Kitchens tend, by necessity, to have a lot going on. The kitchen is a room with a very clear function, and it requires a broad range of specific equipment and accessories in order to fulfil that function (unlike, say, a living room, which essentially only needs a sofa or a couple of comfy armchairs to have earned its title). Therefore it’s no surprise that so many homeowners and interior designers embrace a deliberately busy aesthetic in this particular part of the house. A lot of the time, it works really very well: dangling pots and pans, herbs and spices, crockery hanging along the wall and patterned tiles and rugs galore. There’s no denying an eclectic vibe can suit many kitchen perfectly. But the alternative is also well worth exploring: going in completely the opposite direction by pursuing simplicity and consistency in your kitchen layout. Yes, sometimes a very basic kitchen design can seem a bit industrial and unwelcoming, like the kitchen in a restaurant; but as the photos below show, it’s also possible to create a comfortingly domestic space out of completely uncomplicated building blocks and a very limited colour palette.
This kitchen is very simple and almost a little cold in its design, with its extensive use of white surface, stainless steel and its total lack of ornamentation. However, the inclusion of a backboard on one of the walls introduces a sense of fun to the room, lightening the mood and making it clear that this is a space that really is well lived in, even if it doesn’t seem to be at first glance.
Here is a good example of a room that is fairly basic and doesn’t look over planned, and yet still has a lot of character. Nothing matches – from the dining chairs to the lampshades to the woods used for the various furniture items – yet everything works in perfect harmony together. This is partly due to the restricted number of colours used, and the disciplined decision to keep them all very neutral.
Everything in this room appears to follow a very traditional, country kitchen style model: large kitchen tiles, patterned floors, wooded chairs with pretty cushions… the significant difference, though, is that almost all the colours have been drained from this room. Where you might expect traditional pine or a warm, homey print, there is only white (and a very, very small amount of red and black). The result is a powerful look that’s both comforting and contemporary, like your mother’s kitchen if your mother just happened to be really, really cool.
This kitchen is filled with just enough of the essentials of cooking that it doesn’t look too sparsely furnished, but the decor has been kept very restrained. Even an oversized light bulb has been chosen in lieu of a lampshade, and the brick walls have been painted white rather than using tiles. The most notable feature of the room has to be the beautiful cabinet in which the crockery is displayed. Its patterned interior adds a very subtle touch of warmth to the room. This look would also be very easy to recreate yourself – all you need is a second-hand cabinet in decent condition and a roll of pretty wallpaper of your own choosing.