10 High-Impact Kitchen Design Ideas
We’ve featured some beautiful kitchens in House & Home, but the most memorable ones all have something in common: a standout feature that elevates the entire space. Here are 10 kitchen design ideas that break the mold of traditional kitchen design, and breathe new life into the heart of your home.
Think beyond the classic, all-white kitchen and embrace rich, saturated hues. In this spacious Toronto home, designers Natalie Hodgins and Kate Stuart of Sarah Richardson Design show the power of going bold. Burnt-orange barstools pick up the palette of exotic rugs, while the showstopping blue La Cornue stove and hood is accented by a coordinating navy ceiling and dining chair upholstery.
Great tilework doesn’t have to be limited to the backsplash. In this open-concept kitchen, designers Sarah Keenleyside and Lindsay Konior covered an entire wall, including the range hood, in a classic subway tile — an idea they borrowed from hardworking restaurant kitchens. “Chefs often need to hose down the entire room after a night’s service, so tile will be used floor to ceiling,” Sarah says. “These homeowners love to cook and entertain, so when we proposed a fully tiled wall, including the hood, they just loved it.”
Black-framed, bistro-style shelves are popping up in more and more kitchens these days — and in unexpected places! Mounted snugly under upper cabinets or layered atop counters, they create display space and keep surfaces clear for food prep. We love how their clean, minimalist lines impart a lightweight look, balancing out walls of closed cabinetry, while the inky frames lend definition to mostly white spaces.
Though they’re a beautiful option for highlighting standout dishes, open shelves in the kitchen aren’t practical for everyone. These stunning wall-to-wall cupboards in fashion designer Jenni Kayne’s Beverly Hills home are a smart compromise, preventing dust from building up, while offering plenty of room for display. Their rich wood interiors contrast with the white lacquer doors for added visual impact.
This look puts a cool, slightly retro twist on the ever-popular flat-front cabinet. In this New York kitchen designed by Nilus de Matran, thin, raised edges give the oak cupboards an attractive mid-century modern vibe. A crisp, white inset workspace is another fresh component.
If you love to entertain, making room for a full-service bar in your kitchen makes sense. It can be a feature all on its own, especially when dynamic wallpaper is in the mix. This bar setup by Vero Beach, Florida, designers Ashley Waddell and Courtney Whatley is played up with walls papered in a pretty ikat print and an array of eye-catching glassware.
The problem with open-plan kitchens is that the cooking area is always on display — even when it’s splattered with sauce. This multifunctional room in Sydney, Australia, goes a more discreet route, transforming from practical kitchen to sleek entertaining space with the slide of two panelled doors.
In professional kitchens, “hot” and “cold” work zones are clearly delineated to allow chefs to move and collaborate with ease. The designers at Ensemble Architecture emulated this super functional layout in the kitchen of this Brooklyn, New York, brownstone, dividing the room into an island designed for cooking, and a separate counter that’s designated for washing and chopping.
As an alternative to stainless steel, handsome stone farmhouse sinks pack a serious punch. Whether it’s a dark, high-contrast option or muted and tonal, natural materials lend richness and depth to a kitchen. Just witness the petite, yet eye-catching sink in this West Village, New York, apartment designed by Steven Gambrel (left), or the distressed granite version in James M. Davie’s Toronto home.
Try turning a broom closet or nook into a bespoke pantry to showcase your favorite preserves, specialty oils and everyday essentials. We’re particularly inspired by Kate Hume and Frans van der Heijden’s Belgian modern-style larder. Its clean design, complete with double glass pocket doors, makes a powerful impression. Other standout features to consider including: a separate fridge, a contrasting color interior, or applying bold tile or patterned wallpaper to the inside.