Winter weather naturally makes your home look and feel cold. If you’re looking for ideas to make your small kitchen feel cozy, you don’t have to empty your savings or spend too much time.

Simple kitchen remodeling tricks like painting your space can create a comfortable atmosphere that lasts year-round.

Here are seven ideas to make your small kitchen feel cozy this winter.

Focus on Texture

Nothing says “cozy” like texture, and there are lots of ways to incorporate it into your kitchen. Decorate with wool or cotton throws and pillows on accent chairs and window seats. You can also hang thick, textured curtains in a dark winter color like navy or forest green.

Don’t forget that flooring can make a difference too. Fill that blank space in the middle of the kitchen with a round area rug that matches the window treatments. Look for braided, looped, or rag rugs in a natural fiber like wool or jute.

Finally, add texture with varied accessories like placemats and table runners in knit, suede, or linen. Matching placemats to curtain colors creates a cohesive color palette. You can bring in an earthy element with baskets in seagrass, bamboo, or rattan.

Change Your Color Scheme

Does your small kitchen have an accent wall or a wall with no decor? If so, paint it a dark color such as deep red, olive, warm orange, or brown. If you don’t want to paint a wall, decorate it with one or two pieces of art featuring deep, vibrant colors.

In addition, don’t forget the counters and cabinets. You can paint laminate countertops a solid color, or give them a textured appearance with a granite or marble design. You can also paint your cabinets light or dark colors.

There’s really no wrong way to paint your kitchen to make it feel cozy, but here’s a foolproof tip: match light colors on walls with light colors on countertops and cabinets, dark colors with dark colors, or play with the contrast between light and dark colors. You’ll need to find the combination that works for you. Still hesitant? Ask your home center’s painting department for assistance.

Interested in selling your house? Upgrading your kitchen with fresh paint is one way to create a cozy atmosphere and entice potential buyers. Just talk to your real estate agent about trends that are currently in demand in your area.

Some popular paint colors for a cozy kitchen include:

  • Deep greens like forest, emerald, sage
  • Earth tones like terra cotta, clay red, ochre yellow, olive green
  • Gray blues like slate blue, baby blue
  • Soft whites and creams
  • Warm neutrals like beige, tan, taupe

Avoid stark whites and very cool grays, which can look sterile. Instead, opt for soft, welcoming tones.

Decorate with Candles

Adding several candles in one spot, such as on a windowsill, or spreading them throughout the room is an affordable way to add accent lighting — especially for intimate dinners — and make your kitchen feel cozy.

If you go with a bundled arrangement, use candles with varying heights for an eye-catching look. To avoid overwhelming your kitchen with scents, make sure just one candle per arrangement is scented.

Tips for decorating with candles:

Group three to five candles of varying heights on a kitchen windowsill or shelf.

Hang glass terrariums with candles from the ceiling above the table.

Layer candles with greenery and seasonal flowers or fruits.

Opt for unscented candles and use scented candles sparingly.

Place small votive candles or tea lights in glass jars on the kitchen table.

Put a large pillar candle on the kitchen counter or island.

Stick to warm candle colors like ivory, tan, peach, or soft yellow.

Incorporate Warm Lighting

Your kitchen’s lighting plays a big role in making the space feel cozy or cold. Harsh overhead lighting can make a kitchen feel sterile, while layered, warmer lighting sources create a welcoming ambiance. Pot lights positioned over key areas of the kitchen provide targeted task lighting. Under-cabinet lighting illuminates countertops beautifully. Sconces or pendants add inviting pools of light.

You can also enhance existing fixtures by switching out cool white bulbs for warmer 2,700 to 3,000K bulbs. Smart bulbs like Philips Hue let you adjust color temperature and dimness from your phone.

If redoing lighting isn’t in your budget, try decorating with lamps. You can place a floor lamp in a corner to soften an eating nook. Lamps can also work well on your kitchen counters or island. Hang pendant lamps above the sink or stove, or install sconce lighting on either side of a window.

Layering lighting makes a space feel welcoming and lived-in. Play with light and shadow to create cozy corners.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Natural materials like stone, wood, wicker, and live plants help make kitchens feel cozy and inviting. Stone and quartz countertops add organic texture that’s easy to clean and durable.

Introduce other touches of nature through your decor and materials. For example, wood cutting boards, utensil holders, and shelves are generally easy to find in stores. Natural fiber or wicker baskets are great for storage and hiding clutter. 

A stone backsplash is another way to incorporate natural materials into your decor. Accessories like rattan placemats and trivets or jute or sisal rugs also work well. 

cozy kitchen with plants

Greenery is an easy way to infuse life and freshness. Hang ferns or ivy in macrame plant holders. Display succulents in ceramic pots on open shelves. A mini herb garden on the windowsill brings nature indoors.

Upgrade Kitchen Seating

One of the fastest ways to make your small kitchen more comfortable is to upgrade the seating. Replacing standard chairs with plush, padded options transforms the space.

Some ideas include bench seating along one wall with throw pillows, or using a warm fabric like velvet for cushioned chairs. You can also find vintage armchairs at flea markets or thrift stores. Mixing standard dining chairs with upholstered accent chairs creates a unique look.

Seat cushions and pillows make existing chairs homier. Choose plush filling like foam or down feather and solid fabrics like cotton, linen, and velvet. You can even add unique seating like a window bench with storage, a banquette, or built-in booth seating for a cozy place to enjoy meals.

Add Warm Throw Blankets

throw blankets in home

An easy way to make your kitchen more inviting is to keep neatly folded throw blankets in a basket or storage ottoman. You and your guests can grab one to stay cozy while eating meals or chatting over coffee.

Look for soft, chunky knit throws in materials like wool, cotton, faux fur, or fleece. Stick to solid, neutral colors like ivory, cream, tan, or light gray that won’t show stains.

Store extra throws in baskets under console tables or benches. Place convenient baskets right in the eating nook so blankets are always within reach. The ability to get comfy while dining makes the kitchen so much cozier.

Use Accent Pieces Wisely

Carefully chosen accent pieces can add warmth and personality without cluttering the space. Look for apron hooks to display cute vintage aprons. A chalkboard menu on the wall is another fun option.

Wall art, such as paintings, prints, or photos, can add warmth to your walls. You can also accessorize with a fruit basket filled with warmly-colored fruits like oranges, lemons, and apples. Go for rustic charm with mason jars filled with dried pasta or beans or a window box with fresh herbs and flowers on the sill. 

The key is keeping accents minimal and meaningful. A few special touches make a kitchen feel loved and lived-in.

So, Is Adding Cozy Elements Worth It?

Absolutely. With some new decor additions and strategic upgrades, you can transform your small kitchen into a warm, inviting space your family will love spending time in.

The best part is that creating a cozier kitchen doesn’t require a full remodel or expend the entire home decor budget. Little touches like throw blankets, candles, accent lighting, and greenery go a long way toward making a kitchen more welcoming.

You should invest in elements that enhance comfort and functionality — seating, lighting, and storage. Then dress up the space with layered textures, earthy accessories, and family keepsakes for a cozy, personality-filled gathering spot. With smart redecorating, your compact kitchen can become the comfiest room in the house.

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FAQs About Making a Small Kitchen Cozy

How much does it cost to make a small kitchen feel cozy?

The cost can range widely depending on the projects, but creating a cozier kitchen can absolutely be done on a budget. Small upgrades like throw pillows, curtains, candles, and accent pieces can make a big visual impact for under $100 total. Lighting upgrades like new fixtures or smart bulbs may cost a few hundred dollars. Saving up for pricier upgrades like new seating, countertops, or cabinets can happen slowly over time.

How can I make my small kitchen look bigger?

Use strategies like light colors, glass cabinet doors, open shelving, and reflective surfaces to visually expand the space. You can also remove upper cabinets to create an airier, less crowded feel. Extending the backsplash to the ceiling makes walls appear taller. The right lighting places focus on the best features. Avoid clutter on counters and floor space.

What are cheap ways to update a kitchen?

Painting cabinets, walls, or countertops dramatically updates the look for less than redoing cabinets or countertops. New hardware, drawer pulls, and faucets are easy, affordable upgrades. Organizational products like drawer dividers, racks, and containers refresh functionality. Adding fresh decor like curtains, rugs, and accessories in updated colors revitalizes the space.

How do I decorate my kitchen on a budget?

Focus first on essential cleaning, organization, and minor paint touch-ups for a clean slate. Shop secondhand stores and online resellers for charming vintage pieces. Concentrate decor into one or two eye-catching focal points like an accent wall or decorative shelf display. Use architectural elements like exposed brick. Freshen up seating with seat cushions and throw pillows.

How can I warm up my kitchen quickly?

Quick upgrades like swapping out cool white bulbs for warmer 2,700 to 3,000K ones instantly warm the space. Plugging in an instant-on space heater under the table keeps legs and toes toasty. Draping plush throw blankets over chairs softens the look. A bouquet of fresh flowers or basket of fruit brings life. You can also brew cinnamon apple cider or bake cookies to fill the kitchen with cozy scents and warmth.

Editorial Contributors
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Elise LaChapelle


Elise LaChapelle is a copywriter with over a decade's experience in the digital space. She specializes in blogging, website content, social media, and e-mail marketing across a diverse array of clients, helping them to connect with their target audience through concise, compelling messaging. When she's not crafting copy, Elise enjoys working out, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

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Jeff Zoldy

Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

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