Designing Your Kitchen Around Your Family

The kitchen is not only a place to cook, however it has also become a gathering space for the entire family. Whether you’re a family of two or ten, your dream kitchen must be a comfortable gathering space in order to create a central area of activity. Do you have children under 5 years old? Does your family like to eat some of their meals in the kitchen? Do you cook with or without your children? Do you or another family member do bills or paperwork in the kitchen? Do you often entertain for friends. These are some basic questions to keep in mind when planning your kitchen design.

    • Durable counters: A durable surface lets you worry less about the mess, and enjoy the time with your kids more. If you don’t have a high durability counter throughout your kitchen, you can designate a specific area, like your island counter space, to be a durable counter material. Variations in counter material when done properly can add nice interest to a kitchen. For example, combining granite counters with a butcher block island counter can define space nicely and create a more dynamic look. (See countertop materials. )
    • Accessibility: This is a key element throughout your dream kitchen, however when it comes to your kids, think small! Since your kids will want to be part of every aspect, but if they are young, make sure there are one or two spaces at their level with safe supplies that they can access in order to help. Even a single designated shelf with some rubber bowls and utensils on it can help then be more part of the process. Providing counter height stools is also a good idea and will let them be part of the activity instead of struggling below to see the countertop. Stools often work well around an island, and can function for the entire family for quick meals, company or conversation.
    • Seating: Seating is a nice luxury to have in your kitchen for when you have guests over. It is nice to have your kitchen treated as a welcoming, casual space for all to wander through. When preparing for friends, often times guests will wander through to keep you company while you prepare. Having stools at a counter or a small dining table, or banquette seating, is a good idea in order to create an informal gathering space where people are encouraged to linger.
    • Pass through window: An accessible pass through window into the living room or dining room can be a great feature if your kitchen space is closed to other areas. This way, you have easy access to seeing everyone, as well as “passing through” dishes and other things easily to your guests. Having a counter below it can serve well as a set up area to put dishes that are ready to go out, or dishes that should come in. A piece of furniture instead of a built-in counter can be a nice eclectic detail as well for your kitchen.
    • Work Space: Having a small desk in your kitchen is a good place to organize recipes, have kids do homework while you cook, or even read a newspaper. The kitchen is a multi-functional area, and having a small desk, either built-in or a freestanding piece of furniture adds to these multi-layers.
    • Television: A small television in a corner nook is always a good idea in the kitchen. You can watch cooking shows as you prepare a meal, or any other type of programs. If the television is within eyesight from a seating area, people can gather for short periods of time and watch television as well, which again, adds to the multi-layered functions of your kitchen.

Keep in mind any other specific activities your family enjoys and try to designate space in order to encourage them. Remember that if you properly design your space, the more time you’ll have to enjoy it.

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