Secrets to a Family Friendly Kitchen!

 When designing your new kitchen or recreating your space with a kitchen renovation, there are endless details to consider!  What style, design, and layout best suit your lifestyle?   

Focusing on a family-friendly design can create a beautiful space for mingling, plenty of seating, and some well-thought-out spaces for storage, crafts, and homework.   

The heart of the home is the kitchen and it’s where you want to gather to enjoy each other’s company, cook, bake, eat, and make memories.  So, how can we make the most of our design and still feel comfortable with what can potentially be a busy place?   You want to feel close, sharing the same area, yet comfortable and definitely out of each other’s way.  It all begins with the functionality of the space. 

What does functionality really mean?  Functional is efficient… It means working between your fridge, stove, and sink with ease.  Loading and unloading your dishwasher in a way that feels smooth and makes sense.  Its means that someone can grab a drink or get to the garbage and recycling without being in the cook’s way.  Other elements of a functional kitchen include placement of seating, lighting, properly functioning appliances, integrating new technologies, and a top-notch organization system. 



When it comes to a family, plenty of seating is key, especially when you have additional family or friends over, adding to your group.  If you have a small area, choose a round table.  This will open up the floor and seat more people than a square or rectangular one.  Choosing a banquet table in addition to your island is also a great choice.  Did you know some new island designs can include a hidden table that pulls out when needed and tucks back away within the island to leave extra floor space when it’s not in use?  Also, maximizing the size of your island and adding an extra seat at one end can provide that extra seat you’ll appreciate when hosting.   



Lighting is important in a kitchen because it maximizes visibility in working areas.  Lighting can also make a difference when hosting.  Adding a dimmer option can create a nice ambiance in the evening, rather than feeling like you’re in a surgical room!  Lighting can be fun and embrace creative design elements as well!  If you have glass cabinetry, why not light them up and be creative with what you display.  Glass uppers can be themed for different seasons.  A full glass cabinet can display beautiful glassware, antiques, or add a pop of colour to the space. 



There is nothing that feels less functional than a broken or leaky appliance.  Having that kitchen “triangle” creates efficiency but if appliances are not serving their purpose properly, no layout is going to help.  Have your appliance repaired or replaced as needed – even quality second-hand appliances can easily be found on a friendly budget. 



From the latest in lighting technology and smart kitchen appliances to motion-sensing faucets, innovative motorized shelving, as well as, invisible phone charging stations, hidden and one-touch storage spaces, you can incorporate convenience and clever features throughout your design.  Smart fridges can include cameras that track your groceries and allow you to view the inside of the fridge or a ready-to-go shopping list accessible on your smartphone while you’re at the store!  New smart ovens allow you to track the status of what you’re cooking without opening the oven!  Bake better with “Drop”, a kitchen scale with a companion app.  Garbage and recycling can open hand-free with built-in sensors.  High shelving can be motorized and lower by touch or voice command and range vents that can rise out of countertops are just some of the latest available options! 



Open shelving creates an easily accessible area that will also encourage you to stay organized.  It’s a quick and easy way to access everyday things you use in your kitchen.  For families that entertain and cook a lot, open shelving provides the ultimate convenience.  It’s also budget-friendly and incorporating some open shelving into your kitchen design can help save some costs!   



No matter the size, keeping your kitchen organized can be a challenge, especially when it’s a busy place.  Cooking and baking, entertaining, working on homework or crafts all need a space, and having designated areas can make a big difference.  Adding a built-in desk to your kitchen design is a great way to have an appointed space for working on a computer, colouring, putting a puzzle together, or completing a craft.  Especially with children, it keeps them close and easy to monitor or assist while you’re getting things done in the kitchen.  It’s also a great way to keep the family together, in the same area.   

With so many things to stow away in your kitchen, incorporating clever pullouts is another great way to maximize storage even with minimal space.  Adding a built-in pantry with rollout shelving, spice drawers or vertical pullouts, a built-in breadbox, cabinets with dividers designated for cutting board/baking sheets, and deep drawers over lowers cupboards are just some of the things you will want to consider. 


Incorporating a few of these inviting features will help you create an open-concept, functional kitchen that’s easy to organize.  It will be a beautiful space that is welcoming and comfortably seat plenty of people – big or small.  Adding simple spaces that create the “a place for everything and everything in its place” concept will help you construct a kitchen design that will be family-friendly AND… you’ll absolutely love spending time in! 


By Kimberly Bricker 


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