For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whether you love to whip up delicious meals for your closest friends or you enjoy spending your weekends cooking up pancakes for your family, making sure your kitchen suits your lifestyle is essential to making the most of it. While there are many kitchen trends you may consider following, one of the most important things to think about when designing a new kitchen is how functional it is. While you may want to spend your time thinking about gorgeous kitchen tiles and your brand new colour scheme, it’s important to make sure your kitchen is both beautiful and functional in equal measure.
Of course, it can be tempting to focus solely on aesthetics and forget about the practicality of your kitchen. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for enhancing your kitchen’s functionality, whether you’re planning an entire kitchen refurbishment or simply making a few changes.
Make sure the layout of your kitchen suits your lifestyle
No matter how small or large your kitchen is, considering its layout is imperative to optimising the space you have available. Thinking about your kitchen’s layout gives you the opportunity to position appliances and furnishings in a place that works best for you and your family, and means you can make the most of all available corners and crevices.
There are many different layouts to consider when designing your kitchen, but your chosen presentation will depend on how you use it. If you’re an enthusiastic cook, you’ll likely want as much space around the food preparation areas as possible. Your worktops will take centre stage, and therefore a U-shaped kitchen may be ideal. This will give you the maximum food preparation space and will also help you create the ‘kitchen work triangle’, an imaginary triangle linking the fridge, sink and stove.
However, if your kitchen is used as a social hub, you may prefer an open-plan kitchen. This will allow your friends and family to wander freely between the different areas, and will also give the chef the opportunity to join in with conversation as they prepare food.
If you have enough space, you may even want to combine the cooking and dining areas. This is ideal for large families, as you can keep an eye on what’s going on while you prepare dinner, or stay involved in the conversation while washing up.
Include lots of storage space
It can be easy for kitchens to become cluttered and disorganised over time, especially when you have a large family. However, not only will a messy kitchen look uninviting, but it could also become unhygienic and unsafe. After all, the last thing you want is to trip over while carrying hot food or to knock over a pile of dirty dishes when serving lunch!
With this in mind, making sure you have plenty of storage space is essential to designing a functional kitchen. You’ll be able to keep your worktops clear and clutter-free, while also making sure brightly-coloured food packages and utensils are hidden from sight. This is especially appealing if you have a beautifully-designed kitchen that you don’t want to hide behind boxes of cereal and tins of baked beans.
There are many different storage styles available, so you can be as quirky or as traditional as you like. However, it’s particularly important to have plenty of cupboard space. For instance, you could install a pantry and built-in cabinets, or a selection of wall-hung cupboards to make the most of your vertical space.
Other storage ideas include:
- Mason jars: These can be used to store dry foods, such as pasta, rice and porridge oats.
- Cutlery organisers: These slot into drawers and can be used to separate your knives, spoons and forks.
- Magnetic wall strips: These can be used to hang metal knives, whisks and any other metal kitchen accessories.
When designing your kitchen, look out for any nooks and crannies you can use for extra storage - these can also help you keep your worktops neat and tidy at all times.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances
As more and more people become aware of their environmental responsibilities, taking steps to become eco-friendly in the home has become a priority for many. It’s no secret that the kitchen uses a great deal of energy every day, from the electricity needed to power your kettle to the water needed to wash your plates, so finding energy-efficient kitchen appliances is a great place to start if you’re hoping to become more eco-friendly.
Sourcing energy-efficient kitchen appliances, from fridge freezers to dishwashers and washing machines, can also help you enhance your kitchen’s functionality. As they use less energy, you’ll feel less guilty about using your dishwasher every couple of days, which can be a huge help in streamlining mundane kitchen activities.
Minimise your maintenance time
For a truly functional kitchen, it’s important to make sure you choose worktops, appliances and flooring which can be cleaned quickly and easily.
To make sure you’re not going to spend every evening cleaning your kitchen, it’s important to choose features which will stay looking great with minimal maintenance. For instance, if you have small children, you may become tired of wiping fingerprints and smudge marks off your worktops. To avoid this, consider opting for wooden worktops as opposed to chrome or steel.
Another top tip is to reduce the number of surfaces you need to clean by keeping your food and utensils in cupboards as opposed to on shelves. Shelves can collect dust over time, and therefore require more maintenance and cleaning than hidden storage solutions.
When it comes to choosing low-maintenance features for your kitchen, one of the most important things to consider is flooring. As we’ve mentioned previously, carpets are a no-go, so you’ll want to turn your attention to vinyl tiles and wooden floorboards. These flooring styles are easy to mop, sweep and can be cleaned quickly after a particularly messy cooking session.
Create lighting zones
One simple yet effective way to optimise your kitchen is to create useful lighting zones. Lighting zones allow you to illuminate particular sections at one time, as opposed to the entire room. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re hoping to reduce your environmental impact and cut down on your energy usage, as it’ll encourage you to only switch on the lights you need.
For instance, you may want to install lighting above your sink, as this can be switched on when you’re washing up and turned off once you’ve finished. Or, you may want to hang pendant lighting above your breakfast bar or dining table to make sure your eating areas are well-lit without needing to power the rest of the room. The choice is yours!
Make it a comfortable place to be
While your kitchen isn’t necessarily the most comfortable room in the house, there’s no reason why you can’t make it a cosy hub suitable for socialising. This is especially important for smaller properties without much living space; if this is the case, you may want to turn your kitchen into a place where you can prepare food and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.
To make your kitchen more comfortable, there are plenty of things you can do. These ideas include:
Install heated floors
Kitchens with tiled flooring can often become quite cold, especially during the winter months. This can make your kitchen an unpleasant place to be, so why not have underfloor heating installed? It’ll keep your kitchen toasty while you whip up a storm, and will encourage more people to use your room as a sociable space.
Include plenty of seating
Whether you opt for a stylish breakfast bar or a large dining table is up to you, but making sure you offer plenty of comfortable seating and dining areas is a great way to increase your kitchen’s functionality.
Invest in a sound system
There’s nothing better than having some music playing as you cook, and what better way to encourage your friends and family to help out in the kitchen? Let everyone choose a couple of songs to play and soon your kitchen will be the most popular room in the house.
Making your kitchen a more comfortable place to be is a great way to enhance its functionality, as you’ll be able to use it as a social area in addition to a food preparation zone.
In need of a stylish yet functional kitchen installation for your South Wales home? Look no further than Gastech Heating and Plumbing
If it’s time to refurbish your kitchen, look no further than Gastech Heating and Plumbing for a seamless installation. Based in South Wales, we’re proud to help customers bring their design visions to life with top-quality bathroom and kitchen installations to suit all lifestyle and budgetary requirements.
So, whether you’re looking for a traditional kitchen for your large family home or a contemporary cooking area for you and your housemate, we at Gastech Heating and Plumbing are here for you. Our plumbing services are second to none, so you can rest assured that your new installations will be of the highest standard.
We also specialise in a range of heating services, including boiler replacements and installations, central heating services, underfloor heating installations and oil tank installations. So, whether you’re hoping for a brand-new bathroom or the installation of underfloor heating, look no further than Gastech Heating and Plumbing.
For more information about our range of plumbing and heating services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Gastech Heating and Plumbing today.