Interior Design

How to make a cool kitchen look warmer


Regardless of the style of your property, the kitchen is usually the heart of the home. It’s true that we have to make practical considerations such as cleanliness and which surfaces are suited to food prep and storage, but we also want it to be a comfortable and welcoming space. A sleek and hygienic kitchen may be fit for part of its purpose but it can be on the colder side in terms of appearance and feel. The weather forecast may be slowly improving but until 1st March, it’s still Winter here in the UK. Here are our tips on which colours, textures and practical solutions will help keep the chill out of your kitchen and make it an inviting, cosy space to relax.


Practical and structural ways to make a room warmer

Let’s start with the ‘less fun’ jobs. Before you even begin designing and decorating, make sure there are limited draughts from any windows, and that the room is suitably ventilated to remove any steam and condensation. Ensuring that the ceiling and walls are well insulated also helps, especially if the room is in an older property and has more than one external wall.

Some flooring materials get colder than others, so if this is an issue in your home, pick flooring materials that are warmer underfoot such as engineered hardwood. Better still, if it’s a new kitchen refurbishment, invest in underfloor heating.  Even if only a low wattage system, underfloor heating creates warmth in the room and elevates cold spots. While this is pricey to install, it’s often a more efficient and cost-effective method of heating your kitchen in the long-term. It can also broaden your options in terms of practical and stylish flooring options. For example, we associate ceramic and porcelain tile with icy cold floors but the same properties that make them cold in winter can be used to our advantage. Ceramic and porcelain kitchen tiles become toasty warm and remain so for a while after the underfloor heating has been switched off.


Interior design for a warmer kitchen

As what is effectively an expression of light, colour is a powerful tool for the interior designer. Using warmer colours and homely accessories can bring heat into a room. Create warm and vibrant light energy in your kitchen with the following colour choices…

Natural tones

If you’re looking to create a warm but relaxing space, take yourself and your colour scheme back down to earth. Neutral, earthy shades create warmth while maintaining a calming vibe. In fact, one of the basic principles of feng shui is the principle of five elements, which are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The colours that correspond to each of these elements are:

  • Fire: red, strong yellow, orange, purple, pink
  • Earth: light yellow, sandy/earthy, light Brown
  • Metal: white, grey
  • Water: blue, black
  • Wood: green, brown

When looking to create warmth, generally speaking we focus on wood, fire and earth. But if you want to incorporate white, grey or blue, don’t worry – just make sure you opt for the warmer tones of these. Or you can pair them with one of the warmer colour schemes which we summarise below.

Still loving grey? Us too, which is no bad thing because grey is forecast to stay with us as a colour trend for 2019. And what’s more, it’s extremely versatile with many shades and tones to choose from, from neutral greys with a hint of warmth to ‘greige’ (a grey and beige hybrid) and creamy greys with warm undertones. You might think that every grey is the same but they aren’t. Check out Dulux’s post on finding the right shade of grey to see for yourself.

Cosy accessories

Another option is to stick with cool greys and create warmth with your lighting and accents. Brass, gold and rose gold accents bring a warm hint of glamour and style.

Kitchen lighting: warm or cool?

You can change the lighting in your kitchen simply by changing the type of bulbs that you use. The colour of a bulb is typically denoted by a Kelvin rating and accompanied by a descriptive name, such as soft white or daylight. Then, for extra warmth you can install plinth, under cabinet or recessed lighting to create a warm glow without the excess baggage of any visible fixtures.

Tans and browns

The metallic-like tones which tans and browns provide can add an elegant and warm touch to your kitchen without drama. Bringing in warm textures like wood also help to create a relaxed, cosy atmosphere.

Orange on brown or navy

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow so it appears as a hot colour to the human eye as a result. It’s associated with joy, sunshine and the tropics; a hint of orange creates the sensation of heat without being as aggressive as red. Yet the striking combination of deep brown or navy and warm orange still demonstrates personality and style. These combinations are more on the bold side but depending on how and where you introduce the orange, it can be subtle such as through accents or trimmings on the furniture.

Red on white

Its high visibility has earned it a place on many stop signs, stoplights and fire equipment. But as well as fire and blood, red is also associated with energy, danger, strength and love in the human psyche. It’s been used as an indicator of courage in history and is still found in many national flags. While all over red may bring a little too much energy to your kitchen, this traditional but edgy duo is classy, refreshing and warm.

Soft textures

Wood on white

If you’ve created a light and airy space based on a white theme, the use of warm wood can balance out the starkness of the white. Similarly to the shades of grey, there are also a lot of off-white tones which are very popular. Looking at the warm tones of wood, as opposed to the cooler tones, will make all the difference. A popular approach in current design trends is the modernising of traditional kitchens and this is the perfect way to tie in more traditional pieces with a modern kitchen design.
Similarly, stone and wood combinations often make rooms painted in cooler shades feel more inviting. Possibly because of the earthy cottage-like or wood cabin look they create. Be aware though that natural stone is often cold underfoot, so you may need to add rugs or heating to more areas.

Think accessories such as throws, seat cushions, table runners and even the backdrop on feature walls. Textures like sumptuous velvet, tactile tweed and cosy knits can make a cooler room more inviting. And throws and seat cushions with tassels always look really cosy – just be careful not to go overboard with cushions as this can make seating areas appear crowded.

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