Kitchens are where family gathers, guests are entertained, all of life seems to happen. So it's important that it's a comfortable space, where people feel relaxed and can get cozy with a glass of wine or two enjoyed on the island.
'Modern kitchen today are much more than just spaces for preparing food; they are social spaces at the heart of the family so it’s important they are comfortable and cosy spaces,' says Valentinos Shiatis of Sola Kitchens. 'Factoring in social areas in your kitchen layout such as a cosy nook, it’s a fantastic way to create a warm and welcoming feel. Nooks are both comfortable and informal and provide structure and a focal point for a room’s social goings-on while making the space feel more homely.'
There are many ways to inject a little coziness into your kitchen. It's all about bringing warmth through material, color, lighting, and those all-important decorative touches. Read on for our favorite ways to put some heart into the heart of the home.
Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor. With an interest in the world of interiors, she loves exploring ways to be decorative in every room of the home. For this piece, she turned her attention to the kitchen, and spoke to her contacts to find out how to inject a sense of coziness into the space.
Cozy kitchen ideas - get the look
1. Layer your kitchen lighting
Lighting is so important when it comes to how to make a living room seem cozy, so why should you not also consider your lighting in the kitchen? To really create warmth, the key is to layer the lighting. But how many lights should there be in your kitchen if the end goal is a cozy room?
For your kitchen, this means recessed lighting that is attached to a dimmer (to dim the lights when you want to create that coveted cozy atmosphere.) Secondly, you want at least one kitchen pendant light if space permits. Perhaps your kitchen is on the small side and is broken up from the cooking space and dining space with a jutting peninsula. Hang your pendant light over your peninsula or the dining room table for an extra bit of focus.
Next you want task lighting so that you can have the room dark, maybe even lit by a few candles, but as long as you have task lighting you'll be able to focus on your chopping. Use the lights altogether, pick and choose some to be on while others are off, but by mixing and matching, you can bring coziness through lighting into the space with ease.
2. Bring softness to the room through fabric
A great way to decide the soft furnishings for the kitchen is by first making the mood board before the kitchen remodel. Fabric and texture is so often lacking in the kitchen, but there is no reason why you shouldn't have some kind of fabric in the space. An easy way to achieve this is with the use of a kitchen rug or runner on the hard floor. This really helps break down the hard quality of all the different materials in the room, and encourages you to ditch the shoes in the space and feel soft underfoot and at home.
A natural place for this to sit is between the island and the cooking area. For extra coziness, think about the pattern you go for. A dark, jewel-colored Persian rug adds heaps of personality and charm to even the most stark kitchens.
‘Rugs are also ideal for zoning different areas if you have an open plan room,’ adds textile specialist Souad Larusi, founder of rug company Larusi (opens in new tab). The best rugs to put under your kitchen or dining table should be made of natural fibers like jute and sisal, according to Souad. ‘If you opt for a rug under the dining table I recommend a flat weave kilim,’ says Souad. ‘In this situation, it’s best to avoid deep pile rugs like Beni Ourains.’
Jute border rug from Serena & Lily (opens in new tab)
The beautiful rug is made of jute, making it a good choice of fabric for the kitchen. It's narrow too, so you can run it along the gap between your sink area and an island to add softness to the space.
3. Pick warming tiles
Color is such an important part of the kitchen, and can help give your kitchen a cozy and cocooning feel if you use the right color or shade. Tiles are a great way to inject some kitchen color. And in terms of what is trending, we are seeing a warming choice of tiling.
'In 2023, color schemes are warming up and terracotta is having a resurgence,' says Diane Hyde of Craven Dunnill & Co (opens in new tab). 'Providing a rustic, earthen texture, terracotta feeds the prevailing desire to connect our interiors with the natural world. In shades of toasty burnt orange and reddish brown, terracotta tiles work well in white modern farmhouse kitchens, grounding and bringing warmth to the otherwise clean, crisp space,' she says.
Yellow is another shade that is trending in the kitchen and can help bring coziness with its warmth. 'When done right, it infuses spaces with energy and warmth. But yellow can feel like an intimidating color to decorate with as we often think first of fluorescent, lemony hues. The glossy shades ‘amber’ and ‘flame’,' says Diane.
4. Create a rustic space for seating
A breakfast bar is a surefire way to make your kitchen inviting and hospitable to guests, and when filled with people, it becomes a more cozy space. The mere addition of a few stools or tall seats around an island or a peninsula can go so far to create the idea that your kitchen is a place for socializing and encourages people to gather around.
Seating doesn't just mean stools, and an even more convivial method of seating your guests is with a long bench. Better still, do as this Smile Kitchens (opens in new tab) has done and use your cozy bench as an extra hidden away storage solution, and add a few pillows for that soft furnishing.
'As separate dining rooms have slowly phased out of fashion, the focus on the kitchen being a social hub has increased significantly and it's undeniable that having a space integrated within the kitchen is highly convenient and practical for daily usage,' says Dawn Filkins – head of creative at Smile Kitchen.
'Banquette seating is also highly customizable in that you can change around seating, cushions, colors and patterns when you may want a refresh, without any real heavy lifting.' Fantastic at creating a feeling of togetherness and making use of the nooks and crannies otherwise unused in the kitchen space, it’s easy to design a banquette seating area tailored to the needs of both the family and individual, while utilizing the most space and maximizing on storage.
5. Make use of warm-toned metal
Use copper and warm brass wherever you can in your modern kitchen and you'll be amazed at how cozy your kitchen can look. The natural warmth of these metals instantly adds a bit of depth to a scheme, even if it's a small door knob, plug socket or light switch. Where you can, glimmers of warm metal make all the difference.
'Because of the warm, tactile quality of metals, they have long been used to create a cozy kitchen, albeit for smaller elements like brassware,' says Charlie Ledbury of Ledbury Studio (opens in new tab), who has taken his love for copper further with this stunning kitchen cabinet design.
6. Think about flooring
The kitchen floor is a tricky one to get right. Ultimately, the floor accumulates a lot of dirt and it shows up against dark flooring. It also gets a lot of use, and with people in and out of the garden, there are often muddy shoes worn around the kitchen and scuffing up the flooring. For the coziest flooring, think about using natural wood. Not only does a wood kitchen floor always bring warmth and coziness, but any scuffed wooden flooring will only add to its charm. As for what is the best kitchen flooring, a beautiful dark terracotta tile also works well. Irregular in shape, imperfections and dirt won't show up on the floor, and the darkness gives it a period charm - even if it's a new build.
'Wood is arguably one of the best ways to create a cozy kitchen. We use it in a variety of ways, but without exception, it adds rich character and texture to our designs,' says Charlie.
'Terracotta works perfectly in a kitchen if you are looking to reinstate original features and character into a property,' says Molly, flooring expert at Floors of Stone (opens in new tab), who created the above terracotta tiles for Sebastian Cox. 'Terracotta tiles often get mistaken for original floor tiles that have been laid for centuries!' she says.
7. Use the space to display your favorite pieces of artwork
It might not be the most obvious place to display your art, but so often kitchens lack character, and this can really help the cozy feeling come to the fore. We recommend digging out your favorite pieces of wall art and putting them on display
It adds that bit of personality to the space, keeps your kitchen feeling creative, and puts your stamp on it. If you don't hammer them into the wall and leane them against the wall it adds a certain relaxed feel too, and you can mix and match the paintings around as and when you like. Think about the frames too - a gilded frame adds that glistening metal touch to bring the much-needed warmth.
8. Remember the decorative element
As well as art, small accessories that fill the room can stop the space from feeling too stark. Candles placed artfully on a shelf over the backsplash. Potted plants to bring some greenery. Beautiful vases on display to colored glass bottles you might have kept - making a stylish taper candle holder.
There are so many trinkety bits you might want to add to your kitchen to help it feel like a relaxed and inviting space. Create a centerpiece for your island, on the dining table, or use your favorite pieces to decorate kitchen countertops.
9. Create a space for cookbooks to be displayed
Books always bring a cozy feel to a space, so try and bring a touch of the library to your kitchen. Look out for areas where you can slot a shelf in - perhaps it's at the end of an island, or maybe it's a vertical built-in shelf that sits snugly next to the fridge.
Wherever you can, an added bookshelf in the kitchen, filled with your favorite cookbooks will add a pop of color, a much-needed attribute of the cozy kitchen. Think carefully about how you organize your at-home library, we think that the rainbow bookshelf look is over, but just displaying the ones you love and use most feels personal and wonderful.
10. Frame a view with a cozy window seat
Last but not least, try and factor in a built-in window seat if the space permits. Kitchens often sit facing the rear of the house and onto the garden, so there is potential here to harness the view, let the light in and cozy up with a good book.
It's also a good space to add your soft furnishings. Think pillows and throws for an instant added coziness to the space.
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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