Think of it this way: If you’ve just moved, you and your new kitchen are basically on a first date. You’re both shy, a little nervous, eager to impress, and anxious to jump ahead to the point in the relationship where you can hang out in your pajamas all day, dance like a fool while you’re making dinner, and not worry so much about those crumbs on the floor.
Eventually you’ll know exactly how that cabinet door sounds when you swing it open, the familiar hum of this refrigerator, and the double water plink that happens every time you turn the faucet off. But right now, you know none of those things, and your kitchen feels like a stranger. How do you make it better?
Here are five small ways to start feeling comfortable with your kitchen:
1. Set up your stove space essentials.
As we wrote in this post, there are a few things you should always keep within arm’s reach of the stove for easier, quicker cooking. Keep those essentials near here, and you’ll soon feel a new cooking groove with this kitchen creep in.
2. Put out a fruit bowl.
It’s colorful, it’s good for you, and it looks super pretty sitting on the countertop. This small touch is remarkably homey. I mean, who doesn’t immediately feel better when they see a full fruit bowl? You’re also basically giving a beautiful gift to your kitchen, so things are looking up between you two.
3. Display a favorite, well-used pot or tool.
You adore your sapphire enameled Dutch oven. You’d get rid of your car before you got rid of your bright yellow KitchenAid stand mixer. You use your cast iron skillets so often you just keep them on the stove.
Make sure you can see whatever tool, pot, or piece of equipment you own that makes you happy or you use all the time. Put it on the countertop, keep it on an open shelf, or store it on the stovetop. It’ll remind you that while your surroundings may be new, your vintage enameled teapot looks as awesome in this new kitchen as it did in your old kitchen, which bodes well for your future together.
4. Replenish or recreate your favorite kitchen scent.
Scent memories are powerful things, which makes them a great thing to exploit when you want to quickly warm up to a new space. Maybe you love peppermint hand soap, or have a favorite fancy dish soap. Maybe the smell of home-baked chocolate chip cookies makes you want to hug your oven (don’t do it — he’s still too hot to handle). Recreate your favorite kitchen smells, and you’re one step closer to kitchen bliss.
5. Cook your favorite simple meal.
There’s nothing that’ll get you feeling like yourself in your new kitchen quite like cooking. Don’t feel like you need to pull out all the stops, either: a simple meal is all that’s required the first few go-arounds. Take it slow. Roast a chicken or make a pot of lentil soup. Open a bottle of wine and enjoy a meal — by yourself, with family, or a couple of friends. Then do it again tomorrow, and the day after. Pretty soon you and your kitchen will be totally in-sync.