While defined styles have a checklist of features—like an apron sink and wooden accents for a farmhouse kitchen—designing for a specific vibe is more subjective. What inspires cheer for one home chef may be off-putting for another.
But given how much time we spend in the kitchen, especially now when everyone in the family is working and schooling from home, we can all agree: the space should bring you joy. To make that happen, mix and match from IKEA to create a warm and cheerful atmosphere. The best part? These easy, painless tweaks don’t require any major overhaul.
There are a lot of ways to add color to your kitchen beyond painting the walls. You can swap out cabinet fronts — IKEA has door and drawer fronts in forest green and glossy blue — or add a contrasting backsplash in a warm shade. The double-sided LYSEKIL wall panel comes in four finishes, including a yellow stripe and warm brass.
For a fun and flexible use of color, opt for open shelving to store and display dishes of all colors. IKEA sells plates, bowls, and serveware in every hue—sage green, millennial pink, turquoise, wine red, navy blue—so pick your favorite and swap when the mood strikes.
Accent decor is another versatile way to add color without the commitment of paint or cabinetry. Textiles like dish towels and pot holders on hooks, a punchy table cloth, or bright chair cushions add joy and personality.
The right lighting is crucial in the kitchen, both for practicality and aesthetics. You want to avoid casting awkward shadows or creating dark corners, so you’ll need a combination of ambient and task lighting. Instead of one central ceiling fixture, opt for a series of pendants over areas like an island or eat-in table, and track lighting that can be directed at different work areas.
And make sure you use the correct light bulbs. Cooler, brighter bulbs (which have a higher kelvin and lumens count) will make your kitchen feel clinical, so choose ones with a lower kelvin range of 2,700 to 4,000 for warmer light.
If your kitchen is blessed with abundant windows, give them a good wash (screens and curtains as well) to make sure they’re letting in as much light as possible, and then add window treatments to lend a cheerful vibe. Sheer curtains gently filter light—IKEA makes air purification curtains that are great for the kitchen—but if your window is over the sink or close to the stove, consider a pleated shade or slatted blind for a similar effect.
It’s a proven fact: Nature makes people happy. And the kitchen is the perfect place to start a windowsill garden. If you have a south-facing window with ample sunlight, consider a small herb or vegetable container garden. If you aren’t totally confident in your green thumb abilities, start with a few low-maintenance plants, like bamboo, a ZZ plant, or cacti.
For kitchens with low natural light, consider an artificial plant or two (IKEA’s options will likely fool even the greenest thumb around). If all else fails, fresh cut flowers will always do the trick. Choose a vessel like this blue striped ceramic jar or this textured turquoise vase that can stand on its own in between bouquets.
Messy countertops and unorganized cabinets can easily create anxiety, so make it easy to de-clutter, and give everything a designated home. Use drawer dividers to keep utensils and small accessories in their place. Add a rod and hooks for oven mitts, spatulas, and every day tools. Install a wall system or small rack to get condiment jars and spices off the counter. And even the most organized of us need a junk drawer. Dedicate one for mail, stray papers, and loose pens.
A rug in the kitchen may seem like a bad idea because of spills and crumbs, but a low-pile or flatwoven rug that’s easy to vacuum can completely change the mood of your space. Plus, it eases pressure on your feet while prepping and cooking. IKEA has dozens of options that will lend a cheerful look: a color-blocked blue and green, a vibrant multi-color stripe, an earth-toned leaf print, a machine washable (!) blue and green chevron, a lemon yellow net pattern.
Chrome and stainless steel are popular choices for kitchen fixtures and cabinet pulls, but they give off a cooler, more clinical look. Instead, warmer materials like brass and leather will contribute to a cheery vibe.
The same thinking applies to countertops. While white quartz or marble provide a clean, sleek appearance, a natural material like wood adds warmth. Butcher block, which at IKEA comes in a range of woods and finishes, can show wear over time, but that’s part of the appeal; as it ages, its character changes.
Infusing any kitchen with cheerful elements will brighten up your days and bring comfort to your evenings. However you plan to brighten things up, IKEA Kitchen Services is here to help. Schedule an appointment to get started.
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