Keeping the Cozy in a Contemporary Kitchen

Minimalist, modern kitchens are sleek and sophisticated, but they might also be a little too sterile and intimidating if not warmed up somehow. Lots of straight lines and smooth surfaces in the typical contemporary style are not always conducive to relaxing food prep or congenial family gatherings.

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Here are some tips on how to add a bit of coziness to a contemporary kitchen – and, subsequently, create a place that people will truly want to linger.

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Maximize the warming power of wood. Whether it’s with a large dining table or a small wooden bowl on the countertop, using wood in a contemporary kitchen space provides instant warmth.

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Go green. There’s something about a bit of leaf-green in a contemporary space that is soothing. Even a small plant housed on the kitchen windowsill provides enough touch of nature to soften the hard edges of even the most modern of kitchens.

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Install plenty of soft lighting. Recessed lights overhead might be fine for food prep, but they do little to encourage a sense of coziness in the “heart of the home.” Consider installing soft lighting in a variety of areas to bring dimension to and soften the space overall.

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Use a friendly color! Contemporary kitchens have a tendency to lean toward the mantra of go-white-or-go-home. Warm up your kitchen with a bit of color and personality.

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Incorporate an unexpected traditional element. The softer, curvy silhouette of this corner chandelier break up the sharper edges of the contemporary kitchen cabinetry. Plus, it’s a great conversation piece! (An ornate chandelier would have the same effect.)

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Choose upholstered chairseats. For the contemporary kitchen, sleekness and functionality are at its core. But there’s nothing that says a bit of comfort should be excluded. Upholstered chairs can be a subtle (or obvious, depending on the upholstery) way to balance out all the straight, glossy surfaces.

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Choose a bright area rug. The rug doesn’t even have to stray from a contemporary design – the fact that it’s there and it’s soft is enough to make the kitchen feel cozier. Bonus: A stylish rug hides ugly but highly functional kitchen mats, which save your legs during meal prep and dishes.

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Mix and match dining chairs or bar stools. Few things are as heartwarming and welcoming as a tasteful bit of mismatch. This is true for bar stools or dining chairs connected with the structured, straight cabinetry of a contemporary kitchen.

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Make kitchen items feel like furniture. This island stands apart with its non-matching paint and unique legs. The dark island also provides a grounding sense to a white kitchen area.