I hope today’s column will put to rest the need to make everything in your house match. If you’ve got brass doorknobs and long for a new silver or rub bronze chandelier go for it. The most interesting homes are those that are a unified collection of styles.

I want to focus on the kitchen because that’s the most used room in your house and probably the room both your family and your friends like to frequent.  It’s also the room where we have lots of different materials and surfaces coming together.  From appliances to hardware it can be difficult to merge all those finishes.

Stainless steel is still the most popular appliance finish.  But with the influence of the “foodies” new and exciting appliances are appearing in today’s kitchens.  Bertazzoni, one of Italy’s oldest manufacturer of professional quality ranges, offers their customers a wide range of color finishes including orange, yellow, red and burgundy.   These vivid colors are applied to the oven door, lower access panel and sides of the unit, contrasting elegantly with the stainless steel worktop and other stainless appliances.

Lighting should be chosen for two reasons.  First functionality.  You have to be able to see well in a kitchen and second because you like the way it looks in the room.  You don’t have to select rustic wooden pendant lights for over your island just because you have an industrial theme going.  You might be pleasant surprised at how a crystal and metal light can soften the harder edges of that look and add interest to the room.

Cabinet hardware is a great opportunity to mix it up in the kitchen.  There are hundreds of styles and finishes from which to choose.  Top Knob is one of my favorites.  They will even send you a free sample of the styles you’re considering.

You want to select hardware that fits your hand. Use some knobs and some pulls to add interest.  Just remember to keep it balanced and settle on one color of finish..  Mixing it up makes it more interesting.  Always request or purchase a sample of the style you are thinking of using and try it out before you make your final decision. Too small of knobs or narrow pulls can make it a nightmare to open and close cabinet drawers and cabinets.

Incorporate fabrics into your kitchen.  I’m not big on drapes or curtains but upholstered stools and chairs soften the hard edges of stainless steel and stone.  Select fabrics like Sunbrella that can be easily cleaned and maintained.  Mix up the fabrics.  Perhaps a textured solid color fabric on the bar stools and a coordinating print, stripes or check fabric on the dining chairs.

Accent floors with decorative rugs.  An antique oriental runner between your surround cabinets and the island can be a nice contrast in a contemporary or industrial style décor.  Indoor/outdoor rugs are great options for kitchens because they can be hosed off when dirty.  Don’t fall into the throw rug trap.  Select a properly sized rug for under tables.  Inexpensive sisal rugs work great in front of back doors and should be replaced when they become soiled.

The only place in the kitchen that shouldn’t be jumbled is your countertops.  I’m not talking about the surface materials but the everyday clutter.  Put away appliances when not in use and give consideration to interesting accessories for your counter, island and table.  Organize daily supplies like salt, pepper, sugar and coffee cups on an attractive tray.  Keep the appliances you do display looking clean and shiny.  Hide junk mail in baskets.