As the cold weather sets in there's nothing like coming home to a warm and welcoming kitchen, so now's the time to think about adding cozy kitchen ideas to get prepared.
Today kitchens are so much more than spaces for preparing food, they are social spaces at the heart of family life where meals are shared, homework is completed and creative ideas are hatched, so it's important they are comfortable, cozy spaces people enjoy being in.
While there are plenty of quick updates you can add to make a kitchen instantly more cozy, there's often more to creating intimate, welcoming kitchen ideas than meets the eye and fundamental design elements like layout, materials, and lighting can play an important role.
Cozy kitchen ideas
If you're embarking on a completely new design then be sure to think carefully about kitchen layout ideas, as how your space is arranged will have a big impact on how you use your space and how it feels. Think about factoring in social spaces and seating areas and try not to furnish too sparsely, as this will leave the space cold and echoey. Mixing freestanding kitchen furniture with fitted cabinetry is a great way to create a relaxed and cozy feel.
'My main aim is to make this room a really beautiful extra living room. Fun lighting, curtains, antiques and rugs serve to make this a cozy space that one would want to spend time in,' says Henriette von Stockhausen, founder of VSP Interiors (opens in new tab).
1. Add a rug or runner
Hard materials such as stone, porcelain tile and engineered wood are popular kitchen flooring ideas as they are hardwearing and easy to clean and can be used with underfloor heating, but they can leave spaces feeling cold. Adding a kitchen rug or runner is a quick and easy way to instantly make kitchens feel more cozy, plus they can help insulate sound, too.
Consider flatweave designs and rugs with a low-pile which are easy to clean and less of a tripping hazard. When placing a rug in a kitchen it is important to fit an underlay to prevent them from slipping.
2. Incorporate social spaces
If space allows, factoring in social areas into your kitchen layout is a wonderful way to create a warm and welcoming feel.
'I like kitchens that you can live in with cozy nooks that create a spot for the children to sit and do their homework, where you can grab a quiet 5 minutes with a coffee or have a glass of fizz with friends on a Friday night,' says Louisa Eggleston, creative director at Humphrey Munson (opens in new tab).
'Upholstered banquette seating provides this so easily in a kitchen and is a really easy and intuitive way to soften the space and make it feel more homely and welcoming.'
3. Layer ambient lighting
It's easy to get carried away thinking about task lighting when designing kitchen lighting, but factoring in more ambient light sources such as low-level pendants, table lamps and kitchen wall lighting will help set the mood for cozy evening suppers and of course as a finishing touch you can't beat the warm flicker of candlelight.
'We use our kitchens so much more these days and for so many different purposes, not just cooking, so it needs to be a room for family gatherings; parties, drinks, homework so lighting is very important. Wall lights create atmospheric lighting as they give a comfortable glow,' suggests Henriette von Stockhausen, founder of VSP Interiors.
4. Paint walls and cabinets in rich, earthy colors
For a long time grey kitchen ideas were the go-to, but today more people are embracing warmer and deeper tones for their painted kitchen ideas such as brown to bring the cosseting and soothing qualities of nature into the home.
'Chocolate browns are perfect for creating restful living spaces that bring comfort to the home and envelop a space,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene (opens in new tab). 'With their earthy tones, chocolate browns are a subtle nod to nature and complement beautifully with natural materials such as wicker, rattan and stone finishes, all very popular as we continue to look to embrace the beauty of the natural world in our homes.'
5. Don't be afraid to embrace dark colors
When thinking of kitchen cabinet paint ideas don't be put off using dark colors in a small space, they will bring the walls in to enhance the cozy and intimate feel. 'A small kitchen filled with dramatic colors, textures and eclectic accessories can become big in personality which can also visually give a sense of a large space,' says Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL (opens in new tab).
6. Embrace the warmth of wood
Whether used on flooring, cabinets, or worktops, using natural wood is guaranteed to bring coziness to a space.
'Wood kitchen flooring has an unparalleled warmth and character and is a favorite amongst the British Standard by Plain English design team. There are many colors and species of wood to choose from. A classic choice is Ash, for its extreme durability and natural look. All wood develops a natural patina over time and rather than worry about this, we encourage clients to enjoy the rich character that this offers,' says Adrain Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English (opens in new tab).
When it comes to kitchen countertop ideas, wood is often underrated, but it can make a wonderful choice says Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL. 'I have never understood the worry with wood, for me it is warm and tactile, it is easy to keep supple and nourished with a little regular care and in return, it gives you an ever-changing patina that gets better and better over time.'
7. Incorporate vintage finds
Decorating with antiques picked up from flea markets, yard sales, or online auctions, and mixing these freestanding pieces with fitted cabinetry is a fabulous way to bring character and a relaxed feel to a kitchen.
'A vintage kitchen table and chairs are a must, all cottages need a spot for chatting and drinking tea and the ubiquitous jug of wildflowers. A pretty wall cupboard is another perfect choice, chippy paint and a little shabby, filled with a collection of your favorite hand-thrown mugs and you have set the scene for the perfect 'Holiday' hideaway,' says Helen Parker.
8. Try terracotta floor tiles
As well as being hardwearing, kitchen floor tiles are a wonderful way to add character and interest to a kitchen, plus they can be used with underfloor heating. 'Terracotta tiles are a natural option that brings a lovely warmth and will sit very happily in a traditional kitchen. You could choose a simple square tile in a diamond pattern or a hexagonal tile for something a little different but these will require sealing,' says Adrian Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English.
'If you are considering underfloor heating, we always plan this with our clients from the start of the design process. It must be positioned so that it is not below the floor cupboards as it can spoil food and cause the joinery to shrink and split.'
9. Decorate with fabrics
Whether introduced as a sink skirt or pretty seat pads, adding fabrics is a quick and easy way to add instant coziness and charm to a kitchen, especially if you're looking to create a cottage kitchen.
'A cottage always needs some extra special textiles too, so hanging some crisp white French linen up at the windows and throwing a vintage liberty tablecloth on the table for special occasions will set the scene perfectly,' says Helen Parker.
10. Add window blinds
Often shutters and Venetian blinds are the preferred option when it comes to kitchen window ideas as they are easy to wipe clean. However, provided they are in a splash-free area, fabric window blind ideas are a wonderful way to control light levels and bring softness into the space, plus they give the chance to introduce pattern and color. 'We chose this striped fabric because the colors were so perfect, it’s also not a regimented stripe making it much softer,' says Sarah Vanrenen of this kitchen blind fabric.
11. Embrace warm metallics
Texture and materials are a big kitchen trend at the moment, and what better way to channel this and bring warmth than by incorporating burnished metals? Try a beautiful copper worktop, or for something more subtle, upgrade hardware for brass fixtures.
'Copper is shiny and has an incredibly fluid, ever-changing patina, it looks rare and precious and turns out to have amazing antibacterial properties which now makes it even more desirable,' says Helen Parker.
'Hardware in brass or nickel always looks exceptional against a darker color, too,' says Louisa Eggleston, creative director of Humphrey Munson.
How can I make my kitchen feel cozy?
Adding window treatments to block out cold drafts and laying rug ideas on hard kitchen floors or fitting an armchair snuggly into a corner are all great ways to instantly make a kitchen feel cozy.
If you are starting a new kitchen design from scratch think about choosing natural materials such as wood for cabinets, worktops or flooring and embrace rich warm colors on the walls and cabinetry. Incorporate social spaces and spaces to relax such as window seat ideas or dining areas with banquette seating layered with plenty of cushions.
How do you make a small kitchen feel cozy?
To make a small kitchen feel cozy think about making the most of the wall space, fitting open shelves right up to the ceiling will provide ample storage space to keep countertops clear, but it will also add character and bring a quirky and cocooning feel.
Embracing rich, dark colors can be a great way to make an impact and bring sophistication to a small space. 'Dark cabinets are always used to create mood and drama, so small or big, you will achieve this look with dark cupboards,' says Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL. 'There is a sense that big is better, but in actual fact, a small richly colored kitchen can be the most alluring of spaces, holding a certain charm and beauty that is hard to achieve in a large space. Small means intimate, it means cozy and glamorous and petite, these all conjure up something quite special and not a feature to be disappointed by.'
Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.
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