Kitchens are at the heart of every home. In fact, there could not be a more important room in the house. There is a reason why every social gathering ends up with everyone huddled in the kitchen, and how many prominent, happy family memories tend to be around the dinner table.
There are a few reasons behind it, but the most powerful is the most primitive. The place where we cook and enjoy our food is hardwired to be a safe place. A place that nurtures our health and is core to our survival. This explains why it’s so important to family time, and why many put such importance on having dinner around the table each night.
The design of any kitchen, therefore, needs to take this into consideration. They need to be set up with socializing being at the core of its layout. Kitchen islands are a great way to achieve this, as it creates a 360-degree space. When preparing food, the island can be a great cooperative space, where it can fit many people around it whilst everyone remains facing each other.
The design draws us in. It is the center of the room. It is a great way to include children in cooking and socializing in the kitchen. It can be a space where they can do homework whilst feeling part of the family’s social evening. The extra seating is important for larger families too, and it has a very functional benefit of having massive storage potential underneath.
But it is just one of many components, and may not be suitable for every kitchen. Kitchen design is a lot more tricky and difficult to execute than other areas of the home. This can be compared to controlling variables in an experiment; there are so many different components to consider. If we prefer our homes to be minimalist, we can get away with that in the living area, hallway, bathroom. But the kitchen is a place for functionality and requires practical spaces, many appliances and lots of cooking tools.
Finding the right appliances
Picking out the appliances can make or break a kitchen. Mismatching finishes and colors can make the kitchen look unnervingly incomplete. The current appliances and decor should be considered when purchasing new appliances. For example, if the cupboards and refrigerator already have stainless steel handles for their pull handles, then the new microwave should have them as well. There are more than enough choices in-store to match, usually.
The same goes for color, finishes, and size. If starting the kitchen design from scratch, you should perhaps start with the cooker and refrigerator as these are central to the room and large in size. The other appliances can work around these.
As mentioned before, functionality is essential to kitchens. It is better to have a poorly matched dishwasher than it is to have a dysfunctional or unreliable one. What is underrated in any design of the home is ergonomy. The implicit elegance in how well it serves a purpose. Thankfully, this is more commonly considered in kitchen design, but ergonomy can never go too far.
The energy rating should be a key factor when purchasing new units. The amount of electricity and water than you can waste with an inefficient washer machine and fridge is astounding. The extra investment is well worth it, because not only will it save electricity in the long run but it will likely last a lot longer.
Ergonomic and state-of-the-art appliances are both money-saving and more costly. You can splash out on a device that may last 10 years before it has any hiccups, but when it does, repairs tend to cost more than older appliance repairs. This is down to the complexity of the product, but also that its components cost more to replace. Finding home warranty plans, for this reason, is important. There should never be a compromise on kitchen design because of a threat of breakdown.
There are plenty of designs that are cosmetic only, or purely sentimental. For example, the AGA has become a statement of an upper-class country kitchen in Britain. Only, the country kitchens that actually rely on traditional AGAs are a nightmare (and many remain using them). Constant burning of oil with hot plates and an oven that you pick a temperature. This is the ultimate regressive fashion that is the opposite of ergonomy.
The layout of the kitchen itself should really have ergonomy in mind. Minimizing movements and stress means to think carefully about where you want to place things. For example, storing daily items at waist/chest height, whilst putting gadgets and food that are seldom used in top/bottom cabinets. This may also mean having hanging utensils, slow-closing drawers, good lighting, having the table situated near the kitchen counter. If you really stop to think about it, when cooking every day, we move from the kitchen counter to the table hundreds of times per week and open/close cabinets way more.
The engineering in the design should speak for itself. That’s the real substance of any kitchen. That’s what separates a flashy kitchen from a great one. Exterior design and matching are the basics – the easy bit.
The new ovens (AGA and others) that are designed like traditional AGAs but have modern functionality have got something right: timeless country-kitchen design never goes out of fashion. The new AGA masterchef, for example, is an incredibly reliable and well-engineered cooker, with three distinct oven/grill spaces. The reason behind its success may appear to be because it is at the forefront of a fashionable trend, but it isn’t. AGAs were in fact known for their reliability. They weren’t flashy, they were functional. That is the statement of today’s kitchen that never goes out of fashion.