Many people these days want a family hub where everyone can come together for meals, but still have room to do their own thing – be that unwind on the sofa, catch up with TV, browse the internet or fit in some homework. Even if you don't have masses of space, having somewhere in the kitchen to enjoy a glass of wine or supper with friends will allow you to be part of the conversation while preparing the meal. When it comes to the functional part of the room, a good layout will make the most of the available space and keep everything well organised, with the most regularly used items to hand. But it's not all about storage. Flow is an important consideration. Especially in an open-plan space or where there are several doorways or an island to work around. Using the layout to steer traffic away from dangerous hotspots and towards user-friendly areas instead, such as a drinks fridge or seating area, will ensure that your kitchen is a practical, safe and sociable space for all its users, including guests and children.
Choose your finishing touches. Make your kitchen feel more coherent by subtly linking finishes – pair a timber breakfast bar with wooden stools, for instance, or upholster the seats with fabric that ties in with your splashback. Little details, such as cabinetry handles, can make a big difference and transform a simple white scheme. Rather than buying everything from the same supplier, source furnishings and accessories from a variety of places, and mix things up to create an individual look. Unusual objects picked up on your travels or gorgeous vintage finds will all help to create a more homely and characterful environment. The right design will create an efficient space that's safe and comfortable for all the family .They may be built for cooking, but today's kitchens are often designed with so much more in mind. Depending on the size of your room, you might want to combine cooking and prep areas with dining and living zones all in one open-plan space. That's why it's so crucial to get to know the most common kitchen layouts and pick the right one for your space.
Breaking the planning process into manageable steps will make the process easier. Think of it as a journey, and give each step all the time and consideration it needs. Whether this is your first, or you need a little help with planning your second or even third design, then read on. First, have a good clear-out, so you're not factoring in items you haven't used for years. Now take a look around your existing kitchen and make a list of all the things you like and dislike about it. This could be anything from how much storage there is – and where it is – to the types of appliances and colour of the cabinetry. This will help you focus on retaining or improving particular aspects. Think about whether the actual space works or if it needs opening up or extending. The most common building work involves knocking down a wall between kitchen and dining room, so consider creating a more open plan feel if you have the chance. It might help to ask yourself a few questions about how you want to use the space. Do you simply need a place to prepare meals, or are you dreaming of a multifunctional area where you can also have lunch or dinner with family and friends? Who do you cook for, what do you cook and how do you cook it?
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