As GidiZisk said, places that are familiar to you and the hearer needn't take an article.
"Nella cucina" is wrong because your kitchen is extremely familiar to you, and is a generic name for a place that pretty much everyone has. An Italian speaker would say "in cucina" for that reason.
The same with other places that are generic names of places, like churches or offices: "in chiesa" and "in ufficio", for example.
I haven't thought until now that it comes from the same reason that both house rooms and some outside places are considers to be generic.
Notice that with those outside places it is ok to use the definite version in some cases. Vado In chiesa means I attend mass (the emphasis is on the action of being there) and Vado alla chiesa means that you go to THE church (not necessarily in order to pray, but it could be. In this version you also tell which one). Slightly difference in meaning and different emphasis.
From the same reason I deduce that saying nella moves the emphasis to THE kitchen, and it will not make seance if the kitchen is mine or is familiar to me.
- C’è (from ci è) = There is
- Ci sono = There are
C'è una pagliuzza nel mio occhio. / There is a speck in my eye.
Non c'è bullismo in duolingo. / There is no bullying on duolingo.
un tappeto in cucina / There is no a rug in the kitchen.
Ci sono gentili persone in Italia./ There are kind people in Italy.
In short, that's it! :)