Kitchens Get a Cozier New Look

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

cozy kitchenKitchens are losing their image as just a place for cooking. They’ve also become a place to gather with family, entertain, and even work, which is influencing how buyers are perceiving the possibilities of the space. As such, more home owners are trying to make it feel less like a kitchen and more as an almost second living room.

For example, some home owners are opting to hide their appliances, such as with undercounter refrigerator drawers and dishwashers-in-a-drawer, a trend that the National Kitchen & Bath Association noted earlier this year.

Another trend catching on: Fewer upper cabinets. A kitchen filled with cabinetry is a hard look, says Susan Serra, a home designer in Huntington, N.Y., who specializes in kitchens. Less kitchen cabinets make a kitchen feel more open and allow the walls, windows, and light to show through.

In 2003, Serra began her own kitchen home renovation, seeking to add more comfort into her kitchen. She added a sofa near a window nook (raising the sofa up so it was proper dining height) and a 36-inch, recessed television in the breakfast area. She also removed the wall kitchen cabinets, keeping only doorless, base cabinets that she hid with a long skirt on a curtain rod.

“Putting comfort into the kitchen was amazing,” Serra says. “It encouraged socialization, people wanted to hang out in the kitchen, look out the window, and watch media.”

Serra and interior design expert Ashley Whittenberger, founder and owner of Interiority Complex, provided tips in REALTOR® Magazine this month on how you can stage a home for sale using this cozy kitchen trend, such as how to use kitchen islands and lighting to create the look. (To read their tips, read Buyers Want Cozy, Connected Kitchens.)

Have you noticed any cozy kitchen trends popping up in kitchens in your area lately?

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. This is becoming more and more apparent as people continue to create open living spaces. I’ve also seen many people incorporating small flat screen TV’s and computer work stations into their kitchens. Thank you for highlighting this topic.

  2. Kathie Rost

    When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, we insisted on a little nook for a computer and desk. The contractor could not seem to “get” it- he actually said at one point, “Who needs a computer in the kitchen?”

    Today, it’s one of the best ideas in the kitchen,and one of the most-used areas.

  3. “She (Susan Serra) also removed the wall kitchen cabinets, keeping only doorless, base cabinets that she hid with a long skirt on a curtain rod.”

    Undoubtedly, the kitchen is where the family life happens 🙂

    Although, I am not sure that I like the idea of a skirt hung in lieu of cabinet doors.
    I’ll take high quality kitchen cabinets over the piece of fabric any time of the day regardless of the trends and styles.

  4. sharon lunski

    My family has always hung out in the kitchen…homework was usually done at the kitchen table and serious discussions were in the kitchen…the kitchen in our home was always the heart, whether we have up cupboards, no cupboards, beaucoup cupboards I tend to think it’s when everyone hangs out in the kitchen, it’s because mom’s there and dad too. That’s how it was when I grew up…wherever the Mom was is where we hung out…and dad hung out there too. He was also fond of mom…lol.

  5. Melissa, I think it’s great that you are emphasizing the expanded uses of modern kitchens. For your readers that are considering remodeling, here are some other things they should keep in mind. When choosing colors for your kitchen, consider warm colors like red, yellow, and orange. Another possibility is something a little brighter that fits your personality, such as a brighter green. You can also warm up your kitchen by adding upholstered chair pads and a small rug in front of the sink. Updating your cabinet handles and your faucet will bring in an entirely new look as well.

  6. Yes! Great concepts for the new style kitchen. Thanks for suggestions and hardware available. Hope ideas continue and contributors share divine designs!

  7. dls

    this is the second house where we have a dining space and a kitchen nook in a bumped out bay at the opposite end of the kitchen. We again turned this space into a sitting area instead, with 2 love seats, 2 end tables with table lamps, a floor rug, a bookcase and an old oak china hutch, and windows are in each of the 3 bumped out walls creating lots of light. This is the place guests sit down to chat with the cook while the food is cooking. It is also an alternate reading corner in the house away from TV’s and is very relaxing