We’re calling it: the ’emotional support’ kitchen is 2023’s biggest design trend

Kitchens have long been considered the heart of the home – a place for nurturing, comfort and connection. In 2023, we’re seeing the emergence of a new kitchen concept focused on cultivating these feelings even further: the “emotional support” kitchen.

What is the Emotional Support Kitchen?

The emotional support kitchen is all about creating a warm, welcoming space that promotes mental and emotional wellbeing. After the stresses and isolation of recent years, people are craving human connection and environments that are uplifting. The emotional support kitchen leans into nurturing vibes with design choices that feel comforting, calm and therapeutic.

Some hallmarks of the emotional support kitchen include:

  • Natural materials like wood, stone, wicker and plants that bring biophilic design indoors
  • Soft, rounded edges and muted color palettes for a soothing aesthetic
  • Thoughtful lighting design, like pendant lamps over the kitchen table to encourage gathering and connection
  • Comfortable, cushioned banquettes or window seats that invite lingering
  • Inspiring accent walls with uplifting quotes or artwork
  • Spaces for hobbies, herb gardens and pet amenities to cultivate joy

The goal is to create a kitchen that nourishes the soul – not just the body. It’s a space to decompress, seek comfort and enjoy quality time with loved ones.

Why this Trend is Resonating in 2023

The past few years have taken a collective toll on our mental health. Anxiety, depression and loneliness have spiked amid lockdowns, isolation and non-stop stressors. People are burned out and seeking spaces that can help them recharge. The emotional support kitchen trend speaks to this desire for comfort, optimism and community.

At the same time, the pandemic triggered a reckoning about our priorities and environments. With many professionals working from home, the desire increased for domestic spaces that nourish our overall wellbeing – not just functional places to cook and eat. The emotional support kitchen captures this longing for multi-faceted spaces that feed our souls.

Beyond reflecting pandemic-era shifts, the trend also aligns with larger movements toward holistic wellness and designing with intention. More people recognize the power our surroundings have on our mental state and are being thoughtful about creating uplifting, supportive spaces. The emotional support kitchen applies this to the space where families connect daily.

Design Elements That Contribute to the Look

There are many ways to implement the emotional support kitchen design concept based on your personal needs and preferences. Some impactful elements to include are:

Natural Materials

Incorporating natural materials like wood, stone, wicker, greenery and other organic textures promotes the nourishing, biophilic quality at the heart of this trend. Try using wood for cabinetry, granite or marble for countertops, rattan bar stools, and plant life for an inviting ambiance.

Soothing Color Palettes

Stick with calm, muted color schemes that have therapeutic effects on mood. Soft blues, sage greens, warm grays, and neutrals create a peaceful backdrop. Save bright whites and bold colors for accents.

Cozy Textures

Add in layers of comforting textures with cushy window benches, wool throws on banquettes, braided rugs and pillows. Soft fabrics and tactile surfaces help the space feel warm and welcoming.

Uplifting Quotes & Artwork

Decorate with wall art, pillows and dishes stamped with inspiring quotes, positive mantras or cheerful patterns. Surrounding ourselves with uplifting messages contributes to the emotionally supportive environment.

Multi-purpose Islands

Islands that go beyond food prep to incorporate dining space, homework stations or hobbies zones transform the kitchen into a true gathering place. Built-in seating and configurable elements allow for connection.

Mood Lighting

Thoughtful lighting design enhances the soothing ambiance. Use combinations of recessed lighting, pendants, task lighting and natural light. Dimmer switches help set the perfect mood.

Tips for Achieving the Look In Your Home

If you’re ready to jump on this heart-warming kitchen trend, here are some top tips for bringing emotional support elements into your space:

  • Start with a clean palette. Clear away clutter and visually “lighten” the space. This allows nurturing design choices to shine.
  • Add handcrafted accents. Items like vases, ceramics and textiles bring organic, handmade touches that feel soothing. Support local artisans.
  • Incorporate nostalgic character. Vintage pie safes, farmhouse sinks or traditional brick backsplashes inject soulful personality that feels comforting.
  • Upgrade lighting fixtures. Swap out any harsh overhead lighting for warm pendant lamps, sconces and natural light sources.
  • Plant life! Bringing greenery indoors is an easy biophilic lift. Ferns, succulents, herbs, citrus trees…go wild.
  • Choose furnishings with care. Opt for comfy, cushy pieces that encourage lingering and quality time together.
  • Allocate space for hobbies. A dedicated area for baking, gardening pots or art projects invites creativity and mindfulness – two pillars of emotional wellbeing.

The Future of Emotional Support Kitchens

While this trend is emerging now, we expect to see “emotional support” reimagined in kitchens for years to come. After the isolation of the pandemic, people will continue seeking domestic spaces that nurture mental health and relationships.

We may see more architectural elements like peaceful meditation nooks, spa-like features and technology that enhances wellbeing. For example, circadian rhythm lighting that matches natural daylight patterns throughout the day and promotes better sleep. Appliances could also integrate more sensory experiences – like a tea kettle that emits chamomile aromatherapy when boiling.

Beyond kitchens, emotional support design principles will likely expand into more areas of the home. Living rooms, bedrooms, home offices and entryways will all continue leveraging materiality, lighting and layouts that uplift. For people embracing holistic wellness, our homes need to address emotional needs, not just functional ones.

While execution may evolve, the “emotional support kitchen” epitomizes a growing desire to thoughtfully nurture ourselves, our families and our communities within our built environments. This compassionate design trend is sure to flourish for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of emotional support kitchens?

Some hallmarks include natural materials like wood and stone, muted color palettes, cozy banquettes and window seats, inspirational wall art, warm lighting, multi-purpose islands, and spaces for hobbies or herbs.

How is this trend different than other kitchen styles?

It emphasizes design choices specifically aimed at mental and emotional health – like nourishing materials, positive artwork, comfy seating and hobby zones. The focus is on uplifting, therapeutic interiors versus just aesthetics.

What colors work well in an emotional support kitchen?

Stick with soft, muted, earthy tones like light blues, greens, tans, grays and neutrals. Avoid loud, bold colors and aim for a calm, peaceful palette.

How can lighting help create this look?

Thoughtful lighting like pendant lamps, soft recessed lighting, accent sconces and ample natural light cultivate warmth. Dimmer switches allow adjusting the ambiance.

What are some budget-friendly ways to implement this?

There are affordable options like houseplants, inspirational art prints, cozy textiles from thrift stores, DIY benches or shelving, and nurturing accessories like woven baskets. Get creative!


The emerging emotional support kitchen trend highlights our renewed focus on designing spaces that uplift and comfort. After a difficult period coping with isolation, anxiety and uncertainty, people want their homes – especially gathering places like kitchens – to provide therapeutic benefits for their mental health.

Natural materials, soft colors, warm lighting and cozy spaces invite us to decompress, seek community and nourish our inner lives. While trends come and go, the longing for meaningful designs that feed our souls is sure to persist. The emotional support kitchen captures that aspiration for homes that heal.