The Key Characteristics of a Thai Style Kitchen

With its harmonious marriage of age-old traditions and modern conveniences, Thai interior design is a versatile style that can be adapted to suit almost any house and any owner: whether you prefer a contemporary style or a rustic one, a minimalist approach or opulent splendor, there’s enough flexibility in the style to accommodate your personal preferences without losing that eastern magic at its heart. If Thailand is known for anything (asides from its gorgeous beaches and welcoming residents, of course), it’s its food: with a magical combination of hot and spicy, sweet and savory, it’s just as loved in the west as it is the east. Part of the reason for its popularity is the way it balances competing flavors to create a perfectly harmonious end result… something Thai’s are just as adept at doing in their homes. Weaving traditional details into modern elements, Thai homes are characterized by their timeless appeal, distinct personalities, and harmonious ambiances. Here, we take a look at what goes into creating the typical Thai style kitchen.


Thai design might be known for its bold use of color, but that’s not to say you need to go for big, strong colors on every available surface. Thai’s tend to favor neutral backdrops in their kitchens (think creams, beiges, whites, and whispery greys). When it comes to accents, have as much fun as you like: pillar-box reds, blushing pinks, vivid purples, and glamorous golds all feature heavily in the Thai color palette and will add a touch of Asian style with just a few strokes of a brush. If you prefer to avoid too many big, bright colors, then don’t worry: Thai style can be just a subtle as you want it to be. A great way of keeping to the minimalist approach is to stick to a monochrome color theme: try a combination of white walls and black accents (if you can handle it, a few elements of gold thrown in here and there will up the wow factor and add a touch of opulence to the finished result).


Thai interiors may be beautiful to look at, but Thai’s will rarely sacrifice functionality for beauty and are even less inclined to introduce items into their homes that lack purpose. In the kitchen, this translates to plenty of useful storage space (usually by way of fitted units that allow plenty to be packed away without taking up to much space) and only those items that provide a practical function: a central island along with a table and a few chairs are easy to justify, but everything else will need to prove its worth before being allowed in.


Plants are an abundant and ever-present feature in Thai interiors, thanks largely to their ability to incorporate a little outside living into the inside. The range of plants to choose from is endless, but orchids, lotuses, ficus, difenbahii and hydrangeas all make very popular choices and will look beautiful in a traditional Asian inspired ceramic planter. As this is a kitchen, try to introduce as many herbs as you can as well: not only can you use them in your cooking, they’ll also add a great hit of greenery to proceedings. Aim for as many different varieties as you can- the difference in textures and foliage will add some great visuals.


Thai homes are truly a delight for all the senses, incorporating everything from butter-soft silks that call out to be stroked to floral, spicy scents that hang heavy in the air. If you’re not keeping the kitchen fragrant with all those delicious Thai masterpieces you’re undoubtedly whipping up, there’s an easy enough way to achieve the same effect. Incense sticks, incense cones, and scented candles in traditional Asian inspired scents like lang-ylang, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood, sage, and rose will do a grand job of imbuing the air with the scents of the east.


Teak, bamboo, rattan… if there’s not at least one wooden piece of furniture in your Thai inspired kitchen, then it’s missing a vital ingredient. Wood is king in Thailand and can be seen on everything from furniture to wall art, ceilings to floors. A gleaming wooden floor, kitchen cabinets in glistening teak, beautifully polished reclaimed wood countertops, bamboo placemats, and rattan rugs… if there’s a piece of furniture or a surface that could conceivably be made of wood, then 9 times out of 10, it will be. To add to the effect, keep displayed kitchen utensils to the wooden variety, or even pop a clutch of wooden chopsticks into a glass container to really up the ante.


As Home Designing notes, lightening is a big feature in Thai interiors, and the kitchen is a great place to try some of the various lighting options out there. Thai’s tend to favor sculptural, dramatic light fixtures, giving you plenty of opportunities to get creative. As light is important in Thai design (you’ll rarely see a shadowed or unlit corner), consider placement carefully, and introduce lamps to any area that isn’t getting the full force of the central lighting fixture. Don’t restrict yourself to electrical sources of light: candles are very on point, adding a touch of decoration, and if you’re careful to choose a scented one, a delicious fragrance.


Decorative items like amulets, bells, and dragons might have a place in traditional Thai design, but it’s not necessary to over clutter your space with a junkyard full of knick-knacks. Central to Thai design is a sense of balance, unity, and harmony- and central to all three of these is a sense of spaciousness. Don’t overwhelm your kitchen with unnecessary pieces (either in terms of larger pieces of furniture or smaller decorative items). Keep arrangements fluid and spacious, and never introduce anything which takes up space without offering anything by way of beauty or utility.

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