When you think of where the heart of your home lies, you might be tempted to say it’s the living room, the bedroom or even the garden. The truth, however, is that it is a room that is often overlooked, the kitchen. The kitchen is where you prepare the meals that nourish you daily, where you enjoy traditional Christmas dishes, and where you entertain guests at dinner parties or gather your whole family together for the Sunday roast.
When you consider all these aspects, it’s clear to see that the ideal kitchen doesn’t only take into account aesthetic considerations. It is, first and foremost, a practical place designed for functionality and to enable you to cook and serve meals. If you’ve been thinking about commencing a kitchen remodelling project, here are some practical features you must ensure aren’t missing from the final design.
The furnishings you have inside your kitchen are crucial. Depending on the style you choose, you also determine the amount of storage space you have at your disposal, as well as how much cleaning and maintenance work you’ll have to do in the long run. One of the best options for those looking for classic, straightforward designs is shaker kitchens. Designed for functionality, with minimal adornments and clean lines, this style is easy to maintain because it has virtually no decorations.
The name comes from the Shakers, a religious sect that lived based on the principles of utility and simplicity. The kitchen units designed this way are easy to maintain, and the style doesn’t become obsolete, considering its timeless features. The lack of additional inlays, veneers and carvings allows you to be creative with the rest of your kitchen design, as you can mix and match however you want. Everything goes with the classics.
Most people keep their bins in the kitchen. However, these containers aren’t solely used for food waste or packaging. In fact, household rubbish gathered from around the house ends up here throughout the day. As such, the location of your bin in the kitchen is highly important. It can be useful to place it somewhere easily accessible from the rest of the house. Yet, you must also consider safety and hygiene. You handle food in the kitchen, and improperly stored rubbish has potential health hazards.
Ideally, you should put the bins at the end of the kitchen island so that the cooking process isn’t disturbed by someone walking in to throw something away. In the case of compost, you want to keep it closer to the cooking area so that egg shells, vegetable peel and other cooking waste can be disposed of immediately.
When refurbishing your kitchen, you must consider exactly how much storage space you need. It’s essential that all plates, pots, cutlery and appliances have their designated area and can be put away when not in use. Having a system and sticking to it ensures that you can always find an item when looking for it, making your kitchen more efficient and the cooking process overall less frustrating. Leaving appliances all over your kitchen table, island, or stools is also a potential safety hazard, especially if young children are in the house.
So, ensure everything is in its proper place in the kitchen cabinets. To add an extra layer of functionality, you can install electric sockets inside the cupboards. This reduces the time you spend getting everything out and allows you to prepare meals faster, as all the appliances will be ready to go.
It should come as no surprise that you’re more prone to accidents in the kitchen. Utensils, spills and stoves are all potential hazards, and to keep yourself safe, you must ensure you see what’s going on clearly and at all times. For this reason, optimal lighting is crucial. Your kitchen should get plenty of natural light, so, if possible, you should ensure you have large windows that let sunlight in.
Yet, that doesn’t mean artificial lighting isn’t important. Consider getting a combination of ceiling and cabinet lights to balance things out. You can look for pendant lights if you want something a little more stylish. However, make sure they’re installed to fit everyone’s height so that nobody can bump into them and become injured.
The types of lights you’ll get should also be fashioned to fit your furniture arrangements. For instance, if you have benches under hanging cabinets, you might want to add under-cabinet lights to guarantee that all dark corners are adequately illuminated. For the food preparation area, make sure the positioning allows the light to fall from the front, to avoid casting shadows over the workspace.
When designing a kitchen, you must always consider the space you have at your disposal. The layout you work with should determine where and how you place the furnishings so you can work comfortably among them. Ideally, you should have around 1000mm of empty floor space between the benchtops to have sufficient room to open drawers and cabinets comfortably.
However, if your kitchen is on the larger side, aim to go a little over 1200mm or even 1300 to eliminate the risk of bumping your shins or toes into the furniture corners.
The bottom line
The best kitchen design is the one that allows for optimal functionality. Your kitchen should be created with the particular requirements of your household in mind. For example, if you have pets, you’ll need to find a way to include a storage solution for them as well. If you enjoy baking, you can stack two ovens built directly into the cabinetry for extra convenience. And if you believe there’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee in the morning, you can add an alcove that operates as a coffee station.
Practicality is often associated with boring design choices and being strictly utilitarian. What it actually is, however, is a way to make everything simpler and more efficient.