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Cozying up to the kitchen in high style

Back when kitchens were contained behind swinging doors, there wasn’t much of a reason to make them a design statement. They always were first and foremost for utilitarian purposes —making meals for the family. But now our kitchens are about so much more than function. They are for homework sessions, family discussions, drinks with friends and much, much more. So if it’s getting more and more difficult to extract guests from the kitchen, why not just make the space reflect all the warm and wonderful things going on inside?

If you want a cozier kitchen design, experts offer a few ideas, as described by Realtor’s Larissa Runkle. First, there is the brick range. “One of the hottest trends in 2021 is installing exposed brick in your kitchen,” says architect Anton Giuroiu. “Brick can add character to a space, and the rugged traditional look pairs beautifully with industrial- or farmhouse-style appliances. Although genuine brick walls can be expensive to install, faux brick panels provide an affordable alternative.”

The flavor of the day color-wise? “Hunter green is making a comeback in kitchens across the U.S.,” says Giuroiu. “This dark, vibrant shade evokes feelings of being in nature and provides a touch of elegance to a space. While you may opt to decorate the entire kitchen in one color, I suggest pairing this shade with white, black, burgundy, or wood—hunter green cabinets and shelving against white walls or vice versa.”

While all-white kitchens are still popular, the trend now is to use just a touch of just the right white. “Plain white can look boring, cold, and stale; pearl white elevates the look of white tile by creating a shine that’s still soft,” says designer Andra DelMonico, “Some pearl tiles even have an iridescent effect that offers hints of other colors, which you can accentuate by using those colors in the rest of the kitchen.”

Floral designs aren’t just for wallpaper. The floral aesthetic is finding its happy way more and more into our homes, especially since the pandemic lockdowns. “People have looked for ways to bring the outside in,” says DelMonico. “Nature-inspired interior design elements have become incredibly popular. A floral chandelier is a delicate way of adding a touch of nature to your kitchen. “Consider the type of flower and the overall style of the chandelier, which should fall in line with the styling of the rest of your kitchen,” she adds.

And don’t leave out the kitchen nook. “Adding an artsy nook to your kitchen gives it a comfortable and homey feel,” says DelMonico. “It’s the perfect addition to a farmhouse or bohemian kitchen. Add a comfortable place to sit, a small table, and art on the walls. Prepare a cup of coffee or tea, and then settle in with a good book.”

She advises to scale the furniture with the available space for your nook and if it’s roomy enough, add a sofa. A medium-sized space will fit a loveseat, and a small nook should have an armchair.