Designing Easy-Care Kitchens for Busy Living
It’s the heart of the home, the room we come to nourish, entertain, soothe and sustain. As a vital hub in every house, the kitchen plays a pivotal role in our lifestyles. Historically the hub of family life, the kitchen still plays an essential role in day to day living.
With every household comes a new set of kitchen goals, from an entertainers’ dream, to family friendly and bachelor efficiency, the kitchen is unique in its ability to create comfort and ease within your day to day life. While the layout, size and theme of your kitchen might be radically different to that of your neighbours, there is one thing every new kitchen design needs.
Easy-care kitchen design goes far beyond being able to do a quick wipe down. Subject to constant traffic, spills, heat, grime and hard use, kitchens can be one of the hardest rooms in the house to keep clean.
For those living a busy life, creating an easy-care design is vital. It ensures your kitchen enhances your lifestyle instead of taking up your spare time and money cleaning, repairing and resurfacing stylish but inconvenient surfaces. So, what are the key things to consider when crafting a kitchen for busy living?
If you have ever experienced cooking in a kitchen where the cooktop is on the other side of the room to the sink, you will understand the significance of a tight work triangle. Trying to transfer food from a dripping colander at the sink to a hot pan across the room invites all sorts of spills.
The kitchen triangle refers to the layout of sink, cooktop and fridge to create a working space that minimises movement, and therefore minimises the distance you need to transfer liquids, waste and ingredients. Creating a tight, well thought out triangle is the first step to minimising excessive spilling, not to mention improving the flow of the workspace, speeding up your cooking process, and saving you time and energy running marathons around your kitchen.
When it comes to storage, shelves and island recesses may look great, but the more of these you have, the more surfaces you need to clean to keep your kitchen sparkling. If you have the benefit of time or professional cleaners on your side, then designer shelving can add gorgeous decor elements to the room, but if you are looking to keep your maintenance time to the absolute minimum, smart storage is the way to go. When choosing your storage and cabinetry, consider smooth, clean surfaces that can be wiped down on the go.
Ever tried wiping rogue cooking scraps or excess liquid into an overmount sink, only to get stuck scraping crumbs out of the connection between the sink and bench? Enter the undermount sink. Not only do they create a visually smoother line in the kitchen, the lack of the sink/bench connection means you do not need to worry about unsightly crumbs, spills and mould collecting in the ridges. They also make it a breeze to wipe your scraps and liquids straight into the sink with no obstruction.
While traditional overmount sinks are generally still the cheaper option, the cost of an undermount has significantly dropped over the past few years due to their rise in popularity. To make sure you really nail the easy-care sink set up, make sure you consider a drainage area so you can set down wet dishes to dry without your benchtop turning into a lagoon.
Want to spend as little time buffing and polishing your kitchen as possible? Then put surfaces as your top priority. Sure, a plethora of stainless steel or black marble may give you the sleek look you are after, but unless you are committed to putting in some solid elbow grease daily, they are not the best option for time poor (or cleaning adverse) homeowners. Consider some more durable, time friendly materials for your kitchen benchtops, particularly in high use areas. There is a huge range of easy-care surfaces available on the market and, while each has their pros and cons, these materials are usually at the top of the list:
- Granite: while the price point can be restrictive, if time is money, granite can save you in the long run. Extremely durable, easy to maintain and does not require any special technique or products to get sparkling.
- Engineered stone: made up of 93% quartz particles, engineered stone is available in a huge range of colours and is non-porous so those prone to spillages can relax without having to manically clean to avoid staining.
- Solid Surface: made of acrylic, polyester or a combination of both, solid surface materials are highly resistant to scratches and stains, and its joinery is virtually undetectable creating a sleek, clean look.
When it comes to clever designing for easy care and comfortable living, this may be just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a great start in creating a space that works for you and your lifestyle.