It is interesting to see how the modern kitchen has evolved from being purely a place to prepare meals into a gathering spot for the entire family that brings everyone together after a long, hard day. Yes, there are still many among us who tend to stay glued to the TV while taking a bite, but even such families seem to come together in the kitchen for at least a quick breakfast! And it is precisely this trend that has brought the concept of a ‘social kitchen’ front and center. Cementing the kitchen’s status as the ‘heart and soul’ of the house, a contemporary social kitchen is all about versatility.
The idea has become so popular in the last few years that Diesel and Scavolini have come up with a new kitchen composition that exclusively serves this purpose and is dubbed the Social Kitchen. While you might not want a brand new kitchen, there is no reason why you cannot hop in on this bandwagon by transforming your existing kitchen into a family-friendly social hub. Here are a few ideas that will help you along in making this transition –
1. Opening up the Kitchen
Possibly the easiest way to turn your kitchen into a more social area is by opening it up to the living areas that surround it. If you already have an open floor plan going, then you have little to worry about. But for those who have a separate kitchen room, it is a good idea to take down one of the walls so that it is connected with the adjacent dining or living area. If you are bothered about visually demarcating the space or creating clearer boundaries between the rooms, then a snazzy half wall with built-in shelves or even a glass wall work well.
by Austin Patterson Disston Architects
A smartly built half wall can also act as a cool bridge between the dining space on one side and the kitchen on the other. While the kitchen idea can feature additional storage spaces, the dining table on the other side makes the process of serving both easy and fun.
by Building Lab
2. Kitchen Island and Bar Stools
If you do have an open floor plan and are still struggling to turn the kitchen into an inviting social hub, then it is time to take a good, hard look at the kitchen island. Modern kitchen islands come in a variety of styles and offer plenty in terms of serving areas, prepping zones and even extendable dining tables that slide back in when not in use. Couple your versatile kitchen island with the ideal bar stools and you have a gorgeous, family-friendly space. Picking the right bar stools for your kitchen island can make all the difference between a comfy, stylish kitchen and one that is uncomfortable for guests and family alike.
Explore this trendy kitchen – Mila
by Duet Design Group
3. Organized and Casual
One of the reasons why most of us struggle with designing the perfect kitchen is the smart blend of form and function that it requires. A social kitchen needs to be an engaging and welcoming area that is casual and relaxed in its ambiance. Too many contemporary kitchens seem to place injudicious importance on a sparkling, ultra-minimal look that turns them into sterile environments. You do not want a kitchen where you tell the kids that everything is off limits and they can barely touch a thing or two! Sure, this could give your home a picture-perfect look, but pretty soon no one would ever want to venture in because of all those rules.
4. Practicality Above Pretty Looks!
So, are we suggesting you tolerate a kitchen where everything is unorganized and chaotic? Absolutely not! When we talk about being organized yet family-friendly, we are talking about kitchens that can handle the traffic and still stand tall. Instead of marble countertops, opt for surfaces like stainless steel, granite or even Corian that can actually take a hit. Put the lovely glass cabinets and chinaware at a level where the kids find it hard to reach and place the refrigerator on the perimeter of the kitchen to ensure that they do not disturb the cooking process.
Storage units with glass doors also help in crafting a kitchen that is far more convenient and involves you shouting at the top of your voice far less often. If everyone in the family can see where the frequently used food supplies are, they will not have to disturb you every two minutes!
5. Kid-Sized Comfort
Having kids around the house often means investing in decor pieces and surfaces that can withstand the wear and tear of all the activity. While this is the same for the kitchen, additional kid-sized stools and furnishings can help make the space even more inviting for the little ones. Instead of investing in separate kid-specific decor, just bring home a helping stool that allows them to access all the sinks and the counters. Plush rugs and child-proof corners are also a must if you have tiny tots around who often find the most unlikely ways to get a bump or two!
from My Step Stool
6. Homework Zone and Cozy Nooks
If you wish to craft a kitchen where your kids can spend some time in the evening while you make your preparations for dinner, then planning for a dedicated work zone is not a bad idea at all. All you need is some desk space and a few chairs. You can earmark a couple of shelves and let your kids store their stuff in there instead of running to their room every two minutes. For moms with really little ones, a safe ‘play area’ serves a similar purpose. If you are blessed with a spacious window nook in the kitchen, add a daybed or some lush seating next to it and join in on the fun.
by MAKE Design Studio
by Barbara Purdy – Purdy & Associates Design
7. Get the Message Out!
A family message board, a wall where the kids can pin up all their creative artwork or even a wall in chalkboard paint can make your kitchen a fun and interactive space. This is one idea that barely takes any effort, and you will see the results almost immediately! This space can also be used to leave messages for other family members, and while the ‘Smartphone age’ means you can always text, leaving a message on the wall is still a lot more fun. It’s simple additions like these that ultimately make a huge difference.