Kitchens can turn cold and sterile, if you're not careful. Think of all that metal, stone, and glass. All in the interests of hygiene, right?
That's why adding softening elements to your kitchen makes it a friendlier, more gentle, and welcoming place to cook and hang out in.
Kitchen designs that incorporate wood are on the right track. Wood may be physically hard, but visually it is soft and warm. Consider adding wood to your kitchen design, beyond just installing wooden cabinets.
01 of 07
Recycled Wood Ceiling For This Kitchen Design
Designer Jeremy Levine turns his own home into a showplace in this perfect demonstration of a kitchen remodel that uses a lot of wood in it.
He says, "rolling wood screens shade the South facing windows while casting dynamic shadows across the floor during the day."
The highlight is the ceiling. Wood ceiling mirrors wood flooring. No drywall here, this ceiling is opened up, showing off the beautiful, nicely-finished recycled wood joists and boards of the level above.
Two pairs of wood doors lead the eye to the tree growing through the center of the eating area deck.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
Wood Counters Soften This Kitchen's Sharp Angles
I have never seen so many obtuse and acute angles in a kitchen design as in this one. If nature abhors a vacuum, this kitchen abhors 90 degree angles.
This sentiment is echoed in the pyramidal range hood and the sharply sloping roofline.
A person could cut him/herself just by looking at those sharp angles. How can you soften all of that? With wood, of course.
Wood counters dial down any anxiety produced by this German Expressionist-style kitchen and give it a warmer--though not quite warm--feeling. Imagine how cold this kitchen would be if these counters were stainless steel or concrete?Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Wood Counters and Flooring For French Country Kitchen
It's almost a given that, if you're interested in a French country kitchen design, you have wood somewhere.
As designer Annie Sloan (Chalk Paint; Creating the French Look: Inspirational Ideas and 25 Step-By-Step Projects; etc.) relates, along with tiles and textiles, French home style pivots on the use of wood.
In this photo, we find walnut countertops brilliantly used for the large kitchen island. Why so "brilliant"? Because surrounding counters are durable, cut- and scratch-proof stone. It's a way to have your cake and eat it, too (the poor durability of wood counters is one reason why many homeowners balk on installing them).
Then: wood flooring in the kitchen. There are several far more moisture-proof floors you can install in a kitchen than wood (stone, vinyl, ceramic, porcelain, etc.). But wood can be done, especially if you're vigilant about cleaning up spills right away.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
Wood Cooktop Vent Hood In Kitchen Design
In these pages, I have featured a wood vent hood precisely this many times: 1.
That's because some deeply embedded notion in my brain thinks that wood vent hoods will spontaneously catch fire if placed within five feet of a range or cooktop. Not so. There are no indications that wood vent hoods are unsafe (think of wood fireplace mantles; they don't spontaneously catch fire).
Wood hoods provide an interesting counterpoint to the usual stainless steel and other metal hoods you see all the time. Not only do they "soften" this usually cold-looking element, they give the eye something new and interesting to look at.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Dark Wood Dominates This Kitchen
Most wood-centric kitchen designs tend to use lighter-colored wood. The reason is that, if you're going to use wood in great quantities, you want to lighten the color register so that you don't create a gloomy, dungeon-like atmosphere.
This kitchen is an exception. Here we find:
Continue to 6 of 7 below.
- Dark wood cabinets.
- A wood vent hood stained in the same color.
- Matching ceiling main beam and cross beams.
06 of 07
Wood Log Beams Complement This Kitchen Design
This has got to be the most unusual usage of wood in kitchen design that I've seen.
Am I referring to those lovely, rough-hewn breakfast bar stools? Those are nice. And they act as a reminder that, if you want to introduce wood into your kitchen, it doesn't always have to be permanent wood. Stools, free-standing pantries, mobile islands: all can be made of wood.
The "unusual usage" I am referring to are those full-sized log ceiling beams. You don't see this very often, mainly because timber of such massive size is unnecessary to hold up a roof.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Contemporary House With Wooden Open Shelves
If you want to limit your usage of natural wood in the kitchen to just one item, make it this: open shelving. So often, kitchens use the typical kitchen-ish building materials--laminate, MDF, engineered stone--but will bring in wood in the form of open shelves.
It's a warm touch in what might otherwise be an forbidding environment. Especially in kitchens in the contemporary style that use so stainless steel.