Making your kitchen the heart of your home

At its core a kitchen is a place of gathering, where the aromas of cooking mix with friends and family. Where the warmth of the oven is complemented by the warmth of feeling. It's a place where conversations happen and time is dedicated to each other. Well, that’s the idea anyway. If you take off the rose tinted specs for a second the reality is many kitchens aren’t really the heart of the home. Not anymore. They sit, a place to boil some potatoes and little else. But how do you restore a kitchen to its rightful place as the hub of the house? Just how do you get that heart beating again?

Step aside, dining room

No-one knows who said it first, but what we do know is that it’s been immortalised again and again in the form of quaint art pieces and cute signs: “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” Maybe you’ve got it written somewhere too. What’s for certain is that dining rooms are never mentioned. Why is it then that we have one room for preparing food and another just for eating it? With this in mind it's little wonder that more and more people are combining the two, creating larger, open plan spaces, perfect for encouraging conversation. Not only does this increase the amount of light and room you have, it also discourages people hiding away in bedrooms by establishing a known hub of social activity.

Enjoy the island life

If the kitchen is the hub of the home then an island is at its absolute core. It acts as a fantastic multi-purpose surface, ideal for food preparation, dining, work or just sitting and having a chat at the end of the day. It also acts as a physical and psychological divide between areas of the room, establishing a “cooking zone” on one side without fragmenting the house. If possible get an island with a sink and/or hob built into it. This allows the chef to face into the room, great for maintaining conversation or teaching young protegees the tricks of the cooking trade.

Make light work

With light comes a feeling of space, not only is this practical, its healthy too. Helping to maintain a natural circadian rhythm and making you feel less tired throughout the day. Using paler colours, polished surfaces and the occasional well placed mirror can maximise this effect, especially in smaller spaces. If you’re looking to really make the most of natural light consider installing skylights, extra windows and bifold doors.

It’s equally important however, to maintain a sense of intimacy when the sun goes down, to replicate that cosy feeling when you settle down and watch a film together. Curtains, dimmer switches and a few well placed lights can dramatically shift the dynamic of the space. This can be tricky to achieve but one popular design approach is to selectively spotlight the island, creating a relaxed evening ambience while the rest of the kitchen gently fades away.

Keep it practical. Keep it comfortable

It’s extremely tempting to prioritise aesthetics over practicality when redesigning your new kitchen; it is the showpiece after all. However, don’t forget that it needs to function too. Adding nothing but mood lights might look cool but it's not great when you’re trying to read. There are many storage solutions available to help you organise and keep everything spick and span while keeping the look you want. Also keep in mind that no-one will gather in a space that’s uncomfortable; having chairs instead of backless stools for example is one consideration worth factoring in.

Take the low road

On the theme of practicality, invest in low noise appliances. These won’t detract focus and have the added upshot of not only saving money, but the environment too. It's a win - win - win.

You now have enough tips to begin considering creating a bespoke social hub of your own. As always, it’s advised that if you do want to transform your home you speak with the experts first. Here at Squarepeg, we have the expertise to take your ideas and transform them into something truly reflective of you and your home - after all, if home is where the heart is, then the kitchen is even closer.
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