How To Design A Practical Kitchen
The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home, so the design of your kitchen is very important. A kitchen is a hard-working space. It often hosts many more family activities than just cooking and eating meals. The right kitchen design balances creating a practical space that is still beautiful. One that can be for your whole family to enjoy for years to come.
Read on to discover how to design a practical kitchen without sacrificing beauty.
What do you need the space to do?
As you’re designing a new kitchen, think about what your family uses your current kitchen for. Consider what you’d like to be able to do in the new one.
For example, if you enjoy cooking elaborate meals, make sure you’ve added plenty of counter space. If you’re a wine buff, why not add a wine rack or a small wine fridge? If the kitchen is where the children usually settle to do their homework, does the new design have a space for them to do that?
The beauty of designing your own kitchen is that you can create any space that you need. It helps you to make sure you can get the most out of the room.
Try to think practically as you work on the design. Your kitchen can’t do everything. It can be tempting to get carried away and imagine yourself living a new kind of life with a new kitchen.
If you never host dinner parties, and prefer baking with the kids, don’t get over-excited and dedicate space to a huge dining table at the cost of losing counter space.
Think About Fittings
The fittings you choose for your kitchen are important. The materials you choose can make sure your kitchen looks stunning for as long as possible.
To choose cabinets, think about what sort of storage you need and will enjoy. If you hate dusting, open shelves probably aren’t for you. though it could be the perfect choice if you have a collection of beautiful glassware you want to show off.
If you have kids, think about choosing soft-close drawers and cabinets to minimize accidental door slamming. A cabinet that wipes clean easily is also a good choice for a home with children.
Will you need deeper cabinets to store things like stand mixers and a slow cooker? Will you need space to keep a lot of baking equipment?
Consider Your Style
Choose your counters wisely too. Quartz vs Granite countertops may seem like a small choice, but the right material will improve the life of the counters. Ask your kitchen fitter to talk you through the heat resistance of density of each surface material so you can make an informed choice.
What sort of counter will be easiest to clean? Are you willing to reseal the countertop every year or are you looking for something more low maintenance?
Your choice of backsplash is important too. A backsplash protects your walls in areas that may take damage from water or cooking oils.
For a cohesive look, you could create an upstand out of the same material used in the worktops. Tiles and glass are also popular, practical options that look attractive. As for the sink, you can also choose something aside from the usual stainless steel. There are different sink materials and colors you can choose from, depending on your aesthetic and functional needs.
Make A Layout That Works With You
Depending on the space you’re working with, you could have a few options for the best layout. With your layout, you’re trying to create a comfortable, efficient ‘working triangle’.
The working triangle is your route between the fridge, the stove and the sink. According to the theory, each side of the triangle should be between four and nine feet. With the total triangle having an area of between 13 and 26 feet.
This gives you enough space to move around the kitchen freely, without finding the space too large and spread out. Too small and the kitchen will feel cramped. If you go too large then you’ll feel like you have a trek every time you want to wash up.
Try and balance out the counter space between the sides of this working triangle so you have room to work. This makes clear traffic flow throughout the kitchen.
Choose The Right Appliances
Freestanding and built-in appliances have very different looks, and can really change the overall finish of a kitchen. Both can look great in the right design. Built-ins give a modern, sleek finish, whereas freestanding appliances are more classic.
Many appliances now come in a huge range of colours beyond the classic white and silver. If you’re a fan of colour, your imagination is the limit. You could create a modern, vibrant style with bright colours, or complement a retro-inspired kitchen with pastel shades.
What new appliances would you and the family enjoy using? A large, American style fridge is great for keen cooks, thanks to all the space. Choosing one with an ice machine in the door is great for active kids in the summer.
Redesigning the kitchen could be a great time to treat yourself to an appliance you’ve always wanted. Like a high-end coffee machine, a boiling water tap or a bread maker.
Think about where it will go on the counters, and what storage you might need if you’d rather hide the appliances away when they’re not in use.
Light It Up
When you think, “Hmm, how to build a practical kitchen,” you may not always think lighting. Lighting isn’t usually the first thing you think of when designing a kitchen. It’s actually very important. A kitchen needs to be well lit for the most practical use. Combine a mix of ambient, task and accent lights.
Ambient lights should light the whole area well enough for you to clearly see what you’re doing. Especially when you’re using sharp knives to chop food. Add task lighting to areas around the oven or the sink, so you can have enough light to work when cooking.
Accent lighting can be used for prettiness. Add soft lighting over the dining table, highlight a modern floor with under cabinet strip lights or show off your collection of attractive glasses with spotlights.
You can plan the lighting on separate circuits, so you can just use whichever set of lights you need for the work you’re doing.
Daylight is an important feature too. Where are the windows going to be? Could you add an attractive skylight in the roof to let in even more light during the day?
Lay A Hard-Working Floor
When it comes to how to design a practical kitchen, this one is important. Your flooring in the kitchen needs to be sturdy, hard-wearing and safe.
The floor you choose to needs to stand up to a lot of foot traffic as well as splashes and spills. Make sure your selection is easy to clean and doesn’t stain easily. Remember too that kitchens often have high condensation.
The flooring you choose will need to stand up to that too. Wood is a poor choice for this reason, so stick with laminates, tile, vinyl, rubber or concrete.
Make sure whatever you choose is safe too. You don’t want something that becomes too slippery when wet, in case of spills.
Remember The Fun Parts
Don’t forget to plan the fun, pretty parts of your kitchen as well as the practical bits. Choose a fun colour scheme that the whole family loves.
Choose fun window treatments for the windows (as long as they’ll stand up to splashes and food smells) to bring in some more personality.
There are lots of great ways to add some personality and character to your kitchen. You could use one wall for a large cork board to pin up reminders, concert tickets, the family calendar or drawings done by the kids.
Perhaps you could start buying fridge magnets from different places you visit as a family. This is a fun way to display memories that mean a lot to everyone in the house.
Frame family pictures to display around the kitchen or artwork you love. A gallery wall can make a great, striking feature near a dining table.
Think About What’s Important to You
Think about what you enjoy that could be used as decoration. If someone in the family is green-fingered, why not put plants on windowsills to bring greenery into the room? Maybe you inherited a beautiful china dinner set from a grandparent, make sure your kitchen includes an attractive way to display it (safely, of course). Does someone in the fam love to bake? Invest in some pretty cake stands to show off your latest creations.
What’s your favourite meal of the day?
Create a space to really enjoy it. If you think breakfast is the most important part of the day, create a cozy breakfast nook for you to relax in. If you’re more about family dinners, make sure you’ve made a space where the family can comfortably sit around the dinner table together and enjoy a meal.
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If dinner parties are more your speed, you could choose a more formally styled dining space with some nice lighting and where you can easily see the cooking space.
Whatever you choose to do, creating the ultimate kitchen is a balance between creating a space that is visually appealing and practical to use. Make the hub of your home a space you can enjoy for years to come.
Do you have tips to design a practical kitchen?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.