It’s where you prepare meals and, often, where you all eat together as a family; you can get a cool drink there in summer and in winter it’s the cosiest room in the house. The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s at its best when full of laughter and delicious cooking aromas, but how can you design it to make everything perfect?
Making it efficient
Kitchens need to be well organised. Your sink, bin, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities should be close together for ease of use, with space for storing mugs nearby. A sink with a separate section for rinsing makes washing dishes easier and more hygienic – dishwashers are great but rarely get things as clean as scrubbing can. Make sure your washing machine is positioned where it won’t vibrate drying crockery, and choose a machine without a sealed drum, to maximise its lifespan. If you have a clear area of floor, consider using a pulley for indoor drip-drying. Invest in a good freezer so you can save money by bulk buying, and keep it well stocked so it will run at maximum efficiency.
Making it safe
When you have young children or cats or dogs in the house you need to structure your kitchen so that there are no power cords hanging down where they can be pulled and no way to climb up to things that could be hot. Make sure cupboards containing cleaning fluids are kept locked and check the fridge and cupboards daily to make sure food doesn’t go off. Linoleum floors offer a good combination of softness – in the event of tumbles – and ease of cleaning. Steel worktops are easy to clean and won’t blunt knives if you chop directly on them, but keep a separate, non-absorbent board for chopping meat. Wooden window shutters are less of a fire risk than curtains or blinds, and are easy to wipe clean. Remember that light also matters so you can work safely – spotlights over the worktop are great for when you need extra illumination.
Making it a great place to be
Kitchens should be rewarding places to spend time, and the sooner your children get involved with cooking, the easier it will be to teach them important independent living skills. Make sure you have suitable seating at a safe stretch of worktop or kitchen table so that your children can get involved. If you have a pet that sleeps in the kitchen, arrange its things in an empty cupboard space, with the worktop up above for a perfect secluded den. If you have a cat, give it a high shelf of its own to sit on to discourage it from climbing on everything else. The kitchen should be a room where everybody can come together and feel happy and secure.
When you get your kitchen design right, you’ll find your workload much reduced, and you’ll enjoy the time you spend in there much more. Don’t forget to add a music station so you can turn up the volume and really make the space your own.