Kitchen Design that Inspires Joy


Good Housekeeping Magazine published it’s first issue in May of 1885. The tag line read “A family journal conducted in the interests of the higher life of the household”.


In its early issues, the essential message was simple. The kitchen served as a purely functional space, separate from the rest of the home. 

It was to be organized in a way that would assist the woman of the house to more efficiently perform her duties as dictated by society at the time.

Needless to say, society has evolved quite a bit since then.

Vintage Good Housekeeping Pamphlet
Kitchen Design that Inspires Joy

Women are no longer the sole curators of the kitchen. These rooms are now an integral part of the overall feel and function of the home. Especially with the emergence of the open-concept design aesthetic. An aesthetic that would also come to include what I call “The Pretty Factor.”

Kitchen Design that Inspires Joy


Modern kitchen design, in my observation, began to tip the scales in the opposite direction of its origins a couple of decades ago, focusing more on adding bling and shine. The design market pushed for the consumption of higher-end finishes and appliances. 

A Gaudy Kitchen

As if to transform the kitchen, and subsequently the bathroom, into a sort of garish status symbol. Implying that a living space that brings one joy to gaze upon, was only for those who could afford the lavish price tag.

A Farmhouse Kitchen

In recent years, the modern farmhouse design esthetic has come more into the mainstream. Actually, now waning toward a more transitional look. 

This new ‘combination’ aesthetic seems to land right in the middle of the two previously mentioned. An aesthetic that highlights both form and function. A pleasant balance of things, just the way it should be.


Of course, the market will always support more high-end materials in design. But what I’ve always loved about the transitional style, before it was ever trendy, is that it can be achieved so beautifully, with a clean and curated look, without the high-end price tag.  

Allowing anyone… who appreciates this type of design style… no matter where on the economic scale one might be…to walk into any room in their home and experience that joy.

Because that, my friends, is what life is all about. Not money, not social standing, its about what makes us feel safe and comfortable, content and happy. Its about what makes us feel….joy.

And we ALL deserve that.


What makes me feel joy in design? Achieving the perfect balance of form and function, especially in our kitchen. (I tend to spend quite a lot of time in there, creating and testing recipes and such.) All while doing it on as modest a budget as we can possibly muster.  

Darren and I both like to cook and bake. But our kitchen, being in an older home, does not include a lot of storage or counter space. 

Taking a cue from kitchens way back in the day, we got our creative juices flowing. Starting with organizational ideas that support our modern-day storage needs.

But, naturally, in addition to optimum function, we still kind of crave that ‘Pretty Factor’, don’t we? We want to walk into our kitchens every morning and smile with glee at the sight of it. What a fantastic way to start the day!


Choosing to incorporate that pretty form with practical function is the goal in kitchen design today. 

You can achieve this by incorporating some simple and inexpensive organization and merchandising ideas that I’ve learned along my journey and would like to share with you! 

Here are some visual examples. Feel free to steal any that appeal to you!

However you define joy, have fun finding innovative ways to incorporate it into your kitchen and be sure to share it with us. I’d love to see your ideas!


  • Plastic soup containers
  • Mason jars
  • Dollar store finds
  • Decorative jars
  • Second-hand items

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Emily Suess

    I love how neatly organized your kitchen is. Ours will never be. I am resigned. lol

    1. Jen Olenick

      Thank you! I call this type of organization “Kitchen OCD”. 😂

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