Designing a child-friendly kitchen space

 

For a lot of homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of the home – a place where the family gathers to spend time together. Now the summer holidays are upon us, your children are likely to be running around the house all day for the next six weeks. Your family space therefore needs to be child-friendly.

As family spaces change and we embrace open plan living, we are tending to spend more time together in one room, and that room is often a multi-purpose kitchen/dining/living room, often with access straight on to the garden.

 

Safety

If your kitchen is the heart of your home, you’ll most likely want a space that family members and guests can also gather whilst you cook. For some people, incorporating a table or an island into your kitchen design, where kids can safely be to help you cook, work on their summer holiday projects or just sit and chat to you is high on their list of must-haves when designing a new kitchen. It is a great way to make the most of your time together.

If you do want to include a hob on your island but also want it to be a place where children can perch, then think carefully about the island’s arrangement and the kind of power you choose for your hob. A breakfast bar that’s placed at slightly higher level than the rest of the island will guard against small fingers creeping close to an exposed flame or boiling pans, while an induction hob with no exposed flame and safety indicators that flash to indicate if a zone is still hot is a good choice. A table at a slightly lower area but attached to one side of the island is also a clever option. Just make sure there’s plenty of room for chairs to be pushed back without being in the way of any kitchen traffic.

 

Cleanliness

It can be difficult enough to keep your kitchen space clean and tidy in a normal day-to-day routine, but even more so when you have your children running around all day. Adding a utility room close to your kitchen creates a convenient place to install washing appliances and laundry, but it’s also a useful place to store the inevitable wellies and raincoats that are an integral part of a great British summer day, ensuring your kitchen is as clutter free as possible. If you have the space, then adding a sink will mean you can wash off muddy shoes and pets, too, so there’s no risk of traipsing mess through the kitchen. If a utility room isn’t an option because you don’t have the space, then a good alternative is to incorporate a cloakroom-style tall cupboard close to the garden entrance. You can use this to hold outdoor paraphernalia, including shoes and coats, as well as for storing outdoor games – balls, skittles and deflated paddling pools, for instance.

 

Outside space

The summer weather can be up and down as we all know. The sun is never guaranteed. We all know how good it is for children to tear themselves away from the computer or games console and get some fresh air as much as possible. A kitchen that flows onto the garden, with bi-fold doors and flooring that sieges seamlessly from one space to another, avoiding any trip hazard, is a great way to encourage your small ones to venture into the great outdoors. 

With any space, lighting is key to creating the right mood and atmosphere. An effective kitchen lighting scheme is an integral part of any kitchen design and that goes for outside as well as in. If you have bi-fold doors, think carefully about how they might look both during the day and as dusk falls, to avoid that ‘wall of black’ that is often the result of large expanses of glass. Ensuring the garden is illuminated, both by directional spots inside and specialist garden lighting outside is one way to keep the garden feeling part of the space whatever the time of day. If you have decking, then placing spots around the edge will not only show where it ends, but can also add a little sparkle to you night-time dining.

 

 

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