The Modern Family Hub – A New Normal in Kitchen Design
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we use our homes and nowhere more so than in the kitchen. The room in which we have cooked, worked, home schooled, held virtual meetings and played games, has become a family hub like never before. Resident interior designer Andy Briggs looks at how the changing ways we use our space can be incorporated into the overall kitchen design.
The most important part of any kitchen design is the planning. A well-designed kitchen makes your environment personal and is key to making it user-friendly for you and your family. With everyone jostling for space, think about where people will be sitting, the areas used most and the inevitable battle for plug sockets.
The extra time at home has really put our appliances through their paces with deep fat fryers, bread makers and ice-cream machines all seeing a surge in demand. Make sure to allocate the countertop space needed for anything you use regularly and consider getting microwaves and coffee machines which are used daily, built-in out of the way.
For a while at least, our cooking priorities have changed. Most of us aren’t rushing to get a meal on the table after a long day at work and instead are using the time to relax, unwind and cook together as a family. Consider maximising on any space to accommodate a couple of work stations for food prep to give everyone enough room. If possible, include a large double Belfast sink or an additional sink within an island.
Due to restaurant restrictions, many of us have experimented with making our favourite meals at home. Cooking things like a flavourful curry can be a cathartic exercise but the aromas created do tend to linger. Be sure to invest in a high performance cooker hood, making short work of any unwanted odours. A large integrated bin will also help dispose of all waste quickly and efficiently.
Health and hygiene
Since the pandemic we are all much more aware of hygiene and the importance of regular hand washing. A recent study found that the coronavirus can live for hours on many common kitchen surfaces, with plastic and stainless steel ranking highest at up to three days. Areas throughout the kitchen can be a magnet for bacteria and although surfaces may look clean, they can still be a risk of cross-contamination for germs. Think about school bags which are dumped onto the worktops and what they might have been in contact with during the day. Chose a dedicated space for daily clutter which is safely away from any food prep areas.
To help keep your home clean and safe, use disinfectant to regularly wipe down all kitchen surfaces, especially things which are frequently touched like handles and microwave buttons. Consider installing a non-porous work top material like Silestone to reduce germ accumulation. A highly durable material, it is made up of 94% natural quartz that is also resistant to stains. Microbe killing agents are baked into the resin, making it a super hygienic choice for the kitchen.
While stockpiling is far from advised, buying in bulk can be much more cost-effective; and a healthy larder kept fully stocked will help you to meal plan further than just the week ahead. Consider integrating a larger freezer or additional chest freezer and make better use of its space by batch cooking or saving ingredients for use in other meals.
Do a purge – think about the things you really need to keep in your cupboards and how the current storage space is working for you. If there are foods or tools that aren’t being used, get rid of them so you have easy access to what you regularly have need of. Where space allows, a butler’s pantry will help keep things easily accessible and more organised, preventing items from going out of date before they see the light of day.
To discuss your kitchen layout and speak to an experienced designer, visit your local Optiplan Kitchens showroom by searching online at optiplankitchens.co.uk.