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Room of the Month - Blonde Wood Kitchen Design

By Sarah Van Arsdale on June 23, 2006

At NYIAD we teach our students a simple Three-Step Method for designing every room they create:

  1. A successful room is functional.
  2. A successful room expresses a mood.
  3. A successful room exhibits a sense of harmony.

This simple Three-Step Method is the secret of every interior ever designed. We teach our interior design students to consider these three steps every time they look at a room. You'll find the great home decorating ideas in our Room of the Month series as well as in the design tips on this site helpful in creating outstanding room designs.

When our students mail in their interior design project for analysis by their instructor, the instructor starts by commenting on these three Guidelines. Of course, the instructor analyzes other elements of the project too – decor, layout, furniture, style etc. But the key to good decor – and the essential element of every great interior design – is adherence to these three NYIAD Guidelines.

How do they work? How can you apply them? It's beyond the scope of this Web site to teach you every nuance, but you will get an inkling from the Room of the Month Analysis that follows.

Room of the Month - Blonde Wood Kitchen Design

This month, we've chosen to analyze the decor of a bright kitchen design that's all decked out in blonde wood.

Using the Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design — function, mood, and harmony — let's look first at function of this kitchen.

This is a practical kitchen design, built for work without sacrificing style. It is based on the traditional triangle model for kitchen design, with the sink, stove, and fridge at the three points of the triangle. The double oven, separate from the stovetop, is conveniently nested beside the fridge.

Yes, that's a fridge to the right of the oven; it's cleverly disguised, however, with a wood panel that's been done in a wood that matches that of the cabinets and flooring. This kitchen is meant for doing the work of cooking, but it also is designed so that it functions as a dining space for three. The three people living in this home can have a meal together here while catching up on the day's events, without the fuss of moving from kitchen to formal dining room.

Room of the Month - Blonde Wood Kitchen Design

And yet, when a more formal dinner is called for, the kitchen design allows the cook to slide plates and platters through the pass-through over the sink, making serving and clean-up easy. The open wall to the dining and living areas also allows in more light, keeping the kitchen bright.

And the mood of this kitchen is decidedly bright and cheerful. The bright, blonde wood tones have plenty of yellow and gold in them, so the room doesn't appear overly dark. The stools lined up at the counter add a casual, inviting flair. The overall feeling of this kitchen design is one of welcoming, relaxed comfort; it's the kind of kitchen where friends and family feel comfortable.


The technique of covering the fridge in the same material as the cabinets makes a kitchen feel much homier, and allows the fridge to blend in with the rest of the room's decor, increasing the room's harmony.

In terms of the harmony of this kitchen design, it positively sings with harmony. The wood of the cabinets, floor, trim, and stools is all of the same tone, if not exactly the same species of wood. The countertop and backsplash are done in an off-white laminate that prevents the color of the wood from entirely taking over the room, and the dark placemats add another note of color.