– Words by Jen Evans Photography by Lia Crowe
These days, the kitchen is the most lived in and central room in the home. It’s where we tend to spend the most time and where everyone naturally gathers.
The kitchen is not the utilitarian space it used to be and it’s become the number one room to renovate when adding value to your home. But so many kitchens are cookie-cutter designs, and lack personality, often leaving the space feeling cold. Since we spend so much time in our kitchen, it should have soul! And this is exactly why you should look to the living room when you want to create a cosy, inviting, character-filled kitchen.
When I’m styling or designing a kitchen, I do my best to make it feel personal, curated, loved, lived in and more like the living room because, after all, the kitchen is the true heart of the home.
Here are my 10 tips for creating a cosy kitchen:
Add decorative objects, unconventional decor and/or personal items from your travels to make your kitchen feel intimate. This could include a few one-of-a-kind accents like a beautiful candleholder, sculpture, woven basket or handmade pottery; it can change your kitchen from feeling utilitarian to curated and lived in.
Take art and mirrors from around your house and move them into your kitchen. Art and mirrors belong in kitchens just as much as they belong in living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. Use a few pieces to create a focal point such as an art wall, or lean them against your counter. They’ll infuse much-needed texture, visual depth and personality to your new favourite room.
Switch from white to a dark, warm paint colour for your cabinets, walls or backsplash. Farrow and Ball’s Black Blue and Inchyra Blue (used on my cabinets and pantry backsplash) are warm and inviting options that will add a deep sense of warmth and cosiness to any kitchen.
Create inviting kitchens by adding warm metals such as copper, bronze, brass and gold. Updating your lighting, faucets, knobs and accessories to a warm or tarnished metal is an easy way to balance out those slick and cold stainless appliances.
Mix vintage and new, handmade with machine-made to give a homey, lived-in feeling. There’s often a sense of nostalgia associated with a space that’s mixed with vintage and repurposed pieces, especially when added to a kitchen that can often feel sterile and impersonal. Choose anything that speaks to you and showcases your own personal style: from heirloom figurines to vintage bakeware and kitschy finds (like my llama figure) to handmade pottery. Adding personality adds warmth.
Adding warm, colourful textiles ups the cosy factor in any kitchen. Incorporating woven rugs and runners to your space adds comfort and visual interest. Buy a plush linen or waffle tea towel to add texture for a multi-dimensional space that feels cosy and layered, or place a sheepskin on a kitchen stool or bench to hearken to that sense of cosy contentment associated with hygge (a Danish word describing a mood of cosiness combined with feelings of wellness and contentment).
Natural materials bring an authenticity and earthiness to kitchens. Add organic elements such as plants, branches and dried flowers (hydrangeas, palm leaves, pampas grass, ruscus and bunny tail grass). Plant life and organic decor will balance out all hard lines in the kitchen and make a space feel more earthy and soft.
Overhead, high voltage lighting can feel harsh and clinical. Add extra lower-level and indirect lighting such as wall sconces or even a plug-in lamp to your counter or kitchen island for a soft warm glow. Switch out your metal and glass pendant for a fabric or woven basket light to add a natural, warm eclectic feel.
Window treatments are often overlooked in kitchens. Roman shades bring a softness and charm that’s great for any style of kitchen, and have the added value of creating privacy. Adding a woven wood or bamboo shade to your kitchen effortlessly adds character and warmth. A patterned fabric shade can really elevate your windows and add a hit of personality to boot.
Display—don’t put everything away. While most newly built kitchens attempt to hide everything away, this can create a cookie-cutter, stale vibe. Hanging pots and pans overhead can be efficient and stylish. Creating a pantry with display jars of bulk items, “decorating” with canisters of utensils, wooden cutting boards and bowls of produce will give your kitchen a level of visual depth, while creating a sense of home.
This season, whether you’re cooking, socializing or simply going about your daily routine, grab some candles from your living room and light them in your kitchen…the simple act of lighting a few candles could make a huge difference in creating a kitchen that feels cosy, warm and inviting.