Kitchens are often thought of as social spaces – but sometimes we just want to be, well, alone! Many people find cooking and baking an extremely relaxing pastime and it makes sense for their surroundings to be quiet, organised and calming. Others enjoy a quiet chat with a friend at the kitchen table, in which case they’d want the room to feel a little like a living room in terms of peace and serenity. In short, a relaxing kitchen makes sense when it comes to design – while you can bring the noise and party spirit when the moment arises!
So how can you create a space that’s peaceful and soothing when you need it to be? A view of the garden would be ideal, but even a room that’s not naturally blessed with space, light and gorgeous vistas can be designed with relaxation in mind. Firstly, ensuring you’ve got adequate storage is vital as you’ll want to keep your floor space and worktops clear. And observing the way you use your kitchen, and how you move through it, can help you devise a layout with good flow. For instance, you’ll want to keep your crockery storage near your dishwasher for easy unloading, and your pans and cooking utensils near the hob. Even activities like washing up need to be considered – you’ll want plenty of room for dirty dishes on one side and clean items on the other. Here are a few more design ideas for a relaxing kitchen…
Use a low contrast design
Using fairly similar colours and textures creates low-contrast design. This in turn creates a low-energy vibe that feels calming and reassuring. You don’t want the room to be devoid of all visual interest, of course, but colours should be tonal (ie, different shades of the same colour) or close to each other on the spectrum (eg, pale blue and mauve or white and grey). In terms of texture, matt surfaces reduce shine which can help to keep things tranquil, but a small amount of polish or reflection will lighten things up and create a greater sense of peace. Adding in a few natural textures, such as wood and wicker, will also add visual variety without spoiling the low-key ambiance.
Bring nature in
Spending time outside is the quickest way to destress for many people, so it makes sense to bring some of nature’s beauty into your space. Houseplants allow you to surround yourself with greenery if you haven’t got a garden view, but digitally printed splashbacks are another great way to bring the outdoors in. We can print literally any image onto a glass panel, from a scene of rolling green hills to a gorgeous lake, beach or forest. Close up botanical images showing details of plants and flowers are also popular for relaxing kitchens – this lavender image, above, combines floral photography with a pretty and soothing mauve shade.
Layer your lighting
Harsh overhead lighting is definitely less than ideal when you’re trying to create a soft and comforting atmosphere. Instead, a mix of different lighting options that you can layer as necessary are the way to go for a relaxing kitchen. Directional ceiling lights allow you to point light where you need it most, low-hanging pendants are great for dining areas, and wall-mounted spotlights can bring brightness into a dark corner. Under-cabinet or under-shelf lights are also crucial for keeping worktops properly illuminated and creating a beautiful ambient glow.
Use soothing shades
Of course, some colours are far more calming than others – light colours and soft pastels are instantly soothing. These pale desaturated tints have far less intensity than their brighter counterparts and are easy on both the eye and brain. Associated with sweet and happy things – ice cream, springtime flowers, cupcakes – they can make a space feel instantly joyful. Pastels are also easy to mix together and they pair beautifully with metallics, too, so even if you’re not experienced in room design you’re unlikely to create a jarring or discordant scheme. However, that’s not to say that darker colours can’t also be soothing. If you’re not a fan of pastels, bear in mind that jewel tones have a cosy cocooning effect, while a warmer version of a pastel shade, such as this stunning coral colour, offers a slightly bolder option.
Go for traditional design
Technology moves on at a rapid pace, and the world seems to change at a bewildering rate, so it’s not surprising that many people find comfort in old-fashioned style. Whether it’s vintage clothing, old-school baking techniques or watching countless re-runs of Downton Abbey, there’s no denying that wallowing in nostalgia can have a reassuring effect. Traditional interiors are always popular – for one thing, they never go out of style and therefore rarely need to be replaced. But there’s also a sense of comfort in being surrounded by designs, patterns and shapes that have been passed down by older generations. Traditional kitchens have the same reassuring vibe – updated with a few modern materials that are more durable and hygienic, such as glass splashbacks and chrome hardware, it’s the perfect recipe for a relaxing kitchen.
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