How to Make a Kitchen More Relaxing – Designer Tips to Create a Zen-Like Space

The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. It’s where families and friends gather to cook, eat, and spend quality time together. However, kitchens can also feel chaotic, cluttered, and anything but relaxing. If your kitchen feels more stressful than serene, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to transform it into a calm, zen-like space.

Why It’s Important to Have a Relaxing Kitchen

Having a relaxing kitchen provides numerous benefits beyond just aesthetics. A zen kitchen can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety. Cooking and cleaning are difficult to enjoy in a cluttered, cramped kitchen. An organized, peaceful space helps you feel more relaxed as you move through your kitchen routine.
  • Improve your outlook. Studies show that surrounding yourself with calming elements can boost your mood and mental wellbeing. It’s hard to feel zen in a kitchen that feels out of control.
  • Encourage healthy habits. A kitchen designed for relaxation invites you to cook wholesome meals and spend more time with loved ones gathered around the table.
  • Increase productivity. It’s easier to get things done in an uncluttered space organized for efficiency. You’re less distracted and more motivated to complete cooking and cleaning tasks.
  • Promote safety. Clutter can cause accidents and make it difficult to navigate the kitchen safely. A peaceful, organized kitchen helps prevent injuries.

So if you want to enjoy spending time in your kitchen, transforming it into a relaxing space is crucial. Follow the designer tips below to create the perfect zen kitchen.

Adopt a Minimalist Approach to Storage and Decor

The foundation of a serene kitchen is simplicity. Too many flashy accessories, elaborate decor, and clutter will prevent you from achieving a zen look and feel. Here are some tips for sticking to a minimalist aesthetic:

Pare down dishware and cooking tools

  • Take an inventory of everything in your cabinets and drawers and donate, recycle, or sell items you rarely use. Stick to only the essentials.
  • Opt for uncluttered open shelving and glass-front cabinets to display dishes rather than cramming things into closed storage.
  • Use decorative hooks on the walls or rails to hang your most used pots and pans for easy access. Get them off the counters.
  • Store small appliances you only use occasionally to free up space. Display your everyday coffeemaker, stand mixer and the like.
  • Organize cooking utensils in countertop canisters or clear jars. Arrange by category or usage.

Skip elaborate decor

  • Choose clean-lined decor in neutral solids rather than frilly, overstuffed kitchen accessories.
  • Incorporate greenery with potted herbs, plants on windowsills, or a vase of fresh flowers.
  • Add just a few decorative touches like a candle, small succulent garden or bowl of lemons. Less is more.
  • Pick versatile dishware like solid white plates that go with everything over loud, clashing patterns.
  • Display a soothing nature photograph, Zen proverb art or woodblock print rather than cluttered gallery walls.

Following the “less is more” approach as you organize and decorate makes the kitchen appear instantly more tranquil.

Incorporate Natural Materials and Textures

Natural design elements have an inherently calming effect. Incorporating materials like wood, stone, plants, and other organic textures into your kitchen will help nurture relaxation.

Choose wood or stone flooring

Trade slick floors for more textured surfaces like:

  • Hardwood planks
  • Birch parquet
  • Bamboo
  • Marble, slate or travertine tile
  • Cork

Wood and stone feel warmer underfoot and add organic beauty.

Use wood for cabinets and tables

The rich grain of wood provides visual interest without being overwhelming:

  • Opt for shaker-style solid wood cabinets painted white or light natural finishes.
  • Pick up a butcher block work table or kitchen cart.
  • Choose a wooden dining table and chairs.

Add houseplants

Bringing nature indoors is an easy way to create a zen vibe. Greenery literally helps you relax!

  • Place potted herbs on the windowsill where they’ll thrive.
  • Put small cacti or succulents on open shelves.
  • Hang air plants in macrame in front of windows.
  • Display a large floor plant like a fiddle leaf fig in the corner.

As you design your kitchen, let natural materials be your guide toward tranquility. Wood, stone, and plants inherently create a more relaxing energy.

Use Calming Colors and Bright Lighting

Color and lighting have a big impact on the ambiance of a room. Certain palettes and well-placed lighting can make any kitchen feel instantly more peaceful.

Stick to a neutral color palette

Bright, saturated colors tend to feel energizing, while more muted natural hues are relaxing. For a zen kitchen, it’s best to use a neutral color scheme relying mainly on whites and beiges.

  • White or light grey cabinets keep the space feeling airy and open.
  • Paint the walls a very light warm beige, pale sage green, or cloudy blue gray.
  • Choose neutral granite, quartz or marble countertops and backsplashes in white, grey or beige.
  • Use ceramic, porcelain or concrete tiles in natural earth tones for backsplashes.

Neutral colors make the kitchen feel cohesive yet varied enough to avoid dullness.

Add pops of green

While dominantly neutral, bringing in some fresh green can enliven the space.

  • Display potted plants, herbs and leafy floral arrangements.
  • Use green fabrics like table runners or curtains.
  • Paint one wall an energetic green or use green cabinets.
  • Opt for green upholstered dining chairs or barstools.

A touch of nature’s color feels rejuvenating even in a muted room.

Install abundant natural lighting

Proper illumination prevents a dim, gloomy vibe. Maximize zen with natural light.

  • Use sheer white curtains to diffuse bright sunlight.
  • Position the sink and counters near windows.
  • Install skylights or additional windows if needed.
  • Use recessed ceiling lights and under cabinet lights.
  • Incorporate task lighting over prep zones.

With abundant light, the kitchen always feels bright and airy.

Sticking to light, neutral backgrounds with pops of green and plenty of natural light creates a very serene ambiance.

Choose Sleek, Clutter-Free Countertops and Appliances

Well-designed countertops and appliances that seamlessly blend into your overall aesthetic can help boost the relaxing vibe.

Opt for streamlined countertops

Your counters should be clutter-free spaces for food prep and dining.

  • Choose solid surface quartz or granite rather than extremely busy granite patterns.
  • Pick countertops with zero or few seams for sleek lines.
  • Install full-height backsplashes to reduce crumbs and leaks on countertops.
  • Keep counters cleared of everything but essentials when not in use.

Clean, continuous countertops aligned with your overall aesthetic lend cohesion.

Buy appliances in matching finishes

Mismatched appliances in black, white, and stainless steel look haphazard rather than harmonious.

  • Stick to one finish for fridge, range, dishwasher, and microwave. Stainless steel is classic.
  • For a different but coordinated look, get white appliances and wooden accent doors.
  • Position appliances discretely to integrate them. Use cabinet fronts or build a wall to hide.

With streamlined countertops and matching finishes on appliances, even the work zones feel zen.

Design for Organization, Accessibility and Efficiency

Beyond just aesthetics, a kitchen designed to maximize organization, ease of use and efficiency naturally promotes relaxation.

Organize to minimize clutter

Clutter quickly sabotages tranquility. Strategically organize dishes, cooking items and pantry goods.

  • Store items near where they’ll be used – dishes by the dishwasher, pans near the stove.
  • Use trays, turntables and risers to neatly stack items.
  • Transfer bulk dry goods to clear canisters – beans, pasta, grains, etc.
  • Group cooking utensils and gadgets in countertop crocks by usage.
  • Keep the most used items accessible on open shelves or counters.

An organized, clutter-free kitchen clears away stress.

Ensure accessibility

Frequently used items should be within arm’s reach.

  • Mount pots, pans and utensils on the wall or overhead racks.
  • Place cooking oils, spices and condiments near or on the stove.
  • Keep flatware, dishes and glasses near the sink and dishwasher.

Easy access makes cooking and cleaning hassle-free.

Allow ample room to cook and clean

Having enough elbow room is essential for kitchen tasks.

  • Make aisles between counters, islands and tables at least 48” wide.
  • Ensure a comfortable clearance zone around appliances – at least 15” around cabinets.
  • Install pull-out shelves, spinning “lazy susan” shelves and full-extension drawers.
  • Include a dedicated cleaning zone with a broom closet, sink, and hidden trash.

With ample room to comfortably move, the kitchen always feels peaceful.

Smart organization and space planning make the kitchen more intuitive and efficient, so you feel relaxed instead of stressed as you cook delicious meals.

Add Zen-Inspiring Accents

A few hand-picked special details can enhance your kitchen with extra zen. Display natural or metaphoric reminders of peace.

Add indoor greenery

Plants instantly boost tranquility and provide living accents.

  • Display succulents or air plants on floating shelves.
  • Grow herbs in planters on the windowsill.
  • Add large leafy plants in floor pots.
  • Mount vertical gardens to maximize plants.
  • Include a mini Zen garden with raked pebbles, stones, and plants.

Caring for living plants cultivates peace and gives you an active role in creating your Zen kitchen.

Use peaceful wall art

Surround yourself with serene images and thoughtful phrases.

  • Frame inspirational Zen quotes like “Let go” or “Breathe” to remain centered.
  • Hang photographs of soothing nature scenes – forests, oceans, flowers.
  • Choose prints of flowing water or birds in flight.
  • Opt for a large wall clock to representation being present.

Contemplative, meaningful artwork provides visual tranquility.

Add ceramics and natural objects

Pottery, shells, stones, and handcrafted accessories made of natural materials feel inherently spiritual.

  • Display ceramic bowls or vases filled with pebbles or sand.
  • Place natural items like bamboo, crystals, seashells or geodes in accent bowls.
  • Incorporate handthrown pottery mugs and dishes.
  • Use a wooden cutting board and handcarved serving utensils.

Accentuate your design with objects formed organically by nature or a craftsperson’s hands.

Intentional, spiritual accents aligned with Zen make the kitchen an uplifting sanctuary.

Infuse Fresh Fragrances

Scent is powerful when setting a mood. Fresh, natural fragrances energize and help you destress.

Use essential oils

Display essential oil diffusers or reed diffusers filled with relaxing scents:

  • Lemongrass promotes focus
  • Lavender and chamomile induce calm
  • Bergamot, frankincense and patchouli reduce anxiety
  • Basil, rosemary, and peppermint are uplifting

A subtle, pleasant aroma helps you decompress.

Add flowers and herbs

Fill your kitchen with natural scents from blooms and plants:

  • Display fresh floral arrangements of calming lavender, jasmine or gardenias.
  • Grow mint, thyme, oregano, lavender, and basil.
  • Add a bowl of lemons, limes, oranges or apples which smell bright and clean.

Natural scents from plants, herbs and fruit are soothing.

Bake comforting treats

Warm, nostalgic kitchen aromas also promote coziness. Bake cookies, bread, cinnamon apples or vanilla roast to fill the air with goodness.

Surrounding yourself with natural fragrances helps create a welcoming, Zen environment.

Embrace Eco-Friendly Design

Creating an environmentally friendly kitchen aligns with Zen principles of health and sustainability. Plus, reducing clutter and chemicals also promotes clean, tranquil energy.

Choose sustainable materials

Opt for countertops and finishes with recycled content and low emissions:

  • Recycled glass or concrete countertops
  • Bamboo, cork or FSC-certified wood
  • Low-VOC paints and stains
  • Linseed oil wood finishes

Start with an eco-friendly foundation for your design.

Install energy efficient appliances

Cut energy costs and consumption with:

  • ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove.
  • Induction cooktops
  • Tankless water heater
  • LED bulbs in all fixtures

Eco-appliances align with green living and save resources.

Reduce waste

Live zero-waste to avoid clutter and toxins:

  • Use reusable food storage bags and beeswax wrap.
  • Opt for cloth napkins and reusable silicone bags.
  • Compost food scraps rather than trashing them.
  • Display glass vessels for bulk pantry items instead of plastic.
  • Remove shoes before entering to avoid tramping in dirt.

A kitchen designed with sustainability in mind naturally cultivates eco-zen.

By embracing green principles in your design, decor and cooking, you can easily create a kitchen that feels as good for the earth as it does for your soul.

Feng Shui Your Kitchen for Ultimate Zen

Arranging your kitchen according to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui ensures optimal energy flow. It brings all the elements together to create a supremely tranquil environment.

Clear clutter

Clutter blocks positive chi energy from circulating. Eliminate messiness!

  • Toss expired food and chipped dishes.
  • Organize cabinets so everything has a place.
  • Keep counters free of appliance clutter.
  • Use deep drawers and shelves to neatly stash items.

When everything is in order, energy flows freely.

Let chi move around the room

Avoid blocking circulation routes for chi.

  • Keep traffic lanes like doorways, aisles and passes clear.
  • Position the stove, sink and cabinets along the walls rather than islands.
  • Open curtains and blinds fully during the day.
  • Use rugs to define functional zones rather than separating the whole room.

With chi able to move about, your kitchen vibrates with positive energy.

Focus on the stove position

The stove represents wealth and nourishment. Place it in the optimal area.

  • Position it toward the back of the kitchen but not against a wall.
  • Be sure it doesn’t directly face the main entryway.
  • Include a hood and fan to draw out heat and smoke.

Proper placement provides prosperity.

Use colors strategically

Feng shui prescribes colors to amplify the function of various zones.

  • Incorporate warm reds and oranges around the stove.
  • Use vibrant greens in dining spaces.
  • Add calming blues to the cleanup and storage areas.
  • Paint ceiling beams yellow to represent sunshine.

Harmonious colors unite the whole space.

Arranging your kitchen according to feng shui principles brings in positive energy from every angle, letting relaxation and comfort flourish.

Create a Kitchen Sanctuary

Your kitchen should be a sanctuary where you happily nourish yourself and loved ones with healthy, homemade meals. By incorporating designer tips to add tranquility, your kitchen can become a true source of comfort and joy.

Relax by including houseplants, Zen accents, natural materials and bright lights. Display inspiring wall hangings and keep organized to minimize stress. Arrange the space thoughtfully according to feng shui and sustainable living.

Soon your kitchen will transition from chaotic to calm. You’ll soon have a beautifully designed, efficient and eco-friendly space where you can cook, eat and spend time in complete relaxation.

Doesn’t that sound zen?

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating a Zen Kitchen

The idea of a zen kitchen often brings up many questions for homeowners who want to transform their space into one of tranquility. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about incorporating zen design principles.

What colors work best for a zen kitchen?

Sticking to a neutral color palette is key for a relaxing kitchen. whites, beiges, pale blues and light greens work beautifully as main wall colors. Add in natural hues like wood cabinets, marble counters and stone backsplashes. Pops of brighter green from plants or accents keep it lively without sacrificing the calm.

How much should I budget to create a zen kitchen?

The cost depends widely on the extent of the remodel, materials and appliances chosen. Minor upgrades like lighting, cabinetry adjustments, new knobs and neutral paint run $5,000-15,000. For a larger remodel with new eco-flooring, countertops and energy efficient appliances, budget $30,000-$75,000. Luxury kitchen overhauls with high-end finishes land over $100,000. Focus on changes with the most impact.

How can I add zen to a rental kitchen?

Even without full remodeling freedom, you can inject serenity. Try peel-and-stick wallpaper, hanging plants, essential oil diffusers and sleek organizational accessories. Use calming colors in your dishware, linens and appliances you can take with you. Add warm lighting and meaningful artworks. Feng shui also helps arrange your current kitchen for balance and relaxation.

What maintenance is required for a zen kitchen?

A zen kitchen shouldn’t create more work! The minimalist approach actually requires less upkeep. Maintain organization to keep clutter free. Clean up spills promptly to avoid stains. Use shelves to neatly display decor rather than knick-knacks. Tend to plants and swap