.
  • Frame the pieces well if they're paper, using archival-quality mats and sealing the backs. Because of issues of light, water and grease, kitchens pose unique threats to art, but if the pieces are framed well, they'll be fine.
  • Seal them if they need it. Anything porous, such as a string of papier-mâché vegetables, will do better in a kitchen with a coat of polyurethane.
  • Keep an eye on the pieces if they can't be sealed. Garlic braids and pepper strings are art of a kind, and they're popular kitchen decorations, but once they get dusty or moldy, toss them out.
  • Make it a point to check your pieces once in a while. Light changes during the year, so something that's fine in December may find itself in direct sun come June, and a piece that's fine one year may take on moisture damage the next year.

Tips & Warnings

  • Still lifes look great in kitchens, but the kitchen is not the place for anything too valuable - especially if you're an enthusiastic cook.
  • Anything beloved should not hang over or next to the stove (unless it can be put through the dishwasher or scrubbed to remove grease) or too near the sink (unless it's impervious to water).
  • Red is the canary in the coal mine for art. It's the color that goes first when a piece is getting too much light. If you notice changes, move the piece.

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