Are you thinking about a kitchen upgrade in the near future? More and more American families are getting back to home cooking and upgrading their kitchens in the process. There are many reasons home cooking is gaining in popularity; it’s healthy, it’s cheaper, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy together.
Consider the cooks
If you’re planning a kitchen upgrade, think through who will be doing the cooking. Will it be just Mom and Dad, or will the whole family cook together? Creating a kitchen that works for both children and adults is remarkably easy to do without extra cost and it’s a great way to get the kids to start healthy eating habits and learn to cook.
Surprisingly, planning a kitchen with children in mind isn’t difficult because the only unusual requirement for young cooks is a lower work surface. While a standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches, children need a work station that’s about six inches lower – 30 inches, the height of a standard table.
Cooking and eating together
Having the cooking and eating areas incorporated is useful. Children learn best watching you every day, seeing food preparation and healthy eating as part of day-to-day life and family time. Having a place where non-cooks can join in the conversation, helps to strengthen the idea that cooking is not simply providing nourishment, it is also a gratifying social activity.
Family friendly materials
Engineered stone is a favorite for countertops because it is nearly impossible to scratch or stain, and it’s known for easy maintenance. Another popular choice is laminate, for cost-effective countertops that are hard-wearing and great surfaces to keep clean.
Light cabinet colors are revealing and show dirt easier but they also mirror natural light and make a smaller room feel bigger. Select a darker wood finish for the cabinets, if you want a surface that is more forgiving, tending to hide dirt and dents.
For flooring, there are usually three choices, linoleum or slate and tile. Linoleum is softer and more shock-absorbent and won’t necessarily break something you drop. The last two, slate and tile, are hard surfaces, anything falling on them will likely break. And if you stand at the stove for long periods, your legs can begin to ache on an unforgiving surface.
If you’re planning a kitchen upgrade or even building one from the ground up, you’ll want to plan for plenty of room for traffic to flow easily through the kitchen.
Aisles should be 36 inches at the least, but allowing for 48 inches will give you a better pass-through if you have the space.
Generous clearances around the cooking area lessen the risk of burns or related injuries.
Rounded edges for your countertops will prevent injuries, and let you relax a little when kids come running through the kitchen. If you can’t choose your corners, corner bumpers can be fitted to soften the knocks.
Advice from kitchen designers
- Store everything you don’t want your kids using up-high and store everything you want them using low-down.
- Remember to leave space for a stepstool.
- Induction cooktops are child friendly because only the pot gets hot, the cooking surface doesn’t.
- Put a pin board inside a cabinet door; a calendar, appointment cards, and special artwork can go here.
- Include a well-lit place to sit and work, where homework or arts and crafts can take place.
- Consider putting a lock on specific cabinets – for medicines, poisons, or other things off-limits.
- Lower hooks for hand towels to make sure that the kids can reach.
Include the whole family when planning a kitchen upgrade and give the kids a chance to develop their cooking skills. Sometimes, to learn the shared joys of food, all that’s needed is a comfortable place to sit and eat together.
In reality, creating a functional kitchen for the primary cooks and keeping within a reasonable budget can mean cutting some corners. But, this is one home improvement that pays big dividends and adds greatly to the value of your property.