The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

If there is one room in the house you are in all the time, it’s the kitchen. Today’s kitchen is more than just the 50’s housewife’s domain. It’s a gathering space for the family, a gossip spot for friends, a place to do homework or host dinner parties in, a dinning area as well as a cooking area and somewhere for everyone to hang. The modern kitchen can be a place of manic activity or somewhere to slow down and catch up.

Today, kitchens come in all shapes and sizes and the designs and styles can vary to match anyone’s needs. This month our experts bring you a variety of ways to better your kitchen space to make is both functional and beautiful. There is no standard on what is the perfect kitchen. The perfect kitchen is based on you and your lifestyle, and the world – in this case your kitchen is your oyster!

The number one priority is creating an attractive and efficient work surface and ensuring easy access between the three points of the kitchen triangle—the sink, fridge and cooker. Make sure the space between these points is not too small that people would be tripping over each other or too big that food preparation becomes burdensome.

The design of your kitchen depends on your tastes and lifestyle. Are you a top chef in training or prefer to rely on the microwave? Do you have a big family or need the kitchen to act as a multi-use space? Do you want it to be warm and cozy or modern and chic? It’s all up to you.

That being said, make sure to not go too trendy. The latest designs, colors, or high-end equipment may not be the best choice and won’t get you your return on investment. Look for designs and appliances that are timeless. Kitchen designers possess the latest trends, ideas, and manufacturer’s details, and can help you identify your specific needs and translate those details into an efficient plan according to your taste.

Kitchens contain a lot of “stuff” and it’s often hard to determine what the best storage options are to ensure things are accessible but also concealed. Almost every kitchen has some wasted space but good planning can help minimize this. Consider extra long upper cabinets or the space above the fridge and make sure to place lighting along the molding to draw the eyes up.

One of the major trends in kitchen renovations is the use of drawers for storage of crockery, cooking utensils and saucepans, as well as smaller appliances. This removes the frustration of searching behind item after item in cupboards that are too high or too deep to see into.

Your appliances should also address the way you live. Manufacturers have developed many innovations to make life easier in the kitchen: versatile double-oven ranges, speedy induction cooktops, and refrigerators with flexible storage. Install equipment that is as up to date as possible, so it won’t look out-modeled in 10 years. And make sure the price bracket of your kitchen matches the price bracket of your house.

While it’s a good idea to design your kitchen according to your tastes and styles, it’s also extremely important to design your kitchen space around your needs and wants.

If a kitchen isn’t functional then you’re only going to get frustrated in it. You have to be able to work in it easily and efficiently.

Think about it. What items can be stored or placed differently to make your kitchen a better place to work in. Go through all the things you have in your cupboards and then work out where they would best be placed: oils and spices near the cooktop, baking trays near the oven, platters and chopping boards near the workspace, and access to dinnerware and cutlery away from the work zone so others can assist in setting the table or dishing up.

The kitchen is one room where you can’t afford to have poor lighting. It’s not only a matter of design and atmosphere, but also a safety matter when it comes to handling sharp kitchenware. Evaluate the work areas and focus on how you can provide each spot with the light it needs.

One simple trick to make your kitchen appear bigger is to make the most of the natural light available. Build your shelves and appliances around the windows and your kitchen will instantly be more inviting. If your window is in an awkward space, combine wall cabinets in different heights, widths and depths to create an interesting, dynamic storage solution in an otherwise restricted space.

Multi-Use Space
Kitchens now serve as spaces not just for cooking but for a variety of uses. Many now incorporate breakfast bars or eating areas, multi-level countertops for kids and adults, and message or office space.

As the kitchen is a place for the whole family, incorporating a small office space or chalkboard makes the kitchen space more welcoming to everyone. It offers a place to do homework, for parents and kids to leave messages and for the family to know important information and stay updated (ie what’s for dinner and if Jonny needs to be picked up from soccer practice today).

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