Ask a Designer: Karen Williams

The designer shares tricks for timeless kitchens and the five things she's loving right now.

By Madeleine Frank

Award-winning New York designer Karen Williams gives tips for smart and stunning cook spaces.

Do you have any tricks for adding storage to a small kitchen?
Build drawers into the toe-kick space, the 3 or 4 inches of indented space below floor cabinets. They're ideal for storing flat items such as platters and cookie sheets.

What styles will stay relevant as trends come and go?
White kitchens will always be popular and timeless, but I like to do a little spin on that with soft neutrals instead of stark whites. From afar you still get the effect of the light color, but it also warms the space a bit more.

How do you add interest to a white or neutral kitchen?
I paint the ceiling a fun color, like a bright blue, and then pick up the shade with pendant lighting or pillows on a banquette. It's so unexpected and beautiful, and it's relatively easy to change a few years later to update the look.

What decorative tile options are exciting to you right now?
KW: Monochrome Moroccan tiles are hand-glazed and gorgeous, because the undulations reflect light so it almost looks like water is running down them.


  1. Fab Cabinet Hardware "This piece looks like a beautiful cuff—but it's for your cabinets to wear!" L'Univers de la Poignée Puzzle Handle in Palladium, $238;
  2. Oven Lovin' "This versatile indoor rotisserie cooks beautifully and is a stunning accessory in any kitchen." La Cornue Flamberge Rôtisserie, from $10,000; for retailers
  3. Sweet Scent "Carolina Herrera Eau de Parfum is the perfect final touch in my dressing ritual." $98 (3.4 oz.);
  4. Dream Destination "Flying Point Beach in Water Mill, Southampton, is my ideal place to decompress and enjoy the summer sun."
  5. Go-to Hue "Soft neutral shades embrace the colors of the ocean without competing for attention." Farrow & Ball Paint in Cornforth White No. 228, $95 per gallon;
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