Skip to main content
STYLIST-SELECTED FLOORING SAMPLES TO FIT YOUR LOOK. SHOP OUR CURATED STYLE BOXES!
Share this page:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Home / Flooring Education / Flooring Shopping Guides / How to Design Your Ideal Kitchen

How to Design Your Ideal Kitchen

Imagine how much time over the years that you and your family will spend in the kitchen: From waking up to the smell of coffee percolating and bacon sizzling, trading stories over a glass of wine, to the smell of holiday feasts coming out of the oven, the kitchen is the undisputed heart of the home. In addition to designing a culinary space that you love to cook and spend time with the family in, it helps to have a kitchen that can handle spills, stains, dropped items, knocked-over glasses, plates, and food bowls, as well as the foot traffic over the years! The best flooring for kitchens will achieve the style you love while providing the surface best suited for your household activity level and the conditions the room will experience. In fact, your durable kitchen floors can even help the overall space seem larger, feel more inviting, and appear tidier between cleanings. Here's our helpful guide full of valuable tips and clever ideas as you consider how to design your ideal kitchen:

I. What Is the Best Type of Flooring for Your Kitchen?
B. Luxury Vinyl
C. Sheet Vinyl
D. Waterproof Hardwood
E. Laminate
II. How to Make Your Kitchen Appear Larger
A. Installation
B. Lighting
C. Appliances, Fixtures, and Materials
III. How to Make Your Kitchen Appear More Inviting
A. Color Palette
B. Plants & Herb Gardens
C. Decorative Art
D. Declutter & Organize
E. Keep the Space Clean
 
 

I. What Is the Best Type of Flooring for Your Kitchen?

As you shop for the best kitchen flooring materials to elevate your home, it's incredibly important to zero in on the performance attributes that your favorite surface will provide. You will certainly want to start your kitchen flooring search with water-resistant flooring and waterproof flooring options. Spills from cooking, eating, and cleaning dishes, moisture from refrigerators and dishwashers, and knocked-over pet food bowls are just a few of the common kitchen occurrences that can happen around the clock. If you have an active household with kids and pets, the likelihood of dropped items and scratches to your floor is exponentially increased! Thankfully, modern kitchen flooring styles can offer moisture protection, durability, scratch protection, and easy maintenance while matching your preferred design scheme or the rest of an open floorplan. Here are a few of our top picks to consider as the best type of flooring for your kitchen:
 

A. Water Resistant vs Waterproof

You know that your kitchen will experience moisture from appliances, cooking, washing dishes, and spilled food and drink, so you need will need easy to clean kitchen flooring that will not be damaged. Although both water-resistant and waterproof flooring types will handle the everyday activity and spills with ease, there is a distinction between the two levels of moisture protection. Not only can waterproof flooring be exposed to liquids spills without a time limit, but it can also withstand moisture and high humidity without adverse effects. Waterproof floors for kitchen installation are ideal for homes in climates with heavy rainfall or humid temperatures, as well as active homes that experience a high frequency of spilled drinks or pet accidents. Water-resistant kitchen flooring can resist a spill or standing liquid for a limited amount of time before damage occurs. In most cases, water-resistant flooring will serve the average household kitchen well and will come at a lower price point. Quickly addressing spills and puddles will be the key to ensuring that water-resistant flooring is uncompromised over the long haul!
 

B. Luxury Vinyl

Gone are the days when vinyl kitchen flooring was perceived as being a cheap, lower quality flooring option: Today’s luxury vinyl planks and tiles offer an incredibly versatile resilient flooring option that offers fantastic durability, waterproof performance, and incredible realism. Today’s LVP and LVT options authentically replicate the hottest hardwood, natural stone, tile, and concrete visuals with realistic textures, tones, and sizes. With many luxury vinyl styles even warranted for light commercial applications, these highly durable, long-lasting products can handle your busy kitchen with ease. Selecting luxury vinyl flooring for kitchen applications is a no-brainer since these floors are easy to maintain with a quick sweep and mop, easy to install, and easy on the budget. Luxury vinyl styles that feature a waterproof core will resist mold, mildew, and stains for the ultimate in easy kitchen maintenance. In addition to added comfort while cooking, some waterproof luxury vinyl floors feature sound-deadening underlayment that reduces noise and will smooth out any imperfections in the kitchen subfloor. There are even options for an easy floating, click-lock installation that requires no adhesives and will save you money on both materials and installation when compared to stone and wood. 
 

C. Sheet Vinyl

If you're looking for an affordable waterproof kitchen floor and would love a super-efficient installation, look no further than savvy, stylish sheet vinyl options. Once again, modern technological advancements have revolutionized the resilient category by giving sheet vinyl vastly upgraded visuals and composition. Today’s sheet vinyl kitchen floors are offered in the latest trends, enhanced colors, and attractive patterns that can resemble anything from natural stone to distressed hardwood, while featuring deeper texture for greater realism and slip prevention. Installation will be incredibly quick as either loose lay or glue down, but it is best left to professionals to reduce visible seams, which will also prevent dirt from trapping and moisture from entering the subfloor. Although sheet vinyl will require a smooth subfloor to install, the finished soft floor is forgiving underfoot and immediately ready for foot traffic, spills, and hours of comfortable cooking. Exceptionally easy to clean, modern sheet vinyl may just be the budget-friendly kitchen flooring that will help you obtain your design refresh quicker than you anticipated!

D. Waterproof Hardwood

Traditionally, purchasing hardwood flooring for kitchen spaces would spell disaster in the puddle-prone room, and certainly not ever be advised without the use of long-lasting sealers and adding polyurethane finishes. However, today's waterproof hardwood options are nothing short of revolutionary and completely suitable for kitchen flooring installation! Featuring a genuine wood veneer and a composite core for complete moisture resistance, these styles allow you to have the genuine brushed texture and markings of gorgeous wood flooring for kitchen beauty. In addition to increasing your home’s resale value and installing the kitchen floors that homebuyers love the most, these floors offer the natural, authentic beauty that is perfect for completing in-demand farmhouse kitchen designs, as well as easily matching the rest of the home. It’s still recommended to be diligent and clean up spills as they happen, but many waterproof hardwood manufacturers offer lifetime residential warranties for true peace of mind. Installation methods will vary by manufacturer, but hiring professionals is still recommended for waterproof hardwood installation to ensure an air-tight waterproof lock and prevent voiding any warranties. Although waterproof hardwood will require more of your design budget to purchase and install, these floors are breathtaking, can hold their own against everyday kitchen use, and represent a value-adding investment for your property.
 

E. Laminate

Long considered an alternative to genuine hardwood with added water resistance, high-quality laminate flooring continues to provide kitchens with exceptional durability and realistic wood and stone feel. Also ideal for capturing rustic, farmhouse, and coastal kitchen aesthetics, many homeowners love laminate flooring for kitchen spaces since it’s a heavier, sturdy plank that can handle foot traffic and moisture while resisting dents and scratches that can come with an active household. Since laminate products can vary in the level of water resistance provided, as well as vary in installation options, it is important to verify that the laminate product you are considering is suitable for kitchen conditions in the manufacturer’s guidelines before purchase. Less expensive than hardwood flooring, laminate provides tremendously realistic, fashion-forward kitchen floors that are available in the latest trending wood tones, finishes, and characteristics. Water-resistant laminate flooring provides an easy-to-maintain kitchen floor where you can simply wipe up topical spills in a busy household without fear of damage. Consider a laminate option with attached padding to help add soft comfort and sound absorption, with the level of water resistance to match your household, and you have a winning recipe for years of enjoyment!

 

II. How to Make Your Kitchen Appear Larger

If your home features a small kitchen floorplan or a tricky kitchen floorplan in an older home, you can still achieve an inviting, spacious feel that helps you enjoy the room to the fullest. In these instances, a great approach for smaller kitchen design is to brighten the room as much as possible, as well as avoid busyness that can easily overwhelm a tighter space. You can use larger plank sizes and timeless installation patterns to your advantage. Using natural light effectively and installing additional lighting where needed can be the ultimate difference in making your kitchen feel bigger. Balance the material finishes and kitchen appliances with your flooring and lighting to enhance the perspective of the room even more. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for how to make your kitchen appear larger:
 

A. Installation

To make a smaller kitchen feel larger, you can start with longer, wider planks or larger tile sizes that will reduce the number of seems and lines in the finished floor and make the kitchen feel more luxurious. Then, consider designing a patterned plank installation that will use visual interest to shape the perspective of a small kitchen to appear larger than it is! Not only are classic plank patterns currently trending with homeowners and designers everywhere, but they are also a fantastic way to add creativity, nostalgia, and a more expensive visual. Consider a diagonal stripe plank installation from the corner of the kitchen towards the entranceway to help open the room to the viewer’s eye. A herringbone flooring layout will use vertical rows of slanting planks to form a V, highlighting color and texture between planks. The timeless chevron flooring installation features vertical rows of planks at a 45-degree angle to add contrast and flair. You may find that running longer plank lengths horizontally against the kitchen wall with the shortest length creates a spacious visual with fewer lines in the finished floors. Working with a designer ahead of time to find which savvy look will work best with the dimensions of your kitchen can help ensure fantastic results.
 

B. Lighting

Without a doubt, kitchen lighting will play a vital role in making the space appear larger and more inviting. In addition to offering greater safety when slicing and handling hot pans, proper lighting will allow your artfully designed kitchen to glow! If your kitchen receives plenty of natural light, you will have more medium and darker floor color options to select from that would make a small or dimmer kitchen feel even less spacious. You can make your kitchen feel bigger and brighter by using natural light combined with brighter flooring shades such as cream, blondes, light greys, greige, light brown, and whitewashed tones to reflect the rays! Additionally, installing savvy kitchen lighting solutions will help illuminate kitchen design elements and display more of the room. Dimmable recessed lights can make an attached breakfast nook or island bar feel like an additional section of the kitchen. Under-cabinet lighting will highlight your stylish kitchen backsplash, an increasingly unique standout element in many household kitchens. Use task lighting, track lights, or pendants over your prep stations and countertops, and your kitchen is ready to shine for all to see.
 

C. Appliances, Fixtures, and Materials

Designing a dream kitchen will include purchasing kitchen appliances and selecting kitchen materials and fixtures to complete your countertops, backsplash, and cabinetry that match your design aesthetic. For example, dark bronze fixtures like faucets will fit a modern farmhouse kitchen to perfection, while stainless steel or matte black will suit a modern kitchen or contemporary kitchen impeccably. Your appliances can help enhance natural light with matte and low-gloss finishes, and you can select appliances that blend in more to avoid making a small kitchen feel cluttered. Choose a standout coffee maker, air fryer, or standing mixer to draw attention without overwhelming the space. Lighter-colored backsplashes and low-contrast walls can help visually erase horizon lines for even greater dimension. When it comes to pairing kitchen flooring with cabinets, use your thoughtful flooring color choices to complement or contrast the cabinetry. Matching an undertone to a prominent shade while providing textural contrast between the material of your cabinets and kitchen flooring is a fantastic way to balance these prominent features. If you have an eye-catching backsplash, your kitchen flooring choice should have less eye-catching movement and color variation. If your backsplash and countertops are more subdued, balancing your cabinetry and kitchen flooring will be the top priority. If glass cabinet doors are an option for you, this feature can show the depth of your kitchen and make it feel more open. Ultimately, the harmony and balance that you work for in the kitchen will help you craft the perfect vibe.
 
 

III. How to Make Your Kitchen Appear More Inviting

here’s nothing like preparing a delicious meal for loved ones in a gorgeous inviting kitchen that not only inspires creativity but also a space that you will love to spend hours in. From thoughtful organization and pops of color to routine maintenance and decorative flourishes, you can craft a kitchen that no one ever wants to leave! We love the idea of making your kitchen design scheme match the aesthetic of the rest of the household for a stylish photoshoot-ready visual. Combined with the best kitchen flooring materials, you can add personal touches for a feel that’s all your own. Here are a few helpful ways how to make your kitchen more inviting:
 

A. Color Palette

For a more inviting space, balance your kitchen color palette with the amount of natural light that the room receives. Lighter colors like warm whites and warm neutrals that reflect sunlight and lighting throughout the room will help brighten a smaller kitchen and keep it from feeling confined. If your kitchen is larger and receives ample lighting, a cool, darker floor can help you create an eye-catching, memorable space. No matter what kitchen flooring colors are your favorite, always look to create appropriate contrast with other design elements once you select your foundation. Popular paint shades such as gray, griege, and blue-gray tones will help unify a neutral kitchen color palette. Generally speaking, a light kitchen color palette is a solid place to start, allowing you to add contrasting pops of dark or bolder colors in the form of towels and other decorative furnishings. Also, consider fascinating patterns and finishes where appropriate to lend nostalgia and visual interest while keeping the overall layout from feeling predictable.
 

B. Plants & Herb Gardens

It’s no secret that indoor plants (even fake plants!) provide a refreshing effect and enhance our connection to the outside world. The official term ‘biophilic design’ is all about using nature to inspire our interiors and help us rejuvenate while spending time indoors- and this applies to our kitchens too! The best plants for kitchens will be small potted plants and fresh seasonal bouquets used as colorful centerpieces for islands or countertops that will not get in the way of meal prep. We also love the idea of super low-maintenance kitchen succulents near the sink or a faux fern to lend soothing color and organic beauty. For those with a green thumb, a kitchen windowsill herb garden is the perfect way to grow fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, or basil for your favorite recipes, while adding pleasant aromatics and fresh greenery to your culinary space.
 

C. Decorative Art

Whichever design aesthetic you prefer, you can use decorative kitchen art to enhance your favorite theme. If you have embraced a farmhouse kitchen or a cottage core kitchen, consider countryside landscape pieces or nostalgic depictions of fruit baskets or produce stands with distressed or painted wooden frames. For a modern kitchen design or contemporary kitchen, consider artistic works that are more interpretive or abstract combined with dark or muted frame colors and materials. Using kitchen art is a fantastic way to utilize an empty wall and add more color to the room. Consider framing your children’s art or framing cherished family photos of meals or cooking activities for a heartwarming personal touch. The right graphic print or vintage regional print can give your kitchen a cafĂ©-like feel or speak to your family lineage! Just like cooking your favorite meals, use kitchen artwork to highlight your personal flavor and creativity.

D. Declutter & Organize

As with any other room in the home, you will thrive in your gorgeous kitchen even more when clutter is minimized and organization is prioritized. These thoughtful kitchen organization steps will also increase efficiency and help reduce cooking time on busy nights! It starts with using shelving systems and dividers within your kitchen cabinets and drawers, and you may want to consider alphabetizing your spices, ingredients, and pantry. Designating specific spaces for your pots, pans, and leftover containers will certainly help to reduce clutter and try using mail holders to clean up mail, bills, and paperwork off the counters. Kitchen baskets are not only effective kitchen storage solutions but can also feature attractive woven textures and hold colorful fruit and veggies for added visual interest. Many home chefs love to cook for peace of mind and decompression after a long day, and nothing will help you relax more in your kitchen than an inviting, clutter-free space!
 

E. Keep the Space Clean

The right easy to maintain kitchen flooring materials will help you keep your kitchen visually pristine, reduce germs, and free of dust and pet dander. For starters, make sure to sweep, dust-mop, or vacuum without a beater bar regularly- at least two times weekly! Keep a gentle flooring-specific cleaner on hand for spot treatment and follow your flooring manufacturer’s guidelines for using Swiffer WetJet systems or wet-mopping. Make sure to keep your kitchen sink completely clean and sanitized to eliminate the presence of harmful bacteria in the kitchen. Dust your vases, baskets, and other organizers regularly, and wipe your counters with a gentle material-friendly cleaner. You may want to use scented candles in the kitchen to help eliminate any lingering garlic, onion, or other aromas after cooking is complete. Nothing is more inviting than a spotless room, so create a weekly kitchen cleaning routine that the whole family can help with and complete together.

 

Conclusion

If you are planning to upgrade your kitchen to the nines, make sure to choose the flooring you love that will serve your design aesthetic, provide premium performance, and offer superior moisture protection. For helpful kitchen flooring suggestions during the inspiration stage, take our Flooring Genius Quiz to narrow down style preferences or spark your creativity. Our Twenty & Oak kitchen flooring experts are only a click away to help answer your questions, arrange for kitchen flooring samples to ship directly to your home, and help with a quote if needed. With hundreds of gorgeous, fashion-forward products to complete your ultimate vision, your dream kitchen is even closer than you think!
 
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.