In older homes, the kitchens are often small and purely functional. Galley style is common, especially in terraced houses, as few people saw the need to take up more space than necessary with their kitchens. They were used to make food, and that was it. The family didn’t spend any time in these rooms. They were just for cooking.
But times have changed. You may have heard people referring to their kitchen as the heart of their home, waxing lyrical about positive family time spent cooking, eating, and playing together. You might have also seen TV shows where the families gather in the kitchen to bake together, or to simply sit around enjoying a relaxing meal.
Unfortunately, for many of us, this feeling doesn’t come naturally. If your kitchen is small, dark, or a little dull, you won’t want to spend any more time in it than you need to. If it’s messy or cluttered and things are hard to reach, your children won’t enjoy spending time cooking with you, and if you’ve never spent more time than necessary in your kitchen, you might struggle to get into the habit.
Why is the Kitchen So Important?
Why should you? What makes the kitchen important enough that it should be considered the heart of your home? What makes it so much better than the other rooms?
Well, to start with, there’s food. We need to eat. But, when it becomes something that we do simply because we have to, or we do it quickly without thought, then we risk developing dangerous habits with food. Make the kitchen the heart of your home, and eating becomes a more social experience, leading to healthier relationships.
Then, there’s time. Modern lives are busy and stressful. We struggle to fit everything in, and we find it hard to keep up. We’re always rushing around and have so little time to stop and enjoy each other’s company. For many families, mealtimes are the only chance to stop and catch up. When the kitchen becomes the heart of your home, and you welcome your family in for cooking time, as well as eating times, you automatically spend more quality time together.
The Benefits of More Family Time in the Kitchen
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits of spending more time in your kitchen. Others include:
- Children learning to cook.
- Having more fun as a family.
- Cooking and baking are cheap hobbies and great rainy-day activities.
- You are all more likely to develop healthy eating habits.
- We often find it easier to talk when we’re doing something else, like eating or cooking. Being in the kitchen can help your children to open up.
- Most of your home is segregated. Your bedrooms are your own, and the study might be an adult domain. The kitchen is a safe harbor for everyone.
- A more equal workload.
- Improved mood.
But, if your kitchen isn’t already the heart of your home, what changes can you make to help?
Keep it Tidy
It’s hard to relax in your kitchen, enjoy cooking and want to welcome your friends and family in when it’s a mess. A cluttered and untidy kitchen will never be safe for children, and it certainly won’t be fun.
But, keeping a kitchen, especially a smaller one tidy, can be challenging. You may need to look at kitchen renovations to help you to add smart storage, make more of your space, and create enough cupboards and counters so that everything has an easy home. Renovations from Kitchen Capital can help you to make more of your space, whether it’s large or small, and these renovations can make it much easier to keep tidy. Kitchen Capital can help you to create the perfect kitchen for your family, taking all of your needs into consideration.
Even with more storage, however, it’s important that you stay on top of it. Organize your kitchen so that the tools and ingredients that you use most frequently are easiest to reach, dangerous items, like sharp knives are out of the reach of little fingers, and the things that your children need, such as mixing bowls and spoons, are in a low cupboard, or one that’s just for their use.
Then, practice cleaning as you go and encourage the other members of your household to do the same.
Add Seating Options
If you want your family to spend more time in the kitchen, try to make it easier for them by adding seating. If you’ve got room for a dining table or breakfast bar, great, but also add more relaxed comfortable options if possible, where your family can sit and chat or do their homework.
Play with Color
Fill your kitchen with color, and you’ll create a happier space. Add color to your cupboards or just their handles, hang artwork, buy colorful appliances and utensils and stick your kids’ coloring pictures up on the fridge. Adding plants can also be effective.
Make it Fun
Your children will find it hard to relax and enjoy helping you in the kitchen if it’s too formal. Color will help, but adding extra fun with a chalkboard wall, cake domes filled with goodies, and other things that they might enjoy is a great idea.
Get into Good Habits
No matter how family-friendly, relaxed, and fun your kitchen is, it will never be the heart of your home if you don’t spend time in it. Get into better habits, keep the door open, invite people in, and encourage participation, and soon it will start to feel more natural.
Keep it Light
A big problem with older kitchens is that they tend to be quite dark and dull. Paint the walls light colors, add a larger window, and find other ways to maximise natural light to improve the atmosphere and create a friendlier space.
Make Sure It’s Safe
If you want your children to help in the kitchen, make sure it’s safe for them. Move dangers into high cupboards, make sure the floor is non-slip and take the time to teach them how to cook safely, instead of just leaving them to it.
Get the Sound Right
It’s hard to chat with family and friends if you can barely hear them over the sounds of your cooker hood and other appliances. Choose quieter options where possible and add a radio so that you can have fun even when you are on your own.
Consider a Bold Change
Open plan can be a great choice if you want to really open things up and create a more communal space. Knock walls through to create a large, open living space where you can cook, relax, and eat. Just make sure you get professional help.
Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches
In other rooms, we spend a lot of time thinking about the finishing touches like soft furnishings, lighting, and accessories. But these things tend to get ignored in the kitchen. This is unfortunate, as these are the things that can really add personality and make a room your own. Add flowers and vases, mirrors and pictures, and even cushions and blankets to your chairs. Take time with the details to create a more unique space.
In some cases, you’ll need to be bold, and make some significant changes to your home to give your kitchen the chance to serve a bigger purpose. But, in other cases, a few smaller changes can be all that it takes. Take a look at your kitchen, and how you use it, and think about anything that you need to do to create a proper family space.