Naomi Watts The Spruce Up

Naomi Watts' Updated Kitchen Is Vibrant, Functional, and Meaningful

The actress and entrepreneur took the space from dated to aspirational.

Making a space your own is something everyone aspires to—even our favorite stars. In our series, The Spruce Up, we chat with celebs to bring you behind the scenes of their design glow-ups. Whether they re-decorated a whole room or added a clever update to their tour bus, these spruce-ups prove any space can feel like home with smart design.

Naomi Watts has been a household name for years, and for good reason. The British-born Australian actress has made a career out of masterfully inhabiting nuanced characters and appearing in a wide variety of beloved films like Mulholland Drive and The Ring.

But no matter what character she's playing, Watts recognizes the importance of not bringing too much of her day job home—especially when it comes to home invasion projects like her starring role in Netflix's new release The Watcher.

Naomi Watts Spruce Up

Photo: Courtesy of Naomi Watts, Illustration: Amy Sheehan for The Spruce

"My work is my work, and I am able to turn it off at the end of the day," she explains.

Instead, she focuses on embracing her real home life and creating comfortable spaces in which she can spend time with loved ones. This is especially true for the Hamptons home she purchased and renovated during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think the pandemic brought on a new passion for our homes," she tells The Spruce. "We all wanted our homes to become our safe haven, and we really doubled down on how we appreciated home and invested in it. We wanted to feel comfortable and be surrounded with things that made us feel good."

For Watts, creating the comfortable home of her dreams started with sprucing up the dated kitchen. And while some people may have suggested she tear down and start from scratch, she was more interested in a speedy renovation.

"I just really wanted to get rid of the '80s vibes," she says. "And there's still a lot of wood, it's just nicer toned wood."

Naomi Watts Spruce Up

Photo: Courtesy of Naomi Watts, Illustration: Amy Sheehan for The Spruce

That lighter wood fit in perfectly with Watts' vision for a beachy kitchen that embraced the home's natural light. Unfortunately not every aspect of the redesign fell into place so seamlessly. During the renovation process, Watts had to move from her original countertop plan to the butcher-block countertops we see today. But it's a pivot she fully embraces.

"We did do the wooden countertop, which I didn't plan for but we had problems with stonework not being delivered on time," she explains. "The supply chain stuff right in the middle of COVID was difficult and we had all kinds of, you know, curveballs thrown at us. So the butcher-block wooden countertop was a last minute decision."

That same butcher-block can be seen atop the kitchen island as well. Watts originally considered placing a table in the middle of the room in lieu of an island, but now sees the island as an integral part of the space. It's not only somewhere she can spend time with her teenage children, but a spot guests can retreat to if she entertains.

Naomi Watts Spruce Up

Photo: Courtesy of Naomi Watts, Illustration: Amy Sheehan for The Spruce

"It's functional as well as meaningful," she says. "There's shelving on the sides as well as drawers on the back and people do always want to hang out in the kitchen at parties, don't they?"

Changing up her kitchen is far from the only change Watts has experienced in the past few years, though. She is open about the struggles she faced while entering early menopause, which inspired her to launch Stripes, a beauty and wellness brand designed for others going through menopause.

"I came to menopause far too early and was completely ill-prepared," she explains. "And it was very clear to me that there wasn't enough information or emotional support out there, and the message that was out there is that this is the end or you're no longer wanted or irrelevant. And I just thought that was ridiculous."

"So I really wanted to open up the conversation and create a community to help recognize that this is a natural phase of life, and you can enter into it with not just doom and gloom," Watts says. "It can actually be a really vibrant time of one's life. Particularly when you get to the other side of it, it's a time that should feel empowering and aspirational."

Naomi Watts Spruce Up

Photo: Courtesy of Naomi Watts, Illustration: Amy Sheehan for The Spruce

Watts' kitchen redesign is another aspect of her life that could easily be defined as aspirational. The finished product beautifully marries the aesthetics of her past with the life she lives now.

"I like the combination of it being very much a traditional East Coast home mixed with a Sydney vibe," she says. "Modern but not austere."