How to design your kitchen with warming winter meals in mind

Hibernate in comfort

Ah, winter! T’is the season to embrace doonas, hoodies, trackies and lots of warming comfort food! As you instinctively choose to hibernate indoors more often to guard against the outdoor chill, you will want your kitchen to be the room where family and friends congregate to sit, chat, eat, drink and be merry.

Snuggle up

While we tend to want lots of fresh air circulating through the kitchen in the warmer months so our vision of the space is more open, sunny and breezy (and more connected to the outdoors) during those summer months, we tend to want comfort, coziness and a warming, enclosed ambience as the days shorten and get colder. Sure, there are some parts of the country that are lucky enough to experience a mild winter, but even those regions have cold snaps.

Design desires

As well as focusing on how the kitchen needs to be a space to suit your needs year-round, there is lots you can do to design your kitchen – existing, new or about to be renovated – with warming winter meals in mind.

Cooktop fundamentals

Naturally, your stove and oven will take centre stage during this time. While we’re happy to whip up a salad and something light in summer, winter meals are all about recipes that suggest warming you up – soups, stews, casseroles, quiches and pies, baked goods, and roasts all tend to take centre stage and as a result we tend to spend more time here.  

Have you got it right?

If you were undergoing a new kitchen design at this time, it is an ideal moment to assess whether your stove and oven are doing everything you want them to or whether you want to upgrade to a more modern and efficient appliance such as an induction cooktop (which works by heating the cookware directly thereby making the cooking faster without making the cooktop hot to the touch) though some home chefs still insists gas is the only way to cook as they like to control the flame more directly. Other considerations include what kind of cooking you do most often? If it’s Asian cooking, for instance, not having a wok burner might be a deal breaker.

Design refit

Another design consideration is whether you want to add more windows to the space, or skylights, and if so, do you want blinds, curtains or shutters to offer both privacy and maintaining a comfortable level of warmth over winter?

The heat is on

Heating is obviously going to be paramount to making your kitchen a warm and welcoming room in your home and if you are planning major design changes, this is a critical factor.

Of course budgets come into play here: you can go the full central heating route or choose a cost-effective heater – electric, gas, convection – that best suits the space. If you are on a super tight budget or just like the idea of living like your grandparents did, remember that something as simple as leaving the oven door open after you have just cooked a family meal is one way of heating a kitchen space rather efficiently.

If you’ve been inspired to incorporate some of these planning ideas for your new kitchen and need expert advice, read more about how to do this at