These Are the 7 Things You Can do to Make Your Kitchen More Comfortable, Say Designers

If you want to make your kitchen feel more comfortable, try any of these seven design ideas, say experts

A comfortable kitchen in neutral colors
(Image credit: Lauret Joliet. Design: Byrdesign)

Kitchens have evolved over recent years. No longer are they purely functional spaces for cooking. Taking their place, these spaces have become a social center. We require them to feel cozy and comfortable, offering a space to gather and relax. If the boundaries between kitchens and living rooms have dissolved, how do we make these spaces more liveable?

'Creating a comfortable kitchen is all about infusing warmth and personality into the heart of your home, so all family members are comfortable using this space,' says designer Rylie Fitzgerald.

To help you plan your comfortable yet modern kitchen, we've spoken to the experts who have come up with these key areas of focus.

1. Remember fabric

A kitchen with rug on the floor

(Image credit: Casey Dunn. Design: Matt Garcia Design)

Incorporate fabric into your kitchen to cozy up the space and provide that extra bit of comfort underfoot.

'Fabric or textured kitchen window treatments add a beautiful touch to your kitchen and help to soften the overall aesthetic amongst all the cabinetry aplenty,' says designer Rylie Fitzgerald. 'Choose curtains or blinds in warm, inviting fabrics that complement the rest of your decor, creating a sense of warmth and comfort.'

Fabric and texture are typically lacking in the kitchen, but there is no reason you shouldn't bring extra coziness to the space through items like rugs. A cozy kitchen rug or runner on a hard floor can help you feel comfortable and at home in the space. Consider a runner between the countertop and the island, or under a dining table for extra comfort.

2. Incorporate seating

A small kitchen with seating nook

(Image credit: Byrdesign)

Seating is important for creating kitchen comfort. While you'll be mostly on your feet, incorporating seating blends the spaces and your kitchen into a more comfortable, relaxing zone and makes the kitchen more of a hybrid living space.

'Kitchen comfort comes primarily from the seating for people to gather around,' says Shelagh Conway, principal and founder of Triple Heart Design. 'Opt for stools that have a solid seat and footrest, and tables worthy of long game nights with comfortable chairs.'

'Just ensure they fit snugly under the island to maximize space and prevent any awkward collisions,' adds interior designer Rylie Fitzgerald.

Banquette seating can make a perfect addition to a small kitchen too as it is a compact yet stylish solution. It's a way to save on space, with seating that doubles up as storage sitting flush against the wall.

3. Layer lighting

A kitchen shelf with wall light

(Image credit: Lichelle Silvestry Interiors)

Who says layered lighting and accent light fixtures are just for the living room and bedroom? Layered lighting is a key element of any comfortable scheme, and kitchen lighting is no exception.

'Soft diffused lighting rather than harsh overhead lights can create warm ambiance,' says Audrey Bernanda, co-founder of AEDI interior design bureau. 'Consider glowing pendant lighting, under cabinet lighting, or even candles to add cozy glow to the space,'

Lighting sets the mood, agrees Rylie. 'In a cozy kitchen, warm, soft lighting is key. Pendant lights or wall lights are lovely and if you use task led or downlights under the cabinetry, ensure they are warm-colored (2700-3000k) that cast a gentle glow and have an opaque diffuser,' says Rylie.

4. Choose materials that omit warmth

A kitchen with wooden accents

(Image credit: Devlin Azzie. Design: Britt White Studio)

Think about the materials you use in your kitchen too. Material that feels inherently warm by its very nature will help you relax in the space.

'When it comes to kitchens, we're all about practicality and floor plan first. Once that is locked in, we then move on to the material selections. This is where the personality of the clients and their style preferences can shine,' says Britt Howard of Britt White Studio.

'We always look to include a warm wood material to refine and soften the space as the surfaces are often very functional. Whether that is a floating shelf, wooden kitchen cabinets or handles, a wooden wine rack, a wooden pendant or wall sconce or even a wood-lined ceiling, this feature is essential in every kitchen.'

‘The use of a natural palette is always ideal,' agrees Youseph Taouk of Taouk Architects. 'Wood grains, warm tones, and detailed marbles. The cohesion of natural materials not only creates a cozy space but can feel almost like art.'

5. Comfortable handles

A kitchen with seamless handles

(Image credit: Dave Wheeler. Design: CSA Architects)

Consider kitchen hardware trends and pick handles that speak to the wider aesthetic of the kitchen while feeling supple and tactile to the touch.

You might only use these handles for a few seconds everyday, but durability and ease of use are both incredibly important to comfort. ‘It’s one of those details that really does have to blend form and function,’ says Massimo Buster Minale, founder of Buster + Punch. ‘Grip should be near perfect.’

Finishes like brass, steel, and smoked bronze are durable materials to look out for, while perfect ergonomic shapes include semi-circle drawer pulls that allow you to easily hook your fingers under and pull the cabinet or drawer open.

6. Warm decor

A kitchen with decor on the island

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design: Corinne Mathern)

Consider decor to warm up the space and create a cozy kitchen. 'Open shelving in the kitchen breaks up the 'blockiness' of the cabinetry,' says Mukesh Vanjani of Sandbox Studio, so consider removing cabinetry in favor of open shelving where you can display your favorite kitchen decor bits and pieces.

'Embrace variety in your kitchen materials to add visual interest and warmth,' adds Rylie. 'Instead of using solely white, mix it up with different textures and finishes. Think natural wood accents, warm metals, and color to add depth and personality.'

Every cozy space needs a focal point to draw you in and anchor the room. 'Consider adding a table lamp or a casual flower arrangement to bring a touch of nature indoors. This changes the geometry in the kitchen, breaks the line of height and introduces new materials.'

'Plants can bring warmth a sense of connection to the outdoors to the kitchen area too,' adds Audrey.

7. Consider the layout of the space

A well-laid-out kitchen design

(Image credit: Lauret Joliet. Design: Byrdesign)

Finally, if you're thinking about redoing your kitchen on a larger scale, think about the layout of the room. For the best kitchen layout, you want a good distance between your sink, the stove, and the refrigerator, commonly referred to as the golden triangle - as is showcased in this example from Byrdesign Studio. This creates comfort with ease of use at the forefront and a functional layout that maximizes space and promotes easy movement can contribute to a comfortable and efficient cooking environment.

'A kitchen needs to be well planned and functional - the primary items should be within easy reach and zoned together, such as food storage (fridge and pantry), cooking, and washing or preparation,' says Mukesh.

Zoning is important, reminds Youseph. 'Ensure all your important elements are close by and that your kitchen functions as it should – i.e. bin close to the sink and dishwasher. Big kitchens are nice, but too big can almost become unnecessary, smart zoning is more important than sheer size.'

3 additions to make your kitchen more comfortable

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. 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.