Striking the perfect balance between beauty and functionality can be a challenge, but when it comes to the kitchen, there are plenty of ways you can enhance both usability and visual appeal. Whether you’re planning on growing your collection of appliances or considering a more serious renovation, there’s an update to suit every situation and budget.
A kitchen is a place for gathering, and what better place to gather than on an island? Having a U-shaped kitchen design with a central island will leave extra space for the family and additional storage options in one fell swoop. If you’re short on space in other areas of the home, a large island can also double as a dining area, allowing you to keep the cooking, dining, and cleaning up in one central area. By reducing the separation between kitchen and dining areas, you might even find that plates and cutlery make it all the way into the dishwasher at the end of the meal.
Kitchen devices exist for almost every function imaginable, from slicing eggs to shredding vegetables, but the best and most modern ones can add serious live-in value to your home. As long as your devices work well and look at home on your kitchen counter, there’s a good chance you’ll get your value out of them, in functionality and aesthetic. It’s worth investing in quality basics like the oven and fridge, while caffeine fiends will get an endless buzz from a new coffee machine sitting proudly on the counter. Today’s market is awash with quality coffee makers from the likes of Nespresso, Cuisinart, Krupps, and Delonghi, with models available to suit all budgets. When these appliances are well-maintained, you can expect to get great value out of them. Although it might seem complicated at first, even when your fancy new DeLonghi encounters an issue, like a stuck infuser, it can be worked out in a step-by-step process.
Cooking or baking can use up large chunks of time in your day, especially when you need to spend extra time searching for the implements or ingredients you need. The key to saving time and energy between meal times is to create a space or zone in which everything you need is stored near where it would typically be used. Theoretically, it makes sense to store your mugs in a cupboard near the coffee machine and your pans in a drawer under the stovetop, but putting a system into practice will require some careful thought and design planning.
When you get caught up in trying to keep surfaces clean and free from clutter, kitchen storage space will cover you, especially if you’re dealing with a small, confined space. If you utilise every area effectively, you can make whatever room you have feel more generous and usable. Something as simple as making a designated storage area for dishwashing utensils underneath the sink could make a huge difference to the general tidiness of the kitchen, and leave plenty of space for other jobs to get done. Vertical storage is another clever way to get the best out of your available space. With a few hooks on the wall or a hanging rack over a central island, you could find a new home for your pans and free up cupboard space for that food processor you’ve had your eye on.
Any home cook worth their wooden spoons knows that herbs and spices are the backbone of flavour, and essential components to countless full-bodied dishes. The trouble is that a full set can clutter any kitchen cupboard or drawer if there’s no system in place to maintain order. Investing in a holder or separator for your spices will help with keeping track of each one and organising refills when needed, while also saving space for other things.
One sure-fire way to boost the visual appeal of your kitchen is by covering each of the drawers, cupboards, and any fold-away appliances with the same decor. A uniform design and colour scheme is generally more aesthetically pleasing than one with a mixture of styles, and it allows for a few impactful design elements to stand out. Make your appliances shine in this environment, by choosing anything from a brightly coloured Smeg to a classic fire-engine red stand mixer by KitchenAid.
If you have thought about installing feature lighting somewhere in your home, the kitchen is one of the best rooms for it. You can afford to go with large or low-hanging light features here, especially when they’re positioned over an island, as they won’t get in the way. Plus, if the rest of your design is sleek and minimalist, you can get away with adding in something big and bold. Even if feature lighting isn’t for your kitchen, there are other creative ways to light up your kitchen, and anyone who has fumbled through drawers in the dark knows that lighting features can be as functional as they are aesthetic. For a modern take on functional living, you can swap the torch for motion sensor-operated lighting fixtures inside your drawers or cupboards. You won’t see them during the day, but at night, you’ll be glad they’re there.
The kitchen is a key area in any household, and well worth investing in for the promise of better living. The fact that any design improvements you make in the kitchen are likely to help boost the value of your home is a bonus. Just make sure that even while you’re busy making your kitchen look beautiful, you don’t forget to enjoy the messy moments with those most important to you.
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