Fall is here and I've got cozy coastal kitchens on my mind. It’s the time of year when the days get shorter and there's a chill in the air. You’re spending less time at the grill and more time in the kitchen. Goodbye, al fresco dinners—hello, soup season! 
Is it true for you too that no matter how big and inviting the rest of your house is everyone ends up hanging out in the kitchen? Kids spreading homework out on the island, guests gravitating to where the cook is, pets hoping for a few scraps to fall on the floor. So why not make it as warm and inviting as the rest of your home? 
Today I’m sharing tips on how to style a cozy coastal kitchen. With a few thoughtful changes, you can inject your beach kitchen with a warm vibe that will have everyone flocking to the heart of your home.

Styling a Cozy Coastal Kitchen: The Basics

By focusing on furnishings, lighting, color, and textiles first, you’ll ensure a cozy kitchen from the ground up. Be thoughtful about how you and your family use the kitchen, and what you need to make it warm and inviting for everyone. Here are some tips to get you thinking about infusing comfort into your kitchen.

Use Furnishings in Natural Materials for a Warm Vibe

 Let’s start with seating. Whether you have an island, peninsula, or kitchen table, you’ll want to provide family and guests with a comfortable seat that invites them to linger. I recommend chairs or stools with frames in natural materials like rattan or bleached wood. You want to create a cozy eating space with inviting-looking seating, so try to use chairs with ample cushioning and soft fabrics. This caprice armchair fits the bill perfectly. Pair with a clean-lined round table in a white finish to avoid overwhelming your cozy eating area. If you only have room for a few stools around your island, that’s ok! Add some seat cushions in a soft fabric for extra comfort.
Let’s go over some unexpected ways you can warm up your kitchen. Think outside the box when it comes to natural materials. Most people go with metal lighting fixtures—why not amp up your cozy coastal style with rattan? The laid-back look is made for a coastal boho style kitchen. Add a woven wood window shade for another unexpected cozy touch. Open shelving along one wall is a great way to add a relaxed and warm coastal farmhouse feel to your kitchen. But be mindful of clutter! The coziest kitchens are the tidiest. Stick with a neutral color palette on open shelving to keep the look streamlined. Add a framed beach print on one shelf to emphasize the relaxed coastal vibe.
Lastly—don’t forget the floor! With temperatures turning cold you’ll want to consider how flooring can affect your kitchen’s cozy coastal feel. Wide-plank wood flooring in a bleached oak finish provides a warmth that tile can’t compare to. Encourage everyone to gather around the table by adding a sisal rug underfoot. For smaller  kitchens, add a sisal runner to bridge separate kitchen and dining spaces. Or place one between a kitchen island and your counter for cushioning and warmth.

Focus On Lighting

Lighting is another element of the beach style kitchen that you’ll want to consider when warming up your kitchen space. Changing out LED white bulbs for something like an Edison style bulb is a quick and easy way to change the tone of your kitchen. In rooms with neutral color palettes, warm or cool bulbs in yellow or white produce stark differences. Finding a balance between how your rooms look in natural versus artificial light requires a bit of experimentation and observation. 
Add warm ambience to your kitchen with candles at the table, or even on your counters. The glow from candlelight helps chase away any thoughts of the cold weather outside. Dimmers on your light switches help transition from day to night. Bright overhead lighting can overwhelm your kitchen in the evening. And the more control you have over your lighting, the more you can create the perfect atmosphere. For an unexpected twist, add a lamp or two to your countertops or open shelving. It's a small detail that can have a big impact on the cozy vibe in your kitchen.

Balance Colors for an Inviting Feel

I love an all-white kitchen—my own kitchen is all white! But it’s important to balance white with colors and contrast to keep things from looking too cold. Consider for example, grounding your all white kitchen by painting the island in a contrasting color. Greige or navy blue are good options. Or why not go for a warm wood finish, such as white oak?
Another easy way to inject color into your cozy coastal kitchen is with your backsplash. There are so many beautiful tile options these days beyond the standard white subway tile. You could add a subtle nod to the sea with a green or blue tile backsplash in a scallop shape, for example. Or try a glass tile with the barest hint of color for a cozy and understated look.

Styling a Cozy Coastal Kitchen: The Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve got the basics covered in your cozy beach kitchen, it’s time to accessorize. These little touches can spread warmth throughout your entire kitchen!

Set the Table for a Warm, Inviting Meal

Create a table setting with plenty of natural elements for the ultimate cozy eating space. Start with a base to ground each place setting and invite diners to the table. These natural jute Whitley placements are the perfect option for a warm beach vibe. Build on your base with textures and colors. Pair natural cotton napkins with sea glass beaded oyster-napkin-rings
Add texture and warmth with elements like these sea urchin salt and pepper shakers. Place your shakers, condiments, and anything else diners need in the center of the table on a marble and reclaimed wood lazy susan. It’s perfect for casual dining.

Use Unexpected Objects

Lend warmth and character to your coastal kitchen by using objects commonly found in living rooms and bedrooms. This keeps your kitchen from looking too sterile.
Books bring personality and interest to the kitchen. You’re not looking to display your entire library, of course. Just add a few of your favorite cookbooks or even non-cookbooks to your open shelving. Or stack a couple on your counter, if you have the space. An open cookbook on a wood stand adds movement and character to your coastal kitchen.
A handcrafted bowl filled with shells or other small objects can look just as cozy in your kitchen as in your living room. If your style leans sculptural, think of materials like stone, iron, or ceramic to add interest and texture. This agate sculpture would look beautiful in a modern coastal kitchen.

Bring the Outdoors In For a Cozy Coastal Feel

Fall is a great time to bring the outdoors in. A beautiful onyx bowl overflowing with the bounty of autumn hints at the delicious meals to be enjoyed in your cozy coastal kitchen. Stick with one fruit or vegetable—pears, perhaps—to keep the look streamlined.
Houseplants can also feel inviting and warm up your coastal kitchen. A cluster of orchids is not only striking but signifies abundance—a perfect feel as we move closer to the holiday season. See my guide here for my favorite coastal house plant picks. 
I hope these tips inspire you to create warmth and coziness in your coastal kitchen! If you’re still feeling stuck, I’m here to help! Book a free design chat with me to go over your kitchen goals and more. I’m always happy to help you create the coastal retreat of your dreams.
March 05, 2024 — Shannon Willey