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Creating a Family Friendly Kitchen

Having a kitchen that dishes out gourmet meals easily or facilitates entertaining is always a welcome feature in any home. But in most cases the kitchen is more of a family room than anything else. Remodeling your kitchen to give yourself the space and features you want does not mean that it cannot also be a room that everyone in the home can enjoy. Here are a few ideas that can help you create a truly family friendly kitchen.

What is the Kitchen Used For?

It’s not just for cooking. Make a list of who uses the kitchen and what they use it for. Do the kids do their homework there? Is this where you have a cup of coffee with friends? Does Dad create one of his “gourmet” meals on Sundays? Do the pets eat here? List out everything that is done in the kitchen and you will find that room is used by more people for more things than anywhere else in the home. The next step is to list out the special requirements of each activity. Do the kids need a large table for their homework?  Does Dad need a special place to store “his” utensils? If anyone else uses them, his cooking could be ruined! Where are the pet food and the bowls going to be stored? By the time you finish this exercise, it may appear that 2 kitchens will be required to accommodate everything. This is where you have to get creative. Consider every possible space saving idea. What activities can be moved out of the kitchen without making those involved in them unhappy? If your remodeling contractor specializes in design-build projects, he will be able to help you design and create a kitchen that can give you as much of what you need as possible.


Keeping It Clean

The more people use the kitchen, the more cleaning it needs. Use easy to clean surfaces wherever possible. Granite and marble are great, but man-made quartz surfaces are the least porous and so the easiest to clean. If you are on a tight budget, laminates offer a good compromise. If you need surfaces that will not break glasses that are carelessly banged down on them, avoid rigid materials like glass tiles. 

Maximize Storage

It is a rare kitchen that has excess storage. Maximize the storage and incorporate features like fully extendable drawers to make reaching things in the back easier. Having low level cabinets and drawers where the kids can access parent approved foods is important.

What about an Island?

An island is not just more work area. It can serve as a snack bar, a dining area and a place for children to do their homework. With enough stools around it, it’s a great place for family meetings.

Install Space-saving Appliances

Without compromising on quality or functionality, look for and install appliances that occupy the least floor area or those that can be wall mounted. This will free up room to move around and make the kitchen seem less cramped.

Use these concepts to form an outline of what your family friendly kitchen should be. Add your own ideas and those of other family members to create a design that incorporates everyone’s needs.

One of the biggest kitchen remodeling mistakes is to fall in love with a kitchen design seen in a magazine and blindly adopt it. The concept may be exactly what you have been dreaming of, but will it work for your family? The right thing to do is to find a few designs that appeal to you. Use the list of family specific requirements to prioritize the features you must have. Go through all of this with a design-build remodeling contractor. Use his/her design abilities and technical knowledge to develop a design that will give you a kitchen that works for your family. The end result may be different from what you saw in the magazines, but it will give you a kitchen that will make everyone in the family happy.

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