The kitchen is the hub of the home, the heart of entertaining, and a large part of everyone’s daily routine. People tend to flow in and out, stop for a while, or completely set up camp and stay for hours!
I believe the holiday season is the perfect time to talk about how we design kitchens for functional and fabulous entertaining. It all starts with just 4 questions.
Whether you’re mapping the flow for your next gathering or dreaming up a bold kitchen renovation for 2020, here are the questions that will help you create the perfect entertaining space. We’ve included a little visual help from a kitchen renovation we recently completed!
Come on in and make yourself at home. 🙂
1. How will your kitchen be used for entertaining?
The first step to designing a kitchen for great entertaining is to think about how YOU personally like to entertain in your home. Do you prep everything yourself well in advance of the first guest’s arrival? Do you have a designated sous chef? Will you encourage all your friends and family to join in and help prep?
With more chefs and helpers in the kitchen, the more prep space you’ll need. If you tend to prepare everything in advance, you’ll need more storage (extra refrigerated drawers are a must!)
We designed this kitchen with ample prep space by incorporating 2 islands into the floor plan, and adding extra counter space on each side of the range. You could have cousin Suzy chopping tear-inducing onions well away from the merry drink-makers socializing at the bar.
2. Where will people gather in your kitchen?
It’s important to know where people will be gathering. You may want to add bar-style seating so guests can mingle with the chef, or maybe you prefer an open concept floor plan to allow your guests to socialize in the surrounding rooms. Casual gathering spaces are best within 10-15 feet of the action.
This area between the island is clearly designed for the cook! We placed the sink facing the family room where guests are most likely to congregate. This helps the chef or host feel more connected and involved in the festivities.
This built-in banquette is on the other side of the kitchen and can be used for smaller gatherings, for the family’s own meals and snacks, or simply as more seating for a large gathering.
3. How can you create entertaining flow?
The next step in designing the layout of your kitchen is to consider flow. Take a look at the areas that are connected to your kitchen space. How will people be entering the kitchen? Which rooms are they coming from? Where are they likely to be going?
Like I mentioned earlier, people tend to congregate in the kitchen, which is why many people consider a kitchen remodel in the first place. If you know that guests tend to flow from a bar area to the living room, arrange your kitchen layout to avoid cross-traffic with the chef. The kitchen should allow the chef to easily access all the necessary equipment to prepare the meal without feeling cramped or cluttered.
Think strategically and creatively! (Don’t worry, we can help you with this.)
We know these clients like to entertain guests in their large family room, so we created a layout that makes refreshments easily accessible to them without needing to cross paths with the chef. This bar area (left), bar seating (center), and cold beverage fridge (right) creates the perfect
transition throughout the whole space.
4. What amenities will your kitchen need for entertaining?
Maybe you have always wanted a double oven, a pot filler mounted above the range, or simply deeper drawers for your pots and pans. A kitchen reno is your time to get creative! Think back to question 1… everyone’s needs are different when it comes to entertaining, so consider what you would get the most use out of.
To spark your creativity, here are a few amenities we installed in this kitchen reno:
Extra Refrigerated Space
Having an extra cold space to store pre-made apps is a big help, especially if you’re the host who likes to prepare everything in advance. There are so many unique products on the market that take up a fraction of the space as a second refrigerator, such as refrigerated drawers that mimic the cabinetry and beverage/wine coolers.
The Perfect Bar
Creating a bar area is key for entertaining guests in a fun and engaging way.
This sink can be filled with ice and used to display (and chill) white wine or beer, and visible storage in the cabinets above means that guests can help themselves to glassware. I also suggest a clear ice cube machine… they are the best thing ever if you regularly open the bar!
If you and your guests love wine, a wine fridge is a solid investment that keeps on giving. A wine fridge ensures the shelf life of a bottle by chilling it to the perfect temp, and it’s also a great storage solution for a collection. The best part? Designing a wine fridge into your kitchen’s floor plan is easy – they tend to fit right in with the lower cabinets.
Built-In Speaker System
It’s all in the details! If you’re remodeling your kitchen, why not add built-in speakers? Connect to your Sonos and get the party started!
Photography by Aaron Usher
Design is about creating an environment that helps you live your life to its fullest — and YOU get to decide what that is for you.
If your kitchen feels dated and dark, or it’s inspiring more irritation than freedom, it might be time for an upgrade. Our Interior Design Project Planner will help you get started!
Stay tuned for our next blog post as well (Dec. 30th), where we will be sharing our best tips for living vibrantly in the New Year! Until then, I hope you have a joyful holiday with all the people who make your life incredible.