Inspiration from David Lisle

Planning the Perfect Family-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen has undergone a huge transformation over the decades. Instead of simply being the place to prepare meals, it’s become an integral meeting point of the modern household. A space for the family to come together and a spot to entertain friends. To adapt to this new way of living, the design of contemporary kitchens is open plan, quite often flowing from the living areas of the home in one sweep.

Many design-savvy homeowners look for the best of both worlds when it comes to creating a functional space with all the smart, gourmet-type features you’d expect from some of the snazzy kitchens on the market. This balancing act can actually be harder to achieve than you’d think in a busy family home. Ultimately, you’ll need to consider practical needs along with your more extravagant desires, at the same time ensuring that the room won’t show signs of wear and tear from heavy usage. So here are a few pointers that may help you to tick all those boxes.

Create an island

If you have kids, making sure your kitchen is safe and hardy is an absolute must. This will come as second nature to most parents. After a short time of moving dangerous things out of reach of little prying hands, it will be top of your agenda. But it can make you feel slightly limited when it comes to creative execution. Not only that, the idea of a modern - not to mention extremely accessible - open plan kitchen could send shivers down your spine.

One way to get around this is with a centre island. It will act as a natural breakout area for the children to sit while you cook. The key things to remember are the height of the island and the seating. Make sure it’s low enough for both children and adults to enjoy, and plan where they’ll perch carefully. Tall stools are a big no-no, but chairs or low stools with backs will be both secure enough for littler ones, and stylish.

Form a breakfast area

If you don’t fancy the idea of an island, another great option is a breakfast area. L-shaped seating complete with tables can organically flow from your counter tops. Alternatively, you can even create cosier corners at one end of the room, furnished with plush sofas and chairs, hugging tables in more of a coffee shop arrangement. This can make things feel especially snug, and gets rid of some of the more prominent hard, sharp edges if you have a boisterous family on your hands.

Child-proof to perfection

Our last tip, is to incorporate a few tricks to make things even safer for little ones in the kitchen. Soft closing doors are a clever way of protecting fingers, even when they’re searching for things they shouldn’t. Also, child locks on your hobs will give you peace of mind, especially if you have a particularly inquisitive child on the loose.

If you really want to get clever, you can even install refrigerator drawers with separate compartments for your children’s food. This gives them the freedom to grab their own snacks if they like, but be sure to consider the positioning of your fridge, hungry children under foot while you’re busy preparing a meal isn’t convenient. And finally, make sure you think carefully when choosing counter tops, handles and general surfaces. Getting something that manages to look great, and stands the test of time isn’t difficult to find, so ask your kitchen designer for some options so you can pick the right things, that won’t crumble under pressure.