When it comes to creating the perfect family kitchen, it is important to first consider how the family will use the kitchen. In addition to meal preparation,kitchens are often the meeting place for the entire family and a wide variety of family activities centre around this room.
Designing and planning a family kitchen should begin with the foundational elements of the kitchen – the cabinets, the flooring, the walls – and then continue on to the décor, all while considering how durable the kitchen will be, as well as the versatility of the room and its convenience for all members of the family.
Family kitchen essential 1: Durability
Up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, the family kitchen takes a beating. Young and old alike will spend a considerable amount of time here so choosing the finishes, surfaces and accessories for the room with an eye toward strength and simplicity is the key. Natural stone surfaces including quartz and granite are an excellent choice for worktops and tabletops – resisting staining far better than wood or Formica. Tiling is a good choice for the floors; it is easy to repair and maintain and is available in a myriad of colours, textures and designs. When it comes to cupboards, a natural finish with staining is very long-lasting and is tough enough to hold up under daily use and abuse.
All fabrics in a family kitchen, be they window treatments, chair cushions or table linen, they should be easy to wash and tough enough to last well after multiple washings. They also need to be able to shrug off cooking fumes and endure lots of handling. Mini-blinds and shades offer flexible window coverage, while café-style curtains are an excellent way to add colour, texture and style to the family kitchen.
Family Kitchen Essential 2: Versatility
The furniture and accessories in a family kitchen will vary according to the needs of the family living there so everything from the units to the furniture to the accessories needs to be versatile. Breakfast bars and islands are frequent additions to family kitchens, providing valuable work surface for food preparation, while also functioning as a serving area, table, homework haven and much more.
Versatile surfaces do not necessarily have to be installed features. The family kitchen table, be it a picnic-style table, a small drop-leaf table or an oak dining table, with possibly one or two expanding inserts, is a usual feature in most kitchens. Seating can be versatile as well, whether it be wooden chairs, upholstered chairs or even bench seating with storage built-in beneath the seat.
Family Kitchen Essential 3: Convenience
Convenience is also an important element of any well-designed family kitchen. The layout needs to be easy to get around in and the positioning of appliances and equipment must be functional and easily accessible to family members. Open floor plans are very popular for family kitchens. Cupboards and pantries can be designed with drawers and revolving shelves for easier access, even for the youngest family members, and sinks, worktops and butcher-block surfaces may be added to expand the food cooking and preparation area.