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Wellness Kitchen Design

Submitted by DovetailMarketing on Fri, 12/10/2021 - 16:27

The wellness kitchen was a trending topic in kitchen design before COVID-19. Now the concept of the wellness kitchen has really taken off as people are spending more time at home and are concerned more with health and safety.  The pandemic has forced people to question what their homes should do for them.

Design choices can affect homeowners’ well-being. So, it’s no surprise that more kitchen designers are incorporating wellness into their work.

What is a "Wellness Kitchen"?

Kitchen design professionals report that the pandemic and a desire for one’s home to be a safe and healthy space has generated an increased interest in ways to make a remodeled kitchen become a “wellness” kitchen. The kitchen should be flexible, efficient and adaptable for multitasking. Plus, it needs to function well and keep everyone safe.

It's no longer good enough for kitchens to look nice, homeowners want their kitchens to help them feel good too.

Homeowners are asking their designers what can be done to bring their kitchens in line with physical and mental health and well-being.

Where Did Wellness Design Come From?

Before COVID, the “green” movement of the early 2000s focused on avoiding toxic chemicals in the home and creating a healthy environment for people. Cabinet manufacturers got onboard by reducing or eliminating VOCs in their products, from plywood to finishing materials. (See #7 in the following list.)

What Does a Wellness Kitchen Include?

Kitchen designers are now incorporating wellness features into their designs. They report that their wellness kitchens include some or all of the following 13 items.

Make time for wellness

1. Kitchen Garden. Growing one’s own food encourages healthy eating, adds oxygen to the air, reduces dependence on grocery stores and brings a sense of accomplishment into the kitchen. Growing herbs on the windowsill does away with buying small amounts in plastic boxes, which are not recyclable. 

A kitchen garden is an important part of the wellness kitchen

Thanks to an increased focus on wellness, more options for indoor gardens are available. It has become easy to grow an indoor garden with LED lights and timers. The internet is filled with resources. The first result from Google is Gardeners.com that has an amazing selection. 

wellness kitchen can include indoor garden

2. Compost. There are many benefits to composting, from reducing landfill waste to keeping the soil in a home garden healthy, so it is ideal for a wellness kitchen.

Today’s composting isn’t the same as your grandma’s smelly bucket under the sink. Innovative compost bins hide food waste without adding smell or fruit flies to your kitchen. Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler transforms food scraps into compost within 24 hours.

Reduce waste by composting

Manufacturers of cabinet storage accessories have included composting and recycling in their line of waste products.  

People who want to try out composting can start small with a stainless steel compost container from Target.

3. The Social Kitchen. Providing the space to socialize is an important part of a wellness kitchen design. Having family and friends in one’s kitchen makes it possible to have fun and create memories that contribute to overall health and well-being.

A large island in the wellness kitchen promotes social interaction

A large island is the perfect centerpiece of the social kitchen. It will have room for food prep, room for standing and moving around, and room to sit and converse. 

4. BiophiliaBiophilia is defined as the human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings. The term comes from the Greek words for “life” and “love or affection.” Thus, its literal translation is “love of life.”

In our kitchen design world, biophilia is the term for incorporating nature and natural materials into design. It’s part of wellness design because being in nature supports physical health and psychological well-being, helps to reduce stress and improve mood and creativity.

Bring the outdoors inside in the wellness kitchen

People need a connection to nature, so bring the outdoors inside. Plant walls and other green growing plants, skylights and large windows connect kitchens with nature and natural light.

However, bringing nature in doesn't have to be just about house plants. Materials found in nature, such as wood and stone, are environmentally friendly. Using nature-inspired colors also promotes calm and wellness.

5. Health Benefits of Universal Design | Ergonomics. According to the World Health Organization more than one billion people or about 15% of the global population live with some type of disability. Wellness is enhanced when the homeowners’ ages, heights and abilities are taken into account during the planning process. A few suggestions:

  • Non-skid floors
  • Dishwasher height raised so the top and bottom racks are at a comfortable height
  • Different seating heights at the island to accommodate all family members
  • Deep drawers organized so that contents can be accessed easily and moved efficiently
Raise dishwasher height to prevent bending and lifting
  • Different seating heights at the island to accommodate all family members
  • Deep drawers organized so that contents can be accessed easily and moved efficiently
Organized deep drawer storage

6. Simplify. De-cluttering has a therapeutic effect. Simplicity and clutter-free surfaces soothe the eyes and brain, and a sense of order and being able to find things reduces stress.  

An appliance garage reduces countertop clutter

A wellness kitchen design should include lots of in-cabinet storage to get clutter off countertops and into cabinets. An appliance garage, in-drawer storage, storage solutions for corner cabinets – all important to the simple wellness kitchen.

7. Non-toxic Materials. Experts recommend using cabinetry, paint and other materials with few or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other noxious chemicals in a wellness kitchen.

8. Ventilation. The wellness kitchen should incorporate air purification products that minimize toxins, keep potential pollutants to a minimum and provide a clean indoor air quality.

Designers can help by following the Public Health standards and maintaining VOC limits for interior paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, insulation and flooring.

Add a radon detector to warn about unsafe levels of that major lung cancer risk, a carbon monoxide detector for each floor and working smoke alarms.

9. Light. Enlarging existing windows and adding new windows and skylights brings in natural light, which has proven health benefits, which are:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved moods
  • Energy conservation
  • Indoor gardens thrive
  • Boosted physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing


Natural light is a key element in the wellness kitchen

To add to the natural light in a wellness kitchen, use LEDs. LED lighting is long lasting and energy friendly. Beyond that, LED lights can minimize seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is definitely not healthy. 

10. Appliances. Today’s cooking appliances now offer healthier food prep options:

  • steam ovens
  • sous vide
  • air fryers.

Dishwashers have high temperature sanitizing cycles. No-touch faucets help prevent the spread of germs from dirty hands.

11. Bacteria-fighting surfaces. The wellness kitchen requires easily disinfected surfaces. Products with antibacterial glazes can help reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in a kitchen. There are even paints that kill bacteria.

12. Color. As designers, you don’t need to be reminded of the influence color has on a person’s mood. Now how colors are used in design has become a part of the wellness kitchen. Certain colors and patterns effect the human brain, so using nature-inspired colors promotes calm and wellness.

13.  Minimize Waste | The Fresh Food Movement. In a wellness kitchen, food storage, preparation, cooking, consumption and disposal are all about fresh food and organic ingredients. Food from the grocery store comes wrapped in paper and plastic that adds to landfills. Kitchens designed for wellness would include storage for foods that minimize waste.

Homeowners interested in wellness design typically eat a minimally processed, chemical- and preservative-free, locally sourced, fresh fruit and vegetable-rich diet that requires a different kind of food storage than a traditional kitchen. Fresh foods reduce packaging and the amount of waste sent to landfills. In a wellness kitchen, fresh produce from local farms and home-grown produce has no packaging that goes into landfills.

Most traditional refrigerators, cabinets and pantries are designed to store pre-packaged foods. But fresh ingredients need to be stored so that freshness and nutritional value are maintained.

The wellness kitchen reduces packaging for fresh food

Fresh foods reduce packaging and the amount of waste sent to landfills. In a conventional kitchen, grocery items are wrapped in paper, plastic and aluminum that can leech into the food itself and add to landfills. In a wellness kitchen, fresh produce from local farms and home-grown produce has no packaging that goes into landfills. And no packaging means no harmful toxins in our food.


Concerns about COVID and because they are spending more time in their homes, people looking for a new kitchen want one that isn’t simply functional, but one that makes it easier for them to follow a lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating and a commitment to eco-friendliness and healthy living. Wellness design is here to stay.

Sources used in this article and for further reading

Bob Aungst Cabinet Sales is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele.  Owner Bob Aungst III represents  Brighton CabinetryUS Cabinet Depot, Jay Rambo Cabinetry, Great Northern Cabinetry, and StyleCraft