Neuroaesthetics – creating science’s perfect kitchen

By Hayley Gilbert

Most of us are analytical about certain things. You may create spreadsheets to keep on top of household spending, log on to comparison sites when you need to renew car or home insurance or perhaps your work involves data analysis in some way.

Optimisation is key to many of life’s daily activities and while you can’t optimise every element, Masterclass Kitchens believes that you can go some way to engineering the perfect kitchen by harnessing a neuroaesthetic.

According to Furniture, Lighting & Décor magazine, neuroaesthetic researchers who study evidence-based design have proven that design has the “ability to improve health”.

Far from being a fad, using science to design the perfect kitchen delivers timeless benefits. The design experts at Masterclass Kitchens have delved into the neuro design findings to share science’s idea of a perfect kitchen…

(A perfect kitchen optimised with neuroaesthetic tactics)

Improving kitchen accessibility

Most homeowners design rooms with a bottom-up approach, shoehorning a piece of furniture they love into a space that wasn’t designed for it. Neuroaesthetic designers, however, advise on a top-down approach instead, suggesting optimal architecture first then filling the space with purpose-built pieces.

(A perfect kitchen with handleless doors)
(A perfect kitchen with dark green cabinets and a kitchen island)

Many designers focus on accessibility first, making sure to widen hallways and install ramps to accommodate wheelchair users or those with restricted mobility before furnishing the room. The designers at Masterclass Kitchens suggest that this helps with all kitchen styles, from ultra-modern handleless ranges to more traditional Shaker designs.

The logic is simple, as Dr Sacha DeVelle, a principal research fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research, explains. Enclosed rooms restrict mobility and “can trigger a fight or flight response,” she says. So, if you want to optimise a kitchen for human brain chemistry, start with accessibility.

Grow kitchen plants

Once you’ve determined if you have enough space for a kitchen island or other features, it’s time to consider the natural elements. Bringing nature indoors is still a big trend for 2024 and Masterclass Kitchens has more on biophilic design on its blog.

(A perfect kitchen with plenty of plants and space)

The reason for introducing nature into the kitchen is that nature-infused spaces soothe frazzled brains. As one designer explains in a Lookbox Living article, “It requires more energy to process manmade shapes… and that’s why we find it more relaxing to look at a natural view.”

Key then, is to include natural wooden worksurfaces, display stone cookware and accessories, have fresh herbs in pots ready for cooking and dot plants around the kitchen. Aim to create a balanced look rather than too much of one thing for optimum aesthetics.

Incorporate curves and texture

Another way to embrace the scientific approach is to mix things up with varying shapes, textures and tones. Our brains love variation and kitchens that blur the boundaries between minimalism and maximalism will stimulate the brain without overwhelming it.

(A perfect kitchen with curved doors and wine racks in a kitchen island)
(A kitchen characterised by biophilic design with plenty of plants)

If you want to stimulate the pleasure centres of your brain with your kitchen design, ensure there is plenty of variety within your space. Use curved kitchen cabinets, as seen in the Carnegie grained painted traditional kitchen above left, or incorporate some plants if you prefer worksurfaces with sharp lines and straight edges, as seen in the Sutton silk finish modern range, top right.

The important thing is to break up expansive surfaces by adding variations in shape, whether it’s with an open shelf displaying your favourite cookware or glasses, or adding a bunch of flowers to a kitchen island.

Create intentional spaces

According to research presented in the Color Research & Application journal, colour theory has a huge impact on our interiors. Blue is said to calm the brain while yellow is energising. Likewise, lots of studies agree that high ceilings encourage creativity while low ones stimulate focus.

Taking this wisdom into the kitchen is simple. By emphasising a high ceiling or adding low-vaulted ceiling spotlights, you can be more creative and energised when cooking. Warm blue painted walls will enhance serenity while yellow walls or tiles will produce an invigorating effect.

(A perfect kitchen with varied ceiling height)
(A perfect kitchen with vaulted ceiling)

All these tips will help you create a neuroscience-perfect kitchen and while this is all well and good, everyone and every home is different. Science can get your dream kitchen off to a good start but design is always subjective so it’s also important to include the art of kitchen design, too.

The expert designers at Masterclass Kitchens will help blend science and art to give you the ultimate space to suit your needs and lifestyle. From space-saving storage to kitchen design features, your local Masterclass Kitchens showroom is ready and waiting to help.