Modern kitchens, which were once primarily used for cooking, are now multi-purpose areas where we want to dine, work, watch TV, read the newspaper, or hang out with friends. The kitchen has essentially become the core or 'heart' of many of our houses.
To be successful, this requires meticulous preparation, with designers taking the time to understand each household's preferences and needs in order to construct the ideal hub for them. Which of these design tips could make your new, sociable kitchen become the heart of your home?
Make it open-concept
The appropriate layout is essential for a friendly kitchen, and going open-plan is one of the finest ways to achieve this. Combining the kitchen with an adjacent living room or dining area will instantly increase the space and provide many more design options.
An open-plan kitchen also allows you to keep an eye on the kids, host friends, or talk to your partner while you or they prepare.
When properly designed, an open-plan layout can also ensure that the kitchen is easily - and safely - accessible to all members of the household, even when someone is cooking in it. Others can enter the kitchen and open the wine fridge or a pantry without stepping under the cook's feet, for example, in this L-shaped design, making it significantly more friendly.
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Choose a sociable island
If you have the space, a kitchen island may be a really convivial structure, especially as a hangout zone for the entire family.
Another advantage is that the design of an island can be changed at the planning stage to reflect how you want to use it. For example, for growing families, a unit with different-height worktops or an adjoining table is ideal - a lower table can be used for breakfast, dinner, homework, or simply enjoying a cup of tea and a talk. Alternatively, you may leave the surface of your island clear and use this extra workbench area for baking or serving food.
Another alternative is to include a sink or stove on an island, allowing you to face the room while cooking. This, in conjunction with a seating area on the other side, can be beneficial for teaching children about food, engaging with friends or family while preparing a meal, or just as an extra space where people can pursue their own interests while still in the midst of family life.
Or You Can Choose Peninsula
Peninsulas have many of the same advantages as islands, but they are also appropriate for much smaller places where an island would not fit. They're fantastic for giving visual clarity to the room as well as distinguishing different zones for cooking, dining, and/or lounging. This can be quite beneficial if you want to keep your guests/family close but out of the kitchen.
Peninsulas have many of the same benefits as islands, but they are also suitable for much smaller areas where an island would be too large. They're great for giving the area visual clarity as well as defining various zones for cooking, dining, and/or resting. This is useful if you want to keep your guests or family close but out of the kitchen.
In order to do this, many homeowners incorporate a breakfast bar on the far side of a peninsula, with casual bar chairs underneath. This can be a terrific multi-purpose area that, like the island, may be utilized as a casual dining space, a place to have a glass of wine and a chat or work on a laptop, or a surface to quickly and efficiently serve food.
Include casual seating
Peninsulas, as previously discussed, are fantastic for adding more workstation space in the kitchen, but having a casual breakfast bar or tiny neighboring table is also a smart option. Even if you have a separate dining space, a seated area in the kitchen is still useful.
This may only be one or two stools, but having them will instantly make a space more practical and convivial by providing a place to work or do schoolwork, a place to sit and talk on the phone, or a place for friends to perch while you cook.
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Keep it light and bright
Although it may appear obvious, no one wants to spend time in a dark and dismal kitchen. A well-lit area may go a long way toward creating an inviting kitchen that encourages people to spend time in it.
To begin, attempt to let in as much natural light as possible. This could include removing a wall - or part of a wall - installing skylights or glazed bifold doors, or just making sure existing windows aren't congested or obscured.
Choosing the proper sort and number of kitchen lights will help, and you may improve this by installing light and warm-colored kitchen doors and worktops instead of darker tones.
Finally, strategically positioned mirrors that reflect the light from the kitchen can provide an excellent but low-cost addition to a bright and welcome atmosphere.
Face the empty space
When designing your kitchen, consider the orientation of your layout. The location of doorways and windows, as well as the fact that the kitchen must be functional, will assist determine this. However, the layout and direction will influence your view, as well as that of any guests, and this may have a significant impact on how friendly and fun your kitchen is.
For example, if you have a nice window view, this is often an excellent location for the sink because you won't have to stare at a boring kitchen wall while doing dishes. A sink (or hob) on an island or peninsula, on the other hand, can ensure you face into the room while cooking, allowing you to converse or even watch TV, especially in an open-plan environment. If you can integrate both - for example, an island facing the yard and a sofa or living room space - you've won.
The half-wall in this open-plan room is ideal for ensuring that everyone utilizing the space can fully engage, whether they're in the kitchen, eating area, or TV area. The placement of a dining table is also crucial to consider; this is normally in the brightest or most open area of the kitchen.
Include enough storage to keep everything organized.
For the kitchen to become the heart of your home, it’s important it’s accessible. Generally, this means ‘clutter-free’, so that household members are able to use it comfortably. People shouldn’t be competing with microwaves, saucepans or last night’s washing-up if they want to sit down at the worktop to enjoy a glass of wine or something to eat.
A clutter-free kitchen is also simply more inviting and will make people want to spend time in there. To achieve this level of spatial serenity, sufficient and suitable storage options are key. They should also be convenient to use – so they get used.
Again, a skilled kitchen designer will ask the proper questions during the planning process and will be able to determine exactly what your area will require to stay effortlessly organized and, thus, welcome.
Include storage and kitchen appliances that are suitable for a family or are easily accessible.
The placement of storage and kitchen appliances can also contribute to your kitchen becoming the heart of your house. If you have young children, for example, you might want to keep their plastic plates, bowls, and cups in a base cupboard so they can access them alone, allowing them to learn and feel more mature.
For the same reason, some parents choose a low-level microwave, which growing children can safely reach and learn how to use.
Toys and playthings could also be stored in cupboards on the far side of an island or on the kitchen's peripheral. Again, this would imply that youngsters might have access to these cupboards without entering the kitchen. For the same reason, placing a fridge on the outskirts of the kitchen works.
Make a secure environment
If you want your kitchen to be the lively, social core of your house, it must be a safe area for both family and guests. Many accidents in the house occur in the kitchen, but you can limit the risk by planning and organizing the space.
Dishwashers, for example, are frequently placed at the end of a line of units to avoid becoming a trip hazard if the door is left open; sharp knives should always have a designated storage spot, in either a knife rack or drawer; and there should always be worktop space on either side (or opposite) an oven, so you have somewhere to rest hot food after taking it out.
For those with children, the inclusion of appliance safety features should also give you peace of mind and prevent injury. This might include boiling-water taps with a safety switch, or wine coolers, hobs and washing machines with integrated child locks.
Choose low-noise kitchen appliances
After designing your dream kitchen as the social core of your house, the last thing you want is for family members to be turned off by the sound of noisy kitchen appliances. This could be a washing machine or extractor that is drowning out dialogue, or it could be a TV in another room.
Choose kitchen appliances that are specifically intended to function at low noise levels to avoid this. Similarly, make it quiet, but include an extractor, especially in open-plan areas; you don't want grease and cooking odors to dominate the room.