Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Sanctuary Feel

Sweet mother, I love me a timeless,  tranquil, and serene kitchen. We explored pretty kitchens the other day, and should you be curious about what style of kitchen is currently trending and resonating with many homeowners, here’s a hint: it has modern farmhouse style like this one.

Serene French Country kitchen decor with white quartz counter, linen upholstered bar stools, Flower Market sign, and crystal chandelier. Design by Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendecor #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #frenchcountry #serene #elegantdecor #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Sanctuary Feel.

7 Serene Kitchen Decor Tips for a Sanctuary Feel

For so many of us, the kitchen is not just the heart of the home; it has become a true living room. For other folks, it is a bustling command central or where homework gets done. Kitchens live bigger these days for modern families. They are not simply for preparing meals and dining but are where we gather to connect, entertain, study, work, and dream.

It makes good sense to pay attention to kitchen decor and kitchen design since they affect moods, stress levels, and maybe even report cards. (Is girlfriend equating serene kitchen décor with schoolwork grades? Sure. Sort of. As a former academic tutor of students for a decade…she may know a little somethin’ somethin’ bout the glory of calm study environments.)

Today I’m gathering my thoughts on how to bring a tranquil, serene mood to a kitchen. I am sharing not only photos of my own kitchen, but truly Pinworthy serene kitchen design and serene decor moments for you to consider pinning to kitchen idea boards. Many of you know more about kitchen design than I do. My hope is you will be reminded decor doesn’t have to be an overwhelming undertaking. As a DIYer, I hope to point you to small, simple ways to enhance your daily experiences and create a more peaceful backdrop for making memories.

Modern farmhouse kitchen with white Shaker cabinets, farm sink, marble subway tiles, and white quartz counters. #farmsink #modernfarmhouse #kitchendecor #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #HelloLovelyStudio #minuet #quartz #serene #whitedecor
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

If you have been following Hello Lovely, you’ll know a strong preference for timeless and tranquil interior design clearly abides here. You’ll also have to agree there isn’t one sole design style with a monopoly on a calm look. No matter what decorating style you favor, these 7 design tips to create a serene kitchen sanctuary can be applied to get started.

1. Address Fussy, Non-Serene Kitchen Decor Moments

Is there a design element in your kitchen your eye goes to? Does it trigger curse words? I feel your pain, sister. When we bought our Chicagoland fixer upper, the kitchen we inherited came with a swirly, bad-70’s (though it was built in the ’90s!), retro textural ceiling that actually made me dizzy. It wasn’t a popcorn ceiling that could be scraped, and we really didn’t want to rip it out, though we were in the throes of gutting every inch of the rest of it! Those swirls had the opposite of a calming effect; they energized the room with bad-disco-busy-ness. And yes, ahem. I am old enough to know  there was such a thing as good-disco (Abba! Donna Summer! Begees!) But that bad ceiling. It had to go!

Serene white modern farmhouse kitchen with European inspired details. Shaker cabinets, marble subway tile, white oak hardwood, and abstract painting on wall. #whitekitchen #kitchendecor #modernfarmhouse #kitchenideas #serene #hellolovelystudio #whitedecor
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Sanctuary Feel.

Drywall compound to the rescue.

All-Purpose 4.5 Gal. Pre-Mixed Joint Compound
Drywall Compound: FIND HERE

Think of drywall compound as a full coverage makeup foundation to achieve a flawless complexion. Even though I had no prior experience, I decided to DIY it and troweled on a thin layer of drywall mud to achieve a smooth but imperfect, plastered look. It’s a très messy job when you’re a novice and lack superior fine motor skills as I do! It took only a short time and a little patience to get the technique established, and what a ceiling transformation! The kitchen ceiling isn’t perfectly smooth; it has character and trowel marks that say “hand-finished.” We continued “mudding” the ceilings of the hallway adjacent to the kitchen as well as the dining room, and if I had more time, I would do the whole house!

Serene white kitchen with European inspired decor. Window seat with linen pillows, slipcovered arm chairs, and romantic French Country charm. #whitekitchen #windowseat #kitchendecor #belgianlinen #frenchcountry #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary

2. Choose a Subdued Color Palette

Quieting the wall color or tone of cabinetry in a kitchen can be the easiest way to begin adding serene beauty to your kitchen. Our fixer upper’s kitchen was a shade of yellow when we took possession, and it felt dated. White paint (I chose Benjamin Moore “White” in here) can do wonders to impart a clean, bright, ethereal mood to the decor, and here’s a helpful primer for white.  It’s from some of my designer friends who weighed in on their favorite white paint colors. Interior designer Leanne Ford’s favorite white is right off the shelf at Home Depot (read about it here). There are also plenty of tranquil colors such as muted blue-greys and greiges which can relax the senses and create a zen atmosphere.

Serene white kitchen decor by Hello Lovely Studio. White Viatera quartz counter (Minuet), linen upholstered counter stools, marble subway tiles, and window seat with linen pillows. #whitekitchen #whitedecor #frenchcountry #kitchendecor #serene #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

Here’s a before photo (below) of our Arizona kitchen we re-designed. Since we were aiming for timeless and serene, we radically changed the color palette. Without any demo of the existing cabinets and without modifying the kitchen’s footprint, we transformed it. The red faux painted backsplash and muddy green wall color with mottled beige counters was not doing this space any favors and while red may stimulate the appetite, it just made me irritable.

Before shot of Hello Lovely Arizona Fixer Upper Kitchen

By painting the existing cabinets a silvery grey (Behr “Classic Silver”) and choosing hushed creamy tones for the counters (Viatera “Soprano), backsplash and statement wall (calacatta gold marble hexagon tiles), the mood shifted dramatically into quietude.

Serene Nordic French style kitchen decor with pastels and grey cabinets by Hello Lovely studio. Calacatta marble hexagon tile statement wall, Viatera (Soprano) quartz counter, and Behr's Classic Silver paint on cabinets with hardware from Top Knobs. #serene #whitekitchen #greykitchen #kitchendecor #mosaictile #statement wall #greycabinets #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary

2. Subtract Wisely For Serene Kitchen Decor

Never underestimate the power of subtraction when it comes to re-designing a problematic kitchen. Too often we focus on a list of amenities or dream features we wish to add to our kitchens instead of considering how paring down might solve a number of both functional and aesthetic issues.

White serene kitchen decor with marble subway tile, white Viatera Minuet quartz counters, farm sink, and modern Italian range hood. #whitekitchen #whitedecor #kitchendecor #allwhite #serene #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

In my own Chicagoland kitchen, I tackled this outdated U-shaped space by re-imagining it as a serene sanctuary. I began subtracting the elements which created busy-ness and visual chaos. In the serene kitchen design plan, the cabinets flanking the window over the sink were removed (fine. all the cabinets were removed, but no new ones went on that sink wall!) along with the ceiling fan and other more fussy fixtures.

Let’s take a look at our kitchen before…


We don’t miss having upper kitchen cabinets one bit! (We do have floor to ceiling cupboards on the oven wall out of sight here.) Think creatively about how you might subtract your way to serenity by keeping only the most beautiful elements, finding alternate smart storage, and living with less.

View of hallway adjacent to white modern farmhouse kitchen with white oak hardwood flooring and marble subway tile. Desgn by Hello Lovely Studio. #whitekitchen #whitedecor #kitchendecor #farmbench #shakercabinets #whitecabinets #serene #hellolovelystudio #modernfarmhouse #whitefarmhouse #farmhousekitchen
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

3. Serene Kitchen Decor as Simple as Inexpensive Art

Calmly decorated kitchens need not be devoid of personality and interest! Don’t be afraid to bring in beautiful art, framed photographs, sculptures, and personal treasures. Are you a messy cook? So skip the Picassos near the stove. Chances are, you have some space on a kitchen wall or a corner of your counter space to introduce something artful.

In the before photo below of the Arizona kitchen we re-designed, you can see this area next to the refrigerator was cluttered with plugged in everything. It not only feels less than tranquil, it gives me a headache just looking at it.

Before image of Hello Lovely Arizona Fixer Upper Kitchen

 By swapping out the clutter for a few inexpensive objects that feel soothing (two prints inexpensively framed with IKEA Ribba frames, a yard sale urn, and pagodas from The Enchanted Home), the mood shifts into serenity. Bear in mind, no demo happened for this kitchen; only smart serene swaps.

Serene Nordic French style kitchen renovation with pastels and grey cabinets by Hello Lovely studio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

6. Look Closer

If you are dissatisfied with the low serene factor in your kitchen, snap photos of it as it is right now. If you can, view them on a computer screen and study the images to decide on a plan to bring calm. You may be surprised by how helpful it is to diagnose your kitchen from an alternate perspective!

Serene white kitchen decor with window seat and linen pillows in a soft, timelessly romantic kitchen by Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendecor #whitekitchen #frenchcountry #windowseat #belgianilnen #slipcovers #serene
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

When we bought a second home in Arizona, I was forced to rely on pictures of it to re-imagine it since we live so far away, and I couldn’t be there in person. Here is the sink area of the kitchen before…

Before image of Hello Lovely Arizona Fixer Upper Kitchen

…and then after I lightened it up.

Serene Nordic French style kitchen renovation with pastels and grey cabinets by Hello Lovely studio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

7. Study Serene Kitchen Decor Images Online

Um. Hello Lovely has been singing the praises of timeless and tranquil kitchens since before the dawn of Pinterest. Dig into my archives, pin like there’s no tomorrow, and know that I’m always on the lookout for beautiful designs I think you’ll appreciate.

Finally, here are a few inspiring timeless and tranquil kitchens, beginning with my own humble designs…enjoy the PinFest!

Here are the resources for my kitchen.

Serene white kitchen decor with Viatera Minuet countertop, marble subway tiles, white roses, and silver framed mirror. #whitekitchen #whitedecor #kitchendecor #subwaytile #quartz #whiteroses #hellolovelystudio #timelessdesign #serene
My Kitchen…Hello Lovely Studio
Serene quiet white kitchen with marble subway tile wall, cooktop, Italian range hood, and Viatera quartz (Minuet) counters. #whitekitchen #kitchendecor #whitedecor #serene #modernfarmhouse #slowliving #subwaytile #quartz #Minuet #hellolovelystudio #serene
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.
Cake Stand
Clear Glass Cake Pedestal and Dome: FIND HERE
Serene Nordic French style kitchen decor with grey cabinets, white Viatera quartz (Soprano) counters, cabinet hardware by Top Knobs (Aspen Collection) and art by Loretta Lux. Design by Hello Lovely studio. #kitchendecor #greykitchen #shabbychic #frenchcountry #romanticdecor #serene #hellolovelystudio
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.
Nero Cement Urn Planter
Cement Urn: FIND HERE
A romantic farmhouse style tablescape + shabby chic + thrifty decor = cheap chic! #hellolovelystudio #tablescape #shabbychic #farmhousestyle #blush #roses #serene #farmhousedecor
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.
White decor in a European inspired cottage with white oak flooring and Belgian linen furnishings. Open floorplan with views of kitchen, dining room, and living room. Design by Hello Lovely Studio. #livingroomdecor #whitedecor #Belgianstyle #belgianlinen #whiteoak
Serene Kitchen Decor: 7 DIY Tips for a Kitchen Sanctuary.

A Serene Kitchen Inspiration That Keeps Inspiring

We have toured so many timeless, tranquil, and serene kitchens over the years on Hello Lovely, haven’t we? Do you have any tips for achieving this look without breaking the bank or selling the children? Do tell.

Kindly pin this post to spread the lovely – Lord knows this world needs more.

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.


Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE (not just items in posts), and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Basket
Courtney Lamp Base
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Rustic Reclaimed Elm Cabinet
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Linen Slipcovered Chair Set
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black Metal Accent Table
Galvanized Console Table
Gabriel Chevron Quilt Set
Metal Martini Table
Marble Subway Backsplash in My Kitchen
French Wire Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Handmade Sunburst Mirror
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp
Venetian Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
French Panel Mirror
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Antique Chinese Weathered Bench
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Linen & Burlap Tufted Ottoman
Gertrude Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Colleen Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
White Ruffle Quilt Set
French Louis Style Arm Chair
Avignon Coat Rack With Hooks
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
French Accent Chair
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Cedar & Blossom Candle
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
French Candle Style Chandelier
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Ruffle Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
Matelasse Coverlet
Quilted Coverlet
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Teak Farmhouse Stool


  1. Joanna
    April 27, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    When I renovated my kitchen I went for light and uncluttered. The cabinets are a soft white, with an island in a muted grey/green. I resisted putting up hanging lights over my island, in order to keep the sight line to the garden open. Every day appliances are hidden in an appliance garage. Decor consists of a red kettle on the cooktop, and always fresh flowers or branches on the island. Simple, white and serene.
    My only advice to achieving a calm kitchen is leave all the tchotchkes off. We tend to want to make vignettes everywhere in our homes but sometimes less is truly more.
    Another beautiful post, Michelle.

    • michele
      April 27, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      I love your approach and thoughtfulness about capturing a calm look. Sounds like we are truly less is more kindred spirits. Have a lovely weekend, friend. 🙂

  2. Kim
    April 28, 2018 / 3:31 am

    Now that you have lived with your Frigidaire kitchen appliances for a while, would you recommend them? Are they all from the Professional series? We are building a house, and I am considering Frigidaire appliances because they have the barrel handles that I love at a better price than that of other brands. Are you happy with the quality?

    • michele
      April 28, 2018 / 9:12 am

      We sold that home recently where we bought Frigidaire, but I will tell you we loved them. Like you, I bought them because of those handles! Seriously! They are also smudgeproof stainless, and I didn’t even know that until they were installed, and I thought ‘where have you been all my life?’ The range looks like a million bucks, and it especially appealed to the men who visited our home. Swapping out dated appliances for the Frigidaire suite definitely helped us sell, and it sold immediately.

  3. Kim
    April 28, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Thank you so much!

  4. May 18, 2018 / 9:59 am

    I love your home – so bright and stylish! You did amazing job, I’ll try and follow your tips for my renovation this summer.

    • michele
      May 18, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Thanks so much! It’s a work in progress, and I appreciate the encouragement. 🙂

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