The kitchen is rarely now seen simply as a place for cooking and washing up. Many of our clients are looking for us to create a social space or hub that places the kitchen at the heart of the home and a space that must be flexible for family living and entertaining as much as it must be practical and hardwearing.
With that in mind, here’s a selection of our favourite design ideas and tips to help create the ultimate social space:Open Plan Layout
There really is no better way to bring your family and guests into the kitchen than open plan kitchen and dining using consistent design and co-ordinated furniture. However, layout is always a vital consideration. You need to be able to move around comfortably especially when others are in the room (nothing is more annoying than someone leaning against the fridge when you need something whilst cooking!) An island is a great way to create a natural divide between the ‘working’ and ‘socialising’ areas of the room, with the hob and sink on one side and seating on the other.
Island seating is a must-have for families and provides an informal spot for casual meals as well as providing a perfect spot for guests to perch with a coffee or glass of wine. With that in mind check that bar stools fit well below your countertop so that they are comfortable to sit on and can be pushed right under and out of the way when not in use and consider stools with seat backs as they are more comfortable to sit on for longer periods of time. A good rule of thumb is to allow approximately 50-60cm per person when considering how much space you might need on your island for seating.
Add a small sofa to create a cosy seating area. Even if you don’t have room for a sofa, a couple of chairs with a little round table will create an inviting spot where you can relax. Booth-style or integrated seating areas can also work well in a variety of kitchen types.
In addition to having a wine cabinet for storing chilled drinks in the kitchen, it can be handy to create a bar area for housing spirits and glassware. Some of our clients choose to have these areas on display, whilst other opt for incorporating bar shelves into a larder unit which can be closed off when not in use. A social spot to gather around, these can be the perfect way to host a party and inject some personality and wow-factor into your kitchen.
Making the most of natural light is a great way to create a welcoming and inviting kitchen. Combine task, general and feature lighting, ideally in zones and on different circuits so that the different areas can be used at different times depending on requirements. It’s also a good idea to include dimmer switches especially for pendant lighting over a kitchen island as this can be used to a create a more intimate atmosphere for dining when you don’t need the practical task lighting.
If your kitchen opens directly on to your outdoor living space, it will really feel like the centre of your home and give you the opportunity to create an indoor-outdoor entertaining space linked to the garden. Consider the position of the doors and the best angles for the table and island, so that everyone can enjoy the best outlook.
Try to include some open shelving or wall niches to display your favourite things or perhaps hang family photos or a beautiful picture. These personal pieces will add character and a natural sense of warmth. Fresh flowers or a fruit bowl also give the space a lived-in feel and create a bright and welcoming space.