Oh friends, it’s been a busy but very fun week over here! Among other things, I’ve been working on updating my kitchen for the holidays. It’s going to be a place we spend a lot of time in the upcoming months, and I want to make it a space that I love to occupy. A cozy kitchen.
What elements are most important in a cozy kitchen?
Beauty and function
I want to cultivate a space that feels romantic, soft, lovely. Creating and eating good food should be romantic and enjoyable. Something you look forward to after a long and sometimes stressful day. Wine, candles lit, music playing, all of it help in creating a curated family dinner.
To enjoy the space, and time spent in it, it needs to beckon you to come, cook, and be creative.
The beginnings of a cozy kitchen
I recently painted all the wood trim that was in my kitchen. When we replaced the flooring, it no longer matched anything and the orange hue of the wood stuck out like a sore thumb. I painted it black, which was already an accent color in my kitchen.
And while I was glad to be rid of that color of wood, I quickly found that my kitchen felt cold and unwelcoming without the warmth even an off-color wood added. So I decided to incorporate some back in, in the hues and places I wanted it.
And it’s made all the difference.
To make a cozy kitchen, do you have to do a complete rennovation?
No friends. Heavens no. My kitchen is no where near what I want it to end up like. My cabinets are cheap, the countertops are laminate, nicked up with use over time. But it’s my kitchen, and while we’re waiting and saving for our dream kitchen, I’ll make it work, and work well.
How to freshen up a kitchen when you can’t do a remodle
- Soft lighting
- Rugs and texture
- Wooden elements
- Neutral colors
- De-clutter & clean
A kitchen shouldn’t be sterile, you are not a restaurant that gets audited by the health department. It’s a living space you cook for your cherished people in. Maybe you can’t get new cabinets, but can you paint your current ones and make them work? Or paint the walls, or both?
Art is also important. I struggle with adding it into our kitchen because we don’t have much free wall space. But I’m still looking for ways to incorporate it. Stay tuned.
Colors in the kitchen
Personally, I don’t like a loud kitchen. Colors like red, orange, bright blue, etc? They’re just not welcome. I don’t care if it’s a spatula or an appliance. I did the red thing years ago, and I’m over it. I want the food to be the color, what I’m creating to be the highlight, so I keep my kitchen cozy and neutral. If I do have a pop of color, it’s seasonal. Like when I hang a garland around the window for Christmas, or I bring a colorful flower arrangement in from the garden or store. It’s a special, limited edition item that will soon phase out again.
Not only does clutter take over my drawers, but it takes up more headspace than I care to admit. It’s a clutter of the brain and it leaves me irritable. Nothing’s worse than when I’m in the kitchen trying to close a drawer stuffed with too many items. And truthfully, how many of those items do I really use?
So, I went on a purging mission over the past few weeks.
Let me tell you, opening up an organized drawer and seeing everything? Words cannot express fully how much it affects my mood and cooking. No aggression is sprinkled into the food.
I didn’t organize the kitchen in a day. It was a few weeks process where, if I opened a drawer and it bothered me, I quickly assessed, removed items, and went on with my life. And slowly but surely, I’ve gotten through almost all of my cupboards and collections.
You need a dish drainer, but make it pretty
This goes for dish drainers, soaps, cooking, and baking items. If I’m going to have to use it, I want it to be efficient and pretty. If it works great but I hate the color, I won’t use it. Aesthetics are deeply important to me. I get that the same doesn’t hold true for everyone, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m over feeling guilty that my environment affects me. If it bothers me, it’s gone. I’m the one spending hours weekly in my kitchen. Each person should do what feels right in their space, the end. No explanation is needed.
Preparing Meals in advance
I’m not saying each and every meal should be planned completely. We usually use the same core ingredients for breakfasts and lunches, so I always try to make sure we’re up on those items.
But for dinners, it’s worth a half-hour each Sunday afternoon for me to plan them out and make a list of ingredients for the coming week. I submit a food delivery or pick-up order to grab the following day if needed, and go to bed Sunday night knowing the next week is in line. I plan quick dinners on nights that I know are busy, and more complex but delicious meals on nights there will be more time. And some seasons, they’re mostly quick dinners, while other months, I can be slowers and more extravagant. Take stock of the season you’re in, and plan accordingly. You can still cook meals from home when you’re busy, it just takes a bit of preparation.
Are you already doing these things? Maybe some of them, but realize you could implement more? I’m in the same position friends! It’s going to take deliberate, intentional steps to create a kitchen you can’t wait to step into, but I’m ready to make it happen.
For more of my kitchen journey, make sure you’re following along on Instagram. It’s my favorite place to chat!
Happy cooking friends!