5 Things People With Welcoming Kitchens Always Have — 'It's All About Texture and Color,' Say Designers

Experts reveal the secret ingredients to designing the most welcoming, decorated yet practical kitchen

A kitchen with fluting on the island and backsplash
(Image credit: Noa Santos)

Most kitchens see a lot of action every day, so need to be hard-wearing spaces that accommodate several people and functions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a place for relaxing and unwinding too. When designed with a lot of thought and consideration, this utilitarian room can be as decorated and pretty, as it is practical.

To give you some inspiration, we reached out to designers to understand the key ingredients to design a modern kitchen that looks and feels instantly welcoming.

1. Eye-catching floor tiles

A kitchen with patterned flooring

(Image credit: Ariel Bleich Design)

When it comes to picking new kitchen floor tiles, the task requires more than going with whatever fits your cabinetry color. To make the space seem well-connected with the rest of the house, consider palettes that may be visible in other areas of the house as well. This will help establish a cohesive color theme in the house. Also, durable floors are key for longevity in your investment.

'For the flooring, we wanted something with a graphic pop in this small area so we used these painted wood floor planks from Mirth Studio,' says Ariel Bleich, founder of Ariel Bleich Design. 'We love their products because you can customize their patterns or create your own. For this pattern, we used one of theirs but changed all the colors that were pulled in from a wallpaper mural in the adjacent family room. The goal was to repeat the colors around the home in some way for a cohesive look. For styling, we used some of the client's accessories they had collected over the years and mixed in a few new things.'

2. The clutter, hidden

A kitchen with island that has storage

(Image credit: Alexander &CO)

An organized kitchen with a clear and clutter-free look will naturally look visually appealing and peaceful. This is why it's important to have several storage units to hide all your 'stuff'.

Apart from cabinets for kitchen storage, consider adding extra drawers, shelves, and more to the kitchen island layout. Also, if you want the room function smoothly, consider adding a sink within the island as well. This will allow several people to chop and wash at the same time.

'The kitchen island is a Carrara and oak unit; a solid monolith with a simple waterfall edge detail and shop-sawn and wire brushed veneer,' says Jeremy Bull, principal at Alexander&CO. 'It holds the dishwasher, sink, bins, and general drawer storage for the kitchen and was intended to be robust enough to manage the traffic of the young family expected to spend much of their time in this hub of the house.'

3. Statement lighting

A kitchen with statement lighting above the island

(Image credit: Raili CA Design)

While ambient lighting is essential in the kitchen for functional purposes, if you’re looking to create a space that immediately awes, then a good idea would be to invest in a statement lighting piece. A kitchen pendant lighting just above the island will not only add to the aesthetics but also provide focused illumination for tasks.

'We wanted to offset the linear nature of the kitchen with a more organically random fixture,' says Raili Clasen, founder of Raili CA Design. 'Combining the perfectly angular space with a circular light was the choice for this kitchen.'

4. Textured finishes

A kitchen with fluting on the island and backsplash

(Image credit: Noa Santos)

A style of kitchen we're calling 'rough luxury' is one of the most loved style by designers at the moment. This essentially is Incorporating warm natural materials like wood, stone, and even textiles to balance out the colder materials traditionally found in the kitchen, such as steel and copper. Fluting on cabinets, to heavily veined marble are all elements of this style.

'Fluting on marble or wood creates intricate textures that breathe life into the space, creating a feeling of luxury with a touch of natural elegance,' says Kashi Shikunova, director at Yam Studios. 'The environment created is both opulent and grounded in its beauty.'

5. A color pop

A kitchen with pink upper cabinets and dark green lower cabinets

(Image credit: Heju)

While a bright, color-drenched kitchen may not be everyone's cup of tea, a great, strong contrast between the cabinets (upper and lower) could create a stunning visual. The two tone kitchen can create a great color block, and give rise to a striking interior.

'Patterns and color combinations were a key part of our work on this renovation,' says Hélène Pinaud, founder of Heju. 'The colors are all associated with harmony from one room to another. We used existing elements of the architecture to add color and create revealing contrasts. Green and pink have been paired with a terrazzo worktop.'

3 products for a more welcoming kitchen

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.