How to create a family friendly kitchen

Nothing brings a family together better than the art of cooking. Whether it’s handing down age-old family recipes or getting all hands onboard for a family roast, there’s something magical about it. However, sometimes it’s easier said than done, with awkward cupboards and narrow spaces turning what should be a pleasure into a precarious undertaking. That’s why we’ve assembled the best tips on creating the ultimate family friendly kitchen. Tasty indeed.

Separate the prep

There’s a reason island units are so popular with families. Having one allows plenty of space to be given to food preparation, keeping hot pans and trays safely out of the way in a separate cooking area. An island also means that the whole family can face each other while mixing, mashing and making conversation. Not only is this a great way to catch up, it also allows younger children (or certain adults) to watch and learn the fundamentals of meal preparation.

Adding seating to an island set up means that it can double as an ideal spot to eat together afterwards, as well as one for reading, relaxing or catching up on a piece of homework in the evening. The possibilities are endless (almost).

Play it safe

If your family has young children it’s important to make sure the kitchen is as safe as possible. While this doesn’t mean installing safety gates and wearing fireproof aprons, it does mean that considerations should be taken with layout and appliances. For example, an induction hob is ideal for the modern family kitchen, cool to the touch yet more effective than an equivalent gas or electric hob. Just be aware that they can interfere with the settings on pacemakers so may not be the choice if any family member uses one.

Making sure ovens and dishwashers have controls that are hard to accidentally turn on is another consideration, as is making it hard to reach drawers with sharp knives and processing blades. Finally, it’s worth incorporating a boiling water tap into your kitchen design, not only are these amazingly convenient, the twist and lock motion needed to turn these on makes them safer to have around than the hot surface of a kettle.

Keep the fuss minimal

The reality of family cooking is that it’s often messy. Flour in your hair, on the floor and on the dog, it doesn’t matter how hard you try - keeping clean can often be a losing battle. With this in mind, having simple easy to clean surfaces is often a great idea. Most kitchen countertop materials are generally simple to wipe down using an antibacterial spray, reducing the chance of picking up nasties from when those carrots fall off the plate. Keeping the preparation surface predominantly matt in tone helps to prevent tiny handprints from appearing everywhere you look. Even better, textured stone or wood masterfully hides smudges, making it the material of choice.

This ethos extends to the choice of flooring too. Ceramic, concrete and porcelain tiles are generally the recommended options for families with young children and/or pets, due to their durability and easy to clean nature. Let’s not forget that they look fantastic too!

Plan your storage

A family doesn’t just mean more mouths to feed, it means different mouths to feed. Newborns will need their own foods, and equipment such as bottles - therefore meaning that storage is paramount. As family size increases and children get older their tastes will change too, meaning a greater variety of foods will need to be stashed away, as will the cookware needed to prepare them. This is all leads to one main recommendation - the more storage the better.

Bear in mind that curious hands will invariably find their way into any area within easy reach. Using safety locks and keeping fragile glassware in higher cupboards is a simple yet effective way to avoid disaster. Or at least a lot of cleaning. On a similar theme why not assign children their own low-level cupboard, in which to keep their cups, cutlery and other dining accessories. This teaches independence while at the same time giving them little reason to go rummaging through the rest of the neatly packed units.

Make it fun

The most important part of a family kitchen is the fun! After all, there’s no reason to be in it if you’re not enjoying yourself. Getting hold of some blackboard paint is just one little way in which to involve the whole family, creating a wall that can be used for reminders, games, recipes and funky doodles. Another way is to make it personal, using the kitchen as a place to build and document memories, through artwork, photographs and decorative features. Don’t forget, a family kitchen is a place where you’ll spend a lot of time together so making it homely is very much at the core of its design.

At Squarepeg we like to keep it in the family, creating bespoke kitchens for any need and any home. So whether you’re a group of fifteen or simply consider your dog all the family you need, get in touch! We’d be delighted to talk to you, one family to another.
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