Reduce chores and create the ultimate stress-free kitchen
The modern kitchen has evolved from a utilitarian space to a home’s social centre. It’s not only meal preparation that happens in the kitchen: now it’s where we eat together, do homework with our kids, manage the household from, and socialise with family and friends. But all these activities also mean that nowadays we spend more time cleaning up than ever before. It is therefore essential that your kitchen is designed in such a way that it cleverly reduces chores to create the ultimate stress-free kitchen.
5 Tips for Optimizing your Kitchen’s Layout
Any kitchen designer will tell you that to get the most out of your kitchen; you have to start by determining the best possible kitchen layout. Here are five things you have to keep in mind when planning your kitchen renovation:
1. Start with the work triangle
The work triangle was first developed in the 1920’s in America to optimise the functionality of the modern kitchen. The triangle aims to reduce movement between the fridge, stove top and sink to improve efficiency during meal preparation. While many believe that the work triangle is outdated, there is still value in an ergonomic kitchen design that allows the user to move between these three key points easily.
2. Position according to function
When you are looking at your kitchen design, it’s essential to place appliances where they are going to be used. The dishwasher should be next to the sink or a prep bowl so that plates can easily be rinsed before loading. It also reduces unnecessary movement if the dishwasher is installed near the cupboards where crockery and glasses are stored.
For the same reason, a coffee and tea station should be next to a tap and close to the fridge. There are many of these small adjustments that can make a great difference in the functionality of a kitchen.
3. Consider the flow
Even in a big kitchen, it is very important to think of how many people will be using the space at any given time. Keep a space of at least 900mm between kitchen components, and 1200mm where the door of an oven, dishwasher or washing machine needs to open. This will allow unrestricted flow through the kitchen even when these appliances are being used.
4. Make clean-up easy
A few small things can really make all the difference in creating a comfortable work area in your kitchen. Make sure that you have a bin near your main prep area. Allow for a cupboard under, over or next to a sink to store dishwashing liquid and other cleaning materials. Ensure that your recycling bins and main waste bin are easily accessible and close to the back door to simplify taking out the trash.
5. A place for everything and everything in its place
Clutter is not only unsightly and difficult to keep clean; it’s also a recognised cause of stress. For a stress-free kitchen, it is therefore essential to ensure that you allow enough storage space for everything. Include a kitchen island with concealed storage if the area is big enough. Overhead cabinets can go all the way up the ceiling, so there is no reason to lose out on vertical storage. High cabinets are ideal for storing infrequently-used items. Remember to also include a pull-out ladder in your kitchen design to allow you to reach these high shelves.
Create an environment for calm cooking
Our lives are fast-paced and hectic, and for many people, cooking is just one more thing to tick off the list of daily chores. But cooking can also be relaxing and allow time for reflection. To create a calming kitchen environment that helps you relax while you prepare meals is simple. All you need to do is soothe all the senses.
Choose a natural colour palette to create calming vibes. White tones and soft shades of blue and grey can do wonders for de-stressing an environment. Include plants in your design, whether potted herbs on the windowsill or hanging kokedama for a trendy botanical touch.
We don’t usually associate music with the kitchen, but soothing tunes can help you to remain present, focused and stress-free. Put on your favourite playlist while preparing food for your family, or listen to classical music by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, or Chopin for the ultimate mental calm.
The kitchen is filled with smells while cooking, but some of these may be overwhelming when other members of the family are also using the space. Invest in a good quality extraction system to eliminate oppressive odours and sharp smells while cooking.
Exceptional hygiene standards are very important in the kitchen to ensure your family’s health. But that doesn’t mean that everything has to be clinical. Place a washable cotton rug on your kitchen floor to add warmth and texture, or merely a small rug in front of the sink to have something soft underfoot while washing dishes. You can further maximise comfort by installing efficient temperature and humidity control in the room.
If there is one room in the house where taste is crucial, it’s the kitchen! Chefs swear by regularly tasting their food to experience the development of flavours and ensure that the seasoning is just right. This will ensure that you satisfy everyone’s taste buds, allowing for a satisfying and relaxing meal.
Choose Your Materials Wisely
The finishes in the room will largely determine how user-friendly your kitchen is going to be. But choosing finishes can become overwhelming due to the vast array of options. We’ve broken it down by area to help you find finishes that will simplify cleaning, helping to keep your kitchen stress-free.
The countertop is usually the surface that is the most hard-working in a kitchen. Choose a finish that is both cost-efficient and easy to maintain and fits your lifestyle.
- Natural stone tops like marble, soapstone, and granite are both beautiful and durable. They are however pricey and requires maintenance to keep them looking their best.
- Manmade options include quartz and solid surfacing. Both are practical and durable and come in a variety of finishes.
- Stainless steel is the ultimate in hygienic surfaces but tend to show grease and handprints and requires constant buffing.
- Wood is beautiful but porous, so it may harbour harmful organisms and is prone to staining.
At the lower end are laminate tops. They are highly durable, easy to install and come in a vast variety of finishes.
Another material that has to be able to withstand a lot of traffic is the floor finish. To help keep your kitchen floor clean, choose a material that incorporates the latest technology. Nano-sealed tiles are more dirt resistant, are impervious to staining and have a more intense lustre than their porcelain counterparts. Whichever finish you choose, ensure that it is slip-resistant to prevent accidents.
While your kitchen cabinets are not likely to take any direct strain, you have to consider your family when choosing finishes. It’s best to keep cabinetry wipeable and with a finish that won’t easily show grease or dirt, especially if you have kids or pets. Washable painted finishes are ideal, as are natural sealed wood. Avoid glass or metal fronts in a high-traffic kitchen.
Another important consideration is the tiles used for backsplashes. Ensure that your tiles are washable so that you can effortlessly remove dirt. Tiles with a pattern or texture are also less likely to show dirt easily.
A calming kitchen is one that was planned correctly from the start. So, implement kitchen design ideas from the get-go to create your perfectly stress-free kitchen.