5 tips for a functional kitchen

functional kitchenOf course when it comes to kitchen design, much comes down to taste, and personal preference.  Geographically speaking, wherever you live in Cheshire, your dream may be for Alderley Edge extravagance, or an unforced, rural aesthetic (Goostrey?).  However, beyond thoughts of style, there are some key point that should be registered, in terms of the practicality and functionality of the room, which is very probably going to be the engine room of your home.

So, let’s consider thoughts of both form and function in this five-point guide:

1) Whatever space you have, don’t over-use it.  A cluttered, confused kitchen will leave you feeling stressed as you battle through drawers, trying to find the egg whisk.  So… de-clutter, de-cleanse, keep only the essentials in the room and you will find a feeling of Zen calm descends on the kitchen.  Remember… the room for clutter is the garage, so let that room take the strain.

2) Keep to one design note.  If you are going for a country kitchen, keep to that aesthetic; if you happen to live in a warehouse, then yes, maybe a bike hanging on an exposed brick wall might look good; however, don’t mix and match your materials.  You might be able to afford rustic wood, glass and marble but if you intend to combine all of those within one kitchen, please don’t invite me round for dinner.

One or two materials will blend, perhaps natural wood for the floor, a different materials for the cupboards.  And, of course, one advantage of granite is that it will fit elegantly within any kitchen design.

3) Think of the practicality of the space.  Yes, you will want it to look fabulous, but you should also think about functionality, in terms of keeping the room clean.  And you can help with the practical side of things from the design stage.  For instance, windows obviously bring in light and help suggest more of an airy space; off-white for the walls suggests freshness… a kitchen that’s clean.

4) Dig down and find your inner Llewelyn-Bowen.  You are going to spend a great deal of time in this room, so make sure you create an environment in which you will feel comfortable, and find pleasurable.  Also, construct a space that is inviting, and warm, for those people who visit you.  Natural wood can create a sense of tranquility and rusticity, for example… something of the country kitchen.    Blue, set against white, can equally have a cooling effect.

5) Design your kitchen to the space that you have.  A spacious kitchen is, of course, a luxury, but won’t be possible in a two-up, two-down in Manchester.   Of course that’s not to say there is anything wrong with such a home; more that you need to design to the space that you have.  In fact, a small, perfectly formed kitchen can often be much more practical, workable and appealing.  Think Kylie.

If you have a smaller kitchen, a couple of quick ideas:  My mother used to have a table on castor wheels, so that she was able to wheel it around the kitchen to wherever it was needed, then put away when it wasn’t.  Also, make sure your kitchen units run right to the ceiling and make the most of the vertical space you have.  Space between cupboards and the ceiling simply becomes a void, invariably storage space for more clutter, and very hard to clean.

So, a few thoughts for you to take into your kitchen design process.  Just remember any design is the marriage between these two principles: form, and function.

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