While the Kardashians are known for being anything but subdued, all of the sisters infuse that must-have design vibe into their luxury homes. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Kim Kardashian’s minimalist, monochromatic kitchen. Similar to the color palette of her Skims lingerie pieces, Kardashian’s kitchen is 50 shades of beige — and not surprisingly, this is the aesthetic now dominating the kitchen market.
Photographed for Architectural Digest in 2020 and viewed perpetually in the background on Hulu’s “The Kardashians” series, Kim’s kitchen is as serene as they come, mixing light woods, natural stones, open shelving and cream linens amid soaring ceilings and lots of California light.
“Over the last few decades, the function of the kitchen has changed,” says Marie Flanigan, principal designer at Marie Flanigan Interiors, which just recently launched a rug collab with Annie Selke. “No longer are kitchens solely a place to cook; they are an additional living space. Whether preparing a meal for family, entertaining friends or providing a spot for homework, a sense of calm and order is necessary in this typically busy room. We are seeing that need for serenity reflected in current kitchen designs.”
Summing it up, Bridgette Caporaso, principal designer at Sketch a Design Studio, says, “The world is full of chaos these days, there’s constant sensory overload everywhere you look. I think people in 2022 have realized that their homes are their sanctuary, and kitchens are the epicenter of our homes. Soothing earth tones and organic materials make us comfortable, making it easier to relax and enjoy yourself.”
And more Americans than ever are chasing this idea. According to Houzz’s 2022 Kitchen Trends Study, homeowners’ median spend on kitchen remodels went up a whopping 25% since 2020.
First things first: Identify how long you plan to be in this space. “When you’re designing your kitchen, it’s important to ask yourself how long you’re going to live in the home,” says Massimo Ballucchi, vice president of kitchen and bath sales at Cosentino North America, the luxury countertop maker behind brands like Silestone, Dekton and Sensa. “If it’s your forever home, it’s important to prioritize personalized design that will bring you joy every day. But if a move in the coming years may be in your future, it’s important to consider what will appeal to prospective buyers.”
Once you’ve crossed that bridge, next up is nailing Kardashian’s neutral, monochromatic color scheme. Whereas all-white kitchens dominated a few years ago, today’s palette is creamier (a la Kim’s) — still feeling crisp and clean, but with added warmth and less sterility. “Many clients are looking to do a little something different and more personalized after seeing bright white kitchens for so many years,” says Jennifer Melone, a New Jersey-based architect and designer with Melone Architects. “Monochromatic kitchens punch up the design quotient, while still keeping the overall feeling serene and relaxed.”
While achieving serenity sounds a bit nebulous, White Arrow co-founder and principal designer Keren Richter has some very specific action points. “To create a ‘serene’ feeling I’d eliminate clutter and bring in a soft palette and natural lighter-toned woods,” she says. “I prefer kitchens where the cabinetry runs up to the ceiling and when paneling hides the more utilitarian aspects of everyday life (e.g. an appliance garage to hide toasters). I also prefer when everything has a place, including hidden trash and recycling components. Having paneled appliances helps a kitchen feel cohesive and more calming.”
Paint color and cabinetry aside, lighting is another major focal point in your kitchen, the importance of which can’t be underestimated. “Lighting is the jewelry in the room,” says Hudson Valley Lighting Group creative director Ben Marshall. “Light guides us, shows us the way and delights our senses. The fixtures we choose are important as they are a key investment to our mood.”
Ready for your Kardashian-approved serene kitchen? Us too. To get us both there, here’s a list of totally tranquil kitchen must-haves — from small appliances and decorative items like stone pitchers to stools, stunning pendant lights and other kitchen essentials — that are beloved by experts and us editors alike.
$39.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Tiny but mighty, the spoon rest is the workhorse of the kitchen — so much so that I’m planning on scooping up two of these. Durable and beautiful all at once, Williams Sonoma’s marble kitchen utility items, including a chic paper towel holder, a trivet and utensil holder, will uplift and blend into the space, rather than cluttering up your counter.
From $7.95 per sample and $58.50 per square foot at The Home Depot
“Silestone’s Calacatta Gold is one of our top sellers because it captures that timeless appeal of calacatta marble,” says Ballucchi of the quartz stone that is non-porous and next to impossible to stain, scratch or scorch. “A key element to creating a serene kitchen lies in selecting materials that require zero maintenance and will beautifully endure everyday wear and tear.” Young Huh, owner of Young Huh Interior Design, adds, “My clients are always asking for more sustainable, eco-friendly materials, and I love showing them beautiful options with smaller carbon footprints, especially for the kitchen. Silestone allows for engineered quartz to be produced with 100% reusable energy, with 99% of water reused in its production. It’s been revolutionary.”
From $79 at House of Noa
Add minimalist, boho vibes to the heart of your home — and some underfoot comfort — with House of Noa’s standing mats. An Instagram favorite, the ergonomic foam mat wipes clean, is available in eight sizes and comes in more than a dozen additional easy-on-the-eyes patterns.
$44 at Rejuvenation
Looking for a quick way to breathe new life into your existing kitchen? Chic hardware is your quickest, most effective option. “Hardware adds the finishing touches onto any cabinetry,” says Rita Schmid of Melone Architects. “The classic timeless designs of this piece really help to pull a kitchen together with great details.” Available in four finishes and sizes, the Claybourne simple silhouette is timeless.
$165 at Perigold
If you are looking to splurge on kitchen hardware, Flanigan has a top pick. “My favorite hardware is Rocky Mountain Hardware for the amazing, handcrafted bronze pieces that come in a number of timeless designs and finishes,” she says. Chock-full of texture, the pull comes in ten finishes and multiple sizes.
$48 at Food52
Cleaning tools — but make them fashion! Combining a beechwood handle and plant-fiber bristles, this scrub brush set is the opposite of the plastic ones you’d find at the grocery store. “In my kitchen, I use a brush and dish set in place of an average sponge,” says Chango & Co. creative director Susana Simonpietri. “It’s beautiful and (I think) actually more functional, too.”
$39.95 at Williams-Sonoma
If you know, you know: Williams Sonoma makes the best dishcloths in the game, and this subtle set of four will not only be a life-saver while drying, but they’re also neutral enough that they won’t distract from your creamy kitchen palette.
From $49 at Pottery Barn
Natural materials shine in a serene kitchen, and this classic salt and pepper mill set from Peugeot fits the bill. Made in France, the sustainably harvested beechwood set features stainless steel grinding systems that have six setting options, allowing you to select from fine to coarse.
$1,351 at Houzz
Built to last, House of Rohl’s Shaws sinks are the industry standard when it comes to quality and design. Yep, they cost a pretty penny, but they’re hand-sculpted and -finished in England and made from a stain- and chip-resistant fireclay that is hand-stamped by the artisan who makes it. “A classic farmhouse sink also adds a classic character to any kitchen,” says Schmid.
From $7.95 per sample and $95.40 per square foot at The Home Depot
Fun Dekton fact: You can place a scalding hot, straight-from-the-oven casserole directly onto its surface and it won’t even leave a mark (no more trivets!). Nor will nail polish, an actual flame or pretty much any other kitchen- or kid-related danger. “If you open a bottle of red wine with family or friends and you’re on guard to make sure your counters don’t stain, that isn’t a serene experience for anyone,” says Ballucchi, explaining that Dekton is made from a blend of raw materials that are treated with heat and pressure, becoming virtually indestructible. “Selecting non-porous, ultra-durable materials that require zero maintenance and will beautifully endure everyday wear and tear will bring you that peace of mind every day.”
$135 at W&P
Say adios to single-use plastic with the W&P’s kitchen storage line. Dubbed Porter, the monochromatic collection includes silicone bags for storing leftovers, seal-tight bowls and glasses for keeping perishable items fresh, and even snack bags for, um, snacking. Dishwasher-, microwave- and freezer-safe, all of the Porter items are BPA-free, but our favorite detail is just how serene they look when clustered together in your fridge or countertop. A pantry-friendly bundle is also available, as are bento-style lunch boxes.
From $1,178 at Lumens
There are pendant lights, and then there’s Hudson Valley Lighting Group’s insanely gorgeous Sphere No. 3. Like something you’d find in a romantic Parisian bistro, this globe-shaped light designed by Mark D. Sikes features textured, holophane glass and is available in three finishes (brass, bronze and nickel) and two sizes. Both luxurious and traditional, this piece will gush a warm light into your space while adding a hefty dose of glamor at the same time.
From $110 at All Modern
When in doubt, buy a sconce! And this one is proof that good design doesn’t need to break the bank. “I believe that strategically-placed lighting in a kitchen is an amazing way to add style and individuality,” says Caporaso. “I’m obsessed with the Poco Steel Armed Sconces from All Modern.” Available in brass, nickel and chrome, the cylindrical fixture has a retro style, too.
$750 at Build
GE’s most upscale brand, Monogram’s stable of appliances ooze luxurious details like backlit knobs, brass accents and utterly streamlined design. What we love about this microwave is that despite being 2 feet wide, it’s only 13 inches deep — making it the perfect fit for a behind-closed-doors appliance garage. If you truly want a serene space, keep your microwave out of sight and out of mind! (Another option: embedding into your wall.)
From $899 at June
An intelligent convection oven that is sleek enough to take up countertop real estate while also replacing 12 other appliances? Yep, it exists and its name is June. What can it do? June can air fry, slow cook, grill, dehydrate, broil, bake, proof, stone-fire pizza, roast, toast, keep foods warm and reheat. And it comes complete with a sleek touchscreen and cook programs that make whipping up dinner a cinch. You can control June from your phone via its app, and keep an eye on your meal via the in-oven camera!
$549.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Making smoothies never looked so chic thanks to Vitamix’s A2500 Ascent blender, which now comes in a soothing white hue that will blend right into your kitchen. Along with three settings for hot soups, smoothies or frozen desserts, the Ascent also has variable speed control, pulsing features and a built-in timer.
$399.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Don’t judge this espresso maker by its size, guys! Compact enough to tuck into a countertop corner (or behind an appliance garage, like I plan to do!), the Latissima One can brew, froth, steam and blend at the press of an automatic button. Like having a barista in your home, but the machine’s porcelain white colorway will blend right into your creamy kitchen.
From $399.95 at Williams Sonoma
Perhaps the smartest toaster there ever was, the Revolution Instaglow R270 toasts in half the time of most and has specific settings for 34 different types of bread — from gluten-free and bagels to English muffins and toaster pastries. Boasting clean lines and sleek stainless steel exterior, the two-slice toaster’s touchscreen can be customized with your 10 fave breads and it turns into a traditional clock face when not in use.
$99.99 $84.99 at Target
Moody and broody, KitchenAid: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia’s latest drop is a collection of eight appliances — from a food processor to an electric kettle — all awash in the new matte dark green “shaded palm” hue. A lovely color for accenting your serene kitchen, the pieces also look great when corralled together.
$229 at Vitruvi
Humidifiers aren’t just for your nightstand anymore, especially when they’re as beautiful as Vitruvi’s Cloud Humidifier. Available in a serene white or a creamy oat color, the Cloud is completely silent and (wait for it!) has a removable, dishwasher-safe water bucket. Read: No more mold.
Cooking & serving essentials
$115 at Our Place
Once you go Always Pan you’ll never go back, and that includes the brand’s new Mini version. My go-to hue? The ultra-serene Steam color that is described as a “pale, creamy oatmeal.” Boasting all the same greatness of the original Always Pan, the Mini is smaller and lighter, making it ideal for quick meals like eggs or a grilled cheese.
$129.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Need proof that bakeware can be soothing? Check out William Sonoma’s Goldtouch Pro pans and racks that have a warm golden hue — not to mention a dual-layer, nonstick coating that makes for super-easy release. Need more pieces? This bigger set has you covered.
$50 From $40 at Our Place
Similar to the tranquil dinnerware Kim had on her kitchen’s floating shelves, Our Place’s hand-painted porcelain plates have a natural texture and hue that make them the ultimate accessory for cream kitchens — and worth showing off. Available in five hues (clearly I’m here for the steam colorway!), the plates are super functional too, in that they can be stacked, have a lip for catching food, and are dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Snatch up a four- or eight-piece set, and match it with coordinating side plates, bowls and mugs.
From $109.95 at Williams-Sonoma
If we’re upgrading our everyday plates, we might as well do the same for the fancy stuff, too, right? Right. Williams Sonoma has a wealth of lovely options, my favorite of which is this crisp, textured set from centuries-old French dinnerware company Pillivuyt. Embossed with a pearl-patterned border, the four-piece porcelain set includes a dinner and salad plate, a generous pasta bowl and a mug. Simple and chic, the set will look right at home in your cream kitchen.
$15 at Target
The perfect catchall for a bouquet gathered from your yard, or for topping off mimosas at your weekly brunch, this simple stone pitcher will also blend into the background of your neutral kitchen — which is exactly what we want it to do.