8 Ideas for a Multifunctional Kitchen Design
In many homes, the kitchen is a central hub; a place where families meet and catch up on the day while going about the task of preparing food. These days, we are spending more and more time in our home and are looking for ways to make the most of the space we have. The kitchen, therefore, has needed to take on more roles than ever before. Granite and TREND transformations explore the possibilities for making your kitchen design multifunctional and share creative solutions for optimising your kitchen space.
A functional kitchen first and foremost
For most, the primary function of the kitchen will be to prepare and cook food. When planning a new kitchen design, consider the movements around the room to help ensure a more efficient and enjoyable cooking experience. A key aspect of your kitchen design is the flow. Think about what you need at hand to minimise movement and make cooking as hassle-free and safe as possible.
The kitchen work triangle
The classic kitchen work triangle is a useful principle to base your new kitchen design around. This layout places the fridge, cooker and sink at three points on a triangle with only a few steps in-between each; crucial for when you are moving a boiling point to drain its contents at the sink, for example. However, a kitchen triangle will not work for all layouts. Kitchen designs, such as an L-shaped layout, take the principle of having the three main features of a kitchen at close hand but require one of the triangle’s ‘sides’ to run alongside another.
Consider the other ‘traffic’ in the kitchen. Think about the entrances and exits to the kitchen and try to make sure their pathway does not cross with the cooking activity. Try to encourage children, pets and even guests away from danger spots by giving them easy access to things they require. For example, make the fridge accessible for drinks and snacks, and keep pet food bowls well-away from any preparation areas.
Organising the kitchen into zones will also make tasks more manageable. Think about the different jobs you do and plan to have everything needed for that task grouped together. Signify different zones by using different colour designs or by using partitions, such as half-walls, shelves or screens.
Allocating zones to your kitchen become even more helpful when you integrate different functions into this room. Here’s some inspiration on other uses for your kitchen and how you can intelligently plan them into your kitchen design.
1) Casual dining
The kitchen acts as a practical solution for an area to have quick breakfasts and lunches. At a point in the day when time is a luxury, preparing and eating food in the kitchen saves time before you head off to face the tasks of the day. Plan for convenience in this instance. Store your small plates, mugs and dishes near to breakfast and snack foods, with kettles or coffee makers and toasters on the kitchen surface ready-for-use. Breakfast bars and kitchen islands are ideal options for casual meals, but adding a small table with a couple of chairs also fulfils the purpose well.
All our etherium by E-stone™ surfaces are made with ForeverSeal® meaning they are heat, stain, scratch, mould and mildew resistant, ideal for quick and convenient food preparation. Additionally, with their built-in Microban® technology, you can be reassured that your surfaces remain safe and hygienic too.
2) Coffee mornings
If you enjoy leisurely coffee mornings with friends or neighbours, plan your kitchen design to be inviting, creating an area where people can relax and enjoy socialising. Do you envisage your guests gathering around a kitchen island or would you prefer more laid-back chairs or benches with comfy cushions that encourage a lengthier stay? Space is, of course, a consideration, but smaller touches make a difference too. Add a coffee machine to send out tempting scents, some new china to display your delicious treats, shelves for inspirational books and magazines or even some artwork to create a welcoming vibe.
3) Relaxed evening entertaining
Perhaps you are looking to incorporate evenings of relaxed entertaining with family and friends into your new kitchen design. If so, reflect on how to add sparkle to your evening, making it more memorable and enjoyable for your guests. A kitchen dining table may be the go-to option for evening meals, giving guests a chance to sit comfortably and enjoy their meal and wine. For more space, explore the possibility of an open-plan kitchen dining area. Guests can continue to socialise with you while you’re preparing food but still give you plenty of room to move around. This layout may involve knocking down a wall to bring this idea to life but is certainly worthwhile for the advantages it brings.
However, your entertainment doesn’t have to be around a dining table. Kitchen islands make for an appealing alternative too – imagine Asian-inspired sharing plates, spread across the worktop, all at hand for guests to share.
Again, assess the details; softer lighting and furnishings to enhance relaxation, positions of wine racks and investing in quality tableware to bring your dinner party to life.
4) Working from home
With working from home becoming a regular feature for many of us this year, adapting a kitchen to accommodate a home office has become a frequent undertaking. Check out our blog ‘Working from Home – Small Home Ideas for Maximum Impact’ for some creative ideas on using your space efficiently. We explore maximising kitchen corners and breakfast bars and bringing in the little office extras that make working from home that much easier.
5) Relaxation and break-out areas
We are seeing more kitchen designs incorporating corners for people to relax, enjoy a coffee or snack or watch tv for a short break in the day. Design this area for comfort with sofas, cushions or easy chairs and choose a colour theme that facilitates unwinding, e.g. pale blues or greens or neutral colours. Locating this zone in a part of the room which gets plenty of sunlight will brighten moods, then think about softer lighting for evening times. Include entertainment to help individuals switch off. Options could include an addition of a small tv, or some books, magazines or games nearby.
6) Kids’ homework and craft
The kitchen is the ideal place for your kids to do their homework or enjoy some arts and crafts. With our etherium by E-stone™ surfaces, any marks or spills can be easily wiped clean. Meanwhile, our integrated Microban® technology ensures that using your kitchen for multiple purposes can be done safely without the worry of bacteria or contamination.
Another benefit of the kids working in the kitchen is that you are able to supervise them while preparing the evening meal. However, when planning the area for your kids to sit, remember the flow of your kitchen and make sure they are located in a place out of danger of hot surfaces or potential collisions as you work.
7) The dedicated baker
Have you recently been inspired to take up baking? Perhaps, it’s a lifelong hobby where you enjoy creating tasty treats for family and friends. If baking is a regular feature in your schedule, it is worthwhile planning your kitchen design with an area dedicated to this passion. Our etherium by E-stone™ surfaces, made of granite or quartz, are ideal for working on directly to roll out pastry or knead your doughs. Not only do they stay cool, but with our built-in Microban® technology, they offer antimicrobial protection too.
Have your mixer permanently out on a work surface to avoid the chore of having to heft it out from one of your cupboards every time, making the baking process much more efficient and enjoyable. Organise a nearby shelf or cupboard for all your other baking equipment; rolling pins, bowls, cake tins and piping bags. And if space on your work surface allows, how about having elegant storage containers for your main baking ingredients, such as flour and sugar? Finally, keep your baking books on a shelf to hand for some delicious inspiration.
8) Bring in some gardening inspiration
If you love your garden, consider bringing aspects of it into your kitchen with herb gardens on the window sills and flowers or pot plants on tables or on shelves to add a calming feel to your kitchen.
Kitchens are no longer just for cooking. If you want to use your kitchen for multiple purposes, there are a variety of layouts that can accommodate these ideas. If you need help with visualising your plan, try using our innovative 3D design tool that can digitally guide you in creating your perfect kitchen layout. Alternatively, please get in contact with our Granite and TREND transformations design team, who are always pleased to discuss your ideas.