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Your kitchen is a place for spending time together as a family

Planning a new kitchen it important to consider the requirements of everyone who will be using it. Your kitchen isn’t just a place for cooking and eating, it is also a sociable space for gathering, and spending time together as a family.

Choosing the right layout

Getting the right layout is essential for any kitchens. Your kitchen layout depends on what sort of environment you want for your kitchen. A U-Shaped kitchen that closes off access at one end is ideal if you are wanting a child-free zone. If you are wanting a family-centre space an open plan with an island layout that flows into a living area is the best option. This type of layout means the family can freely access the kitchen, creating a welcoming and friendly feel.

Create a safe prep and cook area

Many families prefer an open-plan, sociable kitchen. If so, it’s important to let your designer know this, along with details such as how many people live in your house, the ages of any children, your family’s preferred cooking styles and who typically cooks. This will help them to plan a safe and comfortable working environment that accommodates everyone.

A kitchen island with seating at the far end will let you keep an eye on young kids during cooking, but it also safely separates them from the hazards of the food prep and cook area.

Decide how you’ll use an island bench

If you have space for an island bench, think about the different ways you want to use it. An island with seating, for example, makes the kitchen more multi-purpose. It becomes a place to eat, study, do homework… or for parents to have a glass of wine once the kids have gone to bed.
Having a sink on the island bench itself allows easy cleaning up of splashes and spills.

Consider appliance safety

Safety is key for a family kitchen and due care is needed when children and appliances come together. Some types of appliances are safer than others. Induction hobs are ideal for families because, unlike a gas hob, there’s no flame and the surface remains cool during cooking. They also have essential safety locks. It also pays to raise ovens to eye level so they’re out of reach of small fingers. This can work well for adults, too, as it saves them from bending down.

Decide on fuss-free surfaces

Sticky handprints can be a constant problem with young children, so opt for surfaces and finishes that are less likely to show up smudges. Finger-marks are less visible on a matt surface than a gloss one, and even less so on a textured stone or wood door, so consider this when choosing door and drawer fronts. When it comes to benchtops, look out for materials which are stain-resistant and durable if you have children. Also go for an easy- maintenance flooring too, especially if you have pets as well as children.

Ensure generous storage

Storage is especially important in a family kitchen, where a place has to be found for child-related items, such as bottles, baby food and bibs, as well as any additional cooking utensils. As your family grows, you’ll also need more food storage, especially if children start to develop a preference for a greater variety of foods.
Plan your storage so that anything dangerous, such as knives, are safely locked away. Similarly, breakables, such as glassware and delicate crockery, should be stored high out of reach.

Look to the future

Plan your kitchen so it accommodates the changing needs of your family. A growing family generates more rubbish, so include sufficient bin space in your kitchen plan that’s easily accessible. You may also need to accommodate enough room for a larger fridge or oven.

Enjoy your kitchen

Make sure the kitchen is a fun place where your family enjoys spending time. Include casual seating areas, such as a breakfast bar or adjoining picnic bench, to encourage people to linger. Add in some eye-catching accessories to provide lively bursts of colour, or try a blackboard wall, which is handy for shopping lists, reminders, or for the kids to practise their spellings on. It might even keep them entertained while you’re in the middle of cooking.

View some of our Kitchen Galleries for more ideas.

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