Kitchen Design Ideas: Creating a Fully Functional Kitchen
A beautifully designed kitchen with sleek lines is probably every homeowner’s dream but before all this room has to be fully functional. This is the room where you prepare meals and possibly where you also consume food, so a kitchen’s design should reflect the main purpose of this space. You use the kitchen every day, so it is bound to get dirty over time. Especially the cabinets and appliances that are exposed to heat and steam, so quality and functionality are crucial for a good design solution.
That is why designing a fully functional kitchen can sacrifice aesthetics for reasons of practicality. The ideas presented below all take into account the kitchen’s main function of food preparation. For instance, glossy cabinet handles are not that useful, since your hands are greasy and they will smudge everything you touch. That is why a good design idea is to make all the handles matt, so fingerprints will be harder to stick and they will not be visible.
Moving on from such details to the bigger picture, here are six ideas on how you can subordinate design to functionality inside the kitchen.
An important aspect of running a fully functional kitchen is the proper management of storage space. Cupboards, cabinets, and drawers are all rendered useless if you are misusing them or not using them to their full potential. Firstly, you have to make sure the space of the room is used to the fullest; a half a meter gap between the dishwasher and the side wall is a pure waste of space. Cabinets should be custom ordered and installed to maximize the use of storage space in the kitchen.
Secondly, you have to understand the importance of storing different thing in different places. The best way to categorize items suitable for storage is their frequency of use. The centre should feature only the utensils you use on a daily basis, like the coffee mug, espresso machine, washing liquid, a sponge etc. Items that you use every other day should be stored further away but still within reach, like in the cabinet over the sink or in the topmost drawer. Finally, the appliances you use once a month or less, like a pancake pan or a waffle maker, should be stored behind everything else, so they don’t get into the way.
Kitchen design for the future
Houses change appearance over time as the tenants change. You might be living alone right now but soon you’ll start a family and interior design will have to account for this fact. That is why you need to plan the look of your kitchen and create a lasting design. This implies using sturdy and good quality materials that will last for decades to come. Once kids start making a mess of the house, your kitchen will be able to withstand this onslaught, because you chose the best materials that are resistant to scratching and colouring.
Placing mats on the kitchen floor
The most usual material used for kitchen floors is stone. Tiles can be found in most kitchens for a good reason because this surface is hard to damage and it is durable. However, it is not very safe for human use, as you can slip easily and fall down, hitting your head against the hard stone. That is why placing rubber kitchen mats is a design hack that might save your life. Rubber mats are slip and spill resistant, so you can rest sure that your foot won’t lose its grounding. Since you can’t use woollen mats, rugs or carpets, such special kitchen mats are ideal because the material they are made from is waterproof and more ergonomic. Rubber is softer than stone, so your feet will feel less fatigued.
One thing that every kitchen needs is power. Besides the usual appliances like the stove, a mixer, and a dishwasher, you are going to feel the need for new gadgets that are all going to require a power source. That is why there should be plenty of power sockets in the walls of the kitchen, thus doing away with the need for extensions cords which are impractical and not aesthetically pleasing. In terms of design and practically, outlets should all have covers that will match the overall colour pattern of the wall. Furthermore, such protection will guarantee that children won’t be able to tamper with them and they will repel any water that accidentally splashes on them.
Power is needed for one more thing: nightlight. During the day, large window panes should be more than enough for you to see inside the kitchen. However, a simple chopping of a carrot becomes tricky at night time if the lighting inside the kitchen is poor. This is because the light is distributed unevenly through the room and your body casts a shadow over the kitchen counter. The problem is best solved by changing the position of the main light source or installing auxiliary lighting. LED strips can be attached underneath the hood or fixed to the ceiling, positioned directly overhead. This way, the light will project onto the surfaces where we need it the most.
Zoning out the kitchen
The kitchen area is versatile in nature but in reality, we don’t all use it for the same purpose. Some families just prepare breakfast in it, others get a cup of coffee there, while enthusiastic homeowners turn it into a professional kitchen, baking, cooking, and serving food as if it were a restaurant. In order for these various activities not to get in each other’s way, you can zone out the kitchen. This means that beverages can be held separately from the food, so a person opening the fridge to get a glass of orange juice won’t bother the family chef preparing a dish for the first time. Likewise, the kitchen table or the central counter can have chairs on the other side, so people can have their drinks peacefully.
A well-designed kitchen means that you’ll have an area in the house that you are proud of and that serves its main purpose. By carefully planning the kitchen design to the last power outlet, its full functionality is 100% guaranteed.
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river. Twitter @EmmaWilliams204
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