5 Things Every “Adult” Kitchen Has, According to These Pros

updated Apr 14, 2020
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Your kitchen, of all places, is where it can be easy to feel most like an adult. Whipping up homemade oat milk? Meal-prepping on a Sunday? Tending to your sourdough starter? Wait, are you using a digitized thermometer to make sure you’re following proper food safety protocol? High fives all around.

To define exactly what a grown-up kitchen looks like, we turned to home stagers. Here are the five things they say “adult” kitchens have in common.

1. Matching tableware

Most drawers have one: A rogue fork that doesn’t match the rest. How it got there will likely remain an unsolved mystery. When it comes to having a well-curated kitchen, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got, at the very least, enough glassware and tableware for everyone to have matching pieces, says Chess Valenti, founder of Illinois-based Staged. (Bonus points if you’ve got harmony in your silverware drawer, too.)

Make space in your cabinets for matching tumblers by clearing out those plastic souvenir cups that have amassed. While it depends on your family size or how big your dinner parties are (whenever dinner parties are allowed again!), Valenti recommends having sets for at least 6 to 8 people.

Credit: Viv Yapp

2. A charcuterie board

Say cheese! Not only are charcuterie boards functional, the gorgeous slabs of wood add instant warmth and texture to a kitchen, Valenti says. A wood cutting board does the trick, too, she adds. Prop one up on your kitchen counter. You can also layer them if you’ve got charcuterie or cutting boards in different shapes and sizes.

Credit: Cambria Bold

3. Cookbooks 

These days, it’s pretty common to pull up recipes on your phone, scrolling through directions while trying not to get garlic paste all over your screen. Don’t forget about your actual cookbooks, says Valenti. There’s no need to display your entire library of cookbooks in the kitchen, but having one or two of your favorite ones on display brings personality into your space (and can provide a nice reprieve to cooking with your phone in hand). “There are beautiful ones that look like art in your kitchen,” Valenti says. 

4. Something from the plant kingdom

The absolute best way to make your kitchen feel fresh is to display members of the plant kingdom, says Amy Bell, a professional interior decorator and home stager with Red Chair Interiors in Cary, North Carolina. You’ve got options: A vase of fresh-cut flowers next to the sink, a row of potted herbs on a windowsill that you can snip from when cooking dinner, or a decorative bowl on the kitchen island with colorful fruits, she suggests. “I always say that every room needs to include at least one member of the plant kingdom,” Bell says. 

5. A rug or runner

“The kitchen is full of hard surfaces, so you can add a soft touch with textiles,” says Killy Scheer, of Scheer & Co in Austin, Texas. On a small scale, a beautiful dish towel can add color and texture while helping to offset the stone, wood, metal, and glass that’s common in kitchens, she says. To go a step further, a rug or runner can pull in color, texture, and patterns while also providing something soft to stand on when you’re cooking, she says. “Natural fibers, especially wool, will make for easy repeated cleaning, but fibers used for outdoor rugs work well, too,” Scheer says. Even if a rug comes with a non-stick surface, she recommends adding a rug pad. It will make it softer underfoot. 

While this may be what “adult kitchens” look like, no one is stopping you from eating Frosted Flakes for dinner or letting your spatula double as a microphone.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 5 Things Every “Adult” Kitchen Has, According to Home Stagers