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How to Create a Family-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen used to be just a place for preparing meals. Nowadays though, it’s the heart and hub of the home; a place for gathering, eating, making memories, working and doing homework. If this sounds like your kitchen (or what you want it to become), these features will go a long way into creating a family-friendly space that takes into consideration the needs of everyone, from junior to grandma.

Go with an Open Plan

Design: Form & Space

An open kitchen that leads out into other communal areas, like the dining area or the living room, keeps your cooking space from being isolated on its own. So even while you’re in the kitchen cooking, you’re still connected with the rest of your family in the other parts of the home.

Design: 19EightyThree

An open kitchen also lets people move in and out of it easily, allowing them to mingle with one another. And because of the flexibility of an open plan, your kitchen naturally becomes more multipurpose, turning it from just being used as a food prep zone into anything from a home office to a crafts room for your little ones.

Use Forgiving Materials

When it comes to choosing materials for your family-friendly kitchen, ask yourself if your material is forgiving enough. Consider lasting, easy-to-maintain materials that are safe, aren’t overly precious and are hardy enough to take spills, scratches and sticky fingerprints.

Design: Versaform

For flooring, you will want to go for a material that is slip resistant as much as they are easy to clean. Opt for textured over gloss as the latter tends to be more slippery. Textured tiles, concrete screed and vinyl are good choices. When it comes to cabinets, avoid the ones with high sheen as they will show up fingerprints more easily. And with countertops, a durable, non-porous material that can take the hit and stand up to spills should be your go-to. Quartz or granite are good choices.

Design: The Orange Cube

Think about Safety

Safety is a huge priority in a family-friendly kitchen and the first step is to ensure each zone in your kitchen is well-lit. Go for proper task lighting that doesn’t create shadows in your prep areas. Don’t get pendants that are so low that they cause a head bump every time you look up.

Design: Yonder

Keep the flow of traffic in the kitchen clear and free from obstacles (around 105cm aisle space is the minimum, more if there are two chefs in the kitchen). Ensure that there’s sufficient space to move about without hitting the sides of your counters. If you’re sharing the kitchen with people who are wheelchair bound, create larger aisles to accommodate that.

Keep dangerous objects like knives, breakable wares or cleaning solutions away from bottom drawers. Use a safety lock on cabinets or under-counter ovens you don’t want your little ones to reach. Install safety covers on your hob’s or oven’s knobs to prevent your child from turning them when you’re not looking, as well as over electrical outlets that are within their reach or on outlets that are located near to water sources like the sink.

Design: Czarl Architects

If you’re going for a gas hob, get ones that have a flame failure device that cuts off gas supply if the flame goes out by strong winds, or when boiling water or soup overflows and extinguishes the flame. If you’re living with older folks who like cooking their own meals, you might want to get them a hob with a digital timer. This ensures that they don’t forget what they left on the stove and also frees them to do other things in the meantime without having to stand by the stove.

Design: The 80’s Studio

Let Everyone Help Themselves

A family-friendly kitchen is a democratic one that lets everyone reach for things on their own. Keeping everyday essentials, breakfast and pantry foods on open shelves or see-through cabinets lets everyone see where everything is at a glance, so people won’t be constantly asking you where everything is.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

Place the wine chiller away from prep or cooking zones so that your partner can have a glass of wine without disturbing you while you’re prepping dinner. Stow away snacks (that you approve of!) for your junior at lower, easy-to-reach drawers so that they can help themselves to it without bothering you.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

With elderly folks who may require more effort to reach out for things in taller or deeper bottom cabinets, consider installing smart drawer systems such as pull-down, pull-out systems, soft-close or touch-to-open features that help to take away much of the heavy-lifting. Ergonomic cabinet handles with long, easy grips also help those with arthritis open drawers and cabinets more easily.

Design: Lemonfridge Studio

Bring in the Dining

Design: Icon Interior Design

A family that eats together, stays together. Designing a family-friendly kitchen that brings in an eat-in space, whether for formal or more casual meals, is a great way to bring people into the kitchen.

It’s as simple as placing seats on your kitchen island. With that, you will want to make sure that there’s an overhang of at least 30cm for comfortable seating with enough legroom. If you prefer to eat at table height, you can always incorporate your dining table inside the kitchen or join it up with your kitchen counter.

Design: KNQ Associates

For a cosier setting, you can opt for a banquette nook at the corner of your kitchen, which helps to fit in more people without taking up too much room. For smaller kitchens, go for innovative solutions like collapsible breakfast tables or simply double up your counters as an eating space.

Design: Areana Creation

Design: ArtMuse Interior

Plan for Multipurpose Essentials

When creating a multipurpose kitchen, plan for essentials that you might need. If your kitchen island functions as a space for your kids to do various sorts of activities, you might want to include extra storage areas for things like books as well as colouring and craft materials. If you’re doubling the kitchen as a home office, include power outlets at flexible spots to charge electronics.

Design: The Orange Cube

Design: Icon Interior Design

To keep cooking grease and smells from becoming a nuisance, you can opt for glass dividers that can be put into place when you’re doing any heavy cooking. It’s a great way to still stay connected while cooking.

Design: The Monocot Studio

How will your family-friendly kitchen look like? Let us know in the comments!


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