When the winter weather looms on the horizon, households have a tendency to shelve home improvement plans till the spring. There’s something undeniably demotivating about darker days, longer nights and the prospect of bitingly cold temperatures for several months to come.
But when you think about it, this actually represents the ideal time to show your interiors a little TLC. As you’ll inevitably be spending more time indoors over the autumn and winter, why not put this extra time to good use?
The kitchen in particular is exactly the kind of place that’s primed for a winter makeover. For one thing, you may find yourself spending more time cooking up fabulous feasts for family and friends over the festive season. In addition, it’s also a good idea to take sensible precautions to protect your kitchen from the worst of the weather.
Whether this means going to town with a kitchen cabinet overhaul or simply treating your kitchen to a lick of paint is up to you. But you can rest assured that by making a few seasonal adjustments now, you’ll get far more enjoyment out of your kitchen this winter.
How Can I Decorate My Kitchen to Reflect the Winter Season?
One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to bring the spirit of the season into your kitchen is to add a few simple yet effective decorative touches. The autumn and winter seasons are all about treating the senses to kinds of sights, smells and textures that have an undeniable warmth.
For example, this is where decorative bowls and baskets loaded with pine cones and nuts can bring a touch of the outdoors into your kitchen space Stacked fruit bowls can have a similar effect, as can candles and natural air fresheners with spice-infused fragrances.
The intoxicating aromas of woody herbs like thyme and rosemary can also work wonders at this time of year. If you have a dining table in your kitchen, why not pick up a seasonal runner or a set of autumnal placemats? Limitless options to explore, without the need to spend a great deal at all.
The beauty of some of these colours is that, while they enhance the cosiness of the winter season, they still look stunning come summer.
What Kind of Kitchen Lighting is Good During the Winter?
The tendency in many households is to compensate for the darker days with blindingly-bright white lights indoors. Unfortunately, all this does is create a stark and unpleasant contrast that is anything but easy on the eye.
Even though there is far from an abundance of natural light available, it can be much better to go with something soft and subtle. Not to such an extent as to leave your kitchen feeling dark and dismal, but to avoid any particularly harsh contrasts.
Experiment with different types of bulbs, perhaps consider the installation of task lighting and aim to create the comparatively soft glow of natural light.
Additionally consider how you can use soft lighting to highlight specific areas of your kitchen, such as warm bulbed downlighters under your kitchen units, or under unit spotlights to light up your kitchen from below.
Take a look at how lighting affects kitchen design to see how you can enhance the ambience within your kitchen come winter.
Time to Add a Splash of Colour?
There is nothing you can do to completely transform the look and feel of a kitchen quite like a fresh burst of colour. This is particularly true in kitchens that are predominantly neutral, where simply introducing one or two ‘pops’ of colour can make all the difference. Perhaps in the form of a coloured glass splashback, or by dressing the window for the season.
If you want something that is very temporary, you can even consider using a vinyl wrap to cover your kitchen splashback for the festive period.
Taking things a step further, painting kitchen cabinets and/or walls can be hugely transformative. It can also be a surprisingly straightforward job, complete from start to finish in one free weekend.
For something more permanent, if your existing cabinets are in good condition, you can replace just kitchen doors, to further enhance the space.
For the winter season, focus on rich, fiery and romantic colours that create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Rich greens, sophisticated purples, earthy browns, even a hint of burgundy – just the thing when it’s cold and forbidding outside.
What Kind of Kitchen Flooring is Best for the Colder Season?
Depending on the size and layout of your kitchen, a flooring upgrade could also be surprisingly cost effective. Of course, choosing the appropriate flooring for a kitchen is not simply about creating a seasonal vibe. You need something that’s going to look and feel fabulous throughout the year as a whole.
Linoleum is a popular choice for kitchens, but does have a tendency to feel cold underfoot if not extensively insulated. If you have underfloor heating in your kitchen, nothing gets the job done quite like natural stone or tiles – both are excellent conductors.
Hardwood kitchen floors need a little more maintenance to keep them pristine, but they guarantee a beautiful appearance and a warm feel throughout all four seasons.
Of course, there’s also the option of simply dressing up your current kitchen floor with rugs, runners and other decorative embellishment. Simply bringing a large central rug into the room as a reflection of the season can make a huge difference. Just be selective on materials to ensure that any spills from your mulled wine are easily wiped away.
How Can I Protect My Kitchen from the Cold Weather?
From a purely practical standpoint, nothing matters more than getting your kitchen’s hardware winter-ready. For the most part, this means taking proactive steps to prevent your interior water pipes from freezing and bursting.
This is a risk that applies with any pipes located on or close to outside walls, along with those that run from the inside to the outside. Take a look under your sink and you’ll see the pipes you need to protect, along with any others at risk of freezing around the home.
Protective insulating covers can help prevent pipes from freezing, as can getting into the habit of keeping your under-sink cabinet open on the coldest days. Ensuring the central heating is set to keep things moderately warm is also advisable.
Winter can also be an optimum time to check things like your kitchen door hinges and mechanisms. If they are getting a little stuck, a little spray of WD40 will usually do the trick to ease them.
What Else Can I Do to Prep My Kitchen for Winter?
Other than the above, the remaining winter preparation activities you could indulge in are strictly optional. But there are nonetheless a good few things you can and should be doing right now, to ensure you gain maximum enjoyment from your kitchen over the coming months.
Examples of which include:
- Clean Your Oven
Going out less in the winter inevitably means cooking more meals at home. In addition, keeping external windows and doors closed means less fresh air circulating indoors. Consequently, now could be the perfect time to give your oven a deep and comprehensive clean.
In doing so, you won’t have to worry about it filling your home with the unpleasant aroma of burnt grease and grime, irrespective of how often you use it.
- Stock Up Your Cupboards
Rather than braving the elements when things take a turn for the worse, why not get a head start on stocking up right now? There’s a whole bunch of dried, canned and bottled essentials you could stock your pantry with ahead of the festive frenzy.
If you regularly run out of space during the Christmas period, it can be worth looking at whether you can invest in additional storage space, or get more out of your existing kitchen cupboards.
Choosing clever kitchen mechanisms can help you to gain more storage space without having to add extra cabinets. While adding overhead kitchen units or corner units can help to maximise where you can keep all those Christmas goodies.
By getting a head start on the inevitable chaos to come, you can spend more time enjoying yourself with your loved ones and less time shopping in biting temperatures.
- Adjust Your Fridge Freezer
Speaking of temperatures, it may also be a good idea to check the temperature setting in your fridge freezer. This is particularly true with built-in appliances, which in many instances are positioned close to external walls.
If this is the case, it may not be necessary to have your fridge set nearly as high to keep things cool. In fact, you could find half of the goods in your fridge freezing solid, if you have the temperature set too low.
- Give the Radiators a Thorough Clean
Not just in your kitchen, but around your home in general. Radiators that have not been used for a while have a tendency to accumulate dust and allergens in vast quantities. Not to mention, anything that has been hanging in the air in your kitchen.
As you’ll be using your central heating fairly regularly during the winter, there’s no better time than right now to give your radiators a good clean. Essential for maintaining the freshness of the air in your home and preventing bouts of seasonal allergies.
- Check for Draughts and Leaks
At this time of year, the last thing you want is for all the precious heat you’re paying for to disappear out of your windows. Sadly, that’s exactly where the vast majority of home heat loss occurs. Taking the time to check your kitchen windows for draughts, gaps and leaks therefore comes highly recommended.
If you come across anything untoward, it can be resolved with easy-to-fit weather strips or sealant. Or perhaps, simply by doubling-up your window coverings, which could also contribute to a cosy and atmospheric environment in your kitchen.
Getting your kitchen ready for the winter can be as easy or intensive as you want it to be. You could simply bring a few decorative features into the space, or you could go for a more extensive overhaul.
In terms of colour choices and decorative accents, look to those that reflect the natural colours of the season outdoors. Focus on mood lighting and task lighting, rather than overbearing artificial white lights.
And if time permits, show your appliances some long-overdue TLC. If nothing else, doing so will give you one less thing to worry about come spring, and more time to enjoy the warmer weather.