A kitchen should be a place of culinary inspiration, whether its occupant is a professional chef or a talented amateur or home cook. The best way to emulate a professional chef is to work like a pro, which means planning, right down to how a kitchen is furnished and organised.
Getting the plan right
For those who spend a lot of time in their kitchen, whether baking for the family, or entertaining guests, a kitchen needs to be three things: it needs to be functional, it needs to be practical, and, because it is in the home and not a commercial restaurant, it needs to be attractive. This is where a home kitchen differs from a commercial one. Most commercial kitchens will have everything – saucepans, trays, and utensils on show and within easy reach. This creates a messy looking home kitchen, however, so it is best to put these items behind streamlined and modern doors.
Good storage planning is essential for a home kitchen, but this is one place that needs just as much surface workspace as it does somewhere to put things. Storing pots and pans in purpose built cupboards and shelving leaves more worktop space to create culinary delicacies. Any pro chef will stress the importance of keeping work areas clear and clean. For this reason, choose worktops that are easy to clean, and are durable, heat and stain resistant, such as stainless steel.
If space is tight, then ceiling height fitted cabinets are a good way of maximising on space. However, if the kitchen is large enough, consider installing an island. This will not only provide storage space below waist height, but also extra countertop space. A breakfast bar will also serve this purpose, as well as providing somewhere to sit and eat.
Appliances for the kitchen
Many aspiring home chefs are installing professional style appliances in their kitchen, including multiple ovens – convection, fan and microwave – to ensure they have every tool for the job in hand. Washing up can be a pain, so if a lot of work is regularly undertaken consider having more than one dishwasher. Where possible, choose to have appliances integrated into the overall kitchen design to improve its look and efficiency.
Furniture for the kitchen
The trend these days is for the home to have an open plan kitchen and dining area, as this helps to blend the acts of cooking and eating food, and encourages families to dine together. Studies have proven this beneficial to the physical and emotional health of family members. It is important in an open plan kitchen/diner to clearly define the two areas.
Whilst the kitchen needs to be streamlined, the dining area is an opportunity to decorate the space with some really lovely furniture, such as an oak dining table and chairs, which would bring some natural warmth, and provide a contrast to the cool efficiency of the kitchen. Play around with the seating, such as having chairs for one side of the dining table, and a bench for the other.
Lighting is very important in both these areas. Choose directional and integrated lighting in the kitchen where possible, but use an impressive chandelier or pendant light over the dining table to create a more intimate space.