And finally, the kitchen: The heart of every home and the staging place of most of our warmest memories and stories. Decorating around these concepts depends entirely on the way you use your kitchen, and how it's laid out in the context of your home as a whole.
Maximize counter space, but do so mindfully: If you're going to break your back hauling out the toaster and blender every day, they deserve pride of place. Trivets and egg-cups have their uses, but most of them are gifts that won't see everyday use and can be safely stowed. You do more to transform the kitchen by simply removing non-essentials than by any amount of redecorating or refurbishing.
Whether your kitchen is a slightly messy space for creativity and intimate chats, or a high-tech, spotless test kitchen, one thing is for sure: Thanks to the sheer availability of gadgets, food-specific tools and cookware and organizers, most of us have accumulated too much junk in our kitchens. The last place a frugal decorator needs to spend money is the kitchen. Every piece of equipment you cram in there limits your functionality even more.
No room benefits more from the intelligent use of design principles than the kitchen, but those principles should be in play in every room of your home. Decorating is not about purchasing objects, but about the balance between what you have and how you live. It's about demonstrating your love for family and home by creating a beautiful and useful environment that makes sense for your needs -- not some perfect picture that's going to stress you out. It's your home, not anybody else's, and only you can make that call for sure.