Many people like to call their kitchen the heart of the home, and you know what – they are right. Going way beyond its main purpose of being a place where you’ll put your culinary skills to test, the kitchen also serves as a social hub and a room where you can make some pretty powerful design statements.
There is one problem, though. The kitchens are usually set up in very limiting spaces and their functionality suffers as a result.
Let’s see if we can solve this problem with a couple of clever design solutions.
Experiment with the layouts
The layout can make or break the functionality of the kitchen. Try experimenting with some of the most popular options to see which one of them fits your space the best:
- Horseshoe – With as much as three walls of cabinets, this layout allows for great flow and an opportunity to bring more than one cook into the kitchen.
- L-Shape – This layout maximizes the corner space which makes it a perfect option for medium-sized kitchens. The rest of the space can be used as a dining area.
- One-wall – Also known as “the Pullman kitchen,” this layout puts all elements on one wall, which makes it an ultimate space saver for small kitchens. However, the one-wall design can be used in wide open floor plans just as beautifully.
- Galley – The efficient two-wall layout that turns your kitchen into a small passageway which allows for more than one cook. Featuring great flow, the galley combines all the benefits of the open floor plan while keeping the kitchen hidden from the visitors.
Try making a kitchen island
The reason we chose to single out kitchen islands from the rest of the layouts is because, while every one of them features at least some form of separation, if you opt for an open floor plan, you can use the island to completely eliminate the need for a separate culinary and dining space and make the kitchen a seamless part of the living room.
Usually surrounded by walls where you’ll set up the appliances, the island serves as the focal point where you can prepare food and dine with your family, as well as a pretty substantial storage space.
Making the most of the appliances
Every kitchen needs its usual set of appliances. The two areas where you can drastically upgrade their functionality are their size and their layout. For instance, if you don’t have enough room for a full-blown range, you can acquire a quality Bosch cooktop and install it on top of the island.
The oven can be bought as a separate unit and placed wherever you find convenient. It is also highly advisable to keep related elements (e.g. sink and dishwasher) close to each other to cut down on the footwork.
Save space with clever storage
Clutter is a poison to the kitchen’s functionality no matter how spacious the room may be.
The key to getting rid of it without burying the kitchen with massive cabinets is to buy elements that can serve multiple purposes.
As we already mentioned, the kitchen island is the best example.
Some items can also be stored below the sink, in drawers and on cabinet doors. If you are in desperate need of additional storage units, hanging shelves and racks is the most stylish and effective space saving solution.
Choose the right materials
Finally, there’s the choice of the materials. Aside from visually complementing the style you want to achieve, the materials you are going to use in the kitchen have to complement your lifestyle and budget as well.
Also, open kitchens with more footwork require more durable materials. Here are some of the most common options on the market:
- Granite – A very popular and even more durable solution, granite slabs have one major drawback, they are pretty expensive. If you want a granite kitchen on a budget, you should probably go with three-quarter inch slabs.
- Engineered stone (Quartz) – Slightly less expensive than granite, quartz offers the same durability and premium quality. However, because it’s artificially produced, quartz features a much more uniform and sterile look.
- Laminates – One of the most budget-friendly options on the market, laminate looks good and is very easy to install, but it’s also prone to damage and adds nothing to the resale value of the house.
- Ceramic tiles – A perfect choice for all DIY-ers out there. Offering a lot of interesting patterns while being easy to install and dismount, ceramic tiles have one important flaw, they crack fairly easy.
- Concrete – Strong, durable and highly customizable with various dye treatments, concrete only makes sense in modern kitchen setups.
- Stainless steel – Stainless steel looks stunning and is very easy to maintain, but it’s also very prone to scratches and denting.
The kitchen is a special place which offers a family those rare moments when they can come together and leave the daily problems behind, enjoying small talk and good food.
You see the obvious reasons why this space should be made as harmonious and functional as possible. We hope these few tips will help you along the way.
Robert Clayton is a blogger with a degree in engineering based in Sydney. His interests and passions include DIY, green technologies and home improvement. He also loves good food, music, dogs and enjoys spending time by the ocean. He’s a regular contributor for Smooth Decorator, An Australian Home improvement website.