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.
This vibrant kitchen design keeps the focus on counter space and natural light. The massive window and skylight maximize the sunlight in the space, while the kitchen island set-up offers convenience and space in equal measure.
Bright and White
Though tucked into a tiny corner, this minimalist kitchen doesn’t feel at all cramped. The white textiles open the space up, while the rattan chairs and wooden tools complement the hardwood floors.
Blue and Gold
Those who prefer space to storage will surely appreciate this kitchen design, which trades rows of cabinetry for one thoughtfully placed shelf. This navy paint lends the kitchen an inherent sophistication, while the coordinated gold fixtures keep the spacious design feeling coherent.
Crisp, Clean, and Cozy
This kitchen design offers sleek minimalism and homey warmth in equal measure. Sure, the design is largely crisp, clean, and white. But that dining room table is expansive, and those seats look ultra-cozy—making it a welcoming place to sit down and enjoy a meal.
This kitchen is massive, and this designer has thoughtfully used every piece of it. An island that large could easily become a waste of space, but here, it becomes an alternate dining room table—thanks to an absence of clutter and an abundance of comfy seating.
Being low on cabinet space isn’t necessarily a recipe for clutter. Use your counters thoughtfully, and you can create collections of visible storage that are as pretty as they are practical.
This minimalist design keeps the focus on the necessities: an oven, a stove, a toaster, and some kitchen tools. No complicated cabinetry or carefully curated shelves, here. Just good old-fashioned cooking must-haves, rendered in a decidedly sleek way.
Many stray from color in their kitchens. But unless you’re dealing with a seriously small space, there’s little reason to. This designer thoughtfully used a deep shade of blue to render this expansive kitchen a little cozier and more welcoming.
If you have an L-shaped kitchen, take advantage of your corners. They can lend themselves better to shelves than they can to cabinetry, and you can always use them to display some of your prettiest glasses and plates.
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.
Show Off Shelving
If your kitchen staples are too pretty to tuck away, consider trading conventional cabinetry for more open shelving units. You can still keep things carefully organized, but you’ll have the joy of gazing upon your prettiest pieces every time you go to cook.
Open and Airy
Open shelving can be a particularly great option if you want to keep your space feeling big. If your cabinet space is limited, you’ll need somewhere to store your stuff. Shelves can offer you efficiency without making your kitchen feel tighter or your ceilings feel lower.
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.
The lack of hardware lets these cabinets disappear in the walls behind them, so they act as more of a background than a focal point. While this strategy might not be perfect for every kitchen, it’s an excellent way to add storage to a small space without making it feel cramped.
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.
No Wasted Space
This kitchen design leaves no space wasted. That pocket above the far left kitchen cabinet? Spoken for. That vast bare wall above the stove? Repurposed. Even the cabinets themselves are lined with tight shelves and maximized for efficiency.
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.
If you manage to find an oven as cute as this one, why not make it the focal point of your kitchen? Accent colors can go a long way—as long as they’re used thoughtfully.
The vaulted ceilings on this kitchen are admittedly hard to replicate, but many of the other elements that make it special aren’t. The open shelving looks lovely and spacious. And the center of the kitchen doubling as a dining room is an undeniably nice touch.