Showroom kitchens look magnificent, but how can you be sure they’re ready to stand up to the rigours of family life? Anyone with kids knows a typical family kitchen is a busy, often chaotic place. Little feet running in one direction, bigger ones making a quick break for the cereal cupboard.
Milk gets spilled, food dropped and cupboards and drawers banged in frustration. Sound familiar? Sure it does, because more than ever kitchens are the hub of the home, the centre of family life. Ask most mums the most important room in the house, and they’ll usually reply: “The kitchen!”
So what do you need to be aware of to make sure your kitchen is designed and built to withstand the demands of a typical family with two or three children?
Quality kitchen components are key
Let’s start with what your kitchen is made of. This is where quality counts. Go to somewhere like IKEA and you’ll see some good-looking kitchens. But how will they look when your kids are five or even 10 years older?
Of vital importance to me is choosing the best quality components. That applies especially to fittings like door hinges and drawer runners. They’re the workhorses of the kitchen – used day-in, day-out, and you take them for granted until something goes wrong.
They’ll function the same way 20 years from now as they do on day one. They come with a lifetime guarantee.
The same goes for the whiteboard in our cupboards. It’s all Australian made and designed specifically to cope with Australian conditions. It’s tough, durable and far superior to some of the imported rubbish I see coming into the market.
Your kitchen design can be functional, stylish and child friendly
That’s what matters under the hood, but what about more visible areas like surfaces and benchtops? The good news is that it is perfectly possible to design a kitchen that is functional, stylish and child-friendly. Here are some tips to consider:
- Crumbs and mess will stand out more against darker cabinets and kitchen benchtops. Softer colours, with a fleck or “marbling effect”, will disguise everyday use in a busy family kitchen.
- What finish – high gloss, sheen or matte? I get asked this a lot. The answer: they all need wiping down. Yes, you might notice more fingerprints on high gloss, but you’ll also spot them on a dark matte finish. The choice is yours. It’s down what you like and what suits your home.
- Ideally, consider an engineered benchtop, such as Caesarstone, Silestoneor Quantum Quartz. They are non-porous, waterproof, and scratch, mould and mildew resistant. They never require resealing – in short, they’ll withstand everything a busy family can throw at them.
- Good storage space is essential too – it’s hard to believe how much “stuff” needs to find a home when you’ve got kids. This is where the latest in kitchen accessories, like a Lemans II corner unit, are worth their weight in gold. They are ingenious, and make kitchens so much easier to work in.
Safety in the kitchen
When you’re planning a kitchen renovation, take a moment to look at it through your child’s eyes. Kitchen safety for kids is obviously important. Will they be able to reach dangerous or fragile items? Make it hard for young kids to reach the stove top or open the fridge. What about sharp edges? Too often they can be an accident waiting for a toddler to run into. Don’t forget to lay down some golden rules for the kids in the kitchen. Then stay vigilant. And consider an open layout. It’s often best for the needs of a growing family.
Great kitchen, happy family
Picture the scene. The kids are sitting quietly doing their homework while you make dinner. Afterwards, they take your plate and cutlery, and do the dishes. OK, the stuff of make-believe. But if you’ve designed your kitchen well, and chosen quality components, you’ll know your kitchen will stand up to the more chaotic reality.
Want advice on how to get a family-friendly kitchen in your home? Contact us here or call us on 1300 476736.
Considering your own kitchen project? Check out our Essential Guide to Renovating your Kitchen