Everyone wants the picture-perfect kitchen, but the fact is, it might not be a practical addition to your home. Useful kitchens look different to everyone. A small, intricate light fixture may not be enough for a home chef. Open shelving may not be the most practical for a family with young children.
Fear not. We’re here to help you get your kitchen in order so it’s functional and beautiful. Here are a few ideas to help you create a practical kitchen.
What Every Practical Kitchen Needs
We’ve all seen photos of those elaborate kitchens. And while they’re beautiful, incorporating all the latest styles, they may not always be what’s best for the home. If you’re planning to remodel your home soon, you should consider your needs first, before focusing on the latest styles.
Regardless of how you intend on using your kitchen, Kristen Whalen, award-winning kitchen & bathroom designer, suggests that each kitchen remodel needs to include drawer bases and pull-out trash units.
“I personally love to include a three-drawer stack featuring one smaller top drawer and two deeper bottom drawers,” she said “Top drawers are the perfect home for utensils, silverware and smaller items. The larger drawers can be used for so many different kitchen items such as pots, pans, Tupperware, small appliances, food and more.”
Whalen suggests that your trash can is best placed as built into your cabinetry. “Preferably a double, one for trash and one for recycling. Compared to backsplashes and countertops, trash out in the open is so not appealing. Placing the pull-out trash unit near the sink will add to its practicality,” she said.
Home Chef Necessities
For those who love to cook, practicality is key. The kitchen triangle is a key feature for a functional kitchen. If you’re unfamiliar, the kitchen triangle means you can go from the stove to the refrigerator to the sink in straight lines, making as you can guess, a triangle.
While you might spend a lot of time slicing, dicing and sautéing near your stove, it’s important to keep your work area clean. That’s why having a sink appropriate for clean up will make a home chef’s kitchen functional.
“A large, deep kitchen sink is a must for home chefs to accommodate large pots and if space allows, design for a secondary sink in the kitchen,” Whalen said. “This will allow the home chef to keep one sink for prep work such as washing vegetables and the other strictly for messy dishes. An undermount sink installation works best as the home chef can scrape crumbs right into the bowl instead of up and over the lip.”
Functional Family Kitchens
Families with children of any age may have different needs than those without. For families with younger children, safety locks on cabinet and drawers will prevent them from getting into knives and other potentially dangerous kitchen utensils.
Kitchen islands are particularly helpful to have in family kitchens. Paired with a few stools, it’s a great place for kids to enjoy a quick snack or help with dinner prep. If you want a kitchen island, the good news is that it may be a project you can complete yourself, though it’s not recommended for beginners.
Usable & Stylish Kitchens
A practical kitchen does not mean an ugly kitchen. Countertops are a great place to start for a stylish and yet usable kitchen. Countertops should be durable and easy to maintain.
“Consider quartz for a countertop that is extremely durable, doesn’t require a sealer, is resistant to heat and scratches, and available in a wide variety of colors to match any home chefs kitchen,” Whalen said.
As storage is sometimes slim in kitchens and easy to grab cooking tools is a must, remember, you can always turn them into decorative pieces. Consider storing your spatulas, turners and other cooking tools in a decorative jar on the counter. Pitchers will help to give your kitchen a farmhouse feel. If you’ve run out of space in your kitchen cabinets for pots and pans, consider hanging them from a pegboard on your kitchen wall or on a rod from the ceiling. This will make your cookware easier to grab when you need it as well as a unique focal point.
Common Kitchen Mistakes
Creating a practical kitchen requires a remodel in many cases. However, before starting, you may want to consult a designer who can help you think of solutions to your problem areas you may not know even exist!
“Taking on a kitchen design project to save money is a common mistake which can actually waste more money, time and energy,” Whalen said. “Even if you’re the DIY type, professional designers have the latest ideas and product information, and they also have the experience needed to help you identify your needs and translate them into a functional layout that fits your lifestyle, taste and budget.”
Kitchens have been considered the heart of the home. Not only do people eat and gather there, but they also spend time cooking and preparing meals. To have the best kitchen possible, you’ll need to incorporate both style and function into your design.