That's not to say you can't spruce up your kitchen with a few lively accents, especially if you spend a lot of time cooking up storms and then eating them in there. The way my apartment is laid out, my kitchen literally makes up half of the common space, so I was inclined to show it as much love as the living room when it came to wall hangings and other decorations.
While themed decor may seem cliched in any other room of the house, somehow it just works in the kitchen. For some reason, there's nothing really cliche about hanging a framed photo of your favorite dish just above your refrigerator. So go nuts with the food-oriented accents; as long as you avoid a bowl of fake fruit, you should be good.
Be sure to safeguard your kitchen decorations from the elements, too. It's the one room in the house that's most likely to get hot and steamy, so bare paper and other delicate materials may warp and bend. Moreso than anywhere else, a good frame is your friend.
Here are a few ideas for making your culinary workstation feel fresh and springy all year long.
Frame old cooking magazines. Cook's is absolutely the best for this with its lovely back page drawings, although any nicely illustrated magazine will do. Simply pick a sketch or photo of a favorite dish and mount it in a good frame. You might want to throw up the image's accompanying recipe, too--just in case you want easy access anytime you feel like cooking it.
Hang plates and pans. Cliche? Maybe, but a few decorative plates--provided they're not too kitschy--can certainly bring spots of color and life to your kitchen. And if you've got some handsome pans, you can save storage space and decorate at the same time by simply storing them on the wall when they're not in use.
Dry and mount herbs or other plants. Like the look of rosemary when it's dry? Got some extra thyme lying around? Adhere them to good paper and frame them for a springy touch.
Hang plants by the window. Not only will they add extra oxygen to your kitchen's atmosphere, but they'll also look nice and make you feel like you're cooking in the wilds. Bonus points if you can grow basil or other herbs for easy access to fresh, homegrown flavors.