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‘Money talks, wealth whispers’ – the old aphorism couldn’t be more truer in 2023. Whether you’ve been inspired by Succession’s Shiv Roy, or enamored by the classic tailoring and muted color schemes from the runway shows of Bottega Veneta, and Gabriela Hearst, the excitement around the trend for ‘quiet luxury’ shows no signs of abating.
Quiet luxury – a warm, subtle way of decorating and styling – is perhaps the most understated fashion trend of the year, and this ‘stealth wealth’ way of decorating has also infiltrated the heart of our homes – the kitchen.
Thankfully, achieving a quiet luxury look in the kitchen doesn’t necessarily require a trust fund. In fact, this aesthetic is surprisingly simple to replicate. Get it right, and you’ll have a kitchen that is not only beautiful but also timeless and enduring.
5 quiet luxury kitchens – the latest trend for 2023
The best ‘quiet luxury’ kitchen ideas are anything but boring – and we have included a ton of added-value interior design advice, too.
So whether your quiet luxury kitchen design is expansive, open-plan, a shared family space, or on the compact side, there are plenty of kitchen ideas with high-end looks to suit. Plus, we have catered to a wide variety of kitchen styles, color preferences, and kitchen layouts, and, as ever, there are ideas you can adopt quickly – and whole-renovation inspiration for your all your luxury kitchen ideas, no matter the cost. All of which will make a kitchen look expensive.
1. Achieve a tailored look with a bespoke design and quality finishes
‘It’s a fact of life that we all want to feel special rather than one of many – and that applies to the way we approach our projects,’ says Charu Gandhi, director of Elicyon. ‘We want to give our clients something tailored, in every detail, to their requirements.’
While quiet luxury isn’t complex to achieve, it is always worth sourcing the expertise of an interior designer, and never skimping on materials, especially when made bespoke, that last a lifetime.
I like to work out how to introduce an atmospheric quality to kitchens, which can otherwise be quite functional. Interesting materials, such as metal-mesh kitchen cabinet door fronts or those in panels of ombré smoky-grey glass, can look beautiful, while tactile surfaces, such as leathered-finish stone kitchen countertops, add another note of luxury. These are the bespoke elements that make a big difference to the success of the design.
It is important to remember that bespoke doesn’t have to mean expensive. For example, you might choose standard cabinetry for the perimeter of the room but then pick an amazing marble for your island. Even simply changing cupboard handles can make a kitchen feel totally personal.
2. Craft a kitchen that feels like a living room
They may seem like an unusual suggestion, but there is a method to the madness. Quiet luxury kitchens should exude the same sophistication and elegance as a quiet luxury living room, we say.
‘The kitchen should be a place where you can be with your friends and family without having to look at appliances,’ says designer Jake Arnold. ‘I like a kitchen to feel like a living room – a space where you can hang out and feel comfortable – as well as being functional. Many of my clients have kids and busy lives, so they want relaxed, practical rooms; nothing too precious, but with high impact.’
‘The interior architecture is my starting point: how we can build in a range cooker in a chimney breast to become a focal point in the space, add arches or beams, or create specific openings around windows and doors. These are the things that lay the foundation and add soul to a space.’
‘I try to stay with the architectural style in the choice of cabinetry door so there is consistency. This way, it feels as though the kitchen was built with the house. Next, I dig deep into the stone selection for the kitchen countertops as this is usually where the high impact comes from. I like to know what we are focusing on. We might have a busy, intricate marble counter or backsplash, but then choose not to add pendant lighting to accentuate the drama of the marble.’
‘Hardware sets the tone of the relaxed kitchen, so it is worth investing in beautiful plumbing fixtures and cabinetry pulls and hinges. They are things you will touch every day.’
3. Prioritize subtle glamor and elegance
Quite luxury kitchens should never be void of the materials that sing – just ensure they don’t shout.
‘As the heart of the home, the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms, but it is primarily a functional space,’ says American designer Kelly Wearstler. ‘The design process is two-pronged – first, considering the layout and how one will move through the kitchen; then, how we want the room to feel – if it is to be an energizing or calm, reflective space. The layout and look definitely need to feed into one another.’
‘Kitchen lighting is important. It sets the mood and guides the eye around the room. When designing a kitchen, I always start by considering the natural light, asking myself what time of day it fills the room. This will determine the natural feel, which will then help to inform the choice of additional light sources. In the kitchen, you can be cooking, sharing meals with friends and family, or working from home. Accent lighting is a great way to set the scene for these different uses, such as dimmable overhead pendant lights for an ambient mood while dining, or table lamps near seating for task lighting.’
‘Although the kitchen is a functional space, this doesn’t mean it can’t have personality and style. Don’t be afraid of experimenting and taking risks – sometimes the most beautiful decor comes from the most unexpected pairings.’
Kelly Weartler: Evocative Style by Kelly Weartler and Rima Suqi ($55 / £45, Rizolli) is out now.
4. Shine a spotlight on barely-there decorative details
Tactile finishes please the senses and introduce visual style to a room, but use them sparingly if you want to craft a quiet luxury kitchen.
Now found on glass, sinks, cabinets, and kitchen backsplash ideas, ribbed surfaces are making waves in luxury kitchen design. In contemporary settings, fluted patterns can be used to provide 3D interest – just enough to add character, while retaining the simplicity required to work in modern designs.
‘Fluted surfaces catch the light, creating deep shadows and texture within a room, and are particularly effective when set against a simple white space,’ agrees Stuart Piercy, founding director, Piercy&Company.
‘In natural solid materials, like the American black walnut and Calacatta Crema marble backsplashes’ used in this luxury kitchen for the BBC Television Centre residential redevelopment in west London, fluting reveals the beautiful grain pattern and vein running through the core. It is an intriguing detail with wonderful depth.’
5. Adopt a simple Scandinavian design philosophy
Prioritize using traditional materials in new and exciting ways when designing a quiet luxury kitchen.
In this modern kitchen, three-dimensional surfaces that shift with the light bring a modern twist to wood in the kitchen. ‘Combined with sleek flat-fronted doors in crisp white, thin vertical wood slats provide texture and depth, enhancing the tension between plain and pattern,’ explains Sofia Bune Strandh, CEO, of Sola Kitchens.
SKOG, meaning ‘forest’ in Swedish, is the name given to this striking new wood-focused design from Sola Kitchens. ‘It’s called SKOG partly because the wooden slats resemble the outlines of trees, but also the name reflects the embracement of natural materials – a typical quality of Scandinavian design,’ she adds.
Shop the quiet luxury kitchen edit
Forge Barley Brown Oak Wood Counter Stool by Jake Arnold
Suspend White Marble and Wood Bar Cabinet
Harwich Medium Woven Rattan Dome Pendant Light by Jake Arnold