The kitchen is the heart of a home. From casual family dinners to holidays and special events—the kitchen is the ideal place for loved ones to gather. But if your kitchen is small, outdated, or just not suitable for guests, it can be difficult to entertain. A remodel can serve to create a new kitchen layout—one that provides you with an efficient living space while optimizing the area for guests.
To ensure your new kitchen will meet your entertaining needs today and in the future, it’s important to take your time when considering your needs and project goals.
Look at the big picture. Think about how you use your kitchen for entertaining.
Here are a few questions to consider:
• What is your lifestyle? How does the layout of your home fit your lifestyle?
• Who do you entertain? Business associates? Families with children? Couples? Your children’s friends?
• What type of entertaining do you do?
• What events do you host?
• Who does the cooking? How many cooks are in the kitchen at one time?
• How often do you entertain?
• What types of meals do you serve?
• What is the flow of the house? How do guests enter and exit the kitchen?
Determine what you want from a kitchen remodel. Think about the changes that would make the room more useful for you and your guests.
The island. Whether you have one guest or twenty, everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen. So it’s important your plan includes not only adequate, but also separate spaces for cooking/food preparation and socialization. An island can be a wonderful solution for creating space for both. We recommend making the island as large as possible and including a large open space around it. This allows room for cooking and guests (seated and standing), and even a buffet line when needed.
An open floorplan. Picture this, you are hard at work preparing food in your kitchen, which is separate from the rest of the house. Your guests have arrived and are starting to gather in another room. You can’t see them, and from what you can hear, you’re missing out on all the fun. Now, picture the same scenario, but with an open floorplan. You can cook, communicate with your guests, keep an eye on drinks, determine which appetizers need to be refilled—and actually participate in your own party. This type of large, open space is especially convenient when hosting a party for a big game because as you know, it’s not a party unless everyone can gather around the BIG screen.
A walk-in pantry. This useful addition is multi-purpose. It allows you to better use your kitchen for preparing, cooking and presenting–without wasting space for storage. A large enough pantry can be used for presentation as well. But, it can also be the ideal spot to hide miscellaneous items when entertaining!
Table it. That’s hearth or harvest, of course. For a less formal setting, do away with the formal dining room and replace it with a hearth table that can be expanded in the main area, or add a dual-function harvest table that allows for additional seating.
Designer’s tip: Make sure your plan includes multiple spaces for food and drink stations. Based on your needs, you may want a secondary refrigerator, icemaker or sink.
Example: The addition of a bar sink on an island turns into the perfect beverage area when entertaining. Just fill the sink with ice and you’re ready to go!
Make your wish list. Ok, you’re starting to get an idea about what your ideal kitchen will look like. Now determine the types of appliances, and how many of them, you’ll need.
• How much food storage do you require in your refrigerator and freezer?
• Do you need a second oven, dishwasher or sink?
• Do you need a separate icemaker or wine refrigerator?
There are fabulous choices out there, some with unique features that will make entertaining a piece of cake. Options include convertible compartments, dual ice makers, advanced dispensers, split shelving, door-in-door compartments, and more.
Consumer Reports published a 2014 article on the best refrigerators for people who love to entertain.
Do your research. There are a variety of references for design ideas and information. Take the time to explore your options in order to determine the right layout for you.
Houzz is one of the best home renovation resources out there. You can use the site to create ideabooks of design ideas and inspiration. Use it to save your favorite home design photos and product shots, notes, PDFs and other details of your home project. Learn more about how to use ideabooks.
It’s important to determine the right layout for your kitchen. Whether you choose an L-shaped design or the traditional galley kitchen, the space should be comfortable, easy to use and allow for quick access to the tools and areas you use most.
Appliance location is equally important. Keep in mind the kitchen work triangle—a basic layout that revolves around a connection between the refrigerator, stove and sink. Then focus on what works best for you and make sure the route between your work centers—preparation, cooking and cleaning is simple and easy to navigate.
Know what’s hot. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and useful kitchen features that are great for entertaining.
• Center island
• Coffee center
• Walk-in pantry
• Butler’s pantry (with access to dining room)
• Separate bar area
• Second sink
• Second refrigerator or wine fridge (in butler’s pantry, walk-in pantry or under island)
• Open floor plan (for line of sight between the kitchen and entertainment room/TV)
• Surround sound
• Kitchen accessibility to an outdoor living space
As with any remodeling project, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for the kitchen design and features that will work best for you. Work with a professional designer early in the process to develop a plan that fits your unique style and needs.
For inspiration and ideas on how to create your dream kitchen, visit our kitchen gallery. To schedule a free design consultation with one of our certified kitchen designers, call 248.644.6330 or fill out our contact form.