There’s a kind of irresistible joy in perusing Instagram’s most beautiful kitchens. Sure, bedrooms are endlessly paradisiacal. And living rooms can get surprisingly sleek. But kitchens? Kitchens are simple. They’re straightforward. They’re obvious. And at the same time, they’re not.
Every room in a house is formulaic, but kitchens are more formulaic than most. Living rooms can become libraries, wine cellars, or home theaters. Bedrooms can double as walk-in closets and triple as home offices. But kitchens? Kitchens are always kitchens. They’re only ever composed of a few core parts: some cooking equipment, some countertops, some cabinets—and occasionally a breakfast nook or wet bar, too.
And yet. We’ve managed to reimagine the kitchen—and we’ve managed to do so many times. Instagram’s kitchen hashtags are populated with tons of cute kitchen ideas—no two of which are exactly alike. Yes, each one is composed of the same few pieces. And yes, each one is fit for cooking, eating, and hosting—it’s just that they aren’t fit for cooking, eating, and hosting in equal measure.
Each time we reimagine the kitchen, we’re not simply beautifying a space—we’re redefining our own priorities.
Where chefs crave counter space, shoppers crave storage. Where frequent entertainers want a well-stocked bar and ample standing space, family meal enthusiasts want a dining room table that’s as cozy as it is expansive. Where some want to display their prettiest purchases on open shelves, others want to tuck away their practical buys in closed cabinets.
Each time we reimagine the kitchen, we’re not simply beautifying a space—we’re redefining our own priorities. And each time we glimpse into someone else’s kitchen, we’re searching for ways to do the same. Maybe they’ve dreamt up a creative solution to a problem we’ve also encountered. Maybe they’ve constructed their space in a way that exceeds what we thought was possible. Or maybe their kitchen is just the kind of kitchen we dream of owning one day.
We might not be able to vault our ceilings or expand our studio apartments. But we can optimize our space to better fit our needs. Ogling excessively pretty kitchens is just one way of getting closer to the people we long to be.
If plants are your priority, donate shelf space to them—and save your cabinets for kitchen storage. This kitchen doubles as a greenery oasis, but the design doesn’t feel at all cramped or cluttered.
Something Warm Underfoot
If you spend a lot of time cooking barefoot, it might make sense to bring a rug into your space. This is especially true if your floors are crafted from tiles or hardwood—and if it tends to get cold inside your house.
Wide Open Spaces
Kitchens don’t have to be cordoned off with an island or table. This designer has kept their space feeling open by tucking their kitchen into a corner and letting it flow naturally into the other rooms in the home.
Extra Island Space
If you want to use your kitchen island for extra seating, pay attention to how far the countertop juts out. Many don’t jut out at all, making it hard for guests to sit and eat. This one juts out just enough to feel like a table—without hogging too much precious kitchen real estate.
Barstools are chronically uncomfortable, but these look genuinely cozy. If you expect to spend any time eating or hosting at your bar, it’s worth investing in a soft seat.
Who said your cabinets had to be uniform? This designer opted for a darker shade on the bottom and lighter one up top. Not only does this technique make the ceilings feel taller and more open, it also keeps the cabinetry and open shelving consistent in visual weight.