Creating the Perfect Family-Centered Kitchen

The design of the modern kitchen has changed drastically from that of its predecessors. Once a closed off utilitarian space, modern kitchens are now designed as a stylish second great room where family and friends can gather to cook, entertain, work, and dine. With so many new functions, kitchen layouts have had to be adapted to meet the lifestyles of the current generation of homeowners.

Kitchen layout and design are particularly important when creating a family-centered kitchen that is fully functional for children and adults, while still being aesthetically pleasing. Whether you are remodeling or custom building, consider these  ideas from boise home builders when creating your own family-centered kitchen.

Design with Work Zones in Mind

Gone are the days of the traditional work triangle that stressed the importance of the sink, stove, and refrigerator forming a triangle in close proximity to each other. Modern kitchen layouts instead often encourage work zones that maximize the efficiency of performing specific tasks and create great work flow. This becomes very important in kitchens that support families, as many people are often using the space at the same time. The cooking zone, for example, should have everything necessary to create a meal including: counter space for meal prep, utensils and cutting boards nearby, and the stove or cooktop at the center. Likewise, a separate cleaning zone could house recycling bins, trash cans, and household cleaners. This work zone idea does not entirely negate the traditional triangle, but instead groups like activities and then encourages clear, direct routes between the big 3. With designated zones and clear paths between them, family members can utilize different areas without being in each other’s way.

Consider Sight Lines

Every parent knows that a line of sight to your children is critical. When remodeling or building your new kitchen, consider layouts that allow the most visibility. This could include placing your kitchen sink in front of a window where you can see the backyard, or similarly, putting a sink in the island so that it faces the rest of the house. Creating lines of sight is most successful in homes with an open layout. When designing your kitchen, try to find ways to have it open to the dining and living areas. This will also help those working in the kitchen feel part of the other activities that may be going on in the home.

Add Storage

All kitchens needs storage, but family kitchens often require more storage, simply because of the number of people using the space. To utilize the space completely, kitchen cabinets should go all the way to the ceiling. Even though the very tops of tall cabinets may be difficult to reach, they are a great place to store less needed items and will save the more accessible space for things of daily importance. If brand new cabinets are out of your price range, utilize vertical space by hanging a simple pegboard for kitchen gadgets, adding built-in open shelving, or adding a bar-height utility cart, which provides prep space as well as storage space. Another thing to consider if you have a large kitchen is adding a pantry. Pantries can be built-in or freestanding and are excellent food storage spaces for families.

Create a Seating Area

Since the modern kitchen has become the hub of the home, children often spend much of their time there. The perfect family-centered kitchen would most certainly provide casual seating for children to eat meals or snacks, do homework, or chat with other family members. Creating an island or peninsula with barstool seating is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. You could also consider multilevel islands or drop down bars that would be even more child friendly.

Add a Work Center

A recent trend in kitchen design is incorporating a work center/office space into the kitchen. This becomes a natural alternative to the traditional closed-off home office. You can keep all of your children’s school papers handy, have a drop spot for the mail, and write your weekly menu, all while being in the center of activity within the home. These work centers can range from a full-out desk and filing cabinet to a chalkboard placed on an empty wall. Determine the amount of space you have, and then find a solution that works for you and your family. Consider pullout shelves that can become a writing desk, a small nook that could house a built-in desk and chair, or even a cork board backsplash to hang papers and to-do lists.

Incorporating one or all of these ideas into your kitchen remodel will greatly increase the family-friendly nature of your new kitchen. Create a space that is not only functional for your entire family but is also a place they love to be.

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