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How to Design a Cozy Kitchen

Regardless of the size or style of your kitchen, these tips will make it the warmest place to be.

Not all small spaces are cozy — and every cozy space isn’t small. No matter the size of your kitchen, there are design details you can incorporate to create a place that’s as comforting as warm apple pie. Use these six strategies to ensure the heart of your home is safe and snug.

1. Keep it clutter-free.

It’s easy to fall into the “cottage kitchen is full of tchotchkes” trap. For your own sanity, steer clear of this line of thinking. Keep counters clean and only display frequently used or meaningful items. The more stuff you have on display, the more oily dust your kitchen will collect.

2. Add nooks and crannies.

This simple tactic allows you to maximize your storage, organize your items and add charm all at the same time. Exposed shelving and plate racks display pieces and keep them within easy reach. Enhance upper cabinetry with a corner shelf to stow small items like salt-and-pepper shakers, and add a greenhouse window above the sink for culinary herbs. Collectively, they add texture and visual interest as well as order.

3. Let there be light.

For safety’s sake, kitchens require shadow-free task lighting. But to create ambiance, channel your inner Thomas Edison by fitting pendant lights and lamps with the bulbs that bear his name. The illumination they cast is soft — perfect for generating that warm, welcoming glow.

4. Inject color in unexpected ways.

Design convention says that if you want your room to feel larger, go whiter. White can feel crisp, cool and clean — attributes you definitely want in a kitchen, but to create a cozy, cottagey space, spice it up by adding splashes of color in surprising ways. What do we mean? Opt for cheerful, brightly hued appliances instead of stainless steel, paint your floors rather than reverting to traditional hardwoods or porcelain tile, ditch white cabinets in favor of a hue like soft moss green or vibrant cobalt blue instead.

5. Go retro.

Modern technology certainly has its place in your kitchen, but it doesn’t have to look modern. Creating a true camp-and-cabin vibe almost mandates that you harken back to yesteryear, and the fastest way to accomplish that in a kitchen is through your appliances. Brands such as Smeg, Elmira Stoveworks and Big Chill offer 1950’s-inspired products in a rainbow of vivid colors, while others like Aga, Esse and La Cornue design ovens and refrigerators with a decidedly understated, Old-World air.

6. Add a dash of personality.

An overt “theme” can get stale in a hurry, but adding subtle elements around a central motif, like the seashore, the farm or the wilderness, will make your kitchen memorable. Achieve this through color palettes, fixtures and fittings, dishware and area rugs, which are all easy to edit or replace as your tastes change.

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