The key to designing a family-friendly kitchen is function.
Make sure that everyone in the family has a space for their daily routine, and you’ll create a family-friendly kitchen that meets everyone’s needs.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your kitchen right for everyone.
Before getting started, it’s important to think ahead and ask yourself the right questions. A little bit of forethought can go a long way towards creating a great design that satisfies everyone.
Consider the following questions before you start your project:
- What problems are you trying to solve with your remodeling? Chances are, you’re noticing some crowding or other issues that need fixing. Pinpoint those first and foremost, and try not to get sidetracked with other options that “might be nice.”
- Do you have a budget? Anything’s fixable if you throw money at it, but not everybody wants to spend an arm and a leg renovating their kitchen. Fixing a budget will help you stay on track and avoid getting distracted with shiny objects or solutions that you can’t afford.
- Will you be performing a cosmetic renovation or are you willing to go the extra mile? A cosmetic fix may simply involve the addition of some basic fixes that will solve a current problem. But if you want to solve several problems or make your life a lot easier, you may need to do a little bit of heavy lifting.
- How many kids do you have, or will you have? As we’ll see, it’s important to think ahead. Kids grow up, and they won’t always be the same age they are now. Plan for a renovation that will last you for a decade or more – not one that will last a year or two.
- How many people will be cooking at once? At some point, your kids will be cooking their own meals, if they aren’t already. Think about how much room you’ll need, how many people will be cooking at one time, and when each person occupies the kitchen. If everybody cooks at once, you’ll need more room than if everyone cooks separately. Also, look ahead and think about what kitchen life will be like in 5 to 10 years, and if the remodel will still work then.
Tips for Planning Your Family-Friendly Kitchen
Once you’ve straightened out your priorities, it’s time to look at options. These features, tips, tricks, and ideas will give you a good place to start.
Create Lots of Open Space
Children will need space just as much as you do. Counter space, floor space, wall space, and table space are all important. Free up as much as you can by eliminating excess shelving, cabinetry, and appliances. Eliminate dead space, such as open floors, and fill it with working space, such as islands. This will allow plenty of room for everyone to work side-by-side without interfering with one another.
Make a Kids’ Station
Giving the kids their own “station,” whether it’s at a kitchen counter, a separate table, or at the family table, will help keep the kitchen organized. This will help keep messes confined and easier to control, which can help ease potential stresses before they occur. It will also allow you to do your cooking or other kitchen duties while the kids eat, munch on snacks, do homework, and so on.
One option, depending on the layout of your kitchen, is to lower a portion of your counter. This will designate a special area that’s “owned” by the kids. And think about how you can use the space when they’re gone or when they’ve outgrown it. Cooking projects, countertop appliances, and shelving are all possible options.
Separate the Cooking Area
Everyone should have their own station, but that is especially true for the cook, whoever it happens to be.
The chef needs their own space to work, so designate a work triangle and specific stations for the cook. Make sure that walkways don’t intersect with the food preparation areas, so the cook can do their work without being disturbed. The more the chef can be free of interruptions, such as kids grabbing snacks or other family members doing work in the kitchen, the better.
Not only should your kitchen work spaces be zoned, your storage should be compartmentalized. Food, utensils, and other items should be stored so they can be easily accessed by whomever needs them. Kids’ items, for example, can be stored in separate drawers and shelves.
A pantry is another great way to keep items compartmentalized so access doesn’t interfere with the rest of the kitchen. Snacks and food for the kids can be stored on the lower shelves, so they can access them without climbing on anything. If you really want to go all-out, consider buying a refrigerator drawer or a microwave drawer, which will make it that much easier for the kids to make their own food and snacks.
It’s important to allow some sense of ownership in the kitchen, so kids will become independent and free up your space and time to do other things. Chances are, you’ll want to have the kids start making their own meals and snacks early on.
In addition to the ideas above, such as a designated kids’ area and compartmentalized storage, you should also consider buying kid-friendly kitchen items. A set of child-proof cooking utensils is a great way to help you teach kids self-sufficiency early on. Kid-friendly cooking items can include everything from plastic knives to child-proof cheese graters. SharpeningMaster can help ensure your ‘grown-up’ knives remain sharp!
Make Your Kitchen Clean-Up Friendly
Easy-care surfaces can make life much, much easier when your family starts to grow. Some surfaces, such as marble countertops or hardwood flooring, are less kid-friendly than others. You want to avoid staining and buildup as much as possible. Tile, especially white tile, can grow grout quickly, which can lead to an unappealing kitchen.
Easy-to-clean surfaces include stainless steel, granite, quartz, or stone. Look for flooring materials that will stand up to spills, such as laminate or vinyl.
To enjoy a kitchen that gives everyone space, remember to plan ahead and think about everyone’s needs…now and in the future. Whether you’ve got a big budget or a small one, these ideas are plenty to get you started.