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How To Create A Zen Inspired Kitchen

How To Create A Zen Inspired Kitchen

When you think of a “zen” feature you most likely associate it with a zen garden, however, the concept can actually apply to any area of your home. You can create a zen living room, bedroom, bathroom, and even your kitchen.

How? Well, it turns out “zen” is more a state of being and something we do rather than a specific space. So if you want a particular area of your home to fit in with the zen lifestyle, then it can happen! All it takes is a little creative spark and you can create a more mindful space to do your cooking.

If you’re feeling motivated to bring a little more zen into your kitchen, then follow this guide for some inspiration on how to design a zen inspired kitchen. We’ll include zen space ideas that will help you transform your ordinary kitchen into a peaceful oasis. Let’s get started!

What Exactly is Zen, Anyway?

Zen is more than just a trendy buzzword in the interior design industry. It’s actually a disciplined practice that dates back thousands of years.

When it comes to our own spirituality, zen can be both something we are, as well as something we do. Zen is thought of as a consciousness in which we can realize the joy of being, and then express our joy in each moment. Zen is thought of as a birthright and can be reached through the practice of “zazen,” or meditation.

Emerging from Buddhism, zen teachings and practices have long been popular in Japan and have now become more in vogue in western culture. Zen has now even become ingrained in the design world, as homeowners seek to create more peaceful and mindful spaces.

It is through zen thinking that we realize that all things are connected through nature, which is a concept that can be applied to your kitchen and home. By implementing calming elements, you can create a more harmonious space, whether that be in a zen inspired bathroom, living room, or kitchen.

Without getting too existential about the zen practice and way of being, let’s talk about some of the ways you can create a more zen-like home.

Creating a Modern Zen Kitchen Design

Most often, the design of a kitchen is focused on functionality rather than aesthetics. Of course, you want the kitchen to be beautiful, but it is more important for you to have a space where you can cook your meals, and where you can easily move between your refrigerator, cooktop, and sink (known as the work triangle).

While you may be mainly considering different kitchen cabinet inspiration, countertop material options, and the layout of your kitchen, the fact remains that it still must serve its intended purpose — to feed you. Tying back into the zen theme, this will involve adopting some minimalist concepts.

Japanese kitchens are simple and utilitarian. They have a modern design but use contemporary decor to provide and practical, humble look, that fosters a zen-like environment. Here are a few zen kitchen design ideas so you can adopt this Japanese, kitchen style.

Declutter Your Kitchen

The first thing you can do to create a more zen-like kitchen is to get rid of all the clutter. Just how when you meditate you seek to declutter your mind, you want to get rid of all of the unnecessary elements in your kitchen to create a better workspace.

It has been proven that clutter contributes to stress, so the easiest way to create a zen kitchen is to get rid of all of the stuff you don’t need, or at least remove them from the countertops.

Is the space dirty? Make efforts to keep it clean. Do you have a bunch of smaller appliances on the countertops? Consider ways you can move them into cabinets.

Would this require you to add more storage? Consider how much. Creating a cleaner, less cluttered work area will give you a more efficient kitchen in which to cook and reduce any apprehension you have toward cooking. When the space is kept clean, you will be more excited about cooking rather than thinking of it as a hassle.

Become More Minimalist

Have any appliances or cookware that you never use? Get rid of it! This goes along with decluttering, but often, we fall in love with the latest cooking trends and will over time acquire way too many cooking items then we have adequate space for.

You’ll end up with a pile of pots, pans, appliances, and other cooking elements that you used for that one month, then forget about. Becoming a minimalist will help to keep your kitchen timeless, and therefore more mindful.

Remember, your home is tied to your well-being, and your kitchen is the heart of your home. Keep your heart healthy by stripping away anything that isn’t making your heart happy.

Incorporate a Lot of Wood

Simply put, there is a lot of wood involved in Japanese interior design. Wood can restore balance to a room once the clutter has been removed from the room. The Japanese style of design is simple but gives your kitchen a warm and inviting feel.

Muted tones are the way of the minimalist design and create the zen-like atmosphere you seek. Wood strips away unnecessary elements and gives you a simple, elegant kitchen design.

This can extend from your cabinets to your furniture and on down to hardwood kitchen flooring. Make sure to choose wood that isn’t painted in a bold color or overly stained. The more natural the look, the better. Stick to light wood tones with simple lines and you have yourself a good foundation for a natural, minimalist, zen-like kitchen.

Incorporate Nature in Your Design

Of course, a major part of zen teachings is to get more in tune with nature as well as with yourself. You can do this by adding little zen-inspired elements throughout your kitchen. This can be a little hanging garden in your kitchen window or somewhere else in the space where it would be out of the way but provide a soothing presence.

To take things a step further, you could even add a small water element that brings a sense of calmness into the kitchen. Nothing really mellows out a space like the sound of running water.

Create More Unity in your Home

Does your kitchen design match the overall look and feel of the rest of your home? Take a step back and think about your other spaces, especially those that connect to your kitchen. Do you naturally flow into your kitchen, or does the feel change once you enter the room?

A bold change of style may not be what you want if you are going for a more “zen” feel. Consider how your cabinets, countertops, appliances, and all of the other elements of your kitchen fit with each other, as well as within the rest of your home.

If you find that certain elements don’t compliment your zen space, perhaps you should get rid of them or rethink your design. The goal is to create a cohesive space, so everything should fit together in some way or another. Different elements should be able to easily fit together, rather than you trying to force things to work. Try to work with what you have instead of working against what the room is telling you.

Use a Soft Color Palette

Minimalist design shies away from bold colors. Your zen kitchen will likely have soft, neutral colors, such as clean white walls that open up the room. Beige, tan, and green accents on the cabinets and countertops are focused in nature and soothing to the eyes.

Can’t you feel yourself walking into that kitchen and feeling calm? Using a muted color palette in your kitchen creates this welcoming environment and the zen vibes you are looking for.

Also, don’t be afraid of using some blues. Blue is proven to have a calming effect on the mind that helps people breathe better, feel better, and simply relax. Soft blues can, therefore, help foster a tranquil environment.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

A zen practice is to wake up with the light and sleep when it is dark. This goes with nature’s natural rhythms and helps you get a good night’s sleep.

You can do the same for your kitchen.

Create a more “mindful” kitchen by bringing in natural light as much as you can. Do you have a wall where there should be a window? Tear it down! Maximize the amount of natural light that can come into the room.

Utilizing as much natural light as possible will (obviously) brighten up the room and create a more welcoming environment. Who wants to spend time in a dark kitchen? Not to mention, taking advantage of natural light can also reduce your reliance on lighting and therefore help to reduce your energy consumption. That’s a zen win, win!

Consider Open Cabinets & Shelves

To fully commit to the minimalist, zen kitchen, you can even ditch those unnecessary cabinet doors and open things up. Japanese kitchens often have shelves instead of cabinets, allowing you to easily locate any items you need and grab them off the shelf without having to open and close any doors. You can utilize some colored and patterned curtains to give the room a little extra flair if you like or use your plates and bowls as a form of design in their own right.

Make Your Kitchen More Modern & Efficient

Since true minimalism involves maximum efficiency, you should consider going modern with both the look and functionality of your kitchen. Install an island if it would improve your kitchen workflow and open up the space. Update to modern appliances that use less energy and work faster.

These updates will improve your kitchen workflow and give you a functional kitchen in which you can cook up works of art while entertaining guests in a peaceful environment.


Creating a zen-inspired kitchen doesn’t have to be a full kitchen renovation. Often, it can be as simple as cleaning up your existing space and making some simple updates. However, if you feel like you need a complete overhaul to create the more tranquil and mindful kitchen you desire, talk to the San Diego home remodeling specialists at Remodel Works, and together you will come up with a creative, minimalist solution, that will give you the peaceful escape you desire right there in your very own home.







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