Minimalist home décor often gets a bad rap, but there's a difference between a space decorated with restraint and one that simply lacks character. The key to mastering this trend in the kitchen is to experiment with texture and subtle color variations.
At best, minimalist kitchens are sleek, sophisticated, and refined—at worst, they're cold and look incomplete. Learn how to tread this fine line by referencing interiors that master the trend. Here are 20 lessons we learned from the best.
Opt for Charcoal or Navy Over Black
A monochromatic color palette isn't limited to black and white. This restrained kitchen by San Francisco-based firm Catherine Kwong Design shows matte charcoal adds depth and interest. A flower arrangement, displayed in a dark vase, and framed artwork add subtle variation to the charcoal-and-white theme.
Choose Natural Materials That Make a Statement
Minimalist kitchens often feature natural materials, like marble, that offer unique colors and textures. This stunning space by Elizabeth Roberts Architects ticks all the boxes. In this minimalist kitchen, marble also serves as a unique, patterned backdrop for hunter green cabinetry and exposed dinnerware.
Draw the Gaze up With a Statement Chandelier
If your renovated kitchen seems a bit stark and unfinished, consider statement lighting. This sculptural chandelier is illuminated by floor-to-ceiling windows. Sheer yet patterned window treatments add a little extra style while still remaining understated.
Embrace Blank Space
Conventional designers might seek to fill this blank wall with open shelves and storage, but minimalists know that absence can be beautiful too. A singular framed photo sandwiched between two retractable task lights are compelling elements to an otherwise naked wall. The statement chandelier above the dining table echoes the rest of the kitchen's minimalist vibes.
Hang Art to Add a Burst of Character
This cool kitchen by design firm BHDM proves that art does belong in the kitchen. The wall art gallery may feel like there's a lot going on, but this one looks sleek in identical frames. And a vase of burgundy botanicals adds the right amount of drama.
Add Color and Texture With Vases of Greenery
Sleek, pared-back kitchens provide an ideal base to add accessories. A simple vase of verdant greenery adds height and visual interest. We also like that the wooden barstools add continuity in natural materials in this Becca Interiors kitchen.
Edit Items on Display
The best minimalist kitchens keep countertops and open shelves clutter-free. Choose sculptural bowls and glasses that add interesting shapes to the space, such as a bulbous fruit bowl or a speckled ceramic mug. Muted green cabinetry offers uniform color.
Play With Proportion
The best interior designers make decisions based on gut feeling rather than trying to crack a formula for the "perfect" room. This Saint-Sulpice home by Jean Charles Tomas proves that imbalance and skewed proportions can be beautiful too. Arranging practical items like condiments and cutting boards in thoughtful vignettes rather than clustering them all together—and creating visual clutter—gives eyes a defined place to land.
Consider Layout and Flow
Understated kitchens work well in homes with an open layout, as they don't detract from other rooms. This serene, open-plan kitchen creates a neutral backdrop for design details like pendant lighting, wall trim, and exposed, glass cabinetry. Well-placed florals or a fruit bowl is aesthetically pleasing without being too distracting.
Opt for Concealed Storage Over Open Shelves
Storage is a must if you want to keep your kitchen tidy. This all-white space offers ample cupboard space, so only select colorful cookware is left on display. If storage is an issue, experiment with grouping, consolidating, or rearranging items to find a kitchen flow that works for you.
Other concealed storage options to consider are bins, baskets, and sleek, rolling storage options that could be wedged out of sight wherever you might have room.
Choose Quality Appliances
Yes, office kitchens can be stylish. The Sydney digs of Australian beauty entrepreneur Eleanor Pendleton shows us how it's done. Opt for quality, well-designed appliances like this Smeg fridge to make a statement, no matter your kitchen size.
Balance Dark Décor With Natural Light
Concerned your kitchen will feel small and cramped if you choose dark paint or pendant lights? This kitchen avoids both pitfalls thanks to an abundance of natural light. If your space doesn't come with big bay windows like this one, choose sheer or light-colored window treatments to help light filter through, or strategically place a few mirrors in places that will reflect more light into your kitchen.
Keep Hardware to a Minimum
Minimalist interior designers question the need for every item, including hardware. Take cues from this blonde wood kitchen and choose cupboards with indentations rather than drawer pulls. Tidy surfaces complete the restrained look.
Add Warmth With Brass Faucets
Give your kitchen personality by adding mixed metal details. This Desiree Burns Interiors-designed kitchen features brass fixtures, and dark and sleek drawer and cabinet pulls to add visual interest while keeping with a streamlined look. A blue patterned runner adds a pop of color.
Match Your Countertop With Your Backsplash
A matching countertop and backsplash will tie a kitchen together. This kitchen went further by selecting domed pendant lights in a similar color. And, nothing spells clean and fresh like a white paint job.
Choose a Few Eye-Catching Details
Woven into this kitchen's black-and-white color palette are several different patterns and textures that mix up the visuals in this Dan Rak-designed kitchen while still exercising restraint. The white subway tile and dark grout combo, patterned upholstered bar stools, and a vase of greenery are just right. Brass-finished hardware add a subtle touch of glam against dark cabinetry.
Incorporate Practical Items as Décor
If you need to keep things out on countertops yet are striving for a minimalist kitchen at the same time, have practical items like condiment containers, cutting boards and other items play the role of décor too. In this Christina Kim interior designed-kitchen, stacked cookbooks and a potted plant complete a vignette, while a cutting board leaned up against the backsplash anchor salt and pepper shakers. A runner in a natural material like jute punctuates the space with conservative texture.
Select Shades in the Same Color Family
Whether you opt for creamy neutrals or bolder jewel-tones, keeping décor within the same color family will lend a minimalist kitchen a cohesive look. For example, this kitchen features off-white cabinetry, and pops of white and gray décor. The cutting boards' natural materials also fit right in.
Keep Exposed Shelves Tidy
If you've got see-through or open cabinetry and shelves, be sure to keep enclosed or exposed items organized. Stack or group like items together, and keep countertops clear to minimize visual clutter.
Stick to a Defined Color Palette
A minimalist kitchen doesn't have to be monochromatic, but selecting a few colors throughout the space will help define it. Then, layer in a few accent colors to complete the look.