The comfort of a living space largely depends on how well our life is arranged in it. The most important place among the auxiliary premises is the kitchen. We love her more than anyone else, because this is where we enjoy deliciously prepared food. An apron plays an important role in the interior of the kitchen..
An apron is a section of a wall between the lower and upper tiers of kitchen modules. It protects the wall from dirt in the same way as the work clothes of the same name protects the hostess’s suit from stains. It largely determines how beautiful and neat our kitchen looks, and how harmoniously separate modules coexist..
How to choose
Since the apron must be primarily functional, the materials for its manufacture must be selected with such characteristics that they protect problem areas on the walls well and are easy to clean. This means that when choosing materials, it is imperative to pay attention to their resistance to temperature changes and moisture resistance, as well as how easily the surface can be cleaned of dirt deposited on it..
The installation of a protective coating, first of all, is necessary near the sink and the stove, since numerous water and grease splashes can seriously stain the wall. In the work area, food processing processes also take place that have a damaging effect on the surrounding surfaces, so it is better to place the protection along the entire row of kitchen furniture..
In addition, the apron also has an aesthetic purpose. It is needed in order to combine the upper and lower rows into a single whole and create a harmonious kitchen ensemble that will create coziness and delight the owners..
Features and Benefits
When we think about how our kitchen will look like, we should definitely take into account its peculiarities. If the windows face the north side or are small, then there will be a lack of light in the room. This means that the color scheme should neutralize the darkness and additional lighting will be required. On the contrary, if the kitchen is very light, then the shades of furniture and walls may be darker..
When choosing a material for making a kitchen apron, you need to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. The essential criteria for the assessment are ease of care, heat resistance, moisture resistance..
The advantages of traditional materials are their time-tested practicality and relatively low cost. Unconventional materials allow you to bring to life different bold projects, and at the same time, any innovations can be very convenient for use in everyday life..
Each material has its own characteristics during installation. Tiles, mosaics, natural and artificial stone require preliminary surface preparation. When installing such an apron, there should be no furniture in the kitchen. Glass and panel protection is installed after furniture is installed. But the specific place of installation of the apron, in any case, must be determined with maximum accuracy, taking into account all cabinets and equipment.
A wide variety of materials can be used to make a protective coating. The most common are ceramic tiles, PVC, MDF and chipboard panels, tempered glass, mosaics. When choosing a material, the fact of what material the kitchen furniture is made of is of great importance. The apron is made from the one that best matches it in texture and color.
Ceramic tiles are the most popular material. It fits easily into any kitchen, as there are a huge variety of tiles of different sizes, colors and textures. It tolerates temperature changes well, is durable, is not afraid of moisture, it is easy to clean it from dirt. With a good installation, it lasts a long time.
Porcelain stoneware in its properties is stronger than ceramic tiles and has a higher moisture resistance. Tiles are large, there will be fewer joints between them, so less dirt will accumulate in the seams. If a ceramic granite countertop is mounted on the working surface, then it would be logical to make the apron from the same material..
A natural stone apron will look good with a stone countertop. Since this material is quite expensive, it is rarely found in kitchens..
But artificial stone is quite popular. It is much cheaper than natural, but it looks no less noble. Since not only countertops are made from such material, but also sinks, it becomes possible to create magnificent kitchen sets. Such headsets serve for a long time, they are easy to care for, the plates are well connected to each other.
Mosaic aprons are available in both monochrome and multi-color. Even a picture for every taste with a variety of patterns can be assembled. It all depends on the intention of the owners. The mosaic can be made up of different materials in all kinds of combinations. They use ceramics, glass, porcelain stoneware, natural stone, metal, mirrors and other materials. The service life of the apron and its practicality directly depend on the quality of the installation and grouting..
MDF and PVC panels are low cost and look good due to the variety of patterns that can be applied to them. Colors and images can simulate different materials: tiles, mosaics, wood, brick and stone. However, such panels are not very practical, as they are easily damaged, but they are quick to install and they are easy to replace..
The metal surface of the wall will look interesting if the original design idea is implemented. Such an apron looks peculiar and quite practical, since it is not afraid of high temperatures and is well washed with the help of products that do not scratch the surface..
Glass aprons, contrary to the opinion of their fragility and fragility, are quite practical. Tempered glass can withstand high temperatures. If it has a smooth surface, then it is easy to clean. Glass can be matte and transparent, with or without a pattern. The transparent wall protection can be fixed in such a way that it can be easily removed, and then the kitchen can be diversified by changing the patterns under it. There you can place photographs and drawings that can look different thanks to a variety of LED backlighting. Such aprons are very beautiful, moisture resistant, but they can still break..
The protection on the kitchen wall can be made of laminate. It is important to choose it with such characteristics that it is not afraid of high temperatures and water splashes. Due to the fact that the panels are tightly connected to each other, they form a comfortable one-piece surface. Fastens the laminate directly to the wall with liquid nails.
It is quite acceptable to make an apron from parquet dies. The strips are mounted on a fiberboard or chipboard substrate, and then placed on the wall. The drawing can turn out to be varied and very beautiful..
Colors and design
When choosing the appearance of a wall apron, there are no restrictions and the surface can be decorated in any way. A wide variety of color solutions are possible, one or several colors can be used. Beautiful models are obtained by applying different shades of the same color.
Unusual color spots may be present in the design. The surface may look dry and restrained, but it is also possible to depict a bright patchwork quilt with fragments of different images, colors and sizes..
The colors in the kitchen are of great importance from the point of view of psychology. You should not use dirty or acidic colors in the interior, which can ruin the mood of the cooking hostess and the appetite of family members. The colors of foods or ripe vegetables and fruits are most acceptable. Beautiful images of the products themselves will also be appropriate, they will look especially good against a white background..
The color and light in the kitchen must be well thought out. Light in the work area is necessary, and if the tabletop is not sufficiently lit, additional lighting can be installed in the apron area. The light can also have different shades, which will allow you to change the scenery and diversify the kitchen space..
You can experiment in the kitchen, but the main thing should not be missed – all design elements should look consistent.
How to make and install it yourself
An interior element such as a kitchen apron can be made with your own hands. First, you should determine from what material it will be made, and then decide whether we can do it or it is better to trust the specialists. It is better to leave the installation of a glass apron to the manufacturer. Tiles, porcelain stoneware and mosaics can be installed on your own..
If you understand that in your case you can make an apron yourself, then let’s get started. We examine the surface of the wall, it must be dry and even. Determine where the apron will be located. If the stove or sink is located in the corner of the kitchen, then it is advisable to go to the side wall. If you plan to install the hood, the protective surface should go behind it, and it is better if the protection is mounted flush with the top plane of wall cabinets.
The layout of the future apron should be done in such a way that it goes 2 cm behind the countertop and cabinets. The layout is done in level, strictly horizontally. The upper and lower lines are drawn on the main wall and side ones, if necessary. Further installation technology depends on the material used.
Installing the panels
The simplest solution is MDF or chipboard panels. Such an apron can be made of a single piece or several component parts. The panels are cut to fit the free part of the wall and fixed to it after the furniture is installed. The surface below them may not be very flat and does not require special preparation. Fasteners are performed in any convenient way. These can be decorative head screws, liquid nails, special or universal glue. After mounting on the wall, the panel is attached to the furniture set using specially selected elements. MDF and PVC panels can be easily installed by yourself.
Laying out the mosaic
Mosaic can be made of different materials. The individual pieces of mosaic are called chips. Sizes and shapes can be very different – both strict geometry and arbitrary. The more complex the shape, the more time consuming the mosaic laying process will be..
Chips are combined into matrices. They can be fastened together with paper glued on the front side, but it is more convenient to use a polymer mesh on the back side. A gap is made between the chips, which is subsequently sealed with epoxy grout..
A mosaic with a smooth surface is easier to install, and if the surface is corrugated, then more accurate work is required when grouting, so as not to spoil the pattern. Care of such fragments during operation will be more difficult, therefore, it is better to form the pattern in such a way that the chips with irregularities are located in places less prone to contamination..
Check how flat the wall is. We remove small bumps of putty from the surface. We clean the wall from dust and prime.
We sort out the material and consider it. It is better to purchase mosaic elements with a margin, they should not be taken end-to-end, as a defect may be found or accidental damage will occur during the installation process. Lay out the mosaic on a smooth surface, trimming the gaps. We measure the length and width of the fragment, and then mark this size on the wall. Along the lower border, it is better to fix a guide to the wall to prevent the mosaic from sliding down.
The adhesive composition should be selected specifically for the material used. There are adhesive mixtures based on cement, based on polyurethane, epoxy. We study the packaging and pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations. We cook according to the instructions and evenly apply glue to the wall, making grooves. We put the mosaic sheet on the wall, check how correct its position is, and then press it to the surface with a trowel or roll it with a roller. After installing all the sheets, we clean the seams from the glue and wipe the surface of the mosaic.
Two days after laying, we seal the seams with grout. Grouting is very important as it must protect multiple joints from moisture and microorganisms. It is better to use epoxy ones, since, in comparison with cement-based grouts, they better protect against moisture, better tolerate temperature extremes, and crumble less. The variety of colors available allows you to make the best match.
Using a rubber trowel, fill the joints with diagonal movements perpendicular to each other and collect the excess grout. After all the seams have been processed, we immediately clean the surface until the composition has hardened. We perform movements in a circle or diagonally, so as not to wash the filler. After finishing cleaning, wipe the surface dry.
Installation of tiles
An apron made of ceramic or porcelain stoneware tiles, as well as a mosaic, is laid out before installing kitchen cabinets. Some of the working moments when installing tiles are similar to those that are typical for installing mosaics..
First, align the wall. The surface must be plastered with a polymer-cement mixture, gypsum should not be used.
Determine how the tiles will be placed on the wall. They can be installed at the discretion of the owners: straight or diagonally. It is better to first lay out the pattern on the floor, selecting tiles according to the pattern, if any, and try on the border, if provided.
On the wall, mark the upper and lower boundaries. On the bottom line, we put a guide made of a metal profile to avoid displacement of the tiles. Subsequently, when the mount is well fixed, remove the rail.
We start laying the tiles from the center to the edges. A small gap must be left between the tiles and cross-shaped elements must be installed so that the tile spacing is the same. After two days we grout the joints.
Porcelain stoneware tiles are heavier than ceramic tiles, therefore it is somewhat more difficult to attach them and an appropriate adhesive mixture is selected for installation.
Interesting ideas in interior design
Despite the fact that, by its main purpose, the kitchen belongs to utility rooms, the most unexpected fantasies of designers can be used in its design. For their implementation, a kitchen apron is the most suitable element..
Fragments can be designed in the form of a blackboard, on which it is convenient to write down recipes, or leave messages for family members. Wall murals, drawings, photographs, fabric and even lace can be glued to the wall under glass. Volumetric images look very interesting. The mirror surface of the apron will visually increase the area of the kitchen.
Nothing prevents you from creating a panel under transparent glass from pieces of wallpaper, from old CDs, plastic fragments, pebbles and almost any materials at hand.
A protective wall covering can look very beautiful and original if all kitchen modules are in harmony. Having made it yourself, you will create your home masterpiece and surprise everyone with the unique design of the kitchen..