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Bored with plain white subway tile and “greige” walls? Tired of making design choices based on what you think a future buyer might want? These 12 ideas prove that kitchens don’t need to be cookie cutter — in fact, they’re a lot more fun when you personalize your space exactly the way you want it. Let them satisfy your craving for color and creativity. 

1. Geometric backsplash. Bright, bold and eye catching, a feature like this is sure to be a centerpiece. You can achieve a similar look with mosaic tile or by carefully applying paint. 

2. Bright color behind open shelves. Anyone can do this — just remove the doors from your upper cabinets and paint the backs a bright hue. Match the wall color, as shown here, for a seamless look. 

3. Chevron backsplash. A simple chevron pattern looks especially fresh and fun in vibrant turquoise and white. The yellow pots on the stove here really pop against the blue and white tile — and the palette would work equally well the opposite way, with turquoise pots against yellow and white tile.

 

4. Chic decals. White measurement decals on a black wall look refreshingly clean and simple … and they’re useful, too! You can easily find more decorative options too. 

5. Magnet wall. Stainless steel refrigerators are so common these days, we’ve lost the most convenient place for displaying notes, postcards and children’s art. Why not install a giant magnet board in the kitchen to take over? The sleek metal looks cool and just begs for creative personalization. 

6. Wallpaper. Wallpaper is so unexpected in the kitchen, and it’s a treat to see an interesting pattern on the walls instead of flat paint. Many wallpapers are not as delicate as you might think, but if you use one near the stove, it’s best to protect it with a sheet of Plexiglas or a specialty finish. Wallpaper is especially great in small kitchens  the pattern fools the eye into thinking the room extends farther than it actually does. 

7. Color and pattern mixed. Why stop with color orpattern when you can have both? This creative kitchen mixes it up with a warm pink hue applied behind half of the upper cabinets and the upper part of the wall, and a bold wallpaper design behind the bottom half of the upper cabinets.

 

8. Fridge matched to an accent wall. This petite kitchen is bursting with personality — a small pink Smeg fridge is tucked neatly into a nook in the buttery yellow cabinets, and there’s a fun scrap-wood backsplash. To get a similar look, track down a fridge or stove in a hue taken from your wallpaper, accent wall or backsplash. 

9. Chalked-up concrete. Take sidewalk chalk to the kitchen with a writable cement backsplash, and have fun creating a rotating display of sketches, doodles and lists. A concrete floor can be treated the same way, depending on the finish used — so you can let the kiddos draw on the floor! 

10. Zigzag linoleum. What a fun way to use plain, supercheap linoleum tiles. Simply apply tiles in two colors you like together in a zigzag pattern rather than in straight lines. 

11. Painted checkerboard floor. Like the classic black and white checkerboard floor, but updated in soft green and blue, this floor is lovely — and it’s a fairly easy DIY project. Mark the pattern carefully on a primed floor, paint in one color and allow it to dry fully before filling in the next. 

12. Pressed-tin ceiling tiles. This Florida cottage kitchen proves that big style doesn’t need to break the bank. Simple Ikea floating shelves, basic cabinets and a reclaimed-barn-wood island save cash and allow the amazing pressed-tin ceiling tiles and marble counters to take center stage. You can find new ceiling tiles in well-stocked home improvement stores, and vintage sets at salvage yards or on sites like eBay.

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