When remodeling your family kitchen, it’s important to create a safe, functional space that everyone can enjoy. Designing a kitchen with your family in mind requires a bit more attention to detail, especially if there are young children or elderly or disabled family members involved. Here are some easy tips for creating a space that will work for the entire family.
Choose The Appropriate Layout
First, you’ll need to choose a layout that will enable everyone to move easily and safely throughout the kitchen. If your children are older, open spaces such as a U-shaped or L-shaped design featuring a kitchen island will allow for a more inclusive space. You’ll want to separate the kitchen into zones where the refrigerator and pantry are separate from the prep and cooking areas. This way, the kids can grab snacks from the kitchen without disrupting the cooking flow or causing an accident.
If, however, your children are younger, your goal may be to keep them out of the kitchen. One way to restrict access is to design a kitchen featuring a peninsula that will close off access to the more dangerous parts of the kitchen. A galley kitchen or an open U-shaped design that will involve a lot of sudden turns or movements from side-to-side may prove to be a safety hazard for very young children.
Your kitchen island can also be an inclusive space. When designing your kitchen island, creating a countertop with staggered heights can help create separate spaces where a child can do homework or play nearby while prep or cooking is happening. If you choose not to stagger your countertop height, be sure to locate the seating area of the island far away enough from the prep area.
Countertop height should be taken into consideration if eating will be taking place on the kitchen island. Will there be a baby in a high chair? Someone in a wheelchair? A grandma who can’t comfortably climb onto a bar stool? These things should be taken into consideration in order to create a space that is comfortable for everyone.
Be Meticulous With Materials & Appliances
When living in a multi-generational home, keeping both children and elderly parents safe is a major concern. Cleanliness can also become a hassle when there are so many people utilizing the kitchen space, particularly if young children and toddlers are involved. Choosing the right materials to create your kitchen space can help prevent accidents – and unwanted headaches.
- Choose non-slip flooring materials such as ceramic or porcelain or apply a non-slip coating to prevent slips and falls.
- Engineered quartz countertops are easy to maintain and repair.
- If necessary, opt for rounded edges on your countertops.
- Matte cabinets won’t show stains as much as cabinets with a glossy finish.
- Induction cooktops are a safer alternative to hot coils and flames.
- Sensor-operated faucets can be great for preventing stains or accidental contamination. They’re also easier for arthritic hands to handle than knobs.
- Place your oven at a height that is appropriate for all members. If placed too low, a young child or pet may get unwanted access. If there are wheelchair-bound family members or grandparents who have trouble reaching, then placing it too high will be a problem.
Don’t Forget The Pet!
Your kitchen space can also be inclusive and safe for your pets. If choosing an open-style layout, consider adding a pet area to an outward-facing part of the kitchen. This can be on the back side of your kitchen island. Here you can also include storage space for your pet’s food and other specialty items.