Give Your Kitchen a Café Vibe

It takes more than a coffee machine to re-create the casual, comfortable atmosphere of a great café. If you think about what you love about your favorite café, the decor and feel-good atmosphere usually have something to do with it. Getting that vibe at home is easy when you know how — just start with one element and build from there. You may never want to go out for coffee again.

Open for business. Line up some industrial-style stools by a window opening and install a shelf to serve as a bar — you’ve just created a draw for your café-style kitchen. Friends and family will get a kick out of sitting here for a chat with the chef, no matter what’s on the menu.

Give Your Kitchen a Café Vibe

Add swinging kitchen doors. Swinging doors deliver bistro flair, especially when they have mirrored or glass features. They evoke images of bow-tied waiters bustling through with laden trays held high.

Chalk up a menu board. There’s no better way to create a casual café atmosphere when you’re having people over for brunch, lunch or dinner than by writing down the courses to come. During the week use the chalkboard for meal planning.

Choose checkerboard flooring. Fabulous floors like these have been around for centuries, and they are just as popular today, for good reason. For café-style kitchens with a retro edge, they’re a perfect match.

Bring out your inner barista. Opening a jar of instant coffee and adding hot water just doesn’t cut it in a café-style kitchen. If you have the space, invest in a coffee machine that can deliver café-quality cappuccinos, macchiatos and mochas.

Comfy up the space. Who says you must have a table and chairs in your eat-in kitchen? A couch invites you and your besties to kick back and relax — just the feeling you need in a kitchen reminiscent of a groovy coffee hot spot.

Find caféworthy furniture. If a table and chairs are a more practical choice at your house, bistro chairs are a good choice for creating the look and ambience of a cool café. The sound of chairs like these scraping on a timber floor reminds me of all the cafés I’ve ever loved.

Consider subway tiles. As practical as they are fashionable, subway tiles have long been used in commercial kitchens and cafés. They look the part and are easy to clean.

Blend black and white decor. Punctuating lots of white with dollops of black creates a timeless and chic look, and when you warm up the space with natural timber, it’s a no-fail combination. Don’t forget to add pendant lights — they add charm and character.

Set up a bistro booth. A cozy booth sets the scene for intimacy, whether for heart-to-heart conversations or a sense of togetherness. An eat-in nook in your kitchen can do the same thing.

Track down vintage artwork. If you’re happy with your kitchen but want to add some chic café culture, vintage French prints are a simple way to add charm.

Take inspiration from commercial kitchens. Open shelving and stainless steel bench tops are a given in café and restaurant kitchens, because they’re ultrahygenic and make items easy to access on the fly. A flexible dish sprayer is another time saver for busy people, not to mention it adds function and style.