Kitchen design with children in mind

by Sam Shaw

Increasingly, the well-designed modern family kitchen is open plan; its multi-functionality is arranged into zones that comfortably accommodate family members and their various activities. With this in mind, it is worth taking the time to consider how your kitchen is used to ensure a more harmonious use of the space.

There are certain elements that help to achieve this. An island, for example, enables children to be at one side of the kitchen, while cooking and food preparation happens at the other. A well-placed island acts as a central console where each member of the family engages in his activity of choice, out of each other’s way. Where the cook is able to move from refrigerator to oven to sink without having to step around children or over toys.

A family with young children has very different needs to one with teenagers so it’s worth careful consideration. A kitchen without wall cupboards, for instance, may look sleek, modern and spacious but where will you put all those precious wine glasses, and your favourite china? You’ll probably want to keep those away from grubby fingers. And what about the bin? An in-built bin cupboard is a good idea to avoid spillage disasters at the hands of toddlers.

A seated work surface area will keep the older children happy because it can be used for homework, socialising or snacking. But for young children it may be a good idea to incorporate a lower section of a work surface or island to avoid them having to climb up onto high stools. A play space will keep the little ones occupied (while you create a culinary masterpiece) and could be as simple as a toy-filled drawer or cabinet, away from the hot pans, to hold toys, plastic kitchen utensils or craft supplies.

Another factor to consider in creating a family friendly kitchen is the materials you use. With a busy and multi-functional kitchen think about a worktop surface that is stain resistant. You could use Corian, Stone or polished concrete; each has their benefits. Wood is warm, hard wearing and with the proper sealing treatment can withstand the dents and knocks of frequent use.

When it comes to cabinets, stainless steel or a glossy sheen may seem sleek and modern but it’s a chore to maintain, especially when there are little hands forever touching it. Painted wood surfaces will never go out of style and can be retouched, repaired and repainted in keeping with the changing demands of your family.

Consider the flooring too. Natural stone and smooth tile floors, especially those that have a high sheen, can become very slippery when wet. Natural stones like granite or marble can stain so are not so good in highly trafficked family spaces.

In most households the kitchen is the busiest room in the house, the hub of the home where family members might sit, eat, chat, work and play. The beauty of a bespoke kitchen is that you can design it with your specific family in mind. Of course, we’ll help you design a kitchen that works for everyone. See how at www.sustainablekitchens.co.uk/bespoke-kitchens

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