There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that waft throughout your kitchen, or the eager anticipation of that stuffed turkey that’s been roasting all day. But having the time to bake cookies or cook that perfect meal often isn’t an option. There are other ways, however, to create a warm and welcoming kitchen space that combines function with style.
Color Your World
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to brighten up your kitchen is to repaint your walls with the right color. Consider the style of your home, including the exterior. Find a color pattern that will unite the exterior materials with the interior colors of walls and cabinetry. Colors such as silver, gray, black and brown often give off a ‘cold feeling’, while softer, less dramatic shades of yellows, whites and other neutrals create a warm, inviting feel.
Let the Sun Shine In
Even if you’ve decided to go with a darker shade for your new kitchen design, effectively using natural sunlight will instantaneously brighten any kitchen design. Draw back curtains on existing windows and consider installing new windows and skylights to maximize sunshine during daylight hours.
Give the Cabinets a Facelift
Sometimes just simply replacing cabinet handles can help create a cozier feeling in a kitchen. Consider the existing hardware, door knobs and cabinet finishes. The once-trendy metallic sheen of chrome may evoke a sense of a cold, sterile environment. If that’s not the style you were looking to achieve, replace these fixtures with more elegant, warmer oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware pieces-they match almost every cabinet finish.
Keep it Consistent
Though each room in your home is designed for a specific function, be sure to include one element that is repeated throughout your home. If you’ve replaced your cabinet hardware with darker, oil rubbed bronze cabinet pulls, repeat the style or color scheme in other rooms of your home. An easy way to this is to replace your front door’s current lockset with newer lockets in a matching hue. Also, instead of simple repeating the exact finish in other rooms, consider adding the same furniture piece, such as an end table or chair.
We’ve all been to dinner-parties-gone-wrong, especially since the kitchen serves both as a cooking area as well as a gathering place. Avoid awkward or chaotic events in your kitchen by separating the work and play areas. For chefs who like to socialize, reinstall or reorganize appliances and stovetops so you can simultaneously cook while facing your guests (or so you can monitor the children). This way, you won’t have to prepare everything ahead of time and you won’t come across as rude to your guests.
Less is More
Every kitchen owner wishes they had a double oven and other unnecessary yet helpful appliances to help get food on the table faster. But oftentimes, too many appliances, shelves, or general clutter can make a kitchen feel cramped and unwelcoming. Keep it simple. If there are gadgets, pans or appliances you only use once a year, consider storing it in the garage, attic, closet or pantry. Not only will this eliminate the need to constantly reorganize dishes and counter space, storing items away will also create more “white”-giving off the impression of a larger, more spacious area.
Add Finishing Touches
Every cozy, well-lived in kitchen has a few unique, decorative pieces. For the active family with children, hanging up artwork will not only make your children proud, but also help brighten otherwise dull walls and appliances (like the refrigerator or stove). Adding a vase of colorful flowers to your countertop or kitchen table will instantly brighten any kitchen; if allergies are an issue, consider purchasing silk flowers-they require no maintenance and last forever. Other accessories that make a kitchen cozy include themed jars for cookies, flower and sugar or unique ceramic bowls to store fruit or afternoon snacks.