4 Mexican Kitchen Design Elements for an Authentic Look


Mexican kitchen design celebrates light, color and nature in all of its vivid glory.

Popular Elements in Mexican Kitchen Design

If you embrace the festive and glory in drama and color, then Mexican kitchen design is for you. One of the wonderful advantages of this style of design is that it doesn't have to cost much, and in many cases, it's hard to overdo it. From the classic swirls in wrought iron light fixtures to a filigree of red, blue and green borders on tile work. Mexican design is a feast for the eye that can be elaborate, kitschy and anything in between.

Although you can indulge your love of deep, saturated colors and lots of variety, there are some rules you should follow. With so much going on in the themes available, you'll need a pronounced neutral so that the eye has somewhere to rest.

Decorating Your Walls

Whether you choose a warm beige, or go with something less predictable, having a restful note on the walls or trim will be a welcome grace note. It doesn't have to be completely plain though. Try a textured painting technique that will mimic the mottled look of stucco or stone, and you'll love the way it complements and reflects your other textural and color choices. If you stick with neutrals on your walls, you can dress them up with art prints and other ornamentation that can be rearranged easily for a completely different or seasonal look.

Consider Open Shelving

Mexican ceramics are amazing, and the newest open shelving looks will show your collections to advantage. Losing the cabinet doors that are making your kitchen look dark and dingy will offer a whole new world of design ideas. Don't want to show off all of your utilitarian items? Invest in some textural help in the guise of woven baskets to conceal your less attractive paraphernalia. You can create a stacked arrangement that will draw the eye and show off your talent for blending, textures and shapes well. Just remember that odd numbered items work well together. If you don't want to modify your built-ins too much, then try adding some hanging shelves in a corner, or just remove the doors on your upper cabinets.

Say it With Fabric

Colorful textiles will transform your kitchen to a south of the border getaway on a budget. Use the nubby textures in quality cottons, wools and bamboo to add colorful window valances, area rugs, table runners and placemats. Mix bright stripes with small and medium sized prints and see what happens. You can do great things with fabric and still stay within your budget. Remember that Mexican style relies on good light so don't cover up your windows with dark or fussy window treatments. Do invest in decorative valances, but keep it simple.

Bring the Outdoors In

The colors of nature look vivid and delicious in a Mexican kitchen. Bowls of lemons and limes or a wreath of dried red peppers will be a beautiful and functional addition to your decor, as will oranges, tomatoes and almost any other style of fruit or vegetable. Celebrate the harvest with braided garlic, Indian corn, or any of a number of grains or grasses that will contribute texture and possibly some aroma to your kitchen. While you're at it, bring out those spices and display them proudly.

As with many styles, Mexican decor works best when you have a couple of dominant colors and a neutral to work with. If you add more, make sure you add colors as small accents and repeat them four or five times throughout the room. Terra cotta works well as a neutral, or in larger accents, like tablecloths or countertops. Glazed and unglazed pots both work beautifully in Mexican design, as does most tile work, in flooring, countertops and backsplashes.

When you lay out your design, don't forget to bring in elements from adjacent rooms, and have fun with your choices. Anyone can have a white blender, but a lime green affair, or a red toaster are something to celebrate. This enjoyment and celebration of the everyday elements in the kitchen is one of the delights of Mexican kitchen design.

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4 Mexican Kitchen Design Elements for an Authentic Look