I’ve heard countless times that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And while I don’t outright disagree with this statement, I have to put in an argument for those of us who have tiny, outdated, and not always super inviting kitchens.
I moved at the beginning of the year, and though I love my new space, the one room I don’t love as much is the galley kitchen. The dated wood cabinets, wood flooring, and green countertops are, uh … just OK. I currently rent my home, and although there are plenty of renter-friendly DIYs I could try, most kitchen projects feel a bit daunting and time-consuming. And even if I owned my home, a full-on remodel would be costly. My parents just remodeled their kitchen, and after hearing stories from my mom about all the back-ordered cabinets, missed deadlines, and stress (not to mention your house temporarily turning into a construction zone), I understand that kitchen remodels can be a lot .
After tackling my own less-than-perfect kitchen, I’m a firm believer that you can make any space cozy, no matter the size and shape of the room. If you’re not ready to dive into a remodel or try your hand at a kitchen DIY project, read on for kitchen decor tips that will make your space feel homey and inviting.
Keep It Clean and Tidy
Keeping your kitchen tidy is more than half the battle if you want your kitchen to feel cozy and put together. I’m someone who typically struggles to put dishes away promptly, leaves things on countertops, and sometimes even forgets to shut cabinet doors (my kitchen looks like a ghost was making a sandwich or something). But the magic of a cleared-out sink and clutter-free countertops cannot be denied. Every night before bed, I make sure to run the dishwasher, put everything away, and wipe down the counters so that the next morning, I’m greeted with an immaculate kitchen. It definitely makes my morning coffee routine a lot more pleasant!
Add Cozy Lighting
I can’t stand overhead lighting. It gives me doctor’s office vibes, and since the bulbs are usually cool-white (which is the opposite of cozy!), it’s generally just not flattering—for people or the room itself. I much prefer lamps, and if you think a lamp in the kitchen is weird, allow me to politely disagree. Adding a mini lamp to your countertop can instantly cozy up your kitchen, and Target has tons to choose from for only $12. Instead of bright, overhead lighting, a lamp equipped with a warm-white bulb will offer you a softer, easy-on-the-eyes glow and the same sort of ambiance that candlelight does. I have one right next to my coffee station. Although I do need to turn on my overhead lighting sometimes, my little lamp is always on and never fails to bring me joy.
Another cozy lighting option is to add puck lights under your cabinets. This kitchen decor hack lets you get the look of under-cabinet lighting without the need for a pricey remodel. Simply purchase puck lights that come with a remote and adhesive backing and stick them onto the undersides of your cabinets. You can turn them on at any time of day, but I think they look especially cozy at night. Some types of puck lights even let you adjust the brightness or set an auto-off timer so you don’t have to worry about the batteries running out overnight.
Upgrade Your Kitchen Decor
Decor doesn’t need to be reserved for spaces like the living room and bedroom! For simple kitchen decor, hang framed art or photos on the wall or strategically place them on a countertop. Arranging fresh or faux flowers in a vase is another easy option. Even kitchen essentials can double as decor. Think colorful dish towels, a glass olive oil dispenser, or a pretty container for your wooden kitchen utensils. I think of it this way: If it’s on display, it can be decor! And if you already own pretty kitchen items that are hidden away in a cabinet, why not keep them out? I love my collection of coffee mugs, and if your counter space allows, a mug tree is a nice way to display them.
Elevate Your Essentials With Risers…
A wooden or ceramic pedestal can instantly turn your hand soap by the sink into a cute little display. Elevating—like literally lifting up—your kitchen essentials is an easy way to organize and beautify your countertops without spending a ton of money. Arranging items such as your soap dispenser, salt and pepper shakers, and decor like a plant or a candle on a pedestal adds a little extra something to your kitchen. For example, I display my Amazon Echo Show, which serves as a digital picture frame as well as Alexa, on a pedestal, and it looks so much nicer propped up than simply sitting on the countertop. Who knew something so small could make such a difference!
…Or Put Them On A Tray
I never really understood the point of decorative trays until I brought a few into my home, and now I totally get it. Sure, trays aren’t strictly necessary, but keeping items and decor contained calms my brain, and it makes everything look nice and organized. In the kitchen, try placing a tray by your stovetop where you usually store utensils, oils, salt, and pepper. Put these all items on the tray, add a plant for some color, and notice the difference! The island is another great spot to display a tray stocked with items like a vase of flowers, a candle, and a bowl of fruit. Pro tip: Check your kitchen cabinets for extra wooden cutting boards you don’t really use. Instant tray!
Start An Indoor Herb Garden
Plants and greenery (real or faux!) will add life and coziness to any space, including your kitchen. An herb garden, in particular, is not only beautiful but practical, too! I am definitely that person who buys pre-packaged basil at the grocery store, uses a little bit, then watches the rest shrivel up before I have to toss it, which is always a bummer. Keeping a live basil plant is a much better option since I can use a leaf or two at a time and the rest of my basil stays fresh, as long as I take care of my little plant. Plus, seeing it every day inspires me to have more homemade pizza nights. It’s a win-win!
Keep Baked Goods In a Cake Dome
I admit this isn’t an everyday occurrence in my kitchen, but displaying baked goods in a cake dome always makes my kitchen look a little fancier. There’s a reason bakeries and restaurants cover their pastries and desserts under glass domes—they’re both pretty and practical! I received a glass cake stand as a wedding gift, and while I love it for special occasions, I also regularly bring it out for blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, or pumpkin loaf in the fall. A cake dome can also make store-bought items like croissants or bagels feel a bit more special, and you can rest assured your baked goods will stay fresh for several days. If you ask me, nothing feels more inviting than walking into a kitchen and being greeted by a pile of chocolate chip cookies, nestled under a pretty glass dome.