Traditionally, we consider the kitchen the heart of the home, and for good reason. In the kitchen, you nourish your family with food, meaningful conversation, and homework help. The design of your kitchen should support these connections. So how can you create a family-friendly kitchen?
How to Design a Family-Friendly Kitchen
Every family is unique, so the kitchen design that works best for someone else might not work best for you. That said, there are a few universal tips to make sure you optimize your kitchen for your family.
1. Evaluate your needs
What’s important to your family? How do you want to use your kitchen? Think about your needs and make a list to understand your kitchen design goals. Here are a few things to consider:
- Do you want your children involved in preparing meals? How many people do you expect to be in the kitchen at the same time?
- Do you want your children to prepare some foods independently, such as microwaving a bowl of instant oatmeal, packing their lunches, or serving themselves a beverage?
- Do you host larger family gatherings or entertain guests regularly? If so, how many people do you want to host at a time?
- Do you have pets?
- How is your kitchen used? Does anyone work from home and use the kitchen to work? Do the children do school work there? Does your family cook a lot, or do you mostly order in, eat out, or choose pre-made meals? Are there frequently multiple dishes being prepared at once?
2. Involve the whole family
Ask each family member for input. Naturally, parents will make final decisions about the kitchen design, but including children in conversations about your dream kitchen and some of your selections can help them enjoy the process and anticipate using the new kitchen.
3. Prepare for child safety & accessibility
Plan your kitchen to accommodate your children in the cooking process. Teaching them this valuable life skill is much easier when your kitchen is designed so they can reach what they need, and use kitchen appliances and tools safely. Here are some ways to do this.
- Store dangerous items out of reach. Keep fragile or priceless kitchenware in high cupboards.
- Store dishes your children can use in easily accessible places like low drawers. This makes it convenient for them to grab a drinking cup or snack themselves.
- Place the microwave where your children can use it safely.
- Keep knives in a kitchen drawer knife block or organizer instead of on the countertop or magnetic strips.
- Consider rounded countertop edges and corners to protect toddlers and small children from bumping their heads on a sharp edge.
4. Consider a menu board or command station
A menu board or command station can keep important family information in one place. Include a spot for a running grocery list so family members can make a note of items you’re running low on. Display
- meal plans,
- snack ideas,
- a family calendar,
- kids’ artwork,
- family photos, or
- event invitations.
5. Choose durable, easy-to-clean materials
The materials you choose for your kitchen flooring, countertops, and cabinets will determine the durability of your kitchen and the amount of maintenance it requires. A family-friendly kitchen is easy to clean, ultra-durable, and requires little maintenance.
- How to Choose the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen
- How to Choose the Right Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
- Superior Quality & Attention to Detail Results in Your Dream Kitchen
6. Create plenty of storage space
“Mom! Where’s the _____?” Minimize the treasure hunting by creating plenty of visible, accessible storage space. Place snack foods and other items your children use frequently within their reach. Organize your kitchen so there’s a place for everything, and it’s easy to put everything in its place. When all family members know where things belong, using the kitchen independently is easier.
Even with a small kitchen, the best design maximizes your space with the right design techniques. For example, pull-out pantry and cupboard shelving or a built-in spice rack.
See also 37 Ways to Make Your Small Kitchen Better.
7. Make room to grow
Your children may be small now, but eventually they grow into teenagers and adults who are often bigger than you are! A timeless family-friendly kitchen design is prepared for the future by having enough space for your growing family.
8. Incorporate seating
Your kitchen isn’t just for making meals. Kids like to visit while supper is being prepared, and sometimes they need homework help while parents are busy in the kitchen. Incorporate comfortable seating that allows your family to sit down in the kitchen to eat breakfast or snacks, get some work done, or just socialize.
9. Don’t forget about your pets
Pet-friendly details can make your kitchen even more family-friendly. Consider pull-out food dishes and pet food storage, and create a spot specifically for the litter box.
A Family-Friendly Kitchen Design for You
The designers at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations are all about family! Our business is family run, and we’ve been designing custom kitchens for over 3 decades. We’ve enjoyed raising our own children and now enjoy grandchildren helping in our kitchens.
We’re passionate about designing and crafting spaces where you love to be and where you can cultivate meaningful relationships with your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation.